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Sylheti phrasebook

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In Sylheti: <span style="font-size:12pt;">ছিলটী</span>/छीलहटी  ''Silôṭi''; in Bengali: <span style="font-size:12pt;">সিলেটী</span>/ ''Sileṭī'' is the language of [[Sylhet]] (the Surma Valley) is located in the north-eastern region of [[Bangladesh]], and also spoken in parts of the [[Northeast India]]n states of [[Assam]] (the Barak Valley) and [[Tripura]] (the North Tripura district). It is also spoken by a significant population in the other north-eastern states of [[India]] and amongst the large expatriate communities in the [[United Kingdom]], [[United States]], and countries of the Gulf States.
In Sylheti: <span style="font-size:12pt;">ছিলটী</span>/छीलहटी  ''Silôṭi''; in Bengali: <span style="font-size:12pt;">সিলেটী</span>/ ''Sileṭī'' is the language of [[Sylhet]] (the Surma Valley), located in the north-eastern region of [[Bangladesh]], and also spoken in parts of the [[Northeast India]]n states of [[Assam]] (the Barak Valley) and [[Tripura]] (the North Tripura district). It is also spoken by a significant population in the other north-eastern states of [[India]] and amongst the large expatriate communities in the [[United Kingdom]], [[United States]], and countries of the Gulf States.
Sylheti is often either considered a dialect of Bengali, but due to significant differences between them and lack of mutual intelligibility, a strong argument can be made for them to be considered different languages. Sylheti has not been given an official status by the government of Bangladesh, and there is much debate to whether it should be so recognized. There are greater differences between Sylheti and [[Bengali phrasebook|Bengali]], than between [[Assamese phrasebook|Assamese]] and Bengali, which are recognised as separate languages. Most Sylhetis are bilingual to at least some degree, as they are taught Bengali at all levels of education in Bangladesh. Sylhet was part of the ancient kingdom of Kamarupa, and has many common features with Assamese, including the existence of a larger set of fricatives than other East Indo-Aryan languages. According to George Abraham Grierson, "the inflections also differ from those of regular Bengali, and in one or two instances assimilate to those of Assamese".
Sylheti is often either considered a dialect of Bengali, but due to significant differences between them and lack of mutual intelligibility, a strong argument can be made for them to be considered different languages. Sylheti has not been given an official status by the government of Bangladesh, and there is much debate to whether it should be so recognized. There are greater differences between Sylheti and [[Bengali phrasebook|Bengali]], than between [[Assamese phrasebook|Assamese]] and Bengali, which are recognised as separate languages. Most Sylhetis are bilingual to at least some degree, as they are taught Bengali at all levels of education in Bangladesh. Sylhet was part of the ancient kingdom of Kamarupa, and has many common features with Assamese, including the existence of a larger set of fricatives than other East Indo-Aryan languages. According to George Abraham Grierson, "the inflections also differ from those of regular Bengali, and in one or two instances assimilate to those of Assamese".

Revision as of 14:22, 4 November 2012

In Sylheti: ছিলটী/छीलहटी Silôṭi; in Bengali: সিলেটী/ Sileṭī is the language of Sylhet (the Surma Valley), located in the north-eastern region of Bangladesh, and also spoken in parts of the Northeast Indian states of Assam (the Barak Valley) and Tripura (the North Tripura district). It is also spoken by a significant population in the other north-eastern states of India and amongst the large expatriate communities in the United Kingdom, United States, and countries of the Gulf States.

Sylheti is often either considered a dialect of Bengali, but due to significant differences between them and lack of mutual intelligibility, a strong argument can be made for them to be considered different languages. Sylheti has not been given an official status by the government of Bangladesh, and there is much debate to whether it should be so recognized. There are greater differences between Sylheti and Bengali, than between Assamese and Bengali, which are recognised as separate languages. Most Sylhetis are bilingual to at least some degree, as they are taught Bengali at all levels of education in Bangladesh. Sylhet was part of the ancient kingdom of Kamarupa, and has many common features with Assamese, including the existence of a larger set of fricatives than other East Indo-Aryan languages. According to George Abraham Grierson, "the inflections also differ from those of regular Bengali, and in one or two instances assimilate to those of Assamese".


Pronouncing Syloti words will be much easier if you note:

  • "a" ( अ / ा ) will always be pronounced as "ah" almost like the English "ah". So, where a Syloti "blade" is written, pronunciation will be as [blah-deh].
  • "e" ( ए / े ) will always be pronounced as "eh/air" just as in hair. So, where a Syloti "age" is written, pronunciation will be as: [ah-geh].
  • "i" ( इ / ी ) will always be pronounced as "ee" as in ink/keep. So, where a Syloti "side" is written, pronunciation will be as: [see-deh].
  • "o" ( व / ो ) will always be pronounced as "ô/awe" as in awesome. So, where a Syloti "bloke" is written, pronunciation will be as: [blô-keh].
  • "u" ( उ / ु ) will always be pronounced as "ooh" as in oops/boohoo. So, where a Syloti "but" is written, pronunciation will be as: [booh-t].

The most challenging pronunciation for an English speaker will be to pronounce the "r/र" when it comes at the end of a Syloti word. For example, "rear" in English is either pronounced as [r-eh-(silent)-(silent)] or as [r-eh-ah-(silent)] whereas the "r" is almost invariably uttered as "eh" or "ah". To separate English pronunciation from Syloti pronunciation and to break the confusion in English speakers who are prone to pronuncing "rear" as r-eh without a second thought, you are now to pronounce the word "rear" as if it was a Syloti vocabulary, pronouncing it as [reh-ah-r] whereas the "r" pronunciation remain just as how it was at the start and so continues to end with the same "r" pronunciation. Please note "rear", "blade", "age", "side", "bloke" and "but" are all an example for exercising reasons only. This is due to the common English words easily read into English pronunciation.

Practise on these below:

  • blade ब्लादे [blah-deh]
  • age अगे [ah-geh]
  • side छीदे [see-deh]
  • bloke ब्लफे [blô-keh]
  • but बुत [booh-t]
  • rear रेअर [reh-ah-r]
  • roar रअर [rô-ah-r]
  • rare रारे [rah-reh]
  • error एर्रर [eh-r-rô-r]
  • rer रेर [reh-r]
  • rir रीर [ree-r]
  • ror रोर/रर [rô-r]
  • rur रुर [rooh-r]

Sylheti pronunciation is rather challenging as there are a number of distinctions not found in English, but don't let this intimidate you: Many Sylheti speakers do not speak standard Syloti at home, and are quite used to regional Bengali accents; mangling in various degrees. For example, the standard Syloti pronunciation for seven is xat शात [hah-t] but Sylheti speaker are used to the Bengali accent, shat सात/সাত [shah-t].

Sylheti speakers have picked up a lot of Bengali accent that if said in its own Syloti accent, the meaning changes, for example:

Bengali accent Literal meaning Syloti accent Alternative meaning
Shatbar সাতবার (सातबार) Seven-times Xatbar शातबार Lots of time
Shesh-kale েশষকােল (शेषकाले) End times Xesh-khalo शेशकालो Late era

Sylheti also has commonality between vocabulary use of other languages'.
For example:

Dur-ga: दूर-गा [Dooh-r-gah] Sanskrit for go-away, Dur-ja: দূর-জা (दूर-जा) [Dooh-r-jah] Bengali for go-away and Durza: दुरजा [Dooh-r-zah] Sylheti for go-away, are literally all the same; on the contrary, all the Dur... ga, ja and za's are said as a figure of speech to imply as to "damn you" or to "damn it".

Other examples of the Sylheti word Dur दुर [Dooh-r]:
Example A

Dur दुर [Dooh-r], meaning "far", is also said as a figure of speech to "stop it!" or when in awe like "no way!".

Example B

Durho दुरहो [Dooh-rôh] (be gone/get lost) has literally the same meaning to the Hindi "Dur ho" [Dooh-r hoh], and along its meanings, it also is meant to imply as to "damn it". It is similar to "Dur" दुर (in Example A) but if said with an addition e.g. "Durho, xasa ni?" दुरहो, शाचा नीॽ [Dooh-rôh, Hah-sah nee?] i.e. "Really? Get lost!" Its meaning assimilates to the English version of "get lost", when said in an awesome mood.

Example C

Durho za दुरहो जा [Dooh-rôh zah] (away with you) is literally the same as Hindi "Dur ho ja" [Dooh-r hoh jah] and is also the same as "Durza" दुरजा [Dooh-r-zah] already mentioned above.

Example D

Durxoi दुरशइ pronounced [Dooh-rô-ee] means "faraway"
  • Literally Dur दुर [Dooh-r] means far and Xoi शइ [Hô-ee] means over-there or straight-ahead e.g. "Xoi dekho" शइ देखो [Hô-ee Deh-khô] i.e. "Look over there!" or "look straight ahead".

Example E

Durxoi za दुरशइ जा pronounced [Dooh-rô-ee zah] means "go far-faraway" (extremely informal).
Durxoi zaoka दुरशइ जावका (pronounced) [Dooh-rô-ee zah-ooh-kah] is the formal version.

