Dialect a regional or social variety of language distinguished from other varieties of the same language by differences of phonology, grammar, and vocabulary. The standard language is used across the country, both in spoken and written forms, but dialects are restricted to a geographic or socio-cultural area. Dialects tend to coexist along with the standard language and are often considered to be inferior to it.
Bangladesh has a number of dialects which may be clustered into four groups: (1) North Bengal dialects including those of dinajpur, rajshahi, bogra and pabna; (2) Rajbanshi, the dialect of rangpur; (3) East Bengal dialects which include those of a) Dhaka, mymensingh, Tripura, barisal and sylhet, as well as b) faridpur, jessore and khulna, and (4) South Bengal dialects including those of chittagong and noakhali and the dialects of chittagong hill tracts, such as those spoken by chakmas and murongs. The dialects of West Bengal can be divided into two broad categories: (1) Rarhi and Jharkhandi dialects, spanning the regions of South and West Burdwan and most of the Presidency district, and (2) Varendri and Kamrupi, spanning Goalpara and Purnia.
The use of dialects has created a number of differences between the users of the standard language and the users of dialects. In Bangladesh, three linguistic forms of Bangla are in use: a standard Bangla, similar to the nadia standard but using persian and arabic words instead of Sanskritised words and using chalita or colloquial constructions; the sadhu or chaste form; and the dialects used by people of different regions. People coming to the city from other regions use dialects among themselves and the standard form of the language with others and for educational purposes. The use of the sadhu form is on the wane these days.
There can be several dialectical variants of one word. The standard Bangla for boy is chhele. In Midnapore it is po, in Maldah byata, in Manbhum beta, in Singhbhum chha, in Khulna and Jessore chhawal, in Bogra byata chhail, in Dhaka pola, in Mymensingh put, in sylhet puya, in Manipur puto, in noakhali hut, in Chittagong and in the Chakma dialect poya.
Sometimes the same word is pronounced differently when used by different speakers, because of educational attainments, and social status, cultural affiliations, and religious persuasions. The variety of language used by one such individual speaker is called idiolect. Dialect differs from slang. First, dialect is more widely used than slang. Secondly, it is longer lived than slang. Thirdly, dialect forms are not used consciously unlike slang.
An important contribution to the study of Bangla dialects is anchalik bhasar abhidhan (A Dictionary of Regional Dialects), edited by muhammad shahidullah and published in 1965 by the bangla academy. [Abul Kalam Manjoor Morshed]