Re: Bangladeshi, Bengali, Bangla

From: William J Poser (
Date: Thu Jul 08 2010 - 23:58:29 CDT

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    It is worth noting that there is a principled reason that "Bangla" cannot
    be the English name for Bengali, namely that in English language names
    are not an independent lexical category. In many languages the names of
    languages are expressions (derivatives, compounds, or phrases) meaning
    "the language of such-and-such a country or people"). This may be overt,
    as in Japanese (e.g. furansu "France", furansugo "French", Doitsu "Germany",
    Doitsugo "German", Kankoku "Korea", Kankokugo "Korean"), or covert, as
    in English and French, where language names are zero-derivatives of the
    adjective meaning "of or pertaining to such-and-such a country or people".
    It would be an anomaly for English to adopt "Bangla" as the name of the
    language while retaining "Bengali" as the adjective. That isn't to say
    that it couldn't happen, but it is quite unnatural in terms of the current
    grammar of English and would likely happen only as a result of some
    significant pressure or widespread contact of English speakers with Bengali.
    (It would also introduce a disparity of a different sort between English
    and Bengali since the Bengali adjective is not "bangla". In fact,
    the Bengali adjective meaning "Bengali" is not phonologically possible
    in English since it contains a velar nasal in onset position.)


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