Example F

Durxor दुरशर pronounced [Dooh-r-hô-r] is metaphorically understood as "Move! Damn it!". The literal meaning is go-away but can also be understood as to the English "get lost" said in an angry mood.
  • Xor शर [Hô-r] (Move!) is a substitute to the above Durxor also implying in no respect. Worse is to pronounce it in Bengali accent Shor সর (सर) [Shô-r] (Move!), for Shuwor शुवर pronounced, [shô-r] in Syloti, means swine.
  • Xoriza शरीजा [Hô-ree-zah] (Move away you!) is a substitute to Durhoza (in Example D) implying in no respect. To pronounce it in the Bengali dialect "Shoreja" সরেজা (सरेजा) [Shô-reh-jah] (Move out!) would be a misnomer that leads to an alternative wording - Suar ho ja सुअर हो जा (be you swine) in Hindi and similarly in Syloti, Shuwor hoi za शुवर है जा pronounced [Shoh-r ôh-ee zah].

Example G

Durho-durho khoro दुरहो दुरहो करो pronounced [Dooh-rôh Dooh-rôh Khoh-rô] meaning "together, say: 'damn you'."


Sylheti is distinguished by a wide range of fricative sounds, which correspond to aspirated stops in closely related languages such as Bengali; a lack of the breathy voiced stops seen in many other Indic languages; word-final stress; and a relatively large set of loanwords from Arabic, Persian, Bengali and Assamese.


A notable characteristic of spoken Sylheti is the correspondence of /x/ to the /sh/ of Bengali, like the "ch" in Scottish "Loch" (Lokh) or the "j" in Latin American Spanish "Jalapeño" (Halapeo); e.g:

Shīẏal শিয়াল (िशयाल) [Shee-yah-l] (Bengali for Jackal):

Xial शीअल [Hee-ah-l] (Sylheti for Jackal)

Shoriṣha সিরষা (सरिषा) [Shô-ree-shah] (Bengali for mustard):

Xoirox शैरश [Hô-ee-rôh] (Sylheti for mustard)

Shun̐ṭki শুঁটকি (शुँटकि) [Shooh-t-kee] (Bengali for sundried fish):

Xuṭki शुटकी [Hooh-t-kee] (Sylheti for sundried fish)

Shvoshur শ্বশুর (श्वशुर) [Shô-shooh-r] (Bengali for Father-in-law):

Xowxur श्वशुर [Hôw-ooh-r] (Sylheti for Father-in-law)

Other charecteristic corrrespondences include:

the /h/ of Bengali
to the /ôh/ and the silent h/ of Sylheti
the /k/ of Bengali
to the /kh/ of Sylheti
the /p/ of Bengali
to the /ph/ of Sylheti
the /j/ of Bengali
to the /z/ of Sylheti
the /e/ at the near end of a Bengali word
to the /o/ at the near end of a Sylheti word

1st e.g:

(in Bengali) Sileṭ [See-leṭ]
(in Sylheti) Siloṭ [See-lôṭ]

2nd e.g:

(in Bengali) Kisher [Kee-sheh-r]
(in Sylheti) Khixor [Khee-hô-r]

3rd e.g:

(in Bengali) _____er (_____'s)
(in Sylheti) _____or (_____'s)


Sylheti was formerly written in its own script, Syloti Nagri, (or नागरी, Nāgrī, the name of its parent writing system) similar in style to Kaithi but with differences, though nowadays it is invariably written in Bengali script. Bangladesh does not recognise Sylheti as a separate language, therefore literature, warning signs and notices are all written in the Bengali language.

In the 19th century, the British tea-planters in the area referred to Sylheti as Sylhettia. In Assam, the language is still referred to as Srihattiya, the name used in ancient literature. Although not widely known, Sylheti was written in the Syloti Nagri script. Sylhet has a rich heritage of literature in the Syloti Nagri script going back at least 200 years. The Sylheti script includes 5 independent vowels, 5 dependent vowels attached to a consonant letter and 27 consonants. The Syloti Nagri alphasyllabary differs from the Bengali alphabet as it is a form of Kaithi, a script (or family of scripts) which belongs to the main group of North Indian scripts of Bihar. The writing system's main use was to record religious poetry, described as a rich language and easy to learn.

During the 1971 Liberation War, when all Syloti Nagri printing presses were destroyed, the writing system came to a halt. After Bangladesh gained independence, the government of the newly formed Bangladesh mandated Bangla studies and the use of the Bengali alphabets as a curriculum to be taught at all levels of education. Efforts to establish Sylheti as a modern language were vigorously opposed by political and cultural forces allied to successive Bangladeshi governments.

Devanagari देवनागरी characters for Sylheti writing

Transcript faithful to pronunciation

Sylheti phrases will be written in Transcription faithful to pronunciation. Therefore, although the 'क' (ch) is equivalent to the English "chemist" and to the Scottish "Loch", its transcript will be written as either ‘k’ or ‘kh’. To remove confusion, the same will apply to all corresponding words and phrases.

Note that these characters are not used in writing Sylheti: Bengali alphabets lack similarity to Syloti Nagri script. Due to this, below are the Devanagari scrip representing the Syloti Nagri. To see Syloti characters visit

Note that a few characters below have dual pronunciation:

  • The (o/w) is equivalent to "Odin" or "Woden"
  • The (ch) is equivalent to the English "chemist" and to the Scottish "Loch".
  • The (c) is equivalent to both "centimeter" and "change"
  • The (s) is equivalent to both "Scene" or "Schist"
  • The (sh/x) is equivalent to "shush" or "hush".

Note that the the character below has triple pronunciation:

  • The (h/ħ mute & silent ħ) is equivalent to "Harry", "John" or "hour".
Independent vowels
Dewnagri alphabets Transliteration Equivalent/Comments
a as in Apple
i as in Ink
u as in Oops!
e as in Eggs
o or w as in Odin or Woden
Dependant vowels
Consonant + Dependant vowel Transliteration Equivalent/Comments
पा ph+a as in phantom
पी ph+i as in Phoenix
पु ph+u as in Phooey
पे ph+e as in Pheasant
पो ph+o as in Phoria
Grapheme signs

The Dvisvara symbol:

Consonant + Doishor Transliteration Equivalent/Comments
पै ph+oi the 'oi' as in (the sarcasm greeting) ahoy! Or as in oil or ointment

The Anusvara symbol:

Consonant + Anushor Transliteration Equivalent/Comments
पं ph+ŋ/ph+ng the 'ŋ' in knot, knowledge, gnat or the 'ng' in English & Bangla
Dewnagri alphabets Transliteration Equivalent/Comments
ch as in Chemist or Loch
x as in Xan (Khan)
g as in Goat
gh as in Ghee
c as in Centimeter or Change
s as in Science or Schist
z as in Zeus
j as in Jason
like a Tick-tock clock
ṭh as in Treasure!
as in Dream
ḍh as in Drought
t as in Tin tin
th as in Tight
d as in Door
dh as in Dough
ph as in Phone
f as in First
b as in Bon
bh as in Boohoo
m as in Money
n as in Nice!
r as in Raw
l as in Law
ड़ wr as in Writing
sh or x as in Shush or Hush
ôh, h or silent h as in Hey, Hour or Honour


Grammar conflict between Sylheti and Bengali

In Syloti: "Ekh deshor ghali arokh deshor bholi", [Ekh deh-shô-r gah-lee ah-rôkh deh-shô-r bô-lee] meaning "a phrase in one language mislead a phrase to another language".
Or in Bengal accent: "Ek desher ghali arek desher bholi", [Ek deh-sheh-r gah-lee ah-r-ekh deh-sheh-r boh-lee]

Conflicting grammar

"shor" সর (सर) [shô-r] in Bengali means move.

  • "shuwor" शुवर [shô-r] in Syloti means pig or swine
  • In Syloti move is pronounced xor शर [hô-r].
  • In Bengali pig or swine is shukhor শূকর (शूकर) pronounced [shooh-kô-r]

"muchchi" মুছ্চী (मुछ्ची) [mooh-ch-chee] in Bengali means I've wiped.

  • "mutrchi" मुत्रची [mooh-t-chee] in Syloti means I'v pissed
  • In Syloti I've wiped is phouschi पुोछची pronounced [fooh-s-chee].

"bhukh" ভূখ (भूख) [booh-k] in Bengali means starving.

  • "bhukh" भुख [booh-k] in Syloti means hungry
  • In Syloti starving is uphwash उपवाश pronounced [ooh-fah-sh].
  • In Bengali hungry is khida [kee-dah].

"ēy" [ay] in Bengali is an informal "excuse me" (for getting attention).

  • "hei" [eh-yee] in Syloti means hey you! (implying in no respect)
  • In Syloti excuse me (for getting attention) is pronounced e-re [eh-reh] or o-go [ô-gô] or o-ba [ô-bah].

"moho māyā" [moh-hoh mah-yah] in Bengali means love illusion.

  • "moho maea" [mô-hôh mah-yah] in Syloti means love affection

"mēgh" [meh-g] in Bengali means cloud.

  • "megh" [meh-g] in Syloti means rain
  • In Sanskrit megh [meh-g] means both rain and cloud.
  • In Syloti cloud is called badol [bah-dô-l] or ashmani xaz [ash-mah-nee hah-z] (patterns of the sky).
  • In Bengali rain is called brishti [bree-sh-tee].

"anōyar" [ah-nô-wah-r] in Bengali is a male name meaning pomegranate.

  • "anwar" [ah-n-wah-r] in Syloti means pomegranate fruit
  • anar [ah-nah-r] or ḍalim [ḍah-leem] in Bengali means pomegranate fruit.
  • anar [ah-nah-r] in Syloti refers to the legendary slave girl named anar-koli meaning pomegranate-blossom.

