Sylheti language

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Sylheti in Sylheti Nagari script - example.svg
The word "Silôṭi" in Sylheti Nāgarī script
Native toBangladesh and India
RegionSylhet Division and Barak Valley[1]
Native speakers
10 million (2003–2020)e25
L2 speakers: 1.5 million (no date)[5]
Early forms
Sylheti Nāgarī script
Bengali–Assamese script
Language codes
ISO 639-3syl
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

Sylheti (Sylheti Nāgarī: Template:Script/Syloti Template:IPA-syl; Bengali: সিলেটি [sileʈi]) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by an estimated 11 million people, primarily in the Sylhet Division of Bangladesh, Barak Valley of Assam, and northern parts of Tripura in India.[6][7] Besides, there are substantial numbers of Sylheti speakers in the Indian states of Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland[7] as well as diaspora communities in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and the Middle East.

It is variously perceived as either a dialect of Bengali or a language in its own right. While most linguists consider it an independent language,[8][9] for many native speakers Sylheti forms the diglossic vernacular, with standard Bengali forming the codified lect.[10] Some consider it as a "corrupt" form of Bengali,[11] and there is a reported language shift from Sylheti to Standard Bengali in Bangladesh, India and the diaspora;[12] though Sylheti has more vitality than Standard Bengali in the United Kingdom.[13]


Sylheti is eponymously named after Sylhet, referring to the dialect or language spoken of that area.[14] According to Grierson (1903) the vernacular was called Sylhettia by the Europeans after the town of Sylhet.[15] Though the speakers at that time referred to it as Jaintiapuri, Purba Srihattiya, or Ujania with the latter meaning "the language of the upper country".[16]

Sylheti is also known as Sylhetti, Sylheti Bangla, Sileti, Siloti, Syloti, and Syloty.[17]


Sylheti belongs to the Eastern Indo-Aryan languages, that evolved from Magadhi Prakrit.[18] The lowlands around Sylhet were originally inhabited by ancient Khasi people (Austroasiatic);[19] and the earliest known Indo-Aryan settlements were made in the 6th century under Kamarupa king.[20][21][22] Sylhet (Srihatta) then emerged as a center of lowland territorialism after the 10th century.[23] The 11th century Bhatera grants from the Srihatta kings Kesavadeva and Isanadeva were written in Sanskrit.[24][25] Another notable copper plate inscription was found in the village of Paschimbhag in Rajnagar, Moulvibazar that was issued by King Srichandra during the 10th century.[26]

Cover of 19th century Halat-un-Nabi by Sadeq Ali

The Muslim Conquest of Sylhet in 1303 CE extended the migratory movements of Muslims from western lands, who settled among the native population and greatly influenced the local language.[27] Thus Sylheti derived a large number of words from Persian and Arabic,[28] cultivating the Perso-Arabic influence on the vernacular.[29] A script was developed in the region called Sylheti Nagri, which primarily focused on disseminating Sufi poetry, known as puthi.[30] Its earliest known work had been written during the 1600s, called Bhedsar by Syed Shah Husayn Alam.[31] The literature was transcribed in the standard form of late Middle Bengali, though its phonology and some of its vocabulary was strongly influenced by Sylheti.[32][33] The script was read and taught culturally among households and was not institutionalised,[32] as the Islamic dynasties who ruled over Bengal established Persian alongside Arabic as the official languages.[34] Printed texts of the script reached its peak during the late 19th century, however its use became obsolete by around the middle of the 20th century.[35]

The earliest appearance of a documentation of Sylheti vocabulary was in the Government Report on the History and Statistics of Sylhet District by T. Walton, B.C.S. in 1857, which contained a list of peculiar words used in Sylhet.[36] Many terms that were listed here differ from modern Sylheti – highlighting its evolution. In 1868, another short glossary of local terms in various districts of the Dacca Division (which included Sylhet) were written up and compared to standard Bengali to allow ease in understanding local vernaculars.[37] Despite being annexed to the Assam Province during colonial rule, Sylheti speakers felt a linguistic affinity with the rest of Bengal.[38] Bengali literature had some influence from Sylheti, popular songwriters or poets such as Hason Raja or Shah Abdul Karim, significantly contributed to the literature.[39][40] Sylhet was reunited with Bengal following a referendum in 1947.[41]


According to Simard, Dopierala and Thaut, Sylheti is a "minoritised, politically unrecognised, and understudied language."[42] It is currently not officially recognised as a language in either Bangladesh or India.[43] Many native speakers consider it to be a slang or corrupt version of Standard Bengali and not an independent language;[11] and there is a reported language shift to Standard Bengali and a decrease in the number of native speakers since parents are not teaching it to their children.[12] In Bangladesh there is a diglossia where Sylheti is one among other low status regional dialects while Standard Bengali, the official language, has a high status.[44]

In the Indian state of Assam where Assamese is the state language, Standard Bengali language serves as an additional official language in its Barak Valley districts; which host a majority Sylheti-speaking population.[45]

In the United Kingdom, British schools have begun enlisting Sylheti in their syllabi.[46] BBC News has also broadcast online videos relating to COVID-19 in five major South Asian languages including Sylheti.[47]


Grierson (1903) notes that the language of eastern Sylhet is not intelligible to Bengalis from the west, though he still classed it as Bengali,[48] grouping it under "Eastern Bengali".[49] Chatterji (1926) too calls it a dialect of Bengali and places it in the eastern Vangiya group of Magadhi Prakrit and notes that all Bengali dialects were independent of each other and did not emanate from the literary Bengali called "sadhu bhasha".[50] Among the different dialect groups of the eastern dialects, to which Sylheti belonged, Sylheti and Chittagonian have phonetic and morphological properties that are alien to standard Bengali and other western dialects of Bengali,[51] and these differences are such that Sylheti is more distant to standard Bengali than is Assamese.[52] Recent scholarship notes that these morpho-phonological and mutual intelligibility differences are significant enough that Sylheti could claim itself as a language on its own right.[53] Ethnologue groups Sylheti in Bengali–Assamese languages;[5] whereas Glottolog gives further subgrouping and places it in the "Eastern Bengali" group alongside Hajong, separately from the Bengali dialects.[54]

Language-dialect controversy[edit]

