Entries categorized " First Year " Feed

Mind mapping in Bangla teaching with 'থাকা' verb.

I am greatly inspired by mind mapping idea in making teaching materials for Bangla. Here is the concept in Wikipedia.  First I saw a couple of exceptionally beautiful mind maps in pinterest and that blew my mind.  I am reorganizing  my materials, making some mind maps for my students . I will ask them what do they think about it. Do mind maps really help ?  

I am posting here one map I made in powerpoint. It is about the conjugation of 'থাকা' verb in simple present tense with pronouns. Those who are not using mind maps, start using it. You, as a teacher or student, will feel liberated. 

Students will use this one after the class, at home. 

For introducing grammar in the class, I first give my students some examples, then they find the rules. I and my students all feel accomplished in this process. :)


Thaka verb conj with sing pron in smp prsnt tns

Online Bangla courses with Mandira


Learn Bangla from where you are

 If you are in interested in learning Bangla, then you have come to the right place.Probably  you do research on Bengal, want to communicate with your friends, like to travel or work in West Bengal or Bangladesh, or you have an interest in learning a new language. Whatever it is, I am here for you. I love teaching Bangla and made it my profession 25 years ago.I resided in USA for 13 years and recently came back to Kolkata. 

You can be physically anywhere in the world. I will be able to guide you face to face. I have chosen one digital teaching and learning platform for my classes which is . It is easy to use and payment is secure.

You just need a good internet connection and a computer. 

 I would just like you to know if you want to learn Bangla or any other language, feel free to use my personal invite link

You will get credit for it from, and can get a free trial class.


About me : I have been teaching Bangla as a second language since 1991. I taught in the American Institute of Indian Studies in Kolkata for 12 years. Then I taught Bangla in the University of Michigan from 2004-2007. I joined in the University of Chicago in 2007 and I will teach here until June, 2016. In many summers since 2005, I taught in the Intensive program in SASLI , Madison.

While I was in Kolkata, besides teaching in the American Institute of Indian Studies, I used to give private lessons to non-native Bangla speakers from all over the world. I taught Bangla to pharmacists, nurses, travelers, social workers, anthropologists, historians, doctors, film makers and many more people with interesting professions.

I give emphasize to students' needs. My classes are task based. Speaking, listening, reading and writing skills will be taken care of.


 Students'  testimonials from and

"Mandira is wonderful! She is very warm and friendly, which helped me feel quite at ease from the beginning of the lesson. After a few minutes of talking about my interest in the Bangla language we dove into writing and pronouncing the vowels. Mandira provided tips throughout to help with writing properly. Afterwards we discussed basic greetings and she even gave me a polite phrase that I will use the next time I'm at a friend's house! I encourage anyone to book a lesson with her if you want a well-organised yet approachable class. See you next time, Mandira! Dhonnobad. (ধন্যবাদ)"James Davis-Ford in

"Mandira is an excellent teacher!" Reem from Isreal in

"Everything was great, and a real example of what language teaching can be." Daisy Paradis from USA in

"I had one lesson with Mandira and I'm looking forward to more! She takes time to find out where you're starting from, what you want to learn, and really personalizes the lesson to meet your needs." Katia from USA in

'Mandira is a truly wonderful teacher. During the initial lessons she gauged my level of understanding of the language. She quickly created a lesson plan to build upon my level of knowledge which is at the intermediate level. This lesson focuses on two parts - having a conversation in the language and practicing reading out loud. Mandira has a wide collection of reading materials which she has aggregated over years of teaching the language. I feel privileged to learn from someone who teaches the language (and has been doing so for years) and has made this her life's work. On top of everything, she is very friendly and funny and the lessons are truly very enjoyable and fun. I am quite excited to be learning this language!'  Arunaksha Guha from ''. 




Durgapuja pandal decoration in making

আমাদের রামতনু বোস লেনের দুর্গাপুজো । বাড়ির ঠিক সামনেই । 


প্রথম ছবি -


দ্বিতীয় ছবি -

সেইদিনই সন্ধ্যেবেলায় দেখলাম প্রজাপতির গায়ে আলো জ্বলে উঠেছে।


দোসরা  অক্টোবর, ২০১৬

কয়েকদিন পরে দেখলাম প্রজাপতিটির গায়ে রং । 






এর পরে কী হয় তার অপেক্ষায় আছি। 

Reunion was in fate ,2016

My beloved  SASLI students ( 2015) and me in Park Street.

