Bengali alphabet

The dot diacritic works for [dzo] to [jo] , for [do] to [ro] and for [dho] to [rho]. But /ba/ and /ra/ are completely unrelated sounds, so what is the dot doing to /ba/?

  • 1
    Have you considered the possibility that the dot is simply the diacritic, the only Bengali diacritic that changes the quality of the consonant letters and it has no definite function, it just changes the consonant sound this or that way depending on the letter?
    – Yellow Sky
    Jun 7, 2017 at 17:58
  • @Yellow Sky yes I did, but then I found that out of the other 3 uses, two made the original letters retroflex and one made a glide to a semi vowel but b-r were not related at all. Jun 8, 2017 at 7:17

1 Answer 1


That “dot” symbol is called BENGALI SIGN NUKTA (U+09BC) in Unicode, and is used “for extending the alphabet to new letters”. Other Indic scripts also have nukta signs for the same purpose.

The following are examples of its use. The last three are precomposed characters in Unicode. I'm using Unicode names.

Base Letter  With Nukta
  ক   KA       ক়   QA
  ফ   PHA      ফ়   FA
  গ   GA       গ়   GHA
  জ   JA       জ়   ZA
  ভ   BHA      ভ়   VA
  ড   DDA      ড়   RRA
  ঢ   DDHA     ঢ়   RHA
  য   YA       য়   YYA

However, র BENGALI LETTER RA doesn't appear in Unicode as precomposed with NUKTA, as RRA, RHA and YYA are. It could be that RA and ব BENGALI LETTER BA are independent letters.

Edit: This table shows the evolution of the Bengali script since the 11th century.

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