"naṛa" [nah-ṛah] in Bengali means to stir or to move.

  • "naṛa" [nah-ṛah] in Syloti means to cheer:
    1. Hip hip - Hooray!
    2. Narae Takbir - Allahu Akbar!
    3. Joy Bangla!
    4. Jay Hind! etc.
  • A waist drawstring acting as a belt is also called a nara [nah-rah].

"torkari" [tô-r-kah-ree] in Bengali, means curry.

  • "tarkhari" [tah-r-khah-ree] in Syloti, means vegetables.

"hē" [heh] in Bengali is an informal yes.

  • "he?"/"hi?" [heh?/hee?] in Syloti, means what? which is an extremely rude word; "Ji?" [Jee?] is formal.

"hēshē" [heh-sheh] in Bengali means laughter.

  • "xeshe" [heh-sheh] in Syloti means later.
  • laughter in Syloti is called hashi [ah-shee]
  • later in Bengali is called pore [pô-reh].

Sylheti literature

Sylheti today only survives as a spoken language: Although Sylhet has a rich heritage of literature in the Syloti Nagri script; it is not educated in schools. The liberation from East-Pakistan to Bangladesh was initiated on the principals of protecting the Bengali language. As a result of the formation in 1971, Sylheti literature has become extremely rare, almost extinct by recognition. Sylheti pupils in Bangladesh are preached in schools to recognize Sylheti as a dialect of Bengali and not a separate language. This teaching has convinced most of the Sylheti people into believing Sylheti as a form of corrupt Bengali.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Sylheti translation of the Universal Declaration...:

Hokhol manhor zonmo oe azad ar izzot o adikhar loia. Tarar hush ar gian-buddhi takhae zanu ekh-zon arokh-zonor loge ruhani bhaīitta bebohar takhe. (in Transcription, faithful to pronunciation)
  • (Syloti word to word gloss) All humans' born happen free and dignity plus rights with. Their conscious and judgement-intelligence bearing ensure a-person another-person's with spiritual brotherhood conduct stay.

Bengali translation of the Universal Declaration...:

Shomosto manush shwadhīnbhabe shoman morjyada ebong odhikar niye jonmogrohoṇ kore. Tn̐ader bibek ebong buddhi ache; shutorang shokoleroi eke oporer proti bhratṛ'twosulabh monobhab niye achoroṇ kora uchit. (in Transcription, faithful to pronunciation)
  • (Bangla word to word gloss) All human free-manner-in equal dignity and right taken birth-take do. Their reason and intelligence is; therefore everyone-indeed one another's towards brotherhood-ly attitude taken conduct do should.

Phrase list


Cultural notes on greetings:

There are no greetings based on time elements in Sylheti such as in English good morning, good afternoon, etc. Each religion has its own greetings. Muslims and Hindus greet each other by sharing "Adab" meaning "Greetings" and everyone keeps to their own religious greetings, exchanging them among their own religion. As a custom, both Muslims and Hindus alike greet by "the touching of the feet" of their elder family members. The Hindu "Pronam" meaning "Greetings" also has the same meaning to "Nomoskar" and to "the touching of the feet" while the Muslim "Adab" has two meanings, "Geetings" and "Humblest respect".


Hello. (formal Muslim Adab):

Assalamu alaikum. [Ah-s-sah-lah-mooh ah-lay-kooh-m]
  • (may peace/salam be upon you)
Slamalikum [Slah-mah-lee-kooh-m]
  • (short for: peace be on you).
Walaikum-salam. [Wah-lay-kooh-m sah-lah-m]
  • (a short reply to salam)
Khodom-busi. [Khô-dôm booh-see]
  • (the touching of the feet)

Hello. (formal Hindu Pronam):

Nomoskar. [Nô-môsh-kah-r]
  • (folded hands touching the forehead)

Abhinondon. [Ah-bee-nôn-dôn]

  • (bending forward with folded hands touching the chest).

Choron-sporsho. [Chô-rôn spô-r-shô]

  • (the touching of the feet)

Dondiowta. [Dô-een-yô-tah]

  • (bowing forehead down and touching the ground).

Hello. (informal lit. How are you?)

Bhala ni? [Bah-lah nee?]


Marhaba [Mah-r-hah-bah]
Aoka [ah-ô-kah]


Mubaraka [Mooh-bah-rah-kah]

Happy Congregation (on Fridays)

Jumma Mubarokh [Jooh-m-mah Mooh-bah-rôkh]

Happy Eid

Eid Mubarokh [Ee-d Mooh-bah-rôkh]

Happy Anniversary

Shalgura Mubarokh [Shah-l-gooh-rah Mooh-bah-rôkh]

Happy Birthday

Zonmodin Mubarokh [Zôn-mô-deen Mooh-bah-rôkh]

Good morning.

Fozoror Rohmot Mubarokh. [Fô-zô-rô-r Rô-h-môt Mooh-bah-rôkh]
Subah kher. [Sooh-bah kheh-r]

Good afternoon.

Duiphori bela Mubarokh. [Dooh-ee-phoh-ree beh-lah Mooh-bah-rôkh]

Good evening.

Beil Mubarokh.[Beh-eel Mooh-bah-rôkh]

Good night.

Raitkhur gum Mubarokh. [Rah-eet-khooh-r gooh-m Mooh-bah-rôkh]

Good Luck.

Allahr Haola. [Ah-l-lah-r Ah-w-lah] (lit. God's Authority)

Good bye.

Khuda/Allah Hafiz. [Khooh-dah/Al-lah Hah-feez] (Muslim lit. God/Allah be with you)
Pronam. [Prô-nah-m] (Hindu)

Forms of Address

Mr _____. (Muslim)

_____ Miah. [Mee-yah]
Miah _____. [Mee-yah]

Mr _____. (Hindu)

Sri _____. [Shee-ree]

Ms _____. (Muslim)

_____ Begum. [Beh-gôm]
Begum _____. [Beh-gôm]

Ms _____. (Hindu)

Srimoti _____. [Shee-ree-mô-tee]

Sir (Muslim)

Jonab [Jô-nah-b]
Huzur [Hooh-zooh-r]

Sir (Hindu)

Babu Moshai [Bah-booh Môshah-ee]

Respectable _____. (Muslim)

_____shahab. [sah-b]

Respectable _____. (Hindu)

_____babu. [bah-booh]

Dr (Muslim)

Dakhtor shahab [Dah-kh-tôr sah-b]

Dr (Hindu)

Dakhtor babu [Dah-kh-tôr bah-booh]


Cultural notes on formalities:

In Western cultures, using phrases like “please, thank you, you're welcome, excuse me, sorry”, etc. are so ingrained that saying them is done without a second thought. Not so for the people of the Indian subcontinent. Saying such phrases in an inappropriate circumstance might embarrass the person, or change the gravity of the phrase itself. Some of these phrases are only said in a sincere sense.. Don’t let this lead you to believe people of the Indian Subcontinent are bad mannered – nothing could be further from the truth. Instead of "please" and "thank you" use formal phrases and words; it replaces the western culture into Indian (sub-continental) good manners. Some sentiments are communicated through body language rather than verbally. To show your sincerity, a smile can be just the same. Despite all this, the use of verbal formalities in Sylhet is far more used than other places in Bangladesh.

Hello. (lit. How are you?)

Bhala ni? [Bah-lah nee?] (informal)

How are you?

(Aphne) bhala asoin ni? [ (Ah-f-neh) bah-lah ah-sô-een nee? ] (formal)
(Tumi) bhala aso ni? [ (Tooh-mee) bah-lah ah-sô nee? ] (informal)
(Tui) bhala asos ni? [ (Tooh-ee) bah-lah ah-sôs nee? ] (implying in no respect)

Fine, thanks be to God.

Bhala asi, Shukur Allahr. [Bah-lah ah-see, Shooh-kooh-r Ah-l-lah-r]
Bhala asi, dondiowta ekh matro Allahr. [Bah-lah ah-see, dô-een-yôtah eh-kh mah-t-rô Ah-l-lah-r]

(I'm) fine, and you?

(Ami) bhala asi, ar aphne? [ (Ah-mee) bah-lah ah-see, ah-r ah-f-neh? ]

What is your name?

Aphnar nam kita? [Ah-f-nah-r nah-m kee-tah?] (formal)
Tomar nam kita? [Tooh-mah-r nah-m kee-tah?] (informal)
Tor nam kita re? [Tôr nah-m kee-tah reh?] (implying in no respect)

My name is ______ .

Amar nam ______ . [Ah-mah-r nah-m _____.]

Nice to meet you.

Bhala laglo aphnar log phaia. [Bah-lah lah-g-lô ah-f-nah-r lôg fah-ee-yah] (formal)
Bhala laglo tumar log phaia. [Bah-lah lah-g-lô tooh-mah-r lôg fah-ee-yah] (informal)

Notes on corresponding words to English:

Sylheti does have corresponding words to English, but this does not mean that the context in which it is used always correspond likewise. Phrases such as “thanks” (shukria) are use but they are not replied back to like in English; “you’re welcome”. English words are sometimes used the same, but remember just like the French have trouble with pronouncing the English 'th' - so do the Sylhetis, and therefore the 'th' is pronounced as 't'.

Same here.

Ami oio. [Ah-mee ô-ee-yô] (lit. me too)

Long time no see!