From left : Mandira, Scott, Calynn and Sarita

Note to me: They have grown up. Their Bangla have become fluent, mature and accurate. This is a grandmother- type moment, full of bliss and contentment.



University of Chicago Bangla gang (missing Jahnabi in the picture) in Kolkata, summer, 2016

Thomas, Mandira and Eduardo in Park street metro station. 

Note: Oh my god, I am missing teaching them. They learned so much Bangla in one summer in Kolkata. Moment of bliss continued. 




Read Bangla signs 2


 Photo 1

Yes, you can guess the first word, what about next two ? This is a fine example of conjuncts. 

By the way, it is in a shopping mall, 'Mani Square', North Kolkata.




Photo 2

A new coffee shop in Park Street. If the Bangla version is not written there, I do not think I could pronounce the English name at all.  

Is it a French name ? 

There was a much loved 'Music World' shop ( CDs and cassetes) in its place a couple of years ago.



Photo 3 

Read the Bengali words. It is a very old shop in our neighborhood in North Kolkata.



Photo 4

Read the name of the shop and address.

A conch shell bangles shop in North Kolkata 




Photo 5

This is just to show you the inside of the shop. I think they all were very surprised to see me taking a photo.



Photo 6

Read as many words as you can. 

Cannot give you any hint. That would be a spoiler. 


Read Bangla signs 1

 This exercise  is useful if you are a beginner of Bangla language and just have learned all the vowel, consonants, vowel signs and a couple of conjuncts. 



 This photo is not for any exercise. This is for creating ambience of Kolkata Metro.

Photo 1


Photo 2

This is a metro stop in North Kolkata. Read the bigger words written in blue. There is a conjunct in the second word. 


This is another stop in South Kolkata. Read the bigger words written in blue.



Note: Kolkata metro stations have paintings on the walls relevent to the names of metro stations. 


Script and sound of Bangla letters

Worth reposting it . When I made this file, I was in the University of Michigan in 2004. There was no available web file to teach script. I was struggling to make this. I had imagination, but I did not have right tools. People of Language Centr came to rescue me and . Now, we have so much resources that I forgot what a struggle it was to make this.

Thinking of pros and cons of using 'Padlet'

I found 'padlet' and ' pinterest' are kind of same. So, I am trying to find out the logistics behind 'Padlet. What did the teachers do with it and how did they do it. I would like to involve my students to build up resources for their Bangla learnig, create a shared project, or put their thoughts in it. First, let read some articles on 'padlet' and then decide.


The Writing is on the Wall: Using Padlet for Whole-Class Engagement / Beth Fuchs


I am sure I can use some ideas from this board on padlet.  I would like to use it to collaborate students in '' and ''

100 Ways for Teachers to Use Padlet

I am getting more excited as I am getting closer to language learning and teaching ideas using 'padlet'.




For me, it will be 'Bangla classroom'

Quick note: I love the idea ' word of the day'. Very good for beginners.

How will I organize it ?  

a. Add students.


Either tell the students to download  'avro keyboard'. Though I do not like my elementary Bangla students to use typed fonts. 


They can take a picture of the written word in padlet instantly and put on the board. 

Humm, I like the second idea more.

So, we will get a couple of vocabulary in a week. Then what ? Weekly basis review. 

OLLet's see how it goes. I will come back for review. 


Read it 1

To the teachers :

How to use the picture:

It can be used for various levels of Bangla students. But have your students prepare for reading the text. Ask them questions like this, " What does one need to advertise an event ?" Let them think about it for a moment. Most likely they will answer, 'venue' and ' time' and ' the program of the event'.

The students can read the English text. That itself will give them an idea. But if you think the stduents' level is good enough to figure out the content on their own, then tell them not to read it.

If the students are beginners,tell them to read what is written in the orange line. When the task is done, move to the next task. Reading transliteration at the elementary level is very important. Guide the students towards the tranliterated section. 