The classification of Sylheti is contentious—Chalmers (1996) suggested that it was generally identified as a dialect of Bengali though there were efforts to recognise it as a language.[55][56] Anecdotal evidence suggests that Sylhetis, who could also speak in Standard Bengali, considered the two languages to be mutually intelligible.[57][58] On the basis of the anecdotal evidence of mutual intelligibility, regionality and the fact that Sylheti is spoken by a predominantly rural community, Rasinger (2007) concludes that Sylheti could be considered a dialect of Bengali.[59] Simard, Dopierala and Thaut have pointed out that the intelligibility could be an effect of prior exposure of Sylheti speakers to Standard Bengali,[60] and that the academic consensus is that mutual intelligibility ranges from "unintelligible" to "hardly intelligible".[61] On the basis of phonology and phonetics, lexicon, grammatical structure and a lack of mutual intelligibility, some recent linguists claim that Sylheti is not merely a dialectal variation of Bengali but a language in its own right.[53][62][63]

Phonologically Sylheti is distinguished from Standard Bengali and other regional varieties by significant deaspiration and spirantisation,[64] leading to major restructuring of the consonant inventory[65] and the development of tones.[66] Grierson had classified Sylheti as an Eastern Bengali dialect and had noted that it "possess all the peculiar characteristics of the extreme Eastern Bengali type."[49]

As majority of the diaspora in the United Kingdom speak Sylheti, it created an environment that was somewhat uninfluenced by Standard Bengali, inevitably leading some to view Sylheti as a distinct language.[67] During the 1980s there were unsuccessful attempts to recognise Sylheti as a language in its own right by a small group in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, which lacked support from the Sylheti community itself.[68][69]


Halat-un-Nabi, a puthi written by Sadeq Ali is considered to be the most prominent literature in Sylheti Nagri.[70]

The presence and influence of Shah Jalal and Shri Chaitanya dev is found in the Sylheti literature.[71] According to Syed Mostafa Kamal, (approximately 1650 AD) the Baul tradition was founded based on the combination of Chaitanyavad and Jaganmohani ideologies, that mystic literature influenced and seen in the Vaishnava Padavali. As a result, Sylhet is considered as the spiritual capital of mysticism and the fertile land of Baul music.[70] A great number of poets enriched Sylheti literature. Among them, Hason Raja, Radha Raman, Syed Shah Noor, Shitalong Shaha, Durbin Shaha are noteworthy. The main theme of the Nagri literature are mainly religious, Islamic history, tradition, stories and Raga, Baul and mystic music. 140 books have been found including 88 printed books (in Nagri script).[72]

Geographical distribution[edit]

Sylhet Division, Bangladesh and Barak Valley, India within South Asia

Sylheti is the primary language of Sylhet region which today comprises the Sylhet Division of Bangladesh and Karimganj district of Assam, India. Within the Sylhet Division, it is primarily spoken in the districts of Sylhet and Moulvibazar, as well as in certain upazilas of Sunamganj and Habiganj. This is contrary to popular belief that Sylheti is spoken everywhere in the Sylhet Division.[73] Anecdotal evidence claims that the people of Sylhet District, when visiting places like Habiganj, are often startled that the locals do not converse in Sylheti but rather in Habiganji, which is transitional to the dialects of Sylhet, Greater Mymensingh and Brahmanbaria.[74]

It is also primarily spoken in the districts of Cachar and Hailakandi of Assam, which alongside Karimganj make up the Barak Valley,[75] as well as in the northern parts of Tripura and the western edge of Manipur. There is also a significant population of Sylheti speakers in the Hojai district of Assam (since before Partition), Shillong in Meghalaya,[76] and the state of Nagaland. A few numbers are also located in Kolkata, most of whom are migrants from Assam.

Outside the Indian subcontinent, the largest Sylheti diaspora communities reside in the United Kingdom and North America. In the UK, there are around 400,000 Sylheti speakers.[77] The largest concentration live in east London boroughs, such as Tower Hamlets.[78] In the United States, most are concentrated in New York City borough's such as the Bronx,[79] and there are significant numbers in Hamtramck, Michigan where they constitute the majority of Bangladeshis in the city.[80][81][82] There are also small numbers located in Toronto, Canada.[83][84] Significant Sylheti-speaking communities reside in the Middle East of which most are migrant workers,[85][86] and in many other countries throughout the world.

Writing system[edit]

Sylheti currently does not have a standardised writing system.[77] Historically in the Sylhet region, the Sylheti Nagri script was used alongside the Bengali script.[32] Sylheti Nagri was however mostly limited to writing religious poetry.[49] This written form was identical to those written in the Dobhashi register due to both lacking the use of tatsama and using Perso-Arabic vocabulary as a replacement. As per Dobhashi custom, many Sylheti Nagri texts were paginated from right to left.[87][88] The orthography of the script equates with Sylheti, it has fewer characters as compared with the Bengali script due to fewer phonemes found in Sylheti.[89] An endangered script, it has since seen a revival mostly by academics and linguists.[90]

Standard Bengali is the medium of instruction in Bangladesh.[91] some may therefore write in Sylheti using the Bengali–Assamese script.[77] In United Kingdom, publishers use Latin script for Sylheti and according to the Sylheti Translation and Research (STAR), Latin (Roman) script is the most used script for writing Sylheti.[92] The New Testament in Sylheti was published in the Sylhet Nagri script along with versions in the Latin and in the Bengali–Assamese script, in 2014.[93]


Sylheti shares most linguistic properties with Standard Bengali,[94][better source needed] with a lexical similarity of 53.2%.[95] [better source needed]


The phoneme inventory of Sylheti differs from both the Standard Bengali as well the Bangladeshi Standard.[96] It is characterised by a loss of breathiness and aspiration contrasts, leading to a significant reduction in its phoneme inventory and development of tones. In particular the following developments are seen:[97][98]

  • Both voiced and voiceless aspirated stops have become unaspirated (d̪ʱ; t̪ʰ).
  • The voiceless labials have spirantised to homorganic fricatives (pɸ; ɸ).
  • The velar stops have become velar fricatives (kx; x), although [k] can be heard as an allophone of /x/ when preceded by high vowels /i, u/.
  • The post-alveolar affricates have spirantised to alveolar fricatives (s; tʃʰs; z; dʒʱz).
  • Among the voiceless stops only the dental /, / and retroflex /ʈ, ɖ/ stops have remained stops. In some analyses, the dental–retroflex distinction (/, ʈ/) is replaced by highly unusual dental–alveolar one (/, /), although this source appears to contradictorily merge these previous stops into a single stop (/t/).[99]
  Front Central Back
Close i Template:Script/Syloti   u Template:Script/Syloti
Close-mid e Template:Script/Syloti    
Open-mid     ɔ Template:Script/Syloti
Open   a Template:Script/Syloti  
  Labial Dental Retroflex/
Velar Glottal
Nasal m Template:Script/Syloti n Template:Script/Syloti     ŋ Template:Script/Syloti  
voiceless unaspirated Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti ʈ Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti  
voiced unaspirated b Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti ɖ Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti ɡ Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti  
Fricative voiceless fricative ɸ~f Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti s Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti   ʃ Template:Script/Syloti x Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti  
voiced fricative   z Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti       ɦ Template:Script/Syloti
Flap   ɾ Template:Script/Syloti      
Approximant l Template:Script/Syloti    


Sylheti is tonal.[100][101][102] This is rare among the Indo-Aryan languages, but not unheard of, e.g., in Punjabi, Dogri, Chittagonian, Gawri (Kalam Kohistani), Torwali, some Eastern Bengali varieties, etc.[103][104] There are two types of tonal contrasts in Sylheti: the emergence of high tone in the vowels following the loss of aspiration, and a level tone elsewhere.