Oto buile na dekhlam! [ô-tô booh-ee-leh nah deh-kh-lah-m!]


Ji? [Jee?] (formal - as in pardon?/sorry?)
Kita? [Kee-tah?] (informal - as in come-again?/what?)
Khixor? [Kee-hôr] (implying in no respect - as in what nonsense?)
Hi? [Hee?] or He? [Heh?] (extremely rude - as in What? Err!)

What is this?

Okhṭa kita? [ôkh-ṭah kee-tah?]

Using "Ji" as yes or affirmative:

With the words for "yes" and "no" - "ji" is added before it to make polite formalities. Sometimes, listeners simply reply with ji, as an acknowledgment to the speaker.


Ji hoe. [Jee ôh-eh] (formal)
Hoe. [ôh-eh] (informal)


Ji na. [Jee nah] (formal)
Na. [Nah] (informal)

The word 'please'.

'Please' is a bad expression when requesting a grocer for a grocery bag. Please is only used when you (plea to a) request for an aid: e.g. "Please, complete this for me." i.e. "Doea-khori amar o khan ta adae khori laiba?”


Doea-khori. [Dô-yah khô-ree] (formal)

Thank you.

Shukria. [Shooh-k-ree-yah] (highly formal)
Dondiowad. [Dô-een-yôwah-d] (formal)

You're welcome. (lit. It was nothing)

Kichchu hoito nae [Kee-ch-chooh ôh-ee-tô nah-eh]

You're welcome!

Marhaba [Mah-r-hah-bah]

Welcome (lit. Please come in.)

Aoka अवका [Ah-ô-kah]

You're very/always welcome.

Aphnar phroti marhaba. [Ah-f-nah-r frô-tee mah-r-hah-bah] (formal)
Tumar phroti marhaba. [Tooh-mah-r frô-tee mah-r-hah-bah] (informal)

Excuse me. (getting attention)

E-re! [eh-reh!]
  • Bhai-sahab [Bah-ee sah-b] (when addressing a man)
  • Apha [Ah-fah] or Boin [Bô-een] (when addressing a lady)

The phrase "I'm sorry".

I'm Sorry (Ami dukhkhito) is never verbally said in Sylheti but instead sorrow is expressed with a humble prayer. When 'sorry' is said in English it is understood only as forgive me.

Excuse me/Pardon me (to pass by someone)

Maf khorba ami rasta sai. [Mah-f khôr-bah ah-mee rah-s-tah sah-ee]
Dekhi. [Deh-kee]

Sorry (forgive me)

Maf khorba [Mah-f khôr-bah] (highly formal)
Maf khoroka [Mah-f khôrooh-kah] (formal)
Maf khorbae [Mah-f khôr-bah-eh] (informal)

I love you.

Ami tumare bhalaphai. [Ah-mee tooh-mah-reh bah-lah-fah-ee]

I like you.

Tumare amar bhala lage. [Tooh-mah-reh ah-mah-r bah-lah lah-geh]
Tumare amar phosond aise. [Tooh-mah-re ah-mah-r fôsôn ah-ee-seh]

See ya!

Dekha hoibo. [Deh-khah ôh-ee-bô]

See you later.

Bade dekha hoibo. [Bah-deh deh-khah ôh-ee-bô]

See you later, then.

Te ar dekha hoibo. [Teh ah-r deh-khah ôh-ee-bô]

People and places



Phua [Fooh-wah]

A boy's...

Ekh Phuar ___. [Eh-kh fooh-wah-r]


Furi [Fooh-ree]

A girl's...

Ekh furir [Eh-kh fooh-ree-r]


Beṭa [Beh-ṭah]

A man's...

Ekh beṭar ___. [Eh-kh Beh-ṭah-r]


Beṭi [Beh-ṭee]

A woman's...

Ekh Beṭir ___. [Eh-kh Beh-ṭee-r]

A person

Ekh manush/manux [Eh-kh mah-nooh-sh/mah-nooh]

A person's...

Egu manshor/manxor [Eh-gooh mah-n-shôr/mah-nôr]


Ekh-zon [Eh-kh zôn]


Ekh-zonor [Eh-kh zônôr]


Manshor zat [Mah-n-shôr zah-t]


Axaidri [Ah-heh-ee-dah-ree]


Hinduana [Een-dooh-ah-nah]


Hindu [Een-dooh]

People of Hind (Indian)

Hindiar manush [Een-dee-yah-r mah-nooh-sh]
Hindustani [Een-dooh-stah-nee]
Bharotia [Bah-rô-tee-yah]

People of Sylhet

Silhoṭia [See-lôh-ṭee-yah]

People of Assam (Assamese)

Axomia [Ah-hô-mee-yah]

People of Assyria (Assyrian)

Axura [Ah-hooh-rah]
Asuria [Ah-hooh-ree-yah]

People of the Dhaka region

Dhakhaia [Dah-khah-ee-yah]


Xokhol [Hô-khôl]



Xokholta [Hô-khôl-tah]


Dhakha [Dah-khah]


Axom [Ah-hôm]


Silhot [See-lôh-t]

Shallow wetland

Haor [Ah-wôr]


Bil [Beel]

Seven wetlands

Xat bila [Hah-t bee-lah]

Family relationship

Paternal Grandparents

Dadu [Dah-dooh]

Maternal Grandparents

Nanu [Nah-nooh]

Paternal Grandfather

Dadazi [Dah-dah-zee]
Dada [Dah-dah]

Paternal Grandmother

Bibizi [Bee-bee-zee]
Bibi [Bee-bee] (means my dad's mother)
Dadi [Dah-dee] (means my granddad's wife)

Maternal Grandfather

Nanazi [Nah-nah-zee]
Nana [Nah-nah]

Maternal Grandmother

Nanizi [Nah-nee-zee]
Nani [Nah-nee]


Baba [Bah-bah] (formal)
Baph [Bah-f] (informalt)


Abba [Ah-b-bah]
Bazan [Bah-zah-n]
Babazi [Bah-bah-zee]
Abbazan [Ah-b-bah-zah-n]


Ma [Mah]
Mai [Mah-ee]


Maizi [Mah-ee-zee]
Amma [Ah-m-mah]
Ammazan [Ah-m-mah-zah-n]


Phut [Fooh-t]


Zi [Zee]
Khonia [Khôn-yah] (also means bride)

Big brother

Bhaisahab [Bah-ee-sah-b] (Muslim)
Dada [Dah-dah] (Hindu)

Little brother

Bhaia [Bah-ee-yah]


Bhai [Bah-ee]

Big sister

Buai [Booh-wah-ee]
Boro apha [Bôrô ah-fah]
Apha [Ah-fah]
Didi [Dee-dee] (Hindu)

Little sister

Boni [Bô-nee]


Boin [Bô-een]


Zamai {Zah-mah-ee] (Muslim)
Beṭa [Beh-ṭah]
Bor [Bôr] (Hindu)


Bow [Bôw] (Mislim)
Bhodu [Bôh-dooh] (Hindu)
Stri [Stee-ree] (formal)

Maternal uncle

Mamuzan [Mah-mooh-zah-n]
Mamuzi [Mah-mooh-zee]
Mama [Mah-mah]

Maternal uncle's wife

Mamani [Mah-mah-nee]
Mami [Mah-mee]

Maternal aunty/Auntie

Moi [Mô-ee]
Moizi [Mô-ee-zee]
Khala [Khah-lah]
Khala-amma [Khah-lah Ah-m-mah]

Maternal aunty's husband

Khaloo [Khah-looh]

Paternal uncle

Sasazan [Sah-sah-zah-n]
Sasazi [Sah-sah-zee]
Sasa [Sah-sah]

Paternal uncle's wife

Sasi-amma [Sah-see ah-m-mah]
Sasizi [Sah-see-zee]
Sasi [Sah-see]

Paternal aunty/Auntie

Fufu-amma [Fooh-fooh ah-m-mah]
Fufuzi [Fooh-fooh-zee]
Fufu [Fooh-fooh]

Paternal aunty's husband

Fufazi [Fooh-fah-zee]
Fufa [Fooh-fah]


Xoxur [Hô-ooh-r]
Abba [Ah-b-bah] (dad)


Xoṛi [Hô-ṛee]
Amma [Ah-m-mah] (mum)


  • Big sister's husband: Dulha-bhai [Dooh-lah bah-ee]
  • The husbans's older brother: Bhawor [Bah-ooh-r]
  • The husband's younger brother: Dewor [Deh-wôr]
  • The wife's older brother: Shomondik [Shômôn-deek]
  • The wife's older sister's husband: Zeṭa [Zeh-ṭah]
  • The wife's younger brother: Xala [hah-lah]


  • Big brother's wife: Bhabhi [Bah-bee]
  • The husband's older brother's wife: Zaal [Zah-l]
  • The husband's older sister: Nonhori [Nônôh-ree]
  • The husband's younger sister: Nonond [Nônôn]
  • The wife's's older sister: Zeṭali [Zeh-ṭah-lee]
  • The wife's younger sister: Xali [Hah-lee]


Damand [Dah-mah-n] (Muslim)
Zamai [Zah-mah-ee] (Hindu)


Phuar-bow [Fooh-wah-r bôw] (Muslim)
Bohu [Bôh-ooh] (Muslim)
Phutro-bhodu [Fooh-t-rô bô-dooh] (Hindu)
Bowma [Bôw-mah] (Hindu)


Bondu [Bôn-dooh] (male)
Dusto [Dooh-s-tô] (male)
Bandobi [Bah-n-dô-bee] (female)


Shuna-bondu [Shooh-nah bôn-dooh]


Leave me alone.

