A taste of Sinhala

Hello,

Since I will very soon be going to Sri Lanka, I thought it was the opportunity to get a taste of one of the languages spoken there: Sinhala.

The Sinhala languages is spoken by roughly 15 million persons around the world, and is the main language of Sri Lanka, along with Tamil.

Sinhala possesses its own alphabet which is composed of 36 consonants and 18 diacritic symbols for vowels, of which respectively 24 consonants and 12 vowels are commonly used.

Regarding the pronounciation of the Sinhala language in itself, it is not very difficult. The syllables are slightly detached and the voice is a bit rounded, like spoken from the back of the mouth.

For more on pronunciation, have a look here: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Sinhala_phrasebook

Int this article I will use the following conventions:

ə: like the starting a in aware
æ: like e in bed
◌̄: indicates a long vowel.

dh: soft d, somehow like th in there

And now let’s have a look at some basic vocabulary:

Pronouns Possessive
මම
mamə
I මගේ
magæ
my, mine
ඔබ
obə
you (formal) ඔබගේ
obəgæ
your, yours (formal)
ඔයා
oyā
you (informal) ඔයාගේ
oyāgæ
your, yours (informal)
එයා
æyā
he, she එයාගේ
æyāgæ
his, her, hers
අපි
api
we අපේ
apǣ
our, ours
ඔබල
obəla
you (plural, formal) ඔබලගේ
obəlagæ
your, yours (plural, formal)
ඔයාල
oyāla
you (plural, informal) ඔයාලගේ
oyālagæ
your, yours (plural, informal)
එයාල
æyāla
they එයාලගේ
æyālagæ
their, theirs

 

Greetings  and everyday words
ආයුබෝවන්
āyubōwan
 Hello/goodbye (formal)
Litteraly: May your lifespan be long.
 හලෝ
halō
Hello (informal) ගිහින් එන්නම්
gihin ennam
Goodbye (informal)
කොහොමද
kohomədhə
How are you? හොඳින් ඉන්නවා
hoňdhin innəva
To be fine
ඔවු
ovu
Yes නැහැ
næhæ
No
කරැණාකරල
kalunākərəla
Please ඉස්තුති
isthūti
Thank you

Basic conversations

A: ඔයාගේ නම මොකක්ද
A: oyāgæ namə mokakdhə.
A Your name (is) what?

B: මගේ නම Stéphane.
B: magæ namə Stéphane.
B: My name (is) Stéphane.

B: ඔයා Kevin ක්ද.
B: oyā Kevin dhə.
B You (are) Kevin?

A: මම Kevin.
A: mamə Kevin.
A: I (am) Kevin.

ක්ද (dhə) indicates a question.

A: ඔයාගේ රට මොකක්ද.
A: oyāgæ ratə mokakdhə.
A Your country (is) what?

B: මගේ රට ප්‍රංශය.
B: magæ ratə pransayə.
B: My country (is) France.

Note: Depending on the country name, ය (yə) can be replaced by වෙ (və).

B: ඔබ කොහෙන්ද.
B: oyā kohændhə.
B You where?

A: මම ඇමරිකාවෙන්.
A: mamə æmarikāvæn.
A: I (am) from America.

Note: In the same manner, depending on the country name, වෙන් (væn) can be replaced by යෙන් (yæn)

A: ඔයාගේ වයස කියද.
A: oyāgæ vayəsə kīyədhə.
A Your age (is) how much?

B: මගේ වයස X.
B: magæ vayəsə X.
B: My age (is) X.

One really usefull verb to know is කරනවා (kərənəva) which means doing, as added to a noun, it transforms the noun into a verbal form, like studies + doing gives studying.

 

If you are interested, you can find some interesting lessons on Dilshan Jayasinha’s Youtube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPzCEEvlnxovOcGe7wpXLaw

Also, two good vocabulary lists I found:

http://www.sinhala-online.com/sinhalese-dictionary.html?searchterm=

http://www.omniglot.com/language/phrases/sinhala.php

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