Word Transliteration Tone Meaning
Template:Script/Syloti at level 'intestine'
Template:Script/Syloti át high 'hand'
Template:Script/Syloti xali level 'ink'
Template:Script/Syloti xáli high 'empty'
Template:Script/Syloti guṛa level 'powder'
Template:Script/Syloti gúṛa high 'horse'
Template:Script/Syloti suri level 'theft'
Template:Script/Syloti súri high 'knife'
Template:Script/Syloti zal level 'net, web'
Template:Script/Syloti zál high 'spicy/pungent'
Template:Script/Syloti ṭik level 'tick'
Template:Script/Syloti ṭík high 'correct'
Template:Script/Syloti ḍal level 'branch'
Template:Script/Syloti ḍál high 'shield'
Template:Script/Syloti tal level 'palmyra, rhythm'
Template:Script/Syloti tál high 'plate'
Template:Script/Syloti dan level 'donation'
Template:Script/Syloti dán high 'paddy'
Template:Script/Syloti ful level 'bridge'
Template:Script/Syloti fúl high 'flower'
Template:Script/Syloti bala level 'bangle'
Template:Script/Syloti bála high 'good, welfare'
Template:Script/Syloti bat level 'arthritis'
Template:Script/Syloti bát high 'rice'

A more recent study shows that there is a three-way tonal system in Sylheti words with more than two syllables (the high tone is replaced by low tone according to this analysis).[99]

No. Word IPA Tone Meaning Word IPA Tone Meaning Word IPA Tone Meaning
1 Template:Script/Syloti ɸáʈá High 'goat' Template:Script/Syloti ɸàʈà Low 'torn' Template:Script/Syloti ɸāʈā Mid 'grindstone'
2 Template:Script/Syloti kúʈá High 'room' Template:Script/Syloti kùʈà Low 'taunting' Template:Script/Syloti kūʈā Mid 'stick'
3 Template:Script/Syloti ɸáxá High 'fan' Template:Script/Syloti ɸàxà Low 'empty' Template:Script/Syloti ɸāxā Mid 'ripe'

It is considered that these tones arose when aspirated consonants lost their aspiration. Sylheti continues to have a long history of coexisting with tonal Tibeto-Burman languages including various dialects of Kokborok such as Reang. Even though there is no clear evidence of direct borrowing of lexical items from those languages into Sylheti, there is still a possibility that the emergence of Sylheti tones is due to external influence, as the indigenous speakers of Tibeto-Burman languages by and large use Sylheti as a common medium for interaction.


Sylheti grammar is the study of the morphology and syntax of Sylheti.[105]



When a definite article such as -gu/ţa (singular) or -guin/ţin (plural) is added, nouns are also inflected for number. Below are two tables which show the inflections of an animate noun, Template:Script/Syloti satrô ('student'), and an inanimate noun, Template:Script/Syloti zuta ('shoe').

Noun Inflection
Animate Inanimate
Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear
Objective Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear
Genitive Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear
Locative Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear

All of the inflected nouns above have an indefinite article preceding their case markers. There are some basic rules to keep in mind about the cases, apart from the "default" nominative.

For the genitive case, the ending may change, though never with a definite article attached. A noun (without an article) which ends in a consonant or the inherent vowel, Template:Script/Syloti ô, is inflected by adding Template:Script/Syloti -ôr to the end of the word (and deleting the inherent vowel if applicable). An example of this would be the genitive of Template:Script/Syloti gus 'meat' being Template:Script/Syloti gustôr 'of meat' or '(the) meat's'. A noun which ends in any vowel apart from the inherent vowel will just have a Template:Script/Syloti -r following it, as in the genitive of Template:Script/Syloti fua being Template:Script/Syloti fuar '(the) boy's'. The genitive ending is also applied to verbs (in their verbal noun forms), which is most commonly seen when using postpositions (for example: Template:Script/Syloti hikar lagi, 'for learning').

For the locative case, the marker also changes in a similar fashion to the genitive case, with consonants and the inherent vowel having their own ending, Template:Script/Syloti -ô, and all other vowels having another ending, Template:Script/Syloti -t. For example, Template:Script/Syloti silôţô 'in Sylhet', Template:Script/Syloti dáxát 'in Dhaka', etc.

Measure words[edit]

When counted, nouns must also be accompanied by the appropriate measure word. The noun's measure word (MW) must be used in between the numeral and the noun. Most nouns take the generic measure word gu/ţa/xán, although there are many more specific measure words, such as zôn, which is only used to count humans.

Measure Words
Sylheti Literal translation Meaning
Nôy-ţa ghoŗi Nine-MW clock Nine clocks
Xôy-ţa balish How many-MW pillow How many pillows
Ônex-zôn manush Many-MW person Many people
Sair-fas-zôn mashţôr Four-five-MW teacher Four or five teachers

Measuring nouns in Sylheti without their corresponding measure words (e.g. aţ mekur instead of aţ-ţa mekur 'eight cats') would typically be considered ungrammatical. However, omitting the noun and preserving the measure word is grammatical and not uncommon to hear. For example, Xáli êx-zôn táxbô. (lit. 'Only one-MW will remain.') would be understood to mean 'Only one person will remain.', since zôn can only be used to count humans.


Personal pronouns[edit]

Sylheti personal pronouns are somewhat similar to English pronouns, having different words for first, second, and third person, and also for singular and plural (unlike for verbs, below). Sylheti pronouns, like their English counterparts, do differentiate for gender. Sylheti has different third-person pronouns for proximity. The first are used for someone who is nearby, and the second are for those who are a little further away. The third are usually for those who are not present. In addition, each of the second- and third-person pronouns have different forms for the familiar and polite forms; the second person also has a "very familiar" form (sometimes called "despective"). It may be noted that the "very familiar" form is used when addressing particularly close friends or family as well as for addressing subordinates, or in abusive language. In the following tables, the abbreviations used are as follows: VF=very familiar, F=familiar, and P=polite (honor); H=here, T=there, E=elsewhere (proximity), and I=inanimate.