Amare ekhla takhte deoka/diba. [Ah-mah-reh eh-kh-lah tah-kh-teh deh-ooh-kah/dee-bah] (formal)
Amare ekhla takhte deo. [Ah-mah-reh eh-kh-lah tah-kh-teh deh-oh] (informal)
Amare ekhla takhte de. [Ah-mah-reh eh-kh-lah tah-kh-teh deh] (implying in no respect)

Leave me alone, will you?

Amare ekhla takhte dibe ni?. [Ah-mah-reh eh-kh-lah tah-kh-teh dee-beh nee?] (implying in no respect)

Get lost!

Dur xor Dooh-r-hô-r]

Let me go!

Amare saro! [Ah-mah-reh sah-rô!]

Don't touch me!

Amare soiba na khoilsi! [Ah-ma-reh sô-ee-bah na khô-ee-see!]

I'll call the police.

Ami phulish dakhiar. [Ah-mee fooh-leesh dah-khee-yah-r]
Ami phulish dakhram. [Ah-mee fooh-leesh dah-kh-rah-m]
Ami phulish dakhmu. [Ah-mee fooh-leesh dah-kh-mooh]
Ami phulish daki laimu. [Ah-mee fooh-leesh dah-khee lah-ee-mooh]
Ami phulish daki dimu. [Ah-mee fooh-leesh dah-khee dee-mooh]

Police! Officer!

Phulish! Daroga! [Fooh-leesh Dah-rô-gah]

Look out!

Dhekio ! [Deh-kee-yoh]

Stop! Thief!

Sur! Sur! [Sooh-r! Sooh-r!]
Ubais! Sur! [Ooh-bah-ee-sss! Sooh-r!]
Rakis! Sur! [Rah-kee-sss! Sooh-r!]
Uba-rakh! Sur! [Ooh-bah-Rah-kee-sss Sooh-r]


Basao! [Bah-sah-ô!]

I need (some) help.

Amar (tura/olpho) shohaejio lage. [Ah-mah-r (tooh-rah/oh-l-foh) shah-eh-j-jô lah-geh]

I need your help.

Aphnar shohaejio lage. [Ah-f-nah-r shah-eh-j-jô lah-geh]

Please, help me.

Amare shohaejio khorba. [Ah-mah-reh shah-eh-j-jô khô-r-bah] (formal)

Please, can you help me?

Aphne amar shohaejio khorba ni? [Ah-f-neh ah-mah-r shah-eh-j-jô khô-r-bah nee?] (formal)

It's an emergency.

Ekhṭa aphot goṭi gese. [Eh-kh-ṭah ah-fôt gô-ṭee-geh-seh]

Please, come quick!

Zoldi aoka [Zôl-dee ah-oo-kah]

I'm lost.

Ami Harai gesi. [Ah-mee ah-rah-ee geh-see]

I lost my bag.

Amar beg/sola ṭa harai laise. [Ah-mah-r beh-g/sô-lah ṭah ah-rah-ee lah-ee-see]

I lost my wallet.

Amar woleṭ/toli ṭa harai laise. [Ah-mah-r wô-leh-ṭ/tô-lee ṭah ah-rah-ee lah-ee-see]

Where is the toilet? :

  • Where is the flush toilet? : Bideshi ṭoeleṭ khun khano?
  • Where is the squat toilet? : Lefṭin khun khano?
  • Where is the washroom? : Hosailoe khun khano?
  • Where is the bathroom? : Ghusol-khana khun khano?
  • Is there a loo? : Phae-khanar bebosta ase ni?

Where is the _______?

_______ khun khano?

Can I use your phone?

Aphnar phon ṭa bebohar khortam phari ni?

How do you say _____?

_____ khemne khoin?
_____ khemola(n) khoin?

What is this/that called?

Okhṭar/Xokhṭar nam kita?

I don't understand.

(Ami) buziar na.
(Ami) buzlam na
(Ami) buzram na
(Ami) bujchi na.

I can't speak [name of language] (that well).

Ami [_____] (bhala ṭike) mattam phari na.

Do you speak English?

Aphne Ingrezi matta pharoin ni? (formal)
Tumi Ingrezi mattae pharo ni? (informal)

Is there someone here who speaks English?

Okhano kheu asoin ni ze Ingrezi matta pharoin?


Xikba [Heek-bah]

I'm not well. (I'm sick)

Ami bemar.

I've been injured.

Ami dukh phaisi.

I've injured my [name of the body part].

Ami amar [_____] o dukh phaisi.

I need a doctor.

Amar dakhtor lage.

Before the doctor came, the patient had died.

Ḍakhtor awar ageu bemari mori gese.

Going to the doctor

I am in _____.

Amar _____ khorer.
  • Pain : Bish
  • Pain (as in muscle pain) : Bish/Bedna

It's _____ here.

Ono _____
  • Sore (resulting from an injury) : Duk phai.
  • Itching : Khaozwar.
  • Tickling : Khetkhuti khorer.
  • Tingling : Zinzini khorer.
  • Numb : Set phai na

I've catched a cold.

Amar ṭanḍa lagi gese.

I've got a _____.

Amar _____ hoi gese. [Ah-mah-r _____ oh-ee geh-seh]
  • Fever. : Taph
  • Cough. : Khawwani
  • Phlegm. : Khash
  • Running nose. : Nakh doria
  • Diarrhoea. : Pheṭ lama

I'm _____.

Ami _____.
  • Coughing. : Khawwaiar. / Khawwairam.
  • Sneezing. : Esiar. / Esram.

I'm feeling _____.

Amar _____ lager.
  • Uncomfortable. : Oshanti
  • Shy. : Shorom

Body parts









Face, Mouth

Mukh [Mooh-kh]



Tooth, Teeth





Sukor bui [Soh-ooh-koh-r booh-ee]


Sukor bua [Soh-ooh-koh-r booh-wah]


Noeon [Noh-yoh-n] / Suk [Soh-ooh-k]


Sukor phatta [Soh-ooh-koh-r fah-t-tah]




Khaanor loti












Hator ghonṭa {Ah-toh-r goh-n-ṭah]


Hat [Ah-t]


Hator gata [Ah-toh-r gah-tah]

Finger, toe



Nukh [Noh-ooh-kh]

Neck (rear end)












Hip, Buttocks







Urat [Ooh-rah-t]


Haṭu [Ah-ṭooh]








Phawor tola



0 Shuinnio (also means: hovering/on air)
1 Ekh
2 Dui
3 Tin
4 Sair
5 Phas
6 Soe
7 Hat
8 Aṭ
9 Noe
10 Dosh
11 Egaro
12 Baro
13 Tero
14 Souddo
15 Phondro
16 Shollo
17 Hotro
18 Aṭaro
19 Unnish

Numeral Transliteration
Numeral Transliteration
Numeral Transliteration
Numeral Transliteration
20 bish
30 tish
40 sallish
50 phoinchash
21 ekhoish
31 ekhtish
41 ekhtallish
51 ekhanno
22 baish
32 bottish
42 boeallish
52 bawanno
23 teish
33 tettish
43 tetallish
53 tewanno
24 sobbish
34 sowtish
44 sowallish
54 sowanno
25 phochish
35 phoetish
45 phoesallish
55 phasphanno
26 sabbish
36 soetish
46 soeallish
56 saphphanno
27 hataish
37 hattish
47 hattallish
57 hattanno
28 artaish
38 arttish
48 arttallish
58 arttanno
29 untish
39 unsallish
49 unphonchiash
59 unshait

Numeral Transliteration
Numeral Transliteration
Numeral Transliteration
Numeral Transliteration
60 shait
70 hottoir
80 ashi
90 nobboi
61 ekhshait
71 ekhhottoir
81 ekhashi
91 ekhannobboi
62 baishait
72 bahottoir
82 biashi
92 bawannobboi
63 teshait
73 tehottoir
83 tirashi
93 tewannobboi
64 sowshait
74 sowhottoir
84 sowrashi
94 sowannobboi
65 phoishait
75 phas'hottoir
85 phasashi
95 phasannobboi
66 soeshait
76 sihottoir
86 siashi
96 siannobboi
67 harshait
77 hathottoir
87 hatashi
97 hattannobboi
68 arshait
78 at'hottoir
88 attashi
98 attannobboi
69 unhottoir
79 unashi
89 nirashi
99 nirannobboi

1,00 Êkh sho
1,000 Êkh hajar
10,000 Dôsh hajar
1,00,000 Êkh lakh
10,00,000 Dôsh lakh
1,00,00,000 Êkh kuti
10,00,00,000 Dosh kuti
1,00,00,00,000 Êkh arob
10,00,00,00,000 Dosh arob
1,00,00,00,00,000 Ekh kharob
10,00,00,00,00,000 Dosh kharob






one third

tin bagor ekh baag

two third

tin bagor doi baag

one quarter

sair bagor ekh baag

___ quarter

sair bagor ___ baag






Kilogram/s (Kg)



Bus number eleven. (Meaning: "Your two legs")

Egaro nombor baas

Did you catch the bus number 11 to here? (Meaning: "Did you walk it here?")

