8 Best Books to Learn Bengali for Beginners and Beyond

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Books are a great way to start learning a new language. Luckily, there are a lot out there that teach Bengali!

Bengali is home to 229 million native speakers and is the official language of Bangladesh. In addition, it is commonly used in West Bengal, Tripura, and the Barak Valley region of Assam, India, making it rather versatile as you travel!

Bengali language and culture concept

Should you wish to build your knowledge and test your skills in this language, check out these eight amazing books to learn Bengali.

1. Learning Bengali Alphabet for English Speakers

Learning Bengali Alphabet for English speakers: Teach yourself Bengali (Bangla) alphabet
  • Karim, Isaul (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 100 Pages – 09/27/2017 (Publication Date) – CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)

Before getting started, we recommend that you study the Bengali alphabet first. Fortunately, Learning Bengali Alphabet for English Speakers can help with that!

Inside this book, you will find detailed readings and exercises that will teach you how to read, write, and even pronounce Bengali letters. Each section comes with English phonics, visual guides, and handwriting aids (such as directional arrows and dots) to give you the proper assistance.

All in all, this textbook works well for absolute beginners!

Key features:

  • Beginner’s introduction to the Bengali alphabet
  • Teaches reading, writing, and pronunciation skills (with English phonics)
  • Includes quizzes and letter-formation guides

2. Bengali Alphabet Writing Practice Book

Bengali Alphabet Writing Practice Book: letter learning and handwriting practice workbook For kids
  • House, Neage ahanaf Publishing (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 100 Pages – 04/13/2020 (Publication Date) – Independently published (Publisher)

Now that you’ve studied the Bengali alphabet, you will probably want to polish your writing skills as well. Well, you’re in great luck because this workbook will do the trick!

The Bengali Alphabet Writing Practice Book is as good as it sounds. It presents easy tutorials on how to write each letter, including arrows that demonstrate stroke order and direction.

Although its target audience is kids, any reader can benefit from its simple yet engaging exercises. If anything, it’s never too late to pick up a new skill!

Key features:

  • Step-by-step guide to the Bengali writing system
  • Large pages for practice
  • Beginner-level activities on letter learning and handwriting

3. Colloquial Bengali

Colloquial Bengali (Colloquial Series (Book Only))
  • Nasrin, Mithun B. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages – 07/01/2015 (Publication Date) – Routledge (Publisher)

Should you want a more comprehensive guide, then look no further. Colloquial Bengali is filled with thorough chapters and stimulating exercises for learners of all levels.

This textbook contains extensive tutorials on reading, writing, and speaking Bengali, with downloadable MP3 audio files to boot. Practical and user-friendly, its lessons will equip you with the basic skills and competencies to deal with day-to-day interactions.

So, if you hope to learn conversational Bengali—that is, without the twists and turns of academic jargon—then this book is for you!

Key features:

  • Guide to modern-day Bengali
  • Tackles vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation
  • Has exercises (with a complete answer key,) a grammar summary, and bilingual glossaries

4. Complete Bengali

Complete Bengali Beginner to Intermediate Course: Learn to read, write, speak and understand a new language (Teach Yourself)
  • Radice, William (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 392 Pages – 08/27/2010 (Publication Date) – Teach Yourself (Publisher)

This textbook, without a doubt, will get you to concentrate on your studies. Complete Bengali contains lessons on vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation that will best prepare you for real-life conversations.

In the first section, you will study the Bengali script through various readings, dialogues, and exercises. That said, chapters after this will mostly be written in Bengali (accompanied by an English translation) so that you can test your comprehension skills.

Keep in mind that this book isn’t for casual learners. Rather, if you see yourself learning for the long term, consider purchasing this!

Key features:

  • Intensive guide to reading, writing, and dialogue
  • Integrates the Bengali script with book chapters
  • Comes with an MP3 CD for audio tutorials

5. Beginner’s Bengali (Bangla) with Online Audio

Beginner’s Bengali (Bangla) with Online Audio (Hippocrene Beginner’s)
  • Thompson, Hanne-Ruth (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages – 05/11/2021 (Publication Date) – Hippocrene Books (Publisher)

Say you want Bengali tutorials, exercises, glossaries, bilingual dictionaries, and MP3 audio packed in a single reference. Well, say no more!

Beginner’s Bengali presents a helpful guide to the language, as it builds your skills from the ground up. Its fourteen chapters, which include English translations, carry an impressive range of subjects from vocabulary to grammar, culture notes to useful appendices.

On top of that, the book discusses their intricate writing system and pronunciation early on as a prelude to your lessons!

Key features:

  • Fourteen chapters on reading, writing, and speaking Bengali
  • Complete with online audio files
  • Features exercises (with full answer key), appendices, and English-Bengali glossaries

6. Bengali (Bangla)-English/English-Bengali (Bangla) Dictionary & Phrasebook

Bengali (Bangla)-English/English-Bengali (Bangla) Dictionary & Phrasebook
  • Thompson, Hanne-Ruth (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 211 Pages – 01/01/2011 (Publication Date) – Hippocrene Books (Publisher)

A dictionary is a language learner’s best friend!

Whether you’re a student or a traveler, this Bengali Dictionary & Phrasebook will surely be of use. With 4,000 word entries and simple phonetics, this dictionary makes a decent add-on to your studies.

Furthermore, its phrasebook contains sections on introductions, travel, accommodations, and sightseeing, making it pretty functional.

Key features:

  • 4,000-word dictionary with phonetics
  • Phrasebook for study and travel
  • Extra sections on grammar and verb conjugation

7. Bengali: A Complete Course for Beginners

Bengali : A Complete Course for Beginners (Teach Yourself Series)(BOOK & 2 Cassettes)
  • Teach Yourself Publishing (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 11/30/1994 (Publication Date) – Teach Yourself (Publisher)

Bengali: A Complete Course for Beginners uses a unique approach to teaching the language. Apart from the academics, this textbook showcases Bengali literature, poetry, idioms, and other cultural information that might just come in handy.

Its vocabulary, grammar, and speech lessons are perfect for learners new and old. In fact, not only will it teach you how to pronounce certain words and phrases, but it will likewise provide you with in-depth explanations of their regional and religious variations.

Immersive, conversational, and well-articulated—this book is not one to miss!

Key features:

  • Four sections on writing, grammar, literature, and vocabulary
  • Cultural approach to learning
  • Includes English translations and a glossary

8. Lonely Planet Hindi, Urdu & Bengali Phrasebook & Dictionary

Lonely Planet Hindi, Urdu & Bengali Phrasebook & Dictionary 5
  • Ahmed, Shahara (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages – 09/20/2016 (Publication Date) – Lonely Planet (Publisher)

Of course, we can’t end this list without a stellar travel guide! Lonely Planet is well-known for its pocket-sized editions, but have you ever considered using this to study?

This phrasebook and dictionary compile the Hindi, Urdu, and Bengali languages into one user-friendly guide. Created for practical use, it arranges its words and phrases into five different categories: Basic, Practical, Social, Safe Travel, and Food.

With this, you will never get lost—whether you’re on the move or hitting the books!

Key features:

  • Two-way, 400-word dictionary
  • Phrasebook with survival phrases and a pronunciation guide
  • Best used as a supplementary reference


man studying with books

If you’re hoping to learn Bengali, these eight books can get you started right away. Simply pair these with a Bengali language app, and you’re practically set!

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