The nominative case is used for pronouns that are the subject of the sentence, such as "I already did that" or "Will you please stop making that noise?"

Personal pronouns (nominative case)
Subject Proximity Honor Singular Plural
1 VF Template:Script/Syloti (mui, I) Template:Script/Syloti (môra, we)
F Template:Script/Syloti (ami, I) Template:Script/Syloti (amra, we)
2 VF Template:Script/Syloti (tui, you) Template:Script/Syloti (tura, you)
F Template:Script/Syloti (tumi, you) Template:Script/Syloti/Template:Script/Syloti (tumra/tumi-tain, you)
P Template:Script/Syloti (afne, you) Template:Script/Syloti (afnara, you)
3 H F Template:Script/Syloti (e, he), Template:Script/Syloti (ei, she) / Template:Script/Syloti (igu, he/she) Template:Script/Syloti (era, they)
P Template:Script/Syloti (ein, he/she) Template:Script/Syloti/Template:Script/Syloti (era/ein-tain, they)
I Template:Script/Syloti/Template:Script/Syloti (igu/ikţa, it) Template:Script/Syloti (iguin, these)
T F Template:Script/Syloti (he, he), Template:Script/Syloti (tai, she) Template:Script/Syloti (tara, they)
P Template:Script/Syloti (tain, he/she)

Template:Script/Syloti/Template:Script/Syloti (tara/tain-tain, they)

I Template:Script/Syloti/Template:Script/Syloti (ôgu/ôxţa, it) Template:Script/Syloti (ôguin, those)
E F Template:Script/Syloti (he, he), Template:Script/Syloti (tai, she) Template:Script/Syloti (tara, they)
P Template:Script/Syloti (tain, he/she)

Template:Script/Syloti/Template:Script/Syloti (tara/tain-tain, they)

I Template:Script/Syloti/Template:Script/Syloti (hôgu/hôxţa, it) Template:Script/Syloti (hôguin, those)

The objective case is used for pronouns serving as the direct or indirect objects, such as "I told him to wash the dishes" or "The teacher gave me the homework assignment". The inanimate pronouns remain the same in the objective case.

Personal pronouns (objective case)
Subject Proximity Honor Singular Plural
1 VF Template:Script/Syloti (môre, me) Template:Script/Syloti (môrare, us)
F Template:Script/Syloti (amare, me) Template:Script/Syloti (amrare, us)
2 VF Template:Script/Syloti (tôre, you) Template:Script/Syloti (turare, you)
F Template:Script/Syloti (tumare, you) Template:Script/Syloti (tumrare/tuma-tanre, you)
P Template:Script/Syloti (afnare, you) Template:Script/Syloti (afnarare/afnaintôre, you)
3 H F Template:Script/Syloti (ere, him), Template:Script/Syloti (eire, her) Template:Script/Syloti (erare, them)
P Template:Script/Syloti (enre, him/her) Template:Script/Syloti (erare/ein-tanre, them)
I Template:Script/Syloti (igure/ikţare, it) Template:Script/Syloti (iguintôre, these)
T F Template:Script/Syloti (ere, him), Template:Script/Syloti (eire, her) Template:Script/Syloti (erare, them)
P Template:Script/Syloti (enre, him/her) Template:Script/Syloti (erare/ein-tanre, them)
I Template:Script/Syloti (ôgure/ôxţare, it) Template:Script/Syloti (ôguintôre, those)
E F Template:Script/Syloti (here/tare, him), Template:Script/Syloti (taire, her) Template:Script/Syloti (tarare, them)
P Template:Script/Syloti (tanre, him/her) Template:Script/Syloti (tain-tanre, them)
I Template:Script/Syloti (hôgu/hôxţa, it) Template:Script/Syloti (hôguin, those)

The possessive case is used to show possession, such as "Where is your coat?" or "Let's go to our house". In addition, sentences such as "I have a book" (Template:Script/Syloti) or "I need money" (Template:Script/Syloti) also use the possessive (the literal translation of the Bengali versions of these sentences would be "There is my book" and "There is my need for money" respectively).

Personal pronouns (possessive case)
Subject Proximity Honor Singular Plural
1 VF Template:Script/Syloti (môr, my) Template:Script/Syloti (môrar, our)
F Template:Script/Syloti (amar, my) Template:Script/Syloti (amrar, our)
2 VF Template:Script/Syloti (tôr, your) Template:Script/Syloti (turar, your)
F Template:Script/Syloti (tomar, your) Template:Script/Syloti (tumar/tuma-tan/tuma-tanôr, your)
P Template:Script/Syloti (afnar, your) Template:Script/Syloti (afnarar/afnaintôr, your)
3 H F Template:Script/Syloti (er, his), Template:Script/Syloti (eir, her) Template:Script/Syloti (erar, their)
P Template:Script/Syloti (en/einôr, his/her) Template:Script/Syloti (ein-tanôr, their)
I Template:Script/Syloti (igur/ikţar, its) Template:Script/Syloti (iguintôr, of these)
T F Template:Script/Syloti (er, his), Template:Script/Syloti (eir, her) Template:Script/Syloti (erar, their)
P Template:Script/Syloti (en/einôr, his/her) Template:Script/Syloti (ein-tanôr, their)
I Template:Script/Syloti (ogur/oxţar, its) Template:Script/Syloti (oguintôr, of those)
E F Template:Script/Syloti (tar, his/her) Template:Script/Syloti (tader, their)
P Template:Script/Syloti (tan/tanôr, his/her) Template:Script/Syloti (tain-tanôr, their)
I Template:Script/Syloti (hôgur/hôxţar, its) Template:Script/Syloti (hôguintôr, of those)

Indefinite and negative pronouns[edit]

Bengali has no negative pronouns (such as no one, nothing, none). These are typically represented by adding the negative particle Template:Script/Syloti (nae) to indefinite pronouns, which are themselves derived from their corresponding question words. Common indefinite pronouns are listed below.

Question word Indefinite pronoun Indefinite negative pronoun
Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear
Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear
Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear
Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear
Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear Template:Fs interlinear

Relative pronouns[edit]

The relative pronoun Template:Script/Syloti (ze) and its different variants, as shown below, are commonly employed in complex sentences. The relative pronouns for animate objects change for number and honour, but those for inanimate objects stay the same.