For the Intermediate and Advanced level, use your judgement for creating a task.  It is not important to read all. Think about what the students need to know from this text. A lot of new words which one cannot ever use, scares a language student a lot. It builds up frustration. Choose a segment,provide some vocabulary. তারপর দেখো, কী হয়।


Screenshot (193)



Some pointers for the Day 1 in Elementary Level Bangla classroom

In the first day of Bangla elementary level class , I always try to combine teaching 'script and sounds' of Bangla and some basic conversational skill . The problem is that Bangla has non-Roman script and unless the students learn how to read, they cannot pronounce the sounds correctly and many teachers agree that it is better to teach the script and sounds first, so the students will be familiar with 'retroflex' and ' dental', 'aspirited' and 'non-aspirited' sounds. We have three ' s' and three ' r' in Bangla, imagine how difficult for English speakers to pronounce them correctly.

Still, I think students should learn to speak seme Bangla so they can communicate at very basic level from the day one. So, I use these short conversations in the first day of Bangla class in the academic year or intensive summer program.

Segment 1 :Introduction :

apnar nam ki ? 

আপনার নাম কী ?

What is your name ?

amar nam.....

আমার নাম...।

My name is .....


Segment 2: Greetings:

apni kaemon achen ?

আপনি কেমন আছেন ?

How are you ?

ami bhalo achhi. 

আমি ভালো আছি।

I am fine.


Segment 3 :Preference:

apnar ki 'cha' bhalo lage ?

আপনার কি চা ভালো লাগে ?

Do you like 'tea' ?

hnya, amar 'cha' bhalo lage.

হ্যাঁ, আমার চা ভালো লাগে।

Yes, I like tea.

na, amar cha bhalo lage na.

না, আমার চা ভালো লাগে না।

No, I don't like tea.



apnar - your (formal)

amar-  my

nam- name

ki-  what

apni-  you ( formal)

kaemon-  how 

achen- are ( conjugates with 'apni')

ami- I 

bhalo- well, good

achi- am

cha- tea

bhalo lage- you like, I like 



Introduce one segment, have your students practice it with each other. If you are teaching one-on-one, practice with your student. Role-play. 

Then go to another segment. Role-play.

Use your knowledge about the cultural background and goals of your students you came to know in first  five or ten minutes of the class. Let the student imagine the situation where can use their first Bangla sentences. Remind them the people who they can connect with. 

Grammar/  Language Structure explanation :

I inform my students very briefly  that there are three 'you' in Bangla, 'ach' verb is conjugated with pronouns. 'bhalo lage' is an irregular expression,  'hnya' and 'na' mean 'yes' and 'no'. But not anything more, neither I present any rule before the small conversations. 

It is very tempting to explain all three 'you' and all conjugations of 'achh', in the first chance, but Bangla teachers, there is a beauty of not pouring out much information when there is no necessity of it. 

Small steps, baby steps, but steps. You know, one day these couple of  sentence will lead your students into a song, a speech, a poem. You will be proud of your students and the first day of your class. 

Note: If your students say that they want to talk to their friends,  you cannot avoid telling them about 'tumi' form. 


 You might want to read this :

Know your students well on the first day of your language class


Photo: Performance of Bangla elementary level students in South Asia Summer Language Institute  (SASLI)in the University of Wisconsin in 2015. Elementary level students are reciting a poem by Sukumar Roy, ' bhalo re bhalo/ভালো রে ভালো'

They started from the very beginning of Bangla. After one and half months, Sarita, Tim, Sam, Calynn and Scott translated this poem and recited. 

Sasli-bangla-students'performance,2015 photo





Students' exercise: translation from English to Bangla ( made by Scott, Sarita, Kelynn and Sam)

If I have studied math when I was young, may be now I would be an enginner.


I should have woken up at 5 am, but I went to bed at 11 pm. last night so I woke up at 7 am this morning. 


I told my mother that I did not want to help her cook food, but she told me she needed my help. 


Don't say that.


He comes to athink, I will come to think. 


If it is not possible for him to come, then I will come. 


When I was a small boy, I would go to the lake in the summer. 


What was your favourite paper at the conference. 


I have met Mandiradi at the terrace at 3:45 in the afternoon.


