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Bengali (Bangla) and Assamese

Page Content

  1. About the Bangla Script
  2. Browser and Font Recommendations
  3. Setup for Keyboarding
  4. Web Development
    Language Codes: bn (Bengali), as (Assamese), bpy (Bishnupriya)
  5. Bangla Unicode Chart (New Page)
  6. Links

About the Script

Bangla is a syllabic alphabet in that it consists of consonants with vowel signs, and is similar in structure to Devanagari. It is used to write both Bengali (Bangla) and Assamese, although Assamese contains alternate letters for some sounds. However, all variants are available in most Unicode compliant fonts.

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Browser and Font Recommendations

Fonts by Platform

Third Party Fonts

Note on OS X: These fonts can be installed on a Mac, but vowel marks may not display correctly.

Recommended Browsers

Windows - Once a third party font has been installed, Bengali will be properly displayed on these Windows browsers. Click on links to adjust font preferences.

Macintosh OS X - Even with third party fonts installed, some Bengali vowel signs will be improperly displayed.

Note on System 9: Because Unicode support is incomplete in System 9, it may be beneficial to upgrade to OS X if you need to work with Unicode.

Manually Switch Encoding

If you see Roman character gibberish instead of a South Asian script, you will need to manually switch from Western encoding view to the Unicode encoding under the View menu of your browser.

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Setup for Keyboarding

Basic Setup

In order to integrate foreign scripts into your computer, you must set up "keyboard" or input utilities in your operating system. These utilities will allow you to switch between typing English and other languages in word processors and Web tools. This process will also make sure the correct fonts are installed and available on your operating system.

See instructions for Setting up Keyboards for details.


Other Windows Software

Microsoft provides Bengali and Assamese keyboards only in Windows Vista or Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP 2) has been installed. Otherwise third party word processors should be used.

See the Windows Complex Scripts Keyboard Instructions for details on how to activate the keyboard.


As of OS X 10.7 (Lion), the Bangla keyboard is available. See the Macintosh keyboard set up instructions for details.

For older systems, there is a freeware X11 Bangla Unicode editor, but it requires knowledge of the X11 Unix interface.

Note: Unicode fonts can be installed to view encoded Web pages. See the Browser Set Up section below for details

Unicode Chart with Keyboard Codes

See the Unicode chart for Bengali to see OS X Hex codes, Windows XP ALT codes and HTML entity codes.

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Web Development

Encoding and Language Tags

These are the codes which allow browsers and screen readers to process data as the appropriate language. All letters in codes are lower case.

Using Encoding and Language Codes

Computers process text by assuming a certain encoding or a system of matching electronic data with visual text characters. Whenever you develop a Web site you need to make sure the proper encoding is specified in the header tags; otherwise the browser may default to U.S. settings and not display the text properly.

To declare an encoding, insert or inspect the following meta-tag at the top of your HTML file, then replace "???" with one of the encoding codes listed above. If you are not sure, use utf-8 as the encoding.

Generic Encoding Template

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=??? ">

Declare Unicode

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8 ">


The final close slash must be included after the final quote mark in the encoding header tag if you are using XHTML

Declare Unicode in XHTML

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

No Encoding Declared

If no encoding is declared, then the browser uses the default setting, which in the U.S. is typically Latin-1. Some display errors may occur.

Language Tags

Language tags are also suggested so that search engines and screen readers parse the language of a page. These are metadata tags which indicate the language of a page, not devices to trigger translation. Visit the Language Tag page to view information on where to insert it.

Unicode Chart with HTML Entity Codes

Unless a third party keyboard which supports Unicode is installed, you must use the Unicode chart for Bengali and enter HTML entity codes. Note that the correct Unicode font must be installed in order for the codes to work. See the Browsers Section for details.

Note: Vowel signs may not display correctly on all browsers.

PDF and Image Files

In some cases, your best options may be to use PDF files or image files. See the Web Development Tips section for more details.

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Read pages for instructions on whether it is Windows compliant or Linux compliant.
Note on OS X: These fonts can be installed on a Mac, but vowel marks may not display correctly.

Windows, Unix, Linux

Mac OS X

Linux, X11

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Last Modified: Tuesday, 30-Jun-2015 15:54:17 EDT