Bengali ranks among the top ten most spoken languages in the world. Known to its native speakers as Bangla, it’s the only national and official language of Bangladesh, where ethnic Bengali peoples comprise 98% of the population.
In India, it’s also spoken in the West Bengal state, as well as the states of Tripura and Assam. Among state-recognized regional languages in India, only Hindi has more speakers than Bengali. India’s national anthem, “Jana Gana Mana,” was originally written in Bengali.
About 85% of the people in West Bengal speak Bengali. Bengali plays an important role in Kolkata, the capital city of West Bengal. Even so, only a little over half Kolkata’s population speaks Bengali. Hindi and English—India’s two official languages—dominate in that city.