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Number of people speaking:
There are approximately 193 million native speakers of Bengali, but the number of speakers worldwide is estimated to be in excess of 230 million.
Noted linguists identified four broad classifications of dialects Rarh, Banga, Kamarupa and Varendra. There are a great number of variations within these groups and alternative classifications have been proposed. The Rarh groups of dialects are prevalent in the south western area of Bangladesh and are regarded as the basic standard for colloquial Bengali. In contrast the Banga group is rooted in the east and south eastern area of the country and is widely regarded as the primary dialect group within Bangladesh. Both Rarh and Banga dialect gropups may share many similarities but individual words can be entirely different. Many other local languages such as Sylheti, Chittagonian, and Chakma are considered by many to be Bengali dialects, although that is a cause for debate amongst language scholars.
Bangladesh, West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (India), Karachi, Sindh (Pakistan). There are also significant Bengali speaking communities in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Kuwait, as well as in numerous other countries.
Some Fun Facts about Bengali:
The lyrics for the national anthem of Bangladesh and the national anthem and national song of India are all composed in Bengali.
The Bengali poet and polymath Rabindranath Tagore, wrote the song Amar Shonar Bangla or "My Golden Bengal" in 1905, the first ten lines of the song were later adopted as the Bangladeshi national anthem in 1972. Rabindranath Tagore was also the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913.
In December 2002, the President of Sierra Leone, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah named Bengali as an "official language" of the country in recognition of the 5,300 troops from Bangladesh that had served in the United Nations peacekeeping force.