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  • Writer's pictureMarianne Wieland

The Language and People of Bangladesh

Updated: Jan 1, 2022

It seems an odd sort of thing for an American counselor to be writing on, wouldn't you say? I know many of you have been curious as to why my name or picture turns up so often in the middle of discussions among the people of Bangladesh. Especially when no one asked my opinion in the first place! And it does seem I have an opinion on everything. There is a reason for that. It is because, most of the time, I do. Perhaps, I should start at the beginning, when I had my first encounter with a person from Bangladesh.

In March of 2020, I got a friend request from a young man who was living in Malaysia as an expatriate of Bangladesh. I did not accept right away due to having had a recent association with some young people of Nigeria that did not end well. I did nothing for a few days, but my gut instinct kept telling me I needed to speak to the young man. I had become very suspicious of anyone from a foreign country. So, I decided to contact him and ask why he sent the request, expecting him to say something about my looks, my stage work, or how much money I make as a writer. Typical questions I get from friend requests. I could not have been more wrong.

He informed me that he was seeking advice on some medical issues dealing with his pregnant wife and unborn baby. He'd seen that I was in the medical field and that prompted the friend request. I felt bad for being that suspicious, so I accepted the friend request and answered his questions as best I could. His wife was in a hospital in Bangladesh. The young man was suffering from some depression not being able to be with her due to the Corona Virus having locked down the countries.

Many difficulties have come from most of the world being locked down the past year. As misfortune would have it, I ended up counseling this young man through the death of his wife and child. It is one of the most difficult things I have ever done and the saddest. But, through conversation with him and watching his posts, I became fascinated with the translations and what others were saying to him. Google translate is not always the greatest avenue to use for this. But I am tenacious, if nothing else, and I decided to just ask when something did not make sense. I expected to be met with some animosity or rude comments, but the people patiently explained the conversations. It was a pleasant change from what I was used to.

I have remained good friends with this young man to this day, along with his family. They have all befriended me and I just fell in love with the language, with the culture and with all of them. Another young man sent me a friend request a couple of months later, having seen my interaction with this family. He took it upon himself to help me with learning the language. He was very kind and patient with my constant questions. All of this was very different from my experience trying to learn Yoruba from the Nigerian people. He also remains a good friend.

Through these two young men, I met many others. I was asked to join a Bangladesh women's group. These are the sweetest people I have ever encountered. Very genuine and they have been a wealth of information. I have made some close and unique friendships. They have taught me about the dress, the food, issues specific to the women of the country as well as the love and respect to each other and they extended that to me. They are like family now.

As I continued to try to navigate the language, through giving my opinions of different issues in other groups, I met others who offered assistance and explanations of how the culture is different from my own. Through Divine Intervention, I believe, I met Zihan Ahmed who invited me to join ACCS (Aid for Cyber Crime Solutions). Through this opportunity I have been able to become closer to the culture by offering advice on specific issues facing this country and its people. Zihan asked me to become a moderator of the group and eventually, a mentor.

I was also invited to join BASHU, a group dedicated to language, grammar, and spelling. Being a writer, this is something close to my heart and I am involved in groups dedicated to these issues in my own country. Although I do not know the Bengali language well enough to understand it all, I am learning by watching Zihan's fascinating videos of the different words and meanings. If you have not watched these, you should.

I have learned through all of my articles, opinions, advice, and groups, that this is a beautiful country with beautiful, loyal people who love each other and their culture. There are many expatriates in Malaysia that are very loyal to their country of Bangladesh as well, but cannot return to their homeland due to Covid regulations.

In conclusion, I will say that I love the beautiful, lyrical, sound of the language and the amazing accents. I love finding out that the problems and issues of the people and the country are similar to those of my own. I hope to visit this fascinating country one day and meet some of my friends. In the meantime, I will continue to try to learn the language and offer what I can to the people of the incredible country that is Bangladesh.

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