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Spread of the Bengali Language

Map No.

112

The name Bengali (or Bangla) is derived from the area of Bengal, which is made up of what is now Bangladesh, and also West Bengal in India. It is believed to have evolved from the Sanskrit, Pali, and Prakrit languages, becoming a distinct language around 1000 CE. There are around 208 million speakers, in at least 11 territories.

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Technical Notes

Territory size shows the proportion of all people who speak Bengali as a first language that live in that territory. The map removes the countries where Bengali is dominant. This map therefore only shows 0.3% of all speakers of Bengali. The territories omitted are India and Bangladesh.

Definition
The maps in the 2005 language data series are made from data on the number of people speaking a language as their first-language, that is the language they would use at home.

Data sources
This map uses data several sources, the main one being Ethnologue (15th Edition, 2005). Estimating the number of speakers of a language is fraught with difficulty on several levels (last accessed January 2009). We aim to map as complete data as possible and therefore estimate data for missing values. The language numbers we use and publish are rough estimates, and should not be taken as definitive. In some cases, missing data for very small territories is not used in the cartogram and that area is therefore omitted in the map.

All modification to the original data source are noted in our data sheets. Data for this map will soon be available as a download.

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