Writing Sylheti

Sylheti Translation And Research has as one of its aims to promote Siloi Nagri literacy - so that as many people as possible can enjoy Sylheti folk literature in its original form. We also, however, seek to encourage and assist modern Sylheti authors to publish their work in their own language.

If people do acknowledge Sylheti as a proper language - rather than seeing it only as a 'dialect' or 'colloquial corruption' of Bengali - there is often still an underlying assumption that it is 'just' an oral language; that it is not, nor cannot be, written down. This simply is not the case as is amply evidenced by the strong tradition of Siloi Nagri literature which STAR is dedicated to preserve and promote.

And yet, while there may be good reasons for reviving Siloi Nagri as a script for writing modern Sylheti, it is equally important to recognise that Sylheti literacy is not dependent on, nor, of course, limited to writing in the Siloi Nagri script. Sylheti speakers may be familiar with a variety of scripts and may choose to use different scripts depending on the audience or context of writing.

Alongside Siloṭi Nagri, there are good and practical reasons why Bengali or a Roman-based script (like that used to write English and other European languages) may also be suitable systems for writing Sylheti. To learn more about the use of these scripts for modern Sylheti literacy and to see transcription schemes for each script, click on one of the following links.

Siloṭi Nagri Script

Bengali Script

Roman Script