Phonemic status of Bangla nasal vowels: A corpus study

Keywords: Nasal vowels, Phonemic status, Bangla/Bengali, Text corpus


This study investigated the phonemic status of the nasal vowels in Bangla (aka Bengali). It has been claimed for decades that all the seven monophthongal oral vowels in Bangla have phonemically contrastive nasal counterparts; however, an in-depth investigation of the status of nasality for all the vowels is lacking in the current literature. With a phoneme dictionary build from a text corpus of 8 (eight) million word-tokens and about 275 thousand word-types, this study investigated whether all the oral vowels have phonemically contrastive nasal vowels. Findings revealed that only five of the seven monophthongal vowels form phonemically contrastive relationships with their nasal counterparts; nasality in /æ/ and /ɔ/ are not contrastive phonemically.


Download data is not yet available.


Alam, F., Habib, S. M., & Khan, M. (2008). Acoustic analysis of Bangla vowel inventory. Tech. rep. Center for Research on Bangla Language Processing; BRAC University. Retrieved on May 20, 2018, from

Arafat, Y., Islam, M. Z., & Khan, M. (2006). Analysis and Observations from a Bangla news corpus. Proc. of 9th International Conference on Computer and Information Technology (ICCIT 2006), Dhaka, Bangladesh, December 2006.

Barman, B. (2011). A contrastive analysis of English and Bangla phonemics. Dhaka University Journal of Linguistics, 2(4), 19-42.

Basu, J., Basu, T., Mitra, M., & Mandal, S. K. D. (2009). Grapheme to phoneme (g2p) conversion for Bangla. In Speech database and assessments, 2009 Oriental COCOSDA International Conference, 66-71. IEEE.

CMU Dict. (2018). The CMU pronouncing dictionary. Retrieved on June 10, 2018 from

Huq, D. (2002). Bhasha Bigganer Katha [Facts about Linguistics]. Dhakaː Mowla Brothers.

Huq, M. E., Lahiri, S., & Sarker, S. (2000). Bangla Academy Byabaharik Bangla Abhidhan [Bangla Academy Functional Bengali Dictionary]. Dhakaː Bangla Academy.

Kennedy, R. (2017). Phonology: A coursebook. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Khan, S. D. (2008). Intonational phonology and focus prosody of Bengali. UCLA Dissertation. Proquest UMI Dissertation Publishing.

Morshed, A. K. M. (1972). The phonological, morphological and syntactical patterns of standard colloquial Bengali and the Noakhali dialect. University of British Columbia MA thesis.

R Core Team. (2017). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing Vienna, Austria.

Sarkar, P. (2004). Segmental phonology of standard colloquial Bengali. University of Chicago, Department of Linguistics dissertation.

Shamim, A. (2011). A reanalysis of Bengali vowel assimilation with special attention to metaphony. The City University of New York, MA thesis.

Thompson, H. (2012). Bengali. Amsterdam, Philadelphiaː John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Zsiga, E. C. (2013). The sounds of language: An introduction to phonetics and phonology. Oxford, Massachusettsː John Wiley & Sons.

How to Cite
ISLAM, M. J. (2018). Phonemic status of Bangla nasal vowels: A corpus study. Acta Linguistica Asiatica, 8(2), 51-62.
Research Articles