Egaro nombor baas dori aisoin ni? (formal)
Egaro nombor baas dori aiso ni? (informal)


Past present future


age [ah-geh]


ongkhu [on-kooh]
one [oh-neh]


bade [bah-deh]


din [deen]


gese khail [geh-seh khah-ee-l]


aizku [ah-eez-kooh]
aiz [ah-eez]


khailku [khah-ee-l-kooh]
khail [khah-ee-l]

day before yesterday

gese phorxu [geh-seh foh-rooh]

day after tomorrow

phorxudin [foh-rooh-deen]


soddo rait [soh-d-doh rah-eet]


aizkhailku [ah-eez-khah-ee-l-kooh]
aizkhail [ah-eez-khah-ee-l]


bela [beh-lah]
buil [booh-ee-l]
okht [oh-kh-t]
bar [bah-r]

seven-times (lots of time)

xat-bar [hah-t-bah-r]

every time

xara buil [hah-rah booh-ee-l]

last time

agor bela [ah-goh-r beh-lah]

this time

ebuil [eh-booh-ee-l]


dinor bela [dee-noh-r beh-lah]


raitkur bela [rah-ee-t-kooh-r beh-lah]

last week

agor xaphtah [ah-goh-r hah-f-tah]

this week

ow xaphtah [oh-oo hah-f-tah]

next week

bador xaphtah [bah-doh-r hah-f-tah]

Morning to night

dawn (the beginning of day)

rait phuwae (the ending of night)


biani bela


duiphori bela


duiphori belar bade


dinor maze

evening (the beginning of night)

din phuwae (the ending of day)







late night

xesh-rait [heh-sh rah-eet]
  • "Xesh" is a Syloti pronunciation of the Bengali "Shesh"

end of the night

  • There's no difference in "Xesh"-rait [Heh-sh rah-eet] and "Shesh"-rait [Sheh-sh rah-eet] but only in accent. Literally, they are both the same, but note that "xesh" [heh-sh] is applied to 'late' and "shesh" [sheh-sh] is referred to 'end' quite often in Syloti.



Monday derives from Mona/Máni (Norse Moon god)

Shombar derives from Shombo (Hindu Shiva)

Tuesday derives from Tiw/Týr (Norse god of single combat)

Mongolbar derives from Mangala (Hindu Mars/god of war)

Wednesday derives from Woden/Odin (Norse elder god of power and wisdom)

Budhbar derives from Budha (Hindu Mercury/elder god of merchandise and wisdom)

Thursday derives from Thurnor/Thor (Norse god of thunder and protector of mankind)

Birishoitbar derives from Bṛhaspati (Hindu guru of the gods)

Friday derives from Fridge/Freya (Norse goddess of beauty, love and gold)

Shukurbar derives from Shukra (Hindu Venus/White god and guru of the Asuras)

Saturday derives from Saturn (Roman god of agriculture, justice and strength)

Shonibar derives from Shani (Hindu Saturn/god of justice, punishments and rewards)

Sunday derives from Sunna/Sól (Norse Sun god)

Roibbar derives from Roid/Surya/Ravi (Hindu Sun god)


Gregorian Calendar Transliteration pronunciation
Arabian Calendar Transliteration pronunciation
Bengali Calendar Transliteration pronunciation
Sylheti Calendar Transliteration pronunciation
January Janwari
محرّم Mohorrom
বৈশাখ Boishakh
Soit Soit maash
February Februari
صفر Sofor
জ্যৈষ্ঠ Joishţho
Bahag Baag maash
March Maach
ربيع الاوّل Robiul-Aowal
আষাঢ় Ashaŗh
Zoith Zoit maash
April Ephril
ربيع الثانى Robius-Sani
শ্রাবণ Shrabon
Axaŗ Aaŗ maash
May Me'e
جمادى الاوّل Jomadul-Aowal
ভাদ্র Bhadro
Xawon Haon maash
June Jun
جمادى الثاني Jomadus-Sani
আশ্বিন Ashshin
Bhado Bhado maash
July Julai
رجب Rojob
কার্তিক Kartik
Axin Ashin maash
August Aagost
شعبان Shaban
অগ্রহায়ণ Ogrohaeon
Khati Khati maash
September Sephtembor
رمضان Romzan
পৌষ Poush
Aghon Awon maash
October Okhtubor
شوّال Showal
মাঘ Magh
Phush Phush maash
November Nowembor
ذى قعده Zil kod
ফাল্গুন Falgun
Magh Magh maash
December Disembor
ذى الحجه Zil Hoj
চৈত্র Choitro
Fagun Fagun maash
  • Note that these Calendar months do not fall in as January being Mohorrom, Boishakh or Soit maash. All calendars consists of different number of days per month; some are lunar calendars while some are solar calendars.



Ritu (ঋতু)

[name of the season] time

[____] Khal (কাল)


Grishsho (গ্রীষ্ম)

Rainy (Monsoon)

Bôrsha (বর্ষা)


Shôrot (শরৎ)


Hemonto (হেমন্ত)


Shit (শীত)


Bôshonto (বসন্ত)


What time is it?

Khoe ṭa bazro?
Khoe ṭa bazer?

one AM.

rait kur ekh ṭa.

two AM.

rait kur dui ṭa.


duiphori bela.

one PM.

duiphori belar ekh ṭa.

two PM.

duiphori belar dui ṭa.


maz rait.

9:45 Quarter to ten

Phone Dosh ṭa

10:00 Ten O'Clock

Dosh ṭa

10:15 Quarter past ten

Shuwa Dosh ṭa

10:30 Half past ten

Share Dosh ṭa

1:30 Half past one

Ḍerṭa (avoid saying share ekh ṭa)

2:30 Half past two

Aṛaiṭa (avoid saying share dui ṭa)



miniṭ (both singular and plural)

per minute

phroti miniṭ
phroti-ekh miniṭ (pronounced phortekh miniṭ)


gonṭa (both singular and plural)


phroti gonṭa
phroti-ekh gonṭa (pronounced phortekh gonṭa)


deen (both singular and plural)


phroti din
phroti-ekh din (pronounced phortekh din)


haphtah (both singular and plural)


phroti haphtah
phroti-ekh haphtah (pronounced phortekh haphta)


maash (both singular and plural)


phroti maash
phroti-ekh maash (prounced phortekh maash)


botchot/bosor/shal (both singular and plural)


phroti botchor/bosor/shal
phroti-ekh botchor/bosor/shal (pronounced phortekh botchor/bosor/shal)

Writing time and date

Time is written in both 12 hour clock and 24hr clock, the same as English or Bengali e.g 6:25pm or 18:25 i.e 6:25am or 06:25 hours. Although Sylheti uses both methods, only the 12-hour clock is verbally used, to say the clock time, AM or PM, the cycle of day to night and night to day is said before the hour. For example:

7:40 AM is said: (at morning seven - fourty)

bian kur (s)hat ta - sallish

4:45 AM is said: (at dawn quarter to five)

rait phuwae phone phash ta

3:10 AM is said: (at late night three - ten)

hesh rait kur tin ta - dosh

12:00 AM is said: (at midnight twelve)

maz rait kur baro ta

10:20 PM is said: (at night ten - twenty)

rait kur dosh ta - bish

7:05 PM is said: (at dusk seven - five)

beil kur (s)hat ta - phas

3:20 PM is said: (at day three - twenty)

dinor tin ta - bish

From noon to midday, PM is said as: (at day _____ - _____)

dinor _____ - _____

Date is written by day first, then the month and last is the year. For example: Day / Month / Year is in writing as 23 [MONTH] 2012, but when speaking one can take the liberty to phrase a certain date as how they like: e.g.

12 Robiul Aowal

Robiul Aowalor 12 (baro) tarikh
12 (baro) wi tarikh Robiul Aowal.

25 December

Disemboror 25 (phochish) tarikh
25 (phochish) shi tarikh Disembor.



Do you have another color?

Ar khunu zatir rong ase ni?






rongila, rongbirongi







Primary colors







Secondary colors

pink (rosy)





hoilda [oh-eel-dah]





Hueless colors







Jewellery colors








Common signs:

PLEASE NOTE: Sylheti language has not been given an official status by the government of Bangladesh. Therefore, all signs are written in the Bengali language; Learn more from the Bengali phrasebook.









ṭela, dekka




hosailoe, lefṭin







Travel Queries

How much is a ticket to ___?

___or ṭikeṭor daam khemolan?

One ticket to ___, please.

___or lagi ekh ṭa ṭikeṭ diba. (formal)
___or lagi ekh ṭa ṭikeṭ dibae. (informal)

Where does this train/bus go?

Ow train/bus khoi zaibo?

Where is the train/bus to ___?

___or train/bus khun khano?

Does this train/bus stop in ___?

Ow train/bus ___o bond oi ni?

When does the train/bus for ___ leave?

___or train/bus khoe ṭa baze sarbo?

When will this train/bus arrive in ___?

Ongkhur train/bus khoe ṭa baze ___o aibo?


Which way to Silchar?

Hilsor khun baidi phorse?

How do I get to _____?

Ami Khemola(n) _____o zaimu?

How do I get to the train/bus station?

Ami khemola(n) train/bus station o zaimu?

How do I get to the airport?

Ami khemola(n) iarphuṭo zaimu?

How do I get to downtown?

Ami khemola(n) ṭawno zaimu?

How do I get to the youth hostel?

Ami khemola(n) iuth hushṭelo zaimu?

How do I get to the _____ hotel?

Ami khemola(n) _____ huṭelo zaimu?

How do I get to the American/Australian/British/Canadian consulate?

