Speaking with the locals
Sinhalese known natively as Sinhala is the native language of the Sinhalese people, who make up the largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka, numbering about 16 million.
Sinhalese is also spoken as a second language by other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, totalling about four million. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages.
Sinhalese is written using the Sinhalese script, which is one of the Brahmic scripts, a descendant of the ancient Indian Brahmi script closely related to the Kadamba alphabet.
Sinhalese is one of the official and national languages of Sri Lanka. Sinhalese, along with Pali, played a major role in the development of Theravada Buddhist literature.
Here’s just a few words that you can use, that I’m sure will impress the locals:
- Machang – mate (around the island you will come across a bar chain called Machang)
- Aiyo – Oh No!
- Lassanai – beautiful
- Dickie – trunk of a car
- Keling keling – straight on (very handy when you are in a tuktuk)
- Wama – turn left
- Dacuna – turn right
- Colour lights – traffic lights
- Slippers – flip flops
- Paining – pain (for example: My arm is paining)
- Hari hari – ok
Enjoy speaking to the locals, they will love your attempt!