What Language is Spoken in Sri Lanka?
Sri Lanka is a South Asian island in India. It consists of nearly 25,332 square miles of land. There are more than 20,277,597 settlers in Sri Lanka. Additionally, the people of Sri Lanka have many traditions and cultures. And these cultures are the true beauty of this place. However, these traditions do create problems in maintaining peace. It is because Sri Lankans disagree on many matters with each other. Especially issues regarding ethnicities. You can observe and recognize such ethnicities by the languages spoken on this land.
There are two official languages in Sri Lanka. One is the Tamil language and the other is Sinhala. The Tamil language is very common in the eastern and northern areas of Sri Lanka. On the other hand, there are countless Sinhala speakers in the central and western portions of this island.
Language Spoken in Sri Lanka
Sinhala is known as the local language of the Sinhalese. More than 70 percent of Sri Lanka’s are Sinhalese. Meaning thereby, there are almost 13 million Sinhala speakers in Sri Lanka. Additionally, it is also known as a second language in other ethnic groups. Furthermore, the Pali language had a great impact on Sinhala.
It is because Pali is the liturgical language of Sri Lankan Buddhists. Due to the centuries of colonial rule in Sri Lanka, Moreover, the Sinhala language consists of several words from other languages. For instance, terminologies of English, Dutch, Tamil, and Portuguese can easily be seen in Sinhala.
Tamil is known as the second official language of Sri Lanka. The Tamil language is very common in Sri Lanka for centuries. There are almost five million Tamil speakers in Sri Lanka. Meaning thereby, nearly 15 percent of the people speak Tamil in the area. Additionally, it is a part of the Dravidian language family. Moreover, in Tamil Nadu, the dominating language is the Dravidian language.
Historical Background of Languages Spoken in Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka, apart from the Tamil and Sinhala languages, some other languages do exist. In short, these languages are common in small societies. Additionally, Veddah is a very popular minority language of Sri Lanka. It is known as the language of the Veddah people. Moreover, the people who speak Veddah live in the forests of Sri Lanka. Surprisingly, Sinhala and Veddah both share similar words and terminologies. Meaning thereby, these languages are very close to one another.
Similarly, another minority language spoken in Sri Lanka is the Rodiya language. This language is very common amongst the Rodiya community. Moreover, its speakers can be seen in the Hill Country. Most importantly, the Rodiya language consists of the dialects of the Sinhala language.
Additionally, the people of this island, especially Sri Lankan Moors practice Tamil. It is because the Tamil language is quite near to the Arabic language. Above all, in Sri Lanka, the Malay Muslims use Creole Malay. It is a mixture of Tamil, Arabic, Malaysia, Bahasa, and Sinhala languages as well.
Official Languages of Sri Lanka
The first official language of Sri Lanka in Sinhala. Moreover, it’s also known as the local language of the island. There are more than 16 million Sinhalese speakers. Furthermore, there are 4 million additional speakers that use Sinhala as their second language. The origin of the Sinhalese language is indeed the group of Indo-European languages. Indo-European language is part of the Indo-Aryan family.
In short, the alphabets of the Indo-European language are from the Sinhala language. Additionally, these alphabets belong to the ancient Indian Brahmi writing. Anyways, the Modern-Sinhalese language is a part of Pali, medieval Sinhalese, and Dravidian languages. Above all, the terminology of the Sinhala language is a combination of Dutch, English, Portuguese and Tamil language.
The second official language of Sri Lanka is Tamil language. There are more than 4.7 million Tamil speakers in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, there are 70 million Tamil speakers around the globe. Moreover, it belongs to the Dravidian language family. Today, Tamil is one of the ancient global languages.
According to the researchers, it is more than 2000 years old. However, the difference in the use of Sinhalese and Tamil languages in Sri Lanka ended up in the civil war of 1983 to 2009. It is also true that this war was between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the government of Sri Lanka.
Minority or Creole Languages
Other languages are very common in Sri Lanka. Other than Tamil and Sinhalese the Sri Lankan Creole Malay is known as the native language of Sri Lanka. There are more than 46,000 Creole Malay speakers in Sri Lanka. Additionally, this language is a combination of Austronesian language, Tamil, Malay, and Sinhalese as well. Moreover, the Creole language came to Sri Lanka by immigrants of Malay.
