“Languages are jealous sovereigns, and passports are rarely allowed for travellers to cross their strictly guarded borders” said Rabindranath Tagore. Difference in language is one of the most fundamental – a divide which remains unabridged by technology and good intentions. Language is perhaps the greatest obstacle facing a CAPI intern during their placement abroad, posing both practical and existential challenges. As visitors to Bangladesh, these differences affect our daily routines, as well as how we understand, view, and interact with Bangladeshis who are our hosts, and vice versa.

For my third podcast for the Centre for Asia-Pacific Initiatives, I share the basic insights and fragments of Bangla that I have gained during my time here and what it means for this country. This podcast includes the basic elements of Bangla necessary for day-today living in Dhaka in the form of three dialogues, which I hope may serve as a departure point for future interns and visitors to Bangladesh.

The complementary document includes transcripts of the dialogues, as well as some aspects of Bangla culture and additional vocabulary.