Ami khemola(n) American/Australian/British/Canadian consuleṭo zaimu?

Are there a lot of _____

_____ bohut ta ase ni?

Are there a lot of hotels?

Huṭel bohut ta ase ni?

Are there a lot of restaurants?


Are there a lot of bars?


Are there a lot of sites to see?

hokhol zagah dekhbar ase ni?

Can you show me the _____ ?

Amare _____ khanta dekhaiba ni?

Can you show me the map?

Amare meph khanta dekhaiba ni?



towards the _____

.... ow dikhe, omne di

past the _____

... phalaia

before the _____

... or aage

watch for the _____.

....ow ṭukhu mono khori dekhba.


cross junction





(on/to the) right

ḍain (e)

(on/to the) left

bau (e)

(on/to the) north

uttor (e)

(on/to the) south

dokkhin (e)

(on/to the) east

phub (e)

(on/to the) west

phoschim (e)



in front

aag (e)


usa ṭila (e)


nisa ṭila (e)


khor (e) / phis (e)

Go (___).

(___) zauka. (formal)
(___) zao.(informal)

Turn around (___).

(___) Ghuraoka. (formal)
(___) Ghurao.(informal)

Keep going (___).

(___) zaite thakhba. (formal)
(___) zaite thakho.(informal)

Stop (___).

(___) Tamuka. (formal)
(___) Tamo.(informal)


The only taxi found in and around Sylhet is the auto-rickshaw or baby-taxi (pronounced bebi-teski)

Taxi !

Bebi-teski !

Are you going

(Aphne) zaira ni?

Take me to _____, please.

_____ loia zauka (formal).
_____ loia zao. (informal)

How much does it cost to get to _____?

_____ zaite khoto loiba?

Take me there, please.

Hono loia zauka. (formal)
Hono loia zao. (informal)

Keep on driving

Salaite takhuka


Rakh ouka


I want to rent a car.

Ami ekhta gari barati loitam sai.

Can I get insurance?

Ami inshorens loiltam phari ni?



I'm driving

Ami salanit
Ami salaiar
Ami salairam

Do you want to go for a drive?

Salanit zaiba ni? (highly formal)
Salanit zaita ni? (formal)
Salanit zaitae ni?(informal)
Salanit zaibe ni? (implying in no respect)

Do you drive?

Aphne salain ni?

Please go for a long drive

Lamba sofor khorouka

I'm going for a long drive

Ami garidi lamba soforo zaiar
Ami garidi lamba soforo zairam

one way

ekh muka


axite deuka [ah-ee-teh deh-ooh-kah] (formal)
axite dewo [ah-ee-teh deh-w] (informal)
axite de [ah-ee-teh deh] (implying in no respect)

no parking

rakhoin na

speed limit

ispidor shima

petrol/gas station

pheṭṭul/gesh ishtishon


kheras tel (kerosene oil)






Ishṭishon, Bondor

Bus Stop

Baas Ishṭoph

Bus station

Baas ishtishon


Biman Bondor

Rail station

Rel ishtishon

Train station

Ṭerein ishtishon





Auto Rickshaw











Sea or river


Nao, Nouka






Do you have any rooms available?

"Room available" ase ni?
Ekhod koddha khali ase ni?

How much is a room for one person/two people?

Ekhzon / duizon manshor lagi "room" or daam khemola(n)?

Does the room come with bedsheets?

"Room" o "bedsheet" phaimu ni?
"Room" o bisna-saddor phaimu ni?

Does the room come with _____

"Room" o _____ phaimu ni?
  • bedsheets? : bisna-saddor
  • a bathroom? : gusol-khana
  • a telephone? : ṭeliphon
  • a TV? : ṭelibhishon

May I see the room first?

Ami rum ṭa phoela dekhtam phari ni?

Do you have anything cheaper?

Aphnar kichcho xosta ase ni? [Af-nah-r kee-ch-chooh hoh-stah ah-seh nee?]

Do you have anything _____.

Aphnar kichcho _____ ase ni?
  • quieter? : nirai
  • bigger? : boro
  • cleaner? : saf
  • cheaper? : xosta [hoh-stah]

OK, I'll take it.

Ṭik ase, ami loimu.

I will stay for _____ night(s).

Ami _____ rait takhmu.

Can you suggest another hotel?

Bhala ekhod hoṭel sajeshṭ khorba ni?

Do you have (a) locker(s)

lokar ase ni?

Do you have (a) ______(s)

______ ase ni?
  • safe? : seif
  • lockers? : lokar

Is breakfast or supper included?

Nasta kiba bhat-salon loge ni?
Nasta ba raikur khani loge ni?

What time is breakfast or supper?

"Breakfast" kiba ḍinar khun bela?
Biankur nasta ba raikur khani khun bela?

Please clean my room.

Amar "room" ṭa saf khori diba.

Can you wake me at _____?

Amare _____ṭat hozag khori diba ni?

I want to check out.

Ami chek-auṭ khortam sai.

Eating and drinking

I'm hungry.

Amar bhuk lagse.

Bon appétit.

Bhalaṭike khauka.

Have a good appetite.

Bhuk taza rakhuka.

A table for one person/two people, please.

Ekhan tebul ekhzon/duizon mainchor lagi diba (formal).

Please bring a menu.

Ekhan "menu" anba.

Do you have an English menu?

Ingrezi "menu" ase ni?

Can I look in the kitchen?

Ami phakh-ghor / "kitchen" ṭa dekhtam phari ni?

Are there any paper towels? (can I have some)

Khagozor tawal ase ni? (diba)

Is there a house specialty?

"House specialty" ekhod ṭa ase ni?

Is there a local specialty?

"Local specialty" ekhod ṭa ase ni?

Please choose for me.

Amar lagi khichchu basia dilaoka.

baked; grilled




dry roasted vegetables

bhuna tarkhari

Fixed-price meal.

khanir daam fiks khora.

I'm a vegetarian.

Ami khali tarkhari khai.

I don't eat [pork,beef or fish].

Ami [shoror ghus(t), ghorur ghus(t) ba maas] khai na.

I want a dish containing _____.

Amar "dish"/khani ṭa _____r hoito hoibo.
  • vegetable: tarkhari
  • meat: gusto
  • chicken: murgo
  • fish: maaso

Please do not use too much oil.

Doea-khori tel beshi bebohar khorba na.

Please bring the _____.

_____ṭa anba.

Excuse me, waiter?

E-re bhai?

I'm/We're finished.

Ami/Amra shesh.

The food was delicious

Ze mozar khani

I loved the meat curry

Ami gustor salonṭa balaphaisi

I loved the ____ ____.

Ami ____ ____ṭa balaphaisi

I liked the meat curry

Gustor salonṭa amar bala lagse

I liked the ____ ____.

____ ____ṭa amar bala lagse

Please clear the plates.

Pheleiṭ khan ta niba gi.
Pheleiṭ gesin horai-ba.

Can you please clear the plates?

Phleiṭ gesin xorai-ba ni? [feh-leh-eeṭ geh-seen hoh-rah-ee-bah nee?]

The check please

bill anba

Meal times




Duiphori belar khani.




Raitkhur khani.

Non vegetarian

non-mixed curry or dish

nillar salon
  • Most household curries are cooked with a choice of meat, poultry, or fish with a mixture of any particular vegetable. This is why nilla is to be noted.


  • The word nilla applie to both meat and vegetarian dishes


murgor ghus(t)


ghorur ghus(t)


shoror ghus(t)


berir ghus(t)



sundried fish




dry roasted meat

bhuna gust





scotch egg

nargisi kufta




Kufta kobab

shish kebab

shik kobab

burger shaped kebabs

shami kobab

non-mixed soup

nillar shira
  • meat soup: ghustor shira
  • chicken soup: murgor shira

dry fish soup/broth

huṭkir shira
  • huṭkir shira comes in as both nilla and with vegetables.

meat pilau

iakhni phulao (usually pronounced akhni phulab)


  • similar to pilau rice, but cooked in layers of meat, fried onions, boiled eggs and rice, instead of having everything mixed in all together.


cooked rice


fried rice

bhat birian (pronounced bhat biraan)

fried starchy rice

birun bhat



bread loafs (brioche loafs)


toast (toasted brioche loafs)




only vegetables

nillar tarkhari

Mixed vegetable curry

nira mishar salon

spinach or any leafy dish



  • tomatos : ṭomeṭu
  • cucumber : kira / howa
  • carrots : gazor
  • onions : phiaiz
  • bell peppers : kephsikom
  • cabbages : phata khobi
  • cauliflower : phul khobi

vegetable curry

tarkharir salon

vegetable soup

tarkharir shira

lentil soup

ḍailor shira




urir bisi

mashed potatoes

alur borta

Bengali style pani-puri

soṭ-phoṭi (without the pani/water)



clarified butter

  • Ghee made from cow's milk is know as khaṭi-ghee (pure-ghee).

vegetable ghee








nun [noon]

ground black pepper

gul morisor gura

crushed pepper corn

kuṭail gul moris

pepper corn

gul moris


xoirox [hoh-ee-roh]


  • green chili: khasa moris
  • sweet chili: lal moris
  • chili pepper: naga moris (above a million scoville units)

bell pepper

anaz(al)or moris (zero scoville units)



hot n spicy

zal moshla
gorom moshla

hot (fire)


hot (chili)

zal (also meaning heat)

heat the curry, please.

salon ṭare zal diba.