Animate relative pronouns
Nominative (who) Genitive (whose) Objective (to whom)
Singular (VF/F) Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti
Singular (P) Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti
Plural (VF/F) Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti
Plural (P) Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti
Inanimate relative pronouns
Nominative/Objective (which) Genitive (of which) Locative (in which)
Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti


Adjectives do not inflect for case, gender, or number in Sylheti and are placed before the noun they modify.

Some adjectives form their opposites by prefixing Template:Script/Syloti ô- (before consonants) or Template:Script/Syloti ôn- (before vowels), or sometimes Template:Script/Syloti ni-; for example, the opposite of Template:Script/Syloti (shômbôb, 'possible') is Template:Script/Syloti (ôshômbôb, 'impossible'), the opposite of Template:Script/Syloti (matra, 'speaker') is Template:Script/Syloti (nimatra, 'quite').

Demonstrative adjectives – 'this' and 'that' – correspond to Template:Script/Syloti i and Template:Script/Syloti ou respectively, with the definite article attached to the following noun. Thus, 'this book' would translate to Template:Script/Syloti i boi-ṭa, while 'those books' would translate to Template:Script/Syloti ou boi-ṭa.

Comparatives and superlatives[edit]

Sylheti adjectives form their comparative forms with Template:Script/Syloti (arô, 'more'), and their superlative forms with Template:Script/Syloti (shôb táki, 'than all'). Comparisons are formed by using genitive form of the object of comparison, followed by the postposition Template:Script/Syloti (táki/tóne/se, 'than') or the postposition Template:Script/Syloti (laxan, 'like') and then by Template:Script/Syloti (arô, 'more') or Template:Script/Syloti (xôm, 'less'). The word for more is optional, but the word for less is required, so in its absence more is inferred. Adjectives can be additionally modified by using Template:Script/Syloti (bakka/bout/ônex, 'much') or Template:Script/Syloti (ônex beshi, 'much more'), which are especially useful for comparing quantities.

Sylheti Literal Translation Meaning
Template:Script/Syloti Karim of Rahim than tall Karim is taller than Rahim
Template:Script/Syloti Karim of Rahim than more tall Karim is taller than Rahim
Template:Script/Syloti Karim of Rahim than less tall Karim is shorter than Rahim
Template:Script/Syloti Karim of Rahim like tall Karim is as tall as Rahim
Template:Script/Syloti Karim of Rahim than much tall Karim is much taller than Rahim


Sylheti verbs are highly inflected and are regular with only few exceptions. They consist of a stem and an ending; they are traditionally listed in Sylheti dictionaries in their "verbal noun" form, which is usually formed by adding -a to the stem: for instance, Template:Script/Syloti (xôra, to do) is formed from the stem Template:Script/Syloti. The stem can end in either a vowel or a consonant. Verbs are conjugated for tense and person by changing the endings, which are largely the same for all verbs. However, the stem vowel can often change as part of the phenomenon known as vowel harmony, whereby one vowel can be influenced by other vowels in the word to sound more harmonious. An example would be the verb to write, with stem lex-: Template:Script/Syloti (lexô, 'you all write') but also Template:Script/Syloti (lekí, 'we write'). If verbs are classified by stem vowel and if the stem ends in a consonant or vowel, there are nine basic classes in which most verbs can be placed; all verbs in a class will follow the same pattern. A prototype verb from each of these classes will be used to demonstrate conjugation for that class; bold will be used to indicate mutation of the stem vowel. Additionally, there are irregular verbs, such as Template:Script/Syloti (zaoa, to go) that change the first consonant in their stem in certain conjugations.

Like many other Indo-Aryan languages (such as Standard Bengali or Assamese), nouns can be turned into verbs by combining them with select auxiliary verbs. In Sylheti, the most common such auxiliary verb is Template:Script/Syloti (xôra, 'to do'); thus, verbs such as joke are formed by combining the noun form of joke (Template:Script/Syloti) with to do (Template:Script/Syloti) to create Template:Script/Syloti. When conjugating such verbs the noun part of such a verb is left untouched, so in the previous example, only Template:Script/Syloti would be inflected or conjugated (e.g.: I will make a joke becomes Template:Script/Syloti; see more on tenses below). Other auxiliary verbs include Template:Script/Syloti and Template:Script/Syloti, but the verb Template:Script/Syloti enjoys significant usage because it can be combined with foreign verbs to form a native version of the verb, even if a direct translation exists. Most often this is done with English verbs: for example, to vote is often referred to as Template:Script/Syloti (búţ deoa, where búţ is the transliteration of vote).


Sylheti is considered a zero copula language in some aspects.

  • In the simple present tense there is no verb connecting the subject to the predicative (the "zero verb" copula). There is one notable exception, however, which is when the predicative takes on the existential, locative, or possessive aspects; for such purposes, the incomplete verb Template:Script/Syloti (as) is used, which is conjugated according to the rules given below.
  • In the past tense, the incomplete verb Template:Script/Syloti is always used as the copula, regardless of the nature of the predicative.
  • For the future tense and non-finite structures, the copula is supplied by the verb Template:Script/Syloti (ówa), with the only exception being the possessive predicative for which the verb Template:Script/Syloti (táxa, 'to remain') is utilised.

The following table demonstrates the rules above with some examples.

English Sylheti Notes
I am happy Template:Script/Syloti No verb used to denote the copula
There is time Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti used to connect to an existential predicative
I am at home Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti used to connect to a locative predicative
We were happy Template:Script/Syloti In the past tense, Template:Script/Syloti is used as the copula
I will be at home Template:Script/Syloti In the future tense, Template:Script/Syloti is used as the copula
He will have a car Template:Script/Syloti In the future tense, Template:Script/Syloti is used to connect to a possessive predicative


There are three sentence negators employed in Sylheti:

Negating verbs
English Sylheti Notes
I am not happy Template:Script/Syloti Incomplete negator Template:Script/Syloti conjugated for first-person
We don't have a car Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti used to negate Template:Script/Syloti, which is completely replaced
I don't work Template:Script/Syloti Template:Script/Syloti is used to negate all other finite verbs
I didn't help him Template:Script/Syloti


Verbs are inflected for person and honour, but not for number. There are five forms: first person, second person (very familiar), second person (familiar), third person (familiar), and second/third person (polite). The same sample subject pronouns will be used for all the example conjugation paradigms: mui (Template:Script/Syloti), ami (Template:Script/Syloti), tui (Template:Script/Syloti), tumi (Template:Script/Syloti), he (Template:Script/Syloti), tai (Template:Script/Syloti) and afne (Template:Script/Syloti). These have the following plurals respectively: môra (Template:Script/Syloti), amra (Template:Script/Syloti), tura (Template:Script/Syloti), tumra (Template:Script/Syloti)/tumi-tain (Template:Script/Syloti), tara (Template:Script/Syloti)/tain-tain (Template:Script/Syloti) and afnara (Template:Script/Syloti).