It is because of these immigrants, soldiers, workers, and refugees of the British and Dutch colonizers during the 1200s these languages are very common in Sri Lanka today. However, in the 19th century the written form Sri Lankan Malay used the Gundul alphabets. As a result, the young generation of Sri Lankan Malays uses these alphabets for communicating in Tamil, English, and Sinhalese language today.
Facts of Sinhala language in Sri Lanka
Sinhalese is the native language of the Sinhala people. More than 16 million Sinhala speakers live in Sri Lanka. This makes the Sinhala people the largest ethnic group of Sri Lanka. Furthermore, the Sinhala people came to Sri Lanka in 540 BC with Indians. The majority of Sinhala speakers live in Sri Lanka.
Additionally, it is very common in Thailand, Canada, and Singapore as well. Most importantly, the term Sinhala is a Sanskrit term that means “lion-blood.” As Prince Vijaya was the founder of the Sinhala community they refer to him as a lion’s blood.
Form of Sinhala Language
Sinhala is a syllabic language. It consists of consonants and vowels as well. Additionally, these vowels appear as separate letters. Moreover, the Sinhala language follows the Brahimi script. It reads from left to right. Furthermore, it comprises 58 letters. Out of which just 38 are very common. Above all, Pali and Sanskrit languages both use Sinhala script.
Verbs, Subject, Object, and Words of Sinhala Language
Where English follows (SVO) “subject-verb-object” word rule. Sinhala follows (SOV) the”subject-object-verb” word rule. However, Asian languages use the (SOV) word rule as well. Additionally, Japanese and Korean both follow the same sentence patterns of (SOV). Yet, sometimes this rule changes. But the basic structure of Sinhalese sentences follows the same rule.
Sinhala’s Use in 200 BC
Another interesting fact about the Sinhala language is a very old language. According to the researchers, it was initially used in about 200 BC. Additionally, the first use of Sinhala was on statues or rock carvings. Moreover, some changes came overtime in the Sinhala language. As a result, a true form of this language began developing in 1250.
Versions of Sinhala Language
Sinhala is a diglossic language. Meaning thereby, it consists of two versions. The first version is for daily communication. The second version is for vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, and literature. Above all, local speakers of the Sinhala Translation are well aware of both of the versions. But the colloquial version is more common in Sri Lanka.
Sinhala is the Official Language of Sri Lanka
In the early 1950s, Sinhala was the official language of Sri Lanka. More than 16 million Sinhala speakers use it as a first language. Another 4 million people speak Sinhala as their second language. Additionally, Tamil is also an official language of Sri Lanka. But there are just about 5 million who speak Tamil. There are English speakers in Sri Lanka as well. But English is not the official language of this Island.
Facts of Tamil Language in Sri Lanka
Tamil is a Dravidian language. And it is common in India and Sri Lanka. Furthermore, several Tamil speakers are seen in Burghers, Douglas, Chindians, Tamil diaspora, and Sri Lankan Moors as well. Additionally, Tamil is the official language of Singapore and Sri Lanka. Above all, just like English, Mandarin, Malaysia, and Malay, this language is useful in the field of teaching. Tamil is the chief language that is common in most of the people living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. In fact, Tamil is a very popular language in Colombo and Hill country.
Forms of Tamil Language
There are many forms of the Tamil language. These forms involve a modern, formal, and literary style known as centamiḻ. Centamil is a classical literary style of an ancient language “sankattamiḻ” and “koṭuntamiḻ”. Anyways, by combining all these styles we get a stylistic continuum. For example, a person may write centamiḻ by using the words of sankattamiḻ.
However, currently, people use centamiḻ style in official writings, speeches, debates, and textbooks. Likewise, koṭuntamiḻ style is becoming very common today as well. For instance, radio, televisions, cinemas, and theatres use koṭuntamiḻ style for enhancing entertainment. Additionally, politicians prefer the kotuntamil style as well to connect with the citizens.
