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Assamese-Odia-Bangla: The language trinity of the East!

When you speak three languages, it is like belonging to an extended family

Tume kenekua aasa?

Tume Kemon accho?

Tume kemiti acha?

The three almost identical sentences above, say the same thing in Assamese, Bengali, and Odia respectively: They ask, 'how are you'? 

A native speaker of any of the three languages will understand what is spoken in the other two tongues; and could be misled to believe that he can effortlessly learn them! Languages, however, involve a lot of intricacies, and learning another, even a similar sounding one, is often easier said than done. 

A non-speaker of any of the three languages is unlikely to make out which one of the three is spoken, as the words are so similar. 

Apart from the geographical proximity, the populace speaking these three languages of the eastern part of India- share a lot in terms of culture, rituals and festivities, and food habits.

They all owe their roots to Sanskrit. The scripts of the Assamese and Bengali languages are similar (only two alphabets are different). Odia script belongs to a different lineage.

Seasonal festivals are celebrated similarly across the three states, albeit with different names: the yearly harvest festival is celebrated as Magh Bihu in Assam, Poush Sankranti in Bengal, and Makar Sankranti in Odisha and similarly the start of the respective New Year is celebrated as Pahela Baishakh in Bengal, Pana Sankranti in Odisha and Rongali Bihu in Assam. Durga Puja is celebrated with the same gaiety by the speakers of the three languages.

Rice with fish curry is devoured zealously by all three linguistic groups. So intertwined are the cultures of the place that the dessert Rosogulla (also Rasgulla) might set off tempers between the Bengali and Odia folks. The Bengalis say that it was invented by a Kolkata-based confectioner. The Odia claims that they have been used as an offering at the sacred Jagannath Puri temple since time immemorial.

Despite the similarities, the three languages have their own flavour of art, culture, and literature thus making the Indian culture more varied and unique. Rabindra Sangeet (the songs based on the poems written by Nobel laureate Tagore) is ingrained in Bengali culture.  Baul Sangeet embodies the folk culture of the Bengalis, and Kirtan is a devotional dance form. The Bihu dance form in Assam evokes joy and melody and the traditional song known as husori - accompanying the dance, is unique to the Assamese culture. The Odissi dance form of Odisha is known all over India, and Geet Kudia is a popular folk music in Odisha.

 

Asha koru aapuni posondo korise?

Asha kori aapni pochondo korechen?

Asha Karuchi aapana pasand karithibe?

Wondering what the above three lines mean? They ask the same question in Assamese, Bengali, and Odia: Hope you liked it?

 

Assamese, Bengali, and Odia languages,

Make a wonderful-delightful package

They sound alike and yet hold their own,

Gracefully adorning the Indian Language throne.

They belong to the Eastern land

with rivers and valleys and mountains grand

You master one, and the other seems easy,

Learning them though, might not be as breezy.

The three have unmissable chemistry,

Though who invented Rosogulla is still a big mystery,

They seem so much like the other,

Perhaps as they all have the same mother!

Are you hoping to learn one of them today?

Language Curry can show you the way!

Indian languages curated for you,

Come and learn and bring your friends along too.

cover image



32 names of goddess Durga with meanings

Learn: the thirty-two names of Mother Durgā and their meanings

The Thirty-two names of Mother Durgā

श्रीदुर्गा-द्वात्रिंश-नाममाला

Deepawali diwali diya in flower rangoli

Deepawali or Diwali?

It is that time of the year again 🪔

The air is filled with the vibrant spirit of Deepawali. …

by Aarti Pathak
1843