A notable characteristic of spoken Sylheti is the correspondence of the /x/ and /ɦ/, pronounced as a voiceless velar fricative to the /k/ or /kʰ/ of Bengali and voiceless glottal fricative to the /x/ of Assamese respectively.

Standard Bengali Typical East Bengali Assamese Sylheti IPA Meaning
ঢাহা, ঢাকা
Ḍáha, Dáka
/ɖáxa/ Dhaka
একজন মানুষ
Êkjôn manush
একজন মানুষ
Êkzôn manush
এজন লোক
Ezôn lük
Êxzôn manush
/exzɔn manuʃ/ A person
একজন লোক, একজন পুরুষ
Êkjon lok, Êkjôn purush
একজন লুক, একজন বেডা
Êkzôn luk, Êkzôn bêḍa
এজন মানুহ
Ezôn manuh
Êxzôn beṭa
/exʈa beʈa/ A man
/kiɔ́ɾ/ Informal of Whereof
কন্যা, ঝি, মেয়ে, পুত্রী
Kônna, Jhi, Meye, Putri
কইন্যা, ঝি, মাইয়া, পুড়ি
Kôinna, Zí, Maiya, Puri
জী, ছোৱালী
Zi, Süali
Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti
Xôinna, Zí, Furi
/xɔinna/, /zí/, /ɸuɽi/ Daughter
মাইনষের জাত
Mainsher zat
মানৱজাতি, মানুহৰ জাতি
Manôwzati, Manuhôr zati
Mainshôr zat
/mainʃɔɾ zat̪/ Mankind
অসমীয়া, অহমীয়া
Ôshômiya, Ôhômiya
/ɔɦɔmia/ Assamese people
/aŋguil/ Finger, toe
আংটি, আঙ্গুইট
Angti, Anguiṭ
/aŋʈi/ Ring
জুইত পোৰা, জুইত সেকা
Zuit püra, Zuit xeka
/aguinfuɽa/ Baked, grilled
পাখি, চিড়িয়া
Pakhi, Chiriya
পাখি, পাহি, পাইখ্যা
Pakhi, Pahi, Paikhya
চৰাই, পখী
Sorai, Pokhi
Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti
Fakya, Forinda
/ɸakia/, /ɸɔrinda/ Bird
পাছত, পৰত
Pasot, Porot
Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti
/ɸɔɾe/, /bad̪e/ Later
সকল, সমস্ত, সব, তামাম
Shôkôl, Shômôsto, Shômôsto, Shôb, Tamam
হগল, হক্কল, সমস্ত, সব, তামাম, ব্যাক
Hôgôl, Hôkkôl, Shômôsto, Shôb, Tamam, Bêk
সকলো, সৱ, চব
Xôkôlü; Xôb; Sôb
Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti
Hôxôl, Hôkkôl, Shôb, Tamam
/ɦɔxɔl/, /ɦɔkkɔl/, /ʃɔb/ All
পুরা, গোটা, আস্ত
Pura, Goṭa, Astô
পুরা, গুটা/গোডা, আস্তা

Pura, Guta/Goda, Asta

Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti
Asta, Fura, Guṭa
/ast̪a/, /ɸura/, /guʈa/ Whole
সাত বিল
Shat bil
সাত বিল, হাত বিল
Shat bil, Hat bil
সাত বিল
Xat bil
Hat bil
/ɦat̪ bil/ Seven wetlands
সাতকড়া, হাতকড়া
Shatkôra, Hatkôra
/ɦat̪xɔɽa/ Citrus macroptera fruit
সিলডি, সিলেইট্যা
Silôḍi, Sileiṭṭa
/silɔʈi/ Sylheti
ভালো করে খান।
Bhalo kôre khan.
ভালা/ভালো কইরা খান।
Bála/Bálo kôira khan.
ভালকৈ খাওক।
Bhalkoi khaük.
Bala xôri/tike xaukka.
/bála xɔɾi xaukka/, /bála ʈike xaukka/ Bon appetit
স্ত্রী, পত্নী, বউ
Stri, Pôtni, Bôu
স্ত্রী, ঘৈণী, পত্নী
Stri, Ghôini, Pôtni
/bɔu/ Wife
স্বামী, বর, জামাই
Shami, Bôr, Jamai
স্বামী, হাই, হাইন, জামাই
Shami, Hai, Hain, Zamai
গিৰিয়েক, পতি, স্বামী
Giriyêk, Pôti, Swami
Hai, Zamai
/zamai/ Husband
/damand/ Son-in-law
হউর, হশুর
Hôur, Hôshur
/ɦɔúɾ/ Father-in-law
হউরী, হাশুরি, হাউরি
Hôuri, Hashuri, Hauri
/ɦɔɽi/ Mother-in-law
/ɦala/ Brother-in-law
/ɦali/ Sister-in-law
শেখা, শিখা
Shekha, Shikha
শিখা, শিহা, হিকা, হিহা, হিয়া
Shikha, Shiha, Hika, Hiha, Hiya
/ɦika/ Learn
হইরা, সইষ্যা, হউরা
Hôira, Shôishya, Hôura
Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti
Hôirô, Lai
/ɦɔiɾɔ/, /lai/ Mustard
শেয়াল, শিয়াল
Sheyal, Shiyal
শিয়াল, হিয়াল
Shiyal, Hial
/ɦial/ Fox, Jackal
বিলাই, মেহুর
Bilai, Mehur
মেকুৰী, বিৰালী
Mekuri, Birali
Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti
Mekur, Bilai
/mekuɾ/, /bilai/ Cat
হুটকি, হুনি
Huṭki, Huni
শুকটি, শুকান মাছ
Xukôti, Xukan mas
Template:Script/Syloti, Template:Script/Syloti
Huṭki, Hukôin
/ɦuʈki/, /ɦukoin/ Sundried Fish
আপনার নাম কী?
Apnar nam ki?
আপনের নাম কী(তা)?
Apner nam ki(ta)?
আপোনাৰ নাম কি?
Apünar nam ki?
Afnar nam kita?
/aɸnaɾ nam kit̪a/ What's your name?
ডাক্তার আসার আগেই রোগী মারা/মরে গেল।
Daktar ashar agei rogi mara/more gelô
ডাক্তর আহার/আওয়ার আগেই রোগী মইরা গেল।
Daktôr ahar/awar agei rügi môira gelô
ডাক্তৰ অহাৰ আগতেই ৰোগী মৰি গ’ল।

