Bengali (), also known by its endonym Bangla (; বাংলা [ˈbaŋla] ( listen)), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in the Indian Subcontinent. It is the national and official language of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, and the official language of the states of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam (Barak Valley) and Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Republic of India. It is also one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. With 205 million speakers, Bengali is the seventh most spoken native language in the world by population. Dictionaries from the early 20th century attributed slightly more than half of the Bengali vocabulary to native words (i.e., naturally modified Sanskrit words, corrupted forms of Sanskrit words, and loanwords from non-Indo-European languages), about 30 percent to unmodified Sanskrit words, and the remainder to foreign words. Dominant in the last group was Persian, which was also the source of some grammatical forms. More recent studies suggest that the use of native and foreign words has been increasing, mainly because of the preference of Bengali speakers for the colloquial style. Today, Bengali is the primary language spoken in Bangladesh and the second most widely spoken language in India. Bengali literature, with its millennium-old history and folk heritage, has extensively developed since the Bengali renaissance and is one of the most prominent and diverse literary traditions in Asia. Both the national anthems of Bangladesh (Amar Sonar Bangla) and India (Jana Gana Mana) were composed in Bengali; furthermore, it is believed by many that the national anthem of Sri Lanka (Sri Lanka Matha) was inspired by a Bengali poem written by Rabindranath Tagore, while some even believe the anthem was originally written in Bengali and then translated into Sinhalese. In 1952, the Bengali Language Movement successfully pushed for the language's official status in the Dominion of Pakistan. In 1999, UNESCO recognized 21 February as International Mother Language Day in recognition of the language movement in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). Language is an important element of Bengali identity and binds together a culturally diverse region.
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