The Island of Sri Lanka has two official languages: Sinhalese and Tamil. The majority of Sri Lankans speak the two official languages. Sinhalese has its alphabetic order which consists of the Brahmic script, and the Sinhalese alphabet which is made up of 53 characters. The Tamil alphabet is made up of 247 characters with one unique character (āytam). Apart from the two official languages other languages spoken in Sri Lanka include English, Sri Lankan sign language, Veddah, Sri Lankan Creole Malay, Arabic, and Indo-Portuguese. Sinhalese is the language spoken by the majority the people on the island.

Majority of the people speak the Sinhalese language, which is about 79.9% of the total population. English is spoken by about 10% of the population. It is mainly used in urban centers and used as a second language by many Sri Lankans. The remaining 10.1% of the populations speak Tamil and other minority languages.

Although Sri Lanka has two official languages, the majority of people speak English with a few words from the two official languages. Some of the common phrases heard in the island nation of Sri Lanka include “Mage nama” which means my name is, “Hari rasai” which means delicious, “kaama” means food, “hotela” means a hotel, “Metana nawaththanna” means please stop here, “naa” means no, “Istuti” means thank you, and “Hari hondai” means very good or ok among others. These words are common and are not that difficult to learn a few. The languages also consist of loaned words from English.

The minority languages used in Sri Lanka include Veddah and Creole Malay, which is a mixture of Arabic, Tamil, Bahasa Malaysia and Sinhala. Sri Lanka's official languages are used widely, but English is used by many as a second language.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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