You shall call your mother before you go to class. 

ভালো রে ভালো English Translation - SASLI 2015


Please enjoy the English translation of Sukumar Ray's classic poem, ভালো রে ভালো, produced by the Elementary Bengali class at the SASLI Summer Language Program at UW-Madison. More information on the poet can be found here

Good is Good

by Sukumar Ray 

Oh brother! In my thoughts I see so far

In this world, all is good

The real is good, the false is good

The cheap is good, the costly is good

You are good, and I am good

Here, the rhythm of the song is good

Here, the flowers' scent is good

The cloud-dappled sky is good

The wave-stirring breeze is good

The summer is good, the rains are good

Dark is good, fair is good

Pulao is good, korma is good

Fried fish dolma is good

The straight is good, the winding is good

The hairy and the bald are good

The drum is good, the gong is good

Pushing the cart along is good

Rolling the bread dough is good

To hear the songs of old is good

The feel the cling of cotton is good

The cold shiver of a shower is good

But the very best of all

Is porota with peanut butter.


Translation by:

SASLI Elementary Bangla Class, Summer 2015

Tim Aylsworth, Scott Lynn Brown, Calynn Dowler, Samuel Lagasse, Sarita Mizin

Comparative Linguistics: Prepositions vs. Postpositions- English vs. Bangla

In class last week, we had a lesson on the locative case and postpositions. While that might seem confusing if you don't know those words, in practice, this divergence from English becomes quite simple. While in English a speaker might be used to forming the prepositional phrase (remember this from grade school, folks?) (preposition + a noun), Bangla manages to form similar structures in reverse (noun+ a preposition) by attaching an ending to an existing noun in the sentence. Just like in English though, the preposition used will modify the noun that it is 'attached' to. Rendered from English to Bangla- a phrase like "in the city" would become literally "the city in". Our comrade, Scott Brown, did a great explanation of this, so I'll upload a video of him giving us a mini-lesson on Bangla syntax and postpositions. - Sarita Download Trim.FFCD7B92-9567-4994-9045-D3EEB3EC7896

Bangla Alphabet Videos

I found these videos useful while learning the Bangla alphabet. The first is a song, while the second is a slower video that goes through each pronunciation with a word starting with that character:  

1) Bangla Nursery Rhyme:

2) Bangla Bornomala:

~ Calynn

Negatives আছে - নেই !!

" আমার বই আছে" / I have a book"

" আমার বই নেই"/ I don't have a book"

Students, listen to this song. 

This is a sad song, no doubt. But it helps to remember that  ' নেই'  is the opposite of 'আছে'.  It will make you very depressed but you will not make this common mistake again.

" আমার বই আছে নেই"

Skip a couple of lines and then you will come to the right sentence.

একবার বল, নেই, তোর কেউ নেই, তোর কেউ নেই।



Again, the days have gone, when teaching materials were mainly based on grammar. I am very happy with the text 'Epar Bangla Opar Bangla' which follows communicative methods. But we cannot ignore language structure totally. 

Bangla has so many 'negatives', it is very hard for students to remember all of them. 

I think that an enormous amount of extra materials I need to provide my students which I definitely do not have at this moment.

We always have to remember that whatever we teach, students should be proficient with four skills ( speaking, listening, reading and writing). 


Here, Scott and Kellyn are practicing on board. 







Spell out loud (for teachers)

Students usually do not like this exercise. It is tough no doubt. But when I explain them that this is necessary then they agree to do so. Sometimes, they ask for it, like students of SASLI 2015. 

The point of doing this is they may need to know a word from their friends, they may not always find a blackboard, any board or a piece of paper. What happens if they talk to someone in phone and another person tries to use a word which they probably know but cannot hear it clearly ? We can think of thousand situation like this. 

To me, it helps a lot immensely, specially if I get the same students in 2nd. Year Bangla. 

But, the exercise is draining and in the beginning it needs a lot of patience to learn.


I started with words with all vowel signs , this was a bit hard for them. It is best to to deal with one sign, like লে

ল-এ এ-কার। 

These two sounds one after another is very difficult to hear in the beginning. Go slow. 


Then you can spel out one word and students can write it.  


