SOAS Sylheti Language Society

Lessons are free but we do take donations.
GoFundMe link:

Join us (online or) at:                           Register at
SOAS University of London –
Russell Square (tube station) –
London WC1H 0XG

Facebook page: SOAS Sylheti Language Society
Sylheti Project – SOAS in Camden:  Facebook group  &  YouTube channel
Twitter: SylhetiProject
Instagram: sylhetiproject

For more information, contact:

For lesson dates, times and locations, check out our Facebook page or Twitter.
To follow our lessons, see the comments of our Facebook page photos – each album is a lesson!

Download our 2015 lessons booklet:
(Booklet under Creative Commons – free and open access, not to be sold.)

Also available on the SOAS Digital Collections.


GOALS: To discuss the grammar of the *Sylheti language, developing lessons and teaching materials by pratice teaching to other members of the society. Members are encouraged to each eventually teach (or co-teach) at least one lesson (but attendance to just learn and experience the Sylheti language is fine). This provides the opportunity to learn the Sylheti language and gain language teaching skills.

HISTORY: After an invitation from the director of the Surma Centre, Camden, during Endangered Languages Week presentations at SOAS in 2012, the SOAS Sylheti Project was founded by Dr Candide Simard. Since 2012, SOAS linguistics students have participated in this extracurricular project to document Sylheti spoken by users of the Surma Centre. The SOAS Fieldmethods course has also worked with a Sylheti speaker to document Sylheti grammar. Besides other sub-projects, the SOAS Sylheti Project has compiled a dictionary for an app, published a storybook in Sylheti, and held an academic conference, proceedings to be published shortly.

In order to involve Sylheti-speaking SOAS students (and Sylheti-speaking Londoners), the Sylheti Language Society was created. This Language Society hopes to be a collaborative teaching and learning experience to give a different analytic forum to Sylheti to be discussed as a language, not ‘improper Bengali’ (as it’s called in most Bengali language courses where in London 6-8 out of 10 students are Sylheti origin). Teaching Sylheti is also an experience to put on a C.V. which may lead to translation/interpretation work here in the U.K.

*Sylheti is an Indo-Aryan language with Tibeto-Burman influences, spoken by a minority in north-east Bangladesh and south Assam, where it is often considered to be a mere ‘dialect’ of Bengali, or ‘slang’. However, it is a language, with 200,000-400,000 speakers in the UK, who, for lack of documentation and teaching materials among other reasons, simply call it ‘Bengali’.


17 thoughts on “SOAS Sylheti Language Society

    • emthaut

      For the first time, university budgets now tighter because of the pandemic, we have a GoFundMe, to help pay teachers who are currently teaching three online courses per week. It’s free to attend the lessons. Donations are voluntary!
      Link to GoFundMe:


  1. Gloria Ivanova

    I’m interested in learning the Sylheti language and wondered if you can give me more information! Thank you in advance.


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