Language Centre

Bengali Beginners Course

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Key information

1 term per sub-level; 10 weeks per term
Attendance mode
Part-time, online/blended learning

Course overview

Course aim

This course aims to give you a thorough grounding in contemporary Bengali, over the four language disciplines -speaking, listening, reading and writing. You will be guided to use these disciplines across a range of everyday, practical topics, such as expressing biographical information and preferences. The course material draws on a variety of sources and subjects from the modern-day language region, to create an authentic and engaging context. As the course progresses, it aims to provide you with further confidence and vocabulary to discuss more complex topics, write and read more challenging texts in the language. This course is delivered by the Language Centre


The course is taught in English and Bengali with coverage of the four key skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing). You will participate in frequent pair work and be encouraged to contribute to class conversation and exercises in the target language. Learning will be reinforced by weekly homework. Although all four language disciplines are used throughout, the first three weeks of this course focus heavily on the alphabet, as the ability to read Bengali is crucial for use of the assigned textbook. You are expected to attend regularly, participate in class and complete homework regularly to ensure learning progress. You will receive regular feedback from your tutor.

This will be achieved through 20 hours of blended learning: this is composed of 15 hours of online structured lessons with the teacher. This is supplemented by a minimum of 5 hours of guided independent learning supported by complementary material and regular feedback from the tutor. The course objective will be achieved within the 10-week course.

Online course requirements

Please ensure you have checked the learner support page


The course will be based on the textbook: Radice, Willam (2016) Complete Bengali (5th Ed.): London: Hodder and Stoughton.
Additional own devised material will be provided by the tutor to help foster a more contemporary context.

The textbook is not included in the fee and can be purchased from the SOAS bookshop -
We strongly recommend waiting until your course is confirmed before purchasing the textbook.

Entry requirements and progression route

For the first stage of Bengali Beginners (i.e. Bengali Beginners 1), no previous knowledge is required. To be able to join Beginners 2 or 3 you should have completed Beginners 1 and 2 respectively at SOAS Language Centre or have an equivalent knowledge of guided learning hours (20 hours blended learning per each sub-level). The progression route from Bengali Beginners 1 is to Bengali Beginners 2; from Beginners 2 to Beginners 3. Upon successful completion of Bengali Beginners 3 you will be able to progress to the Elementary level course in Bengali.

Please note, that each term, courses are subject to quorum requirements.

For course dates and information, please see our timetables.


    Bengali Beginners 1

    By the end of the course you should be able to:

    • spell out words
    • greet and introduce yourself and others
    • ask and give personal information (name, marital status)
    • talk about where one lives
    • talk about jobs
    • express likes and dislikes
    • talk about your family
    • describe objects
    • use colours
    • identify body parts

    Bengali Beginners 2

    By the end of the course you should be able to:

    • use numbers (0-20)
    • tell the time
    • talk about where you come from
    • say what you can, and you cannot do
    • talk about the language(s) you speak
    • identify parts of the body
    • express illness
    • describe parts of the house
    • explain where things are
    • ask and give directions
    • talk about origin and celebrations of the World Language day
    • describe your daily routine

    Bengali Beginners 3

    By the end of the course you should be able to:

    • talk about what you and other people will do in the future
    • make comparisons
    • give commands
    • express a range of opinions
    • use numbers in tens, hundreds and thousands
    • talk about school subjects
    • discuss hobbies and free time
    • book a room in a hotel and ask for various facilities
    • order food and drinks
    • purchase items
    • read a Bengali poem
    • explore and understand contemporary Bengali culture through a film
    • type in Bengali using the Bangla script

    The above is an indication of content that may be covered over the duration of the course but it could vary depending on the level and progress of students in the class


    Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules

    See the full list of Language Centre short courses in Bengali on the Bengali homepage

    Related information

    Back to the Language Centre