ব-এ- আ-কার, ব-এ- আ-কার = বাবা

I do not use any random word. I use the words from the list of words which I use for vowel signs. Then I sue the words from ' Script and Sound' chapter of workbook of 'Epar Bangla Opar Bangla'. We have to use the high frequency words and we have to recycle them. 






Bangla vowel signs

Take one step at a time. Learning vowel signs without words is very painstaking.


I would like to add a list of vowels for the teachers and students for reference. In classroom, one has to figure out how to work with each sign. 


Download Vowels and their signs


With one vowel sign, I use a bunch of words which are useful to my students. This simple looking words are absolutely necessary to me before moving to 'Epar Bangla Opar Bangla' workbook chapter, ' Script and Sound'. 

If you use these words, please remeber that no signs are attached to the vowels at the top of each page. The reason is that most fonts do not allow us to use the signs without the consonants. 

Please add the signs. 

Download Wordswithvowelsigns

The meanings are not included. I tell them after they work with the pronunciation. But a lot can be done at this stage. I will work on that.

One huge problem which students face at this time is whether they will pronounce inherent vowel with each letter or not. 

What will be the pronunciation of গরম ? garomo ? garom ? 

I tell them to think about all the possibilities when they work in pairs or group. Then we go through the words.

In Suniti Chatterjea's book, there is a list of rules regarding that. I translated that and made a shorter list for students before. Nobody used that and I lost it. 

probably I should translate that again. Probably it will be comforting for the students to have something to fall back on. 


Sam's work on board on this.


 Learning words with vowel signs is  also learning vocabulary. 

A couple of activities students do in class.

a. They play pictionary. One student draws something on the board, others guess what the word is.

(Speaking Exercise).

b. They write a couple of words in English on the board . Everybody switch places and  write the Bangla word ( Translation method).

WP_20150616_003 WP_20150616_004

Then the students can check each other's words. Finally, the teacher can check them. 

This is always fun. One can not go wrong about it. 


Challenges : Students are juggling with a couple of things at this point. retroflex- dental sounds, vowel signs, three ' ro', two ' sho'. two ' no' and a lot more. 


Materials I use for Bangla script

The course material, 'Epar Bangla Opar Bangla/ Bangla Across Borders' have a very beautiful Script Tutor where the alphabets, vowel signs, words, stroke orders and sounds are there. The course material is free. But one has to get a licence first.


I do not use Script Tutor in class. I teach my students hand writing version. God knows, how different it is from print version. 



Learning Bangla Script (2)

At some point, many of the letters look very similar. Students know about it more than I do. So, again, I learn from them. I tell them to go the board and write the similar looking letters in groups.


Here, they are. SASLI Bangla students, 2015





Learning Bangla Script

There are infinite ways to learn a script. 

I first introduce my students one letter at a time. Pronunciation and stroke order. I start with one at a time. 

Then students go to the board for practicing the letters. Fortunately, in SASLI, classrooms  have huge boards and the number of Bangla students never go beyond eight. 

It is always better for the students to learn a couple of letters and then come to the board. Coming to the board after one letter will involve a lot of movements and coming to the board after learning ten letters will be too much and  it may be stressful for them. I think three or four letters are good to practice in one cluster. 

Using flash cards is very useful. Again, many ways are there. This is the picture where students have learned all the letters and they are working as a group to arrange the alphabets in traditional way as they are arranged in general. They have a template in front of them. If necessary, they may look at that template. 

SASLI 2015 students: From left, Scott, Tim, Sam, Calynn and Sarita.






Course materials for learning Bangla language

For elementary level students who would like to learn Bangla through communicative method, I would recommend you to use 

Epar Bangla Opar Bangla/ Bangla Across Borders

There are textbook, workbook, script tutor, audio and video materials. This course material is free. You have to get the licence from University of Washington, Seattle. 


Important materials for learning Bangla for all levels is in this website. It is definitely a good resource page.