  • banana: khola
  • grapefruit: zambura
  • lime: lembura / khasa lembu
  • lemon: lembu
  • macroptera citrus fruit: xat khora [hah-t khoh-rah]
  • oranges: khomla
  • clementines, mandarines, tangerines and satsumas: zamir
  • pineapple: anarosh
  • apple: aefol
  • custard apple: atafol
  • papaya: khoefol
  • longan fruit: ashfol
  • jackfruit: khaṭol
  • lychee: lesu
  • mango: aam
  • starfruit: khafrenga
  • pomegranate: anwar
  • grapes: angur
  • guava: shofri
  • asian pear: nashphatti
  • hog plum / golden apple: amra
  • otaheita apple: bilati amra
  • prunes / plums: alubukhara
  • indian plum: zam
  • indian gooseberry: ewola
  • indian apple: bel
  • indian olives: belphoi
  • star gooseberry: ar boroi
  • oenaplia jujube: hiakul boroi
  • ziziphus Jujube: kul boroi/sini boroi
  • xylopyrus jujube: ghat boroi
  • tamarind: tetoi
  • dates: khazur


à la carte.

ekhod ṭa khani.

light meal/snack.



  • dehydrated milk powder: nido / dano
  • whole fresh milk: phekeṭor taza dudh
  • lemon juice: lembur rosh
  • rose water: gulaph zol
  • ginger: adrokh
  • cinnamon stick: ḍalsini (lit. ḍal: tree-branch + sini: sugar) also pronounced as ḍailsini
  • bay leaves: tez phata
  • cardamon: elais
  • sugar: sini
  • date syrup: ghur



cola drinks:

  • RC
  • Coke
  • Pepsi
  • Pran Cola

fresh lemonade

lembur shorbot

sparkling lemonade:

  • 7up
  • Sprite








ice-cream (Just as mango achar is called mango chutney!)

coconut water

naikolor phani

young coconut juice

ḍabor phani

sugarcane juice

kuiaror rosh

mango milkshake

aam dudh

yogurt drink




sweet yogurt

miṭa doi


Modor ghor

Alcoholic drinks




Tendu leaf cigarette(s)


Shredded Tobacco


Betel leaf

  • Although phan is used to refer to the leaves of the betel vine, the use of this word means to chew areca nut and other condiment called phan moshla wrapped with a betel leaf.

Below are a list of phan variety, consisting of the phan moshla ingredients to make a (samosa-like) phan wrap:

  • Guwa phan:
  • Betel leaf: Phan
  • Areca nut: Guwa
  • Soon phan:
  • Betel leaf: Phan
  • Areca nut: Guwa
  • Calcium hydroxide (Caustic lime paste): Sun
  • Shada phan: (a common household phan)
  • Betel leaf: Phan
  • Areca nut: Guwa
  • Dried whole Tobacco leaf: Shada
  • Calcium hydroxide (Caustic lime paste): Sun
  • Tomakh phan:
  • Betal leaf: Phan
  • Areca nut: Guwa
  • Shredded Tobacco: Tomakh
  • Dried whole Tobacco leaf: Shada
  • Sweet and scented Tobacco: Zorda
  • Calcium hydroxide (Caustic lime paste): Sun
  • Meeṭa phan:
  • Betel leaf: Phan
  • Sweet and Saffron dyed Areca nut: Miṭa shuphari
  • Sweet mouth freshener: Mukhwosh (lit. mukh: mouth + ooshma: stench) is made of colorful sugar coated herb-seeds scented with aromatic essential oils and peppermint oil.
  • Sweet cumin (Aniseed): Barik guamuri bakhor
  • Fennal seeds: Guamuri bakhor
  • Shredded coconut: Kuṭa naikol
  • Glace/Maraschino cherry: Sini soṛail "cherry"
  • Zordari phan:
  • Betel leaf: Phan
  • Sweet and scented Tobacco: Zorda
  • Sweet and Saffron dyed Areca nut: Miṭa shuphari
  • Catechu (an extract from the acacia tree): Khoe'er
  • Powdered caustic lime: Hukna sun
  • Fennal seeds: Guamuri bakhor
  • Mint leaves: Phudina
  • Cardamon: Elais
  • Sini phan: (lit. sugar betel-leaf) refers to chewing on engagement ceremonies.
  • Betel leaf: Phan
  • Sweet and scented Tobacco: Zorda
  • Sweet and Saffron dyed Areca nut: Miṭa shuphari
  • Sweet mouth freshener: Mukhwosh (lit. mukh: mouth + ooshma: stench) is made of colorful sugar coated herb-seeds scented with aromatic essential oils and peppermint oil.
  • Sweet cumin (Aniseed): Barik guamuri bakhor
  • Fennal seeds: Guamuri bakhor
  • Coriander seeds: Dhonia bakhor
  • Cumin seeds: Zira bakhor
  • Sesame seeds: Til
  • Shredded coconut: Kuṭa naikol
  • Glace/Maraschino cherry: Sini soṛail "cherry"


Commercial spot/Market








I'm buying

Ami kiniar
Ami kinram

Do you have this in my size?

Okhṭa amar saizor milbo ni?

I want to buy _____.

Ami _____ kintam sai.
  • This: Okhṭa
  • That: Hokhṭo

How much is this?

Okhṭar daam khoto?

How much is _____?

_____r daam khoto?

That's too expensive.

Itar daam beshi loira.

Give me a deal.

Daam khomauka.

Would you take _____?

_____ niba ni?

I'll give you §_____, and no more.

Ami §_____ dimu aphnare, ar beshi na.
  • This much: Oto Khanta

§ [amount] Taka

§ [_____] Ṭekha

§ [amount] Poysha

§ [_____] Phoesha
  • Phoesha also means money.
  • A hundren phoesha makes a ṭekha.

I can't afford it.

Kinbar khemota nae.

I don't want it.

Ami sai na.

You're cheating me.

Aphne amare ṭogra.

I'm not interested.

Ar kham nae.

OK, I'll take it.

Ṭik ase, ami loimu.

Please give me a carrier-bag.

Ekhṭa kisa diba.

Do you ship overseas?

Bidesh maal phaṭain ni?

I need...

Amar... lage.
  • toothpaste. : tutpest
  • a toothbrush. : tutborash
  • tampons. : mashik ped
  • soap. : shaban
  • shampoo. : shabun
  • pain relievers. : bish bednar duwai
  • e.g. paracetamol or ibuprofen : pherasiṭamol / aibiphren
  • medication for cold relief. : shordir duwai
  • medicines for stomach relief. : pheṭor duwai
  • razors / blades : khamaibar baaṭ
  • an umbrella. : satti
  • sunblock lotion. : "sunblock lotion"
  • a postcard. : "postcard"
  • postage stamps. : siṭi sarbar ishtemph
  • batteries. : beṭari
  • writing paper. : lekhbar khagoz
  • a pen. : kholom
  • a pencil. : sheesh kholom
  • reading glasses. : phorbar choshma
  • books in English-language. : Ingrezi boi
  • Magazines in English-language : Ingrezi megezin
  • Newspaper in English-language : Ingrezi photrika
  • a Bengali-English dictionary. : Bangla-Ingrezi dikshonari/abhidhan
  • an English-Bengali dictionary. : Ingrezi-Bangla dikshonari/abhidhan





phaezama, phainjabi

shorts, underwear




asian kilt


western trouser(s)


baggy drawstring trouser(s)


long shirt(s)


western shirt(s)





bogol khata genji





sandals and flip-flops



phawor muza


aator muza




rumaal (Muslim)
bondona (Hindu)






Do you accept American/Australian/Canadian dollars?

"American/Australian/Canadian" dolar loin ni?

Do you accept British pounds?

"British pound" loin ni?

Do you accept credit cards?

"Credit card" loin ni?

Do you accept debit card?

"Debit card" loin ni?

Can you change money for me?

Amar lagi phoesha bodlaita pharba ni?

Where can I get money changed?

Ami phoesha Khun Khano bodlaitam phari?

Can you change a traveler's cheque for me?

Amar "traveller cheque" khaan bodlaia diba ne?

Where can I get a traveller's cheque changed?

(Ami) "traveller cheque" khuno bodlaitam phari?

What is the exchange rate?

"Exchange rate" khemola(n)?

Where is an automatic teller machine (ATM)?

"ATM" khuno phaimu?


I haven't done anything wrong.

Ami khunu bad kham khorsi na.

It was a misunderstanding.

Bhul bhuza oi gesil.

Where are you taking me?

Aphne amare khun khano luia zaira?

Am I under arrest?

Ami giriftar ni?

I am an American/Australian/British/Canadian citizen.

Ami ekh zon "American/Australian/British/Canadian" nagri.

I want to talk to the American/Australian/British/Canadian embassy consulate.

Ami "American/Australian/British/Canadian" embasi konsulet or loge maattam sai.

I want to talk to a lawyer.

Ami wokil or loge maattam sai.

Can I just pay a fine?

Ami fain or bill boridei?

There is no authority except from God

la ḥawla wa la quwwata illa billah
recited from an Arabic statement
"لا حول ولاقوة إلا بالله"

Political authority in Bangladesh[1]

Bangladeshor raznitir aaola

Good Luck.

Allahr Haola. (lit. God's Authority)

Learning more

This is a guide phrasebook. It covers all the major topics for traveling without resorting to English. But please Plunge forward and help us make it a star!