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Studies & Degrees in Bengali Language and Literature

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Are you interested in studying the language and literary contributions of the southern Asian people, particularly those from the country of Bangladesh?  Have you considered pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bengali Language and Literature?  The Bengali language, which is spoken throughout Bangladesh and in parts of India, is the first language of over 200 million speakers throughout the world and makes for a very fascinating field of study.  To illustrate this, below we have compiled a brief synopsis of the B.A. degree program in Bengali Language and Literature—the course content, class titles, etc.—and listed some of the typical prerequisites for admission required by the colleges and universities that offer the program.
Bengali Language and Literature:  About the Program
The Bachelor of Arts degree program in Bengali Language and Literature is a four to five-year course of study now being offered by colleges and universities throughout the world.  Like most undergraduate fields of study, the program consists of both general education classes and core classes—classes that are directly related to the major discipline.  The general education component may vary depending on the university, but it typically consists of coursework in subjects such as mathematics, composition, language, natural and/or physical science, social, cultural and behavioral studies, speech, health and physical education.  These prerequisites may be taken prior to beginning the core coursework, but in most programs, students are urged to take them concurrently with the core classes, thus offering them a more balanced field of study throughout their time at the university.
Core classes in the program deal directly with Bengali language and literature, and may include titles such as:
  • Bengali Language 1
  • Bengali Language 2
  • Modern Bengali Texts
  • Directed Readings in a South Asian Literature or Culture (Bengali)
  • Directed Readings in the Literature of a Modern South Asian Language
  • And more…
The course content for the B.A. program in Bengali Language and Literature aims to impart to students the basics of the language and introduce them to the literary contributions made by Bengali authors during various periods of history.  Among other things, students will learn that the Bengali language, known locally as “Bangla,” is the national and official language of Bangladesh and recognized regionally in parts of India.  With over 200 million speakers worldwide, the Bengali language ranks as one of the top ten languages in the world in terms of the number of speakers. 
Students will also be introduced to the various dialects of the Bengali language, beginning with the standard colloquial form called “Suddha” or “pure Bengali,” the most common dialect and the form used primarily by Bengali authors in their literary works.
When studying the literature of the Bengali people, students will be introduced to works divided into three distinct periods in history:  Old Bangla (1000-1300 AD), Middle Bangla (1350-1800) and Modern Bangla (1800-present).  From the oldest known work called Caryapada, a manuscript of Buddhist songs dating back to 1000 AD, to the works of author Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913, the study of Bengali literature is filled with rich traditions and spellbinding prose.

To qualify for admission into the Bachelor of Arts degree program in Bengali Language and Literature students must possess a high school diploma or its equivalent.  Most undergraduate programs do not require any prior study in the Bengali language, but students with at least some familiarity with the language and strong reading and writing skills are typically best suited for this program.