Daktor ohar agotei rügi mori gól

Daxtôr awar ageu bemari môri gelô.
/ɖaxt̪ɔɾ awaɾ age bemaɾi mɔɾi gelo/ Before the doctor came, the patient had died.
বহু দিন দেখিনি।
Bôhú din dekhini.
বহুত দিন দেহিনাই/দেখছি না।
Bôhút din dehinai/dekhsi na.
বহুদিন দেখা নাই।
Bôhudin dekha nai.
Bakka din dexsi na.
/bakka d̪in d̪exsi na/ Long time, no see.
আপনি ভালো আছেন নাকি?
Apni bhalo achhen naki?
আপনে ভালা আছইন/আছেন নি?, আপনে ভালো আছেন নিকি?
Apne bála asôin/asen ni?, Apne bálo asen niki?
আপুনি ভালে আছেনে?
Apuni bhale asênê?
Afne bala asôin ni?
/aɸne bála asoin ni/ Are you fine/good?
আমি তোমাকে ভালোবাসি।
Ami tomake bhalobashi.
আমি তুমারে ভালোবাসি।
Ami tumare bálobashi.
মই তোমাক ভাল পাওঁ।
Moi tümak bhal paü.
Ami tumare bala fai.
/ami t̪umare bála ɸai/ I love you.
আমি ভুলে গেছি/গিয়েছি।
Ami bhule gechhi/giyechhi.
আমি ভুইলা/ভুইল্যা গেছি, আমি পাউরি গেছি।
Ami búila/búilla gesi, Ami pauri gesi.
মই পাহৰি গৈছোঁ।
Môi pahôri goisü.
Ami faûri lisi.
/ami ɸaʊɾi lisi/ I have forgotten.
আলু গোস্তের/মাংসের ঝোলটা আমার ভালো লাগল।
Alu goster/mangsher jholṭa amar bhalo laglo.
আলু গুস্তের/মাংসের ঝুলটা/ছালনডা আমার ভালা লাগলো।
Alu guster/mangsher jhulta/salônḍa amar bála laglo.
‍মাংসৰ তৰকাৰীখন মোৰ খুব ভাল লাগিছে।
Mangxôr tôrkarikhôn mür khub bhal lagise.
Alu gustôr salônṭa amar bala laglo.
/gust̪ɔɾ salɔnʈa amaɾ bakka bála laglo/ I liked the potato meat curry.
শিলচর কোনদিকে?
Shilcôr kondike?
শিলচর কোনদিকে/কোন ফাইল/কোন মুহি?
Shilcôr kündike/kün phail/kün muhi?
শিলচৰ কোনফালে?
Xilsôr künphale?
Hilcôr kunbae/kunbaidi/kunmuka?
/ɦil͡tʃɔɾ kunbae, kunbaed̪i, kunmuká/ Which way to Silchar?
এটা কী?

Eṭa ki?

এইটা/এইডা কী(তা)?

Eita/(E)iḍa ki(ta)?

এইটো কি?

Eitü ki?

Igu/Ikṭa/Iṭa kita?
/igu, ikʈa, iʈa kit̪a/ What is this?
সেটা কী?

Sheṭa ki?

হেইটা/হেইডা কী(তা)?

Heita/H(e)iḍa ki(ta)?

সেইটো কি?

Xeitü ki?

Higu/Hikṭa/Hiṭa kita?
/ɦigu, ɦikʈa, ɦiʈa kit̪a/ What is that?
/ɦeʃ/ End, finish

Comparison with Standard Bengali[edit]

A phrase in:

  • Standard Bengali: এক দেশের গালি আরেক দেশের বুলি æk desher gali arek desher buli.
  • Sylheti: Template:Script/Syloti/এখ দেশর গাইল, আরখ দেশর মাত ex deshôr gail arôx deshôr mát.

which literally means 'one land's obscenity is another land's language', and can be roughly translated to convey that a similar word in one language can mean something very different in another.

Another example:

  • মেঘ megh in Standard Bengali means 'cloud'.
  • মেঘ mêg(h) in Eastern Bengali means 'rain' or 'cloud'.
  • Template:Script/Syloti/মেঘ megh in Sylheti means 'rain'.
  • In Pali, मेघ megha means both 'rain' and 'cloud'.

See also[edit]