Bangla Instructional Materials, the website is hosted by University of Chicago

Corrections, Journal 1

আজ আমি বাইরে বসব কারণ আবহাওয়া খুব ভাল। আমি স্নান করে, ভাত খেয়ে, মা ফোন করে, একটা বই নিয়ে মাঠে বসব। আমার বন্ধুর আমার পাশে উচিত কিন্তু তার কাজ করার দরকার।

যদি প্রতিদিন আবহাওয়া ভাল থাকে, তাই আমি রোজ বাইরে যাব। আমি ভাবি যে রোদেকে বই পড়া খুব মজার। বসন্তকাল এস (is coming) আর সবকিছু অনেক সবুজ।

গতকাল, আমি “SASA” শোএ গেলাম। আমি রাতরে খাবার সাহাযলাম (helped with dinner)। এ শো আমি খুব ভালবাসি। সবলোকে নাচ করেছে, তারা হাসেছে।

Comments on gossip

Jahnavi and Yusuf: one of Yusuf's friends got into a fight. There was a teacher's conference, and the teacher saw a security guard. The next morning, Yusuf's friend is in jail and he has to go there to get him out.

Supriya and Mohan: talking about Jahnavi's 'situation.' She went to a party, drank a lot, and ate too much (?). She ate Andrew yesterday. Mohan doesn't like dead people, so he isn't friends with Andrew anymore.

Journal 1 - Katia

আজ আমি বাইরে বসব কারন আবহাওয়া খুব ভাল। আমি স্নান করে, ভাত খেয়ে, মা ফোন করে, একটা বই সঙ্গে মাঠে বসব। আমার বন্ধু আমার পাশে বসা উচিত কিন্তু সে কাজ করার দরকার।

যদি প্রতিদিন আবহাওয়া ভাল, তাই আমি রোজ বাইরে জাব। আমি ভাবি যে পড়তে সুয্যর (with ‘r’ accent, surjar- sun) নিচে খুব মজা। বসন্তকাল এস আর সবকিছু অনেক সবুজ।

গতকাল, আমি “SASA” সো গেলাম। আমি রাতের খাবার সাহাযলাম। এ সো আমি খুব ভালবাসি। সবলোক কে নাচ করেছে, তারা হাসেছে।

jahnavi and Yusuf, Mid term,winter,08

One of you are a father and another is the son. This is robibar and the father wants the son to do certain things, like “ you have to do this..” and “ you should do that’ and the son does not want to spend the Sunday following his father’s advice. He has his own plan. He brings up his own list. So, talk for a while.

Do not use any written note and make the conversation as natural as possible.

jahnavi and Yusuf, Mid term,winter,08

One of you are a father and another is the son. This is robibar and the father wants the son to do certain things, like “ you have to do this..” and “ you should do that’ and the son does not want to spend the Sunday following his father’s advice. He has his own plan. He brings up his own list. So, talk for a while.

Do not use any written note and make the conversation as natural as possible.

oral midterm

One of you are a father and another is the son. This is robibar and the father wants the son to do certain things, like “ you have to do this..” and “ you should do that’ and the son does not want to spend the Sunday following his father’s advice. He has his own plan. He brings up his own list. So, talk for a while.

Do not use any written note and make the conversation as natural as possible.

Supriyababu and mohan

Midterm oral exam for winter quarter

One of you are a vegetable seller and another one will be buyer. The buyer will have a big party at his/her home tomorrow. Try to sell/buy as many vegetables as you can. The seller will try to sale as much as he/she can and the buyer will have to stop him/her. The buyer can choose vegetables, inspect them carefully, give them back to the seller for measuring those. You can complain about the scale. Use the weight and price in Bangla. Bargain but be polite.

Do not use any written note and make the conversation as natural as possible.

Pattern mistakes - Andrew

My spelling mistakes usually involve using an 'okar' when there shouldn't be one, and vice versa. I also sometimes confuse Hindi spellings with Bengali spellings for words that are similar but different in the two languages.

I am also finding it difficult to keep straight when to use possessive versus object pronouns for the various phrases expressing compulsion.

I don't always know which postposition to use/ when to use the accusative/locative case.

paragraph homework

My main mistake and weak area in Bangla is figuring out the word order.  Writing out the sentences for homework helps, but doing some in class would also help-- that way I'll have some examples to look at while forming new sentences.  I need to be able to differentiate the tenses, which I can do just by memorizing but I haven't had time to do that.  I need to start writing without as much help from my notes/books, so I need to be more confident in the material.