Sinhala is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by about 16 million Sinhalese people in Sri Lanka. It also used as a second language by another 3 million people belonging to other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, where it is one of the official and national languages, along with Tamil. There are also considerable numbers of Sinhala speakers in Singapore, Thailand, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
Sinhala is also known as Sinhalese or Singhala - the latter version is closer to the pronunciation native name. The native name of the language is සිංහල (Siṃhāla), which comes from Sanskrit and could be translated as "lion-seizer", "lion-killer" or "lion blood", which refer to the legendary founder of the Sinhala people, Prince Vijaya, a descendant of Sinhabahu/Sīhabāhu ("Lion-arms"), the son of a princess of the Vanga Kingdom and a lion.
The Sinhala alphabet, a descendent of the Brahmi script, started to appear in Prakrit inscriptions during the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. Both the alphabet and the language have changed considerably since then. The earliest surviving literature in Sinhala dates from the 9th century AD.
The Sinhala alphabet is also used to write Pali and Sanskrit in Sri Lanka.
These numerals are no longer used in written Sinhala, instead the Western-style numerals are used.
Spreadsheet of the Sinhala alphabet (Excel, 56K)
Siyalu manuṣyayō nidahasva upata labā æta. Garutvayen hā ayitivāsikam samāna veti. Yukti ayukti piḷiban̆da hæn̆gīmen hā hṛda sākṣiyen yut ovun, ovunovunṭa sæḷakiya yuttē sahōdaratvaya piḷiban̆da hæn̆gīmeni.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with
reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Information about the Sinhala alphabet and language
Sinhala and Tamil word and letter puzzles
The South Asian Literary Recordings Project - Sinhalese authors reading extracts from their work: http://www.loc.gov/acq/ovop/delhi/salrp/sinhalese.html
Online Sinhala dictionaries
Free Sinhala fonts and software
Convert romanized Sinhala to the Sinhala alphabet
More Sinhala links
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Page last modified: 10.08.21
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