  1. Niharranjan Ray (January 1980). Bangalir Itihas (in Bengali). Vol. 2.
  2. Shahela Hamid (2011). Language Use and Identity: The Sylheti Bangladeshis in Leeds. pp.Preface. Verlag Peter Lang. Retrieved on 4 December 2020.
  3. (Simard, Dopierala & Thaut 2020:5)
  4. Tanweer Fazal (2012). Minority Nationalisms in South Asia: 'We are with culture but without geography': locating Sylheti identity in contemporary India, Nabanipa Bhattacharjee. pp.59–67.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named e25
  6. "Sylheti is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by about 11 million people in India and Bangladesh (Hammarström et al., 2017). Sylheti is an Eastern Indo-Aryan language, primarily spoken in the Sylhet division of Bangladesh, and in Barak valley, in Assam of the India and in the northern parts of the state of Tripura in India."(Mahanta & Gope 2018:81)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Sylheti at Ethnologue (22nd ed., 2019)
  8. "Along the linguistic continuum of eastern Indic languages, Sylheti occupies an ambiguous position, where it is considered a distinct language by many and also as a dialect of Bengali or Bangla by some others." (Mahanta & Gope 2018:81)
  9. "At the geographical extremes, Chittagonian, Sylheti, Mal Paharia, and Rohingya are so unintelligible to speakers of other dialects that they are almost universally considered by linguists to be separate languages on their own." (Khan 2018)
  10. "In Bangladesh, Sylheti functions as a diglossic "Low" variety and Bengali, the official language of Bangladesh, as the "High" variety. Bengali is the language of official administration and education in Bangladesh, and Sylheti is normative in informal contexts in Sylhet." (Lawson & Sachdev 2004:50)
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Sylheti is often dismissed as ‘slang’ or as a corrupted version of Bengali, even by some of its own speakers, for whom it is not a language in its own right." (Simard, Dopierala & Thaut 2020:4)
  12. 12.0 12.1 "There is reported language shift in the Sylheti-speaking regions of Bangladesh and India, as well as in the diaspora with Bengali replacing Sylheti, as some parents do not speak Sylheti to their children, reducing the number of future Sylheti speakers." (Simard, Dopierala & Thaut 2020:5)
  13. "In the context of the UK, Sylheti has more vitality than Bangla on the basis of its demography." (Hamid 2005:243)
  14. Anne Kershen (2004). Strangers, Aliens and Asians: Huguenots, Jews and Bangladeshis in Spitalfields 1666-2000. pp.145. Routledge. Retrieved on 10 September 2020.
  15. "Sylhet Town, which is the headquarters of the District, being within six miles of the Jaintiapur Faiganaj lies within the area in which this dialect is spoken, and hence this form of speech is called Sylhettia by Europeans. For this reason, it is often wrongly said that the language of the whole Sylhet District is uniform, and the term Sylhettia is incorrectly applied to the dialect of the west of the District, as well as to that of the North-East. The term 'Sylhettia 'properly means the language of the town, and not of the District, of Sylhet." (Grierson 1903:221)
  16. "As already stated, the dialect spoken in Sylhet Town and in the North and North-East of the District is that which Europeans called Sylhettia. Sylheti speakers did not use this title. They called it Jaintiapuri, Purba Srihattiya, or Ujania. The latter means the language of the upper country.(Grierson 1903:224)
  17. William Farwley (2003). International Encyclopedia of Linguistics: 4-Volume Set. pp.483. Oxford University Press, USA. Retrieved on 9 September 2020.
  18. South Asian folklore: an encyclopedia : Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, By Peter J. Claus, Sarah Diamond, Margaret Ann Mills, Routledge, 2003, p. 203
  19. (Ludden 2003:5081)
  20. "copper plate inscriptions indicate that land around the Kushiara was more densely populated, because Kamarupa kings had granted large tracts of land to immigrant Brahmans and their supporting castes, to make this region part of Assam (Khanda Kamarupa)." (Ludden 2003:5081)
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  42. "Sylheti is a minoritised, politically unrecognised, and understudied Eastern Indo-Aryan language with approximately 11 million speakers worldwide, with high speaker concentrations in the Surma and Barak river basins in north-eastern Bangladesh and south Assam, India, and in several diasporic communities around the world (especially UK, USA, and Middle East)." (Simard, Dopierala & Thaut 2020:1)
  43. "It is not officially recognised in Bangladesh, where it is simply referred to as a dialect of Bengali by the government (Faquire 2012); it has, equally, no legal status in India." (Simard, Dopierala & Thaut 2020:4)
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  48. "The language spoken by the inhabitants of Eastern Sylhet is not intelligible to the natives of Central or Northern Bengal. It is, nevertheless, Bengali. There are some peculiarities of pronunciation which tend to render it unintelligible to strangers. The inflections also differ from those of regular Bengali, and in one or two instances assimilate to those of Assamese." (Grierson 1903:224)
  49. 49.0 49.1 49.2 "The Cachar version in p.234 may be taken as illustrating the typical Eastern Sylhet dialect also." George Grierson (1903). Language Survey of India – Vol. V Pt 1.
  50. "Dialects are independent of literary speech: as such East Bengali dialects, North Bengali dialects (with which Assamese is to be associated) and West Bengali dialects are not only independent of one another, but also they are not, as it is popularly believed in Bengal, derived from literary Bengali, the "sadhu-bhasha", which is a composite speech on an early West Bengali basis."(Chatterji 1926:108)
  51. Chatterji 1926, p. 138.
  52. "The Bengali dialects of the extreme east and south-east (Sylhet, Chittagong) are certainly more removed from Standard Bengali than is Assamese." (Chatterji 1926:8)
  53. 53.0 53.1 "... because of significant morpho-phonological differences and a lack of mutual intelligibility, a strong argument can be made in favour of Sylheti claiming the status of a language in its own right." (Sen 2020:43)
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  55. (Rasinger 2007:26, 27): "The linguistic classification of Sylheti is problematic and heavily debated. Chalmers reports that: Sylheti is generally defined as a dialect of Bengali, although attempts have been made to have it recognised as a language in its own right (Chalmers, 1996:4)"
  56. (Chung 2019:99)
  57. "Bengalis interviewed in the course of this study reported that the differences between Standard Bengali and Sylheti are relatively small...We have to consider though that these statements were made by people who originate from Sylhet and who speak both the local vernacular Sylheti and Standard Bengali." (Rasinger 2007:26–27)
  58. "Chalmers and Miah (1996) describe Sylheti as a distinct language that is 'mutually unintelligible to a Standard Bengali speaker' (p. 6), but anecdotal evidence from members of the London-Bengali community suggests that the differences are relatively small (Rasinger, 2007)" (McCarthy, Evans & Mahon 2013:346)
  59. "Intelligibility of Standard Bengali by Sylhetis, the geographically clearly clearly defined use of Sylheti and its usage by a predominantly rural population indicate that Sylhati may indeed be a dialect of Bengali." (Rasinger 2007:27)
  60. "The claim of mutual intelligibility by some speakers of both Sylheti and Bengali may be more an effect of the speakers’ exposure to both languages; speakers of Sylheti who have never learned Bengali often report that they do not understand it to any functional degree." (Simard, Dopierala & Thaut 2020:5)
  61. "[T]he academic consensus on mutual intelligibility between Sylheti and Bengali ranges from ‘unintelligible’ to ‘hardly intelligible’ (Chalmers 1996)." (Simard, Dopierala & Thaut 2020:4–5)
  62. "The papers presented in this volume highlight some of the striking structural differences between Sylheti and standard Bengali, in phonetics and phonology, lexicon, and grammatical structure, and challenge the view that Sylheti is merely a dialectal variation of Bengali." (Simard, Dopierala & Thaut 2020:8)
  63. "Considering the unique linguistic properties such as phoneme inventory, allophony, and inflectional morphology in particular and lexicon in general, Sylheti is often regarded as a separate language (Grierson 1928, Chatterjee 1939, Gordon 2005).(Gope & Mahanta 2014:10)
  64. "One of the properties that distinguish Sylheti from SCB or other regional varieties is the significant application of obstruent weakening involving de-aspiration and spirantization." (Gope & Mahanta 2014:10)
  65. "Consequently, the consonant inventory (especially the obstruents), of Sylheti exhibit a major reduction and restructuring compared to that of (Standard Colloquial Bengali)." (Gope & Mahanta 2014:10)
  66. "Also noteworthy is the development of tones due to loss of the breathiness and aspiration contrast." (Mahanta & Gope 2018:81)
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