English in Bangladesh

English in the People's Republic of Bangladesh is the principal language of the Bangladeshi upper judiciary, including the Bangladesh Supreme Court and the Dhaka High Court. Bengali is the sole official language, but English is often used secondarily for official purposes, especially in the judiciary.

English medium education, newspapers, business and nongovernmental organizations are prevalent across the country. An estimated 18 million Bangladeshis are capable of using English as a second language.[1]

The territory of modern-day Bangladesh was the heartland of the Bengal Presidency in the British Empire. Historically, the Bengali bhadralok class were heavily influenced by the British accent. The efforts of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan played a key role in building an English-speaking Muslim intelligentsia and middle class in Bengal. Modern Bangladeshi English is noted for its neutral accent, in comparison to other forms of Asian English, and has been influenced by the American accent. Spellings continue to be adopted from British English. In 2012, the High Court banned the use of "Banglish", described as a slang mixture of Bengali and English, in radio and television programs, in order to the prevent the corruption of both languages.[2]

English literature in Bangladesh includes the early works of Begum Rokeya, one of the world's earliest feminist science fiction writers, and Rabindranath Tagore, whose English translation of Gitanjali won him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. English was an official language of East Pakistan. After independence, the Constitution of Bangladesh was written in both in English and Bengali in 1972. However, successive Bangladeshi governments have converted many original English-medium universities, schools and colleges to Bengali instruction in order to spread mass education. In 1987, President Ershad replaced English with Bengali as the language of most of the lower courts, but this status was restored in 2001.[3] The Government of Bangladesh extensively uses English as a working language. Bangladeshi laws are written in both English and Bengali.

Numbering system

The South Asian numbering system is preferred for digit grouping. When written in words, or when spoken, numbers less than 100,000/100 000 are expressed just as they are in Standard English. Numbers including and beyond 100,000 / 100 000 are expressed in a subset of the South Asian numbering system.

Thus, the following scale is used:

In digits (International system) In digits (South Asian system) In words (long and short scales) In words (South Asian system)
10 ten
100 one hundred
1,000 one thousand
10,000 ten thousand
100,000 1,00,000 one hundred thousand one lokkho
1,000,000 10,00,000 one million ten lokkho
10,000,000 1,00,00,000 ten million one kuti

See also


  1. Euromonitor International report 2009
  2. AFP (2012-02-17). "Bangladesh bans 'Banglish' to protect local tongue - The Express Tribune". Tribune.com.pk. Retrieved 2015-11-23.
  3. "English - Banglapedia". En.banglapedia.org. 2014-06-08. Retrieved 2015-11-23.

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