Scripts of Tamil Language
The script of Tamil consists of 12 vowels, 18 consonants, and special characters. These vowels and consonants merge together to create 216 complex characters, taking the total count to 247 characters. Similar to the Indic scripts, these consonants contain an inherent vowel a, which takes the place of the title named pulli.
This title shows a dead consonant, meaning it does not contain a vowel. Additionally, the Tamil script does not differentiate between voiced and unvoiced stops. These stops are usually pronounced with voice depending on their place in a word.
Nouns and Pronouns in the Tamil Language
The nouns and pronouns of the Tamil language are divided into two categories namely astinai: the irrational and the rational. Both of these make up five classes called pal. Human beings and deities are termed rational. On the other hand, objects, animals, and abstract nouns are irrational. These rational nouns and pronouns are in turn part of three categories—rational plural, masculine singular, and feminine singular.
In addition, the irrational pronouns are a part of one of the two categories namely irrational singular and irrational plural. This plural structure of rational nouns is in use in a singular and gender-neutral form. A Tamil verb consists of several suffixes, which indicate tense, person, mood, and voice.
The Grammar of Tamil Language
Adverbs and adjectives are not differentiated in the traditional Tamil grammar. Instead, both are part of the uriccol class. The present-day grammarians differentiate the two based on morphology and syntax. Various idiophones act as adverbs to show the way an object is given sounds.
There are also no articles in the Tamil language and certainties as well as uncertainty are displayed by special grammar devices, for example, the use of the number ‘one’ as a certain article.
Verbs, Object, and Subjects of Tamil Language
The verb normally appears at the end of the clause in the Tamil language. This is the reason it uses Subject-object-verb (SOV) word order. It is important to note that the word order is flexible which means that the surface variations of the word order are possible. In addition, Tamil does not have prepositions, but postpositions instead.
English Language in Sri Lanka
Most of the people of Sri Lanka speak in English. Therefore it will be no problem for you to settle on the Island. Additionally, English is a second language in Sri Lankans. Moreover, it is also a part of education and helpful in teaching students. Furthermore, the people of Sri Lanka British prefer British English.
It is because it consists of local words and phrases. In short, Sri Lankan English may not be completely understandable to the local English speakers because the words and pronunciation belong to some other local languages.
Other Languages in Sri Lanka
People speak some other languages in Sri Lanka as well. One of them is English that consists of about 10 percent of speakers on this land. Meaning thereby, the English language is very common in businesses and official commitments. Additionally, 74,000 people living in the urban area speak English locally. However, Portuguese is also a minority language of Sri Lanka.
The old people of Portuguese commonly use this language. There are almost 3,400 Portuguese speakers in Sri Lanka today. Next is the Arabic language. Muslim communities greatly use Arabic religiously on the Island. Arwi language is also a minority language in Sri Lanka. Additionally, its speakers are very rare on the island. And it follows the Tamil and Arabic scripts. Most of its verbs are from the Arabic language.
More about Sri Lankan Languages
The state of Sri Lanka is full of various cultures, religions, languages, and countless ethnic groups. It is true that in Sri Lanka Sinhalese speakers are in majority. But it is home to huge groups as well. For instance, groups like Kaffirs, Vedda, Moors, Malays, Tamils, and Burghers can be seen in the country as well. However, if you are interested in learning about the language spoken in Sri Lanka, then the good news is that there are many professional translation services available online.
To conclude, it can be said that Sinhala and Tamil are the official and original languages of Sri Lanka. But there are some minority languages spoken on the island as well. Anyways, Sri Lanka is the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. Additionally, it is an island state in South Asia near southeast India. And this nation is a part of the sea borders of Maldives.
In short, all the languages spoken in Sri Lanka put a great impact on the other languages of neighboring states. Like India, Maldives, and Malaysia. Additionally, the languages spoken in Sri Lanka were influenced by Colonial powers of Britain, Portugal, Arab settlers, and the Netherlands. Therefore, you can say that the language spoken in this country is a combination of many languages.
In case you need expert translation for any language spoken in Sri Lanka, we are just a few clicks away!
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