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British schools enlist Sylheti in their syllabi

  • Published at 08:55 pm June 22nd, 2017
  • Last updated at 02:00 pm July 12th, 2017

In addition to Bangla, some schools in Great Britain have included Sylheti on the list of students' native languages. Many British students from Sylheti families are unable to speak standard Bangla. These students have learnt Sylheti – the dialect that they know as Bangla – from their parents. Because of such a situation, some British schools have included it in their syllabi as a separate language besides Bangla. Farhad Hossain Tipu, a London-based expatriate, told the Bangla Tribune: "There are many Bangla-speaking Indians who prefer to speak the standard Bangla just like Bangladeshis. But there are many Bangladeshis who live here who only know English and Sylheti. Keeping that in mind, many schools have taken this step.” Many schools in parts of London, in addition to Redbridge, are going to take this step, he added. [caption id="attachment_70856" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Sylheti will be enlisted as one of the native languages in many British schools such as Redbridge Primary School in London Collected Sylheti will be enlisted as one of the native languages in many British schools such as Redbridge Primary School in London Collected[/caption] Dr Mominul Haque, who has been working on the Sylheti language and its Nagari script for many years, said: “This is an achievement for British Sylhetis.” The British-Bangladeshi MP Rushanara Ali also said: “This step will undoubtedly bring children closer to their native language.”

 A glance at the Sylheti Nagari script

According to researchers of the Nagari script, around 50-70 years ago, the script almost became extinct. Printing in the Nagari script began in 1860. It was also the heyday for literature written in the script in Sylhet. This trend continued till the mid-20th century. Around the same time, different printing presses from Calcutta, Silchar, Sylhet and Sunamganj published book titles in the Nagari script. Literature written in this script gained more popularity in Sylhet compared to literature in Bangla. Nagari was also used for writing legal documents and keeping accounts. WEB_Characteristics of Sylheti language_Edited_22.06.2017 The Sylheti Nagri script originated in the 14th century, followed by Arabic, Kaithi, Bangla and Devanagari. Around 200 books, legal documents and other useful texts were all written in this script. Literature in the Nagari script has shaped what we know as the Sylheti dialect today.