Bengali is an Indo-Aryan language of the eastern Indian subcontinent, evolved from the Magadhi Prakrit, Pāli and Sanskrit languages.
Usually three periods are identified in the history of Bengali:
- Old Bengali (900/1000 CE–1400 CE)—texts include Charyapada, devotional songs; emergence of pronouns Ami, tumi, etc; verb inflections -ila, -iba, etc. Oriya and Assamese branch out in this period.
- Middle Bengali (1400–1800 CE)—major texts of the period include Chandidas's Srikrishnakirtan; elision of word-final ô sound; spread of compound verbs; Persian influence. Some scholars further divide this period into early and late middle periods.
- New Bengali (since 1800 CE)—shortening of verbs and pronouns, among other changes (e.g. tahar → tar "his"/"her"; koriyachhilô → korechhilo he/she had done).
Verbs are inflected for person and honour, but not for number. There are five forms: first person, second person (very familiar), second person (familiar), third person (familiar), and second/third person (polite).
|1||2 (VF)||2 (F)||3 (F)||2/3 (P)|
|Simple present tense||ami boli||tui bolish||tumi bôlo||she bôle||apni bôlen|
|Simple present tense||আমি বলি||তুই বলিস||তুমি বলো||সে বলে||আপনি বলেন|
|Simple past tense||ami bollam||tui bolli||tumi bolle||she bollo||apni bollen|
|Simple past tense||আমি বললাম||তুই বললি||তুমি বললে||সে বললো||আপনি বললেন|
|Habitual past tense||ami boltam||tui boltish||tumi bolte||she bolto||apni bolten|