Bangla, also known by its endonym Bangla (বাংলা), is an Indo-Aryan language primarily spoken by the Bengalis in South Asia. It is the national and official language of Bangladesh and second most spoken language in India. With approximately 220 million total speakers, Bengali is one of the most spoken languages in the world. The earliest forms of the language were spoken in the first millennium CE. Bengali literature dates back to the 7th century CE. The Charyapadas are the earliest examples of Bengali poetry. Bengali grammarians began compiling Sanskrit dictionaries in the 9th century CE. The Middle Bengali period saw the development of Bengali prose and secular poetry.
The modern Bengali language is a standardised form of the language that developed in the late Middle Ages. Bengali has a rich literary tradition, which includes the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, and Michael Madhusudan Dutt. It is also spoken as a minority language in several other countries, including Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia.