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As I’ve been researching Bengali typeface design, I’ve been realizing that there’s a need for some standardized terminology or nomenclature for the elements of the Bengali script, both in Bengali and English. Since Fiona Ross’ The Printed Bengali Character is the seminal work in this field, I’ve used it as the basic standard. Chandra, Bokil and Kumar have attempted to clarify the nomenclature for Bengali type in a conference paper, but I don’t feel satisfied with it:

  • It seems to me they have dispensed with a lot of existing valid nomenclature that Ross and Polash Boron Pal and Chittranjan Bandopadhyay have already established in English and Bengali
  • They have introduced unusual terms like ‘delta’ instead of ‘triangle’, and ‘tail’ for an upper flourish; ‘wedge’ and ‘nose’
  • They have used Devanagari terms which carry a different meaning in Bengali, such as shirorekha for the headline. ‘Matra‘ is used for headline in Bengali; shirorekha means ascender line in Bengali. Matra means describes something else in Devanagari
  • They haven’t given much discussion of the existing Bengali language terminology

So I’ve spent some time researching terminology, browsing through The Printed Bengali Character by Ross, their study, Pal and Bandopadhyay’s terminology and colloquial terminology. Here’s what I would suggest as a work in progress:

Jacob Thomas

A Swedish-American type designer who grew up in Bangladesh, currently living in Dhaka.


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