Languages of Sri Lanka

Languages of Sri Lanka

Several languages are spoken in Sri Lanka within the Indo-Aryan, Dravidian and Austronesian families. Sri Lanka accords official status to Sinhala and Tamil. The languages spoken on the island nation are deeply influenced by the languages of neighbouring India, the Maldives and Malaysia. Arab settlers and the colonial powers of Portugal, the Netherlands and Britain have also influenced the development of modern languages in Sri Lanka.

Native languages

A road sign to Adam's Peak in Sinhala, Tamil and English

The Sinhala language is spoken by the Sinhalese people, who constitute approximately 70% of the national population and total about 13 million. It utilizes the Sinhala abugida script, which is derived from the ancient Brahmi script. The Rodiya language, a dialect of Sinhala, is spoken by the low-caste community of Rodiyas. The Veddah peoples, totaling barely 300,[citation needed] speak a distinct language, possibly a creolized form of an earlier indigenous language. The Tamil language is spoken by Sri Lankan Tamils, as well as by Tamil migrants from the neighboring Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Tamil speakers number more than 3 million. Additionally, a form of Tamil influenced by Arabic is spoken by the Moor ethnic minority. There are more than 50,000 speakers of the Sri Lankan Creole Malay language, which is strongly influenced by the Malay language.

Languages of foreign influence

English, Sinhala and Tamil on a war grave memorial plate

English is the mother tongue of approximately 74,000 people, mainly in urban areas, and widely used for official and commercial purposes. Sri Lankan peoples of Portuguese descent, numbering approximately 3,400, speak the Sri Lankan Indo-Portuguese language. The Muslim community in Sri Lanka widely uses Arabic for religious purposes. Until recently the Arwi language, a fusion of Arabic and Tamil, was widely used by the Sri Lankan Moors.


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужно решить контрольную?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sri Lanka — Ceylon redirects here. For the time period of 1948 1972, see Dominion of Ceylon. For other uses, see Ceylon (disambiguation). Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka ශ්‍රී ලංකා ප්‍රජාතාන්ත්‍රික සමාජවාදී ජනරජය (Sinhala) இலங்கை சனநாயக சமத்துவ… …   Wikipedia

  • Sri Lanka — 6° 54′ N 79° 54′ E / 6.9, 79.9 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Sri Lanka — Sri Lankan, adj., n. /sree lahng keuh, lang keuh, shree / an island republic in the Indian Ocean, S of India: a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. 18,762,075; 25,332 sq. mi. (65,610 sq. km). Cap.: Colombo. Formerly, Ceylon. Arabic, Serendip.… …   Universalium

  • Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation — Type Broadcaster (Rupavahini, Channel Eye, Nethra TV and NTV) Country …   Wikipedia

  • Outline of Sri Lanka — …   Wikipedia

  • MTV channel Sri Lanka — MTV Channel (Pvt) Limited is the premier private television network in Sri Lanka. Equipped with state of the art audio visual receiving and transmitting equipment, MTV s signals are beamed, free to air across Sri Lanka. The Station reaches about… …   Wikipedia

  • Sri Lanka — <p></p> <p></p> Introduction ::Sri Lanka <p></p> Background: <p></p> The first Sinhalese arrived in Sri Lanka late in the 6th century B.C., probably from northern India. Buddhism was introduced in… …   The World Factbook

  • Sri Lanka National Pharmaceuticals Policy — The Sri Lanka National Pharmaceuticals Policy was established in the 1970s following the submission of a report by Dr S.A. Wickremasinghe and Prof. Seneka Bibile. It aimed at ensuring that people get good quality drugs at the lowest possible… …   Wikipedia

  • Sri Lanka Malay — The Sri Lankan Creole Malay language is a unique mixture of the Sinhalese language and the Tamil language with Malay. Sri Lanka Malay (SLM) is a restructured vernacular of Malay base spoken by at least five different communities in Sri Lanka… …   Wikipedia

  • Sri Lanka Kaffir people — The Kaffirs (English, also cafrinhas in Portuguese or කාපිරි kāpiriyō in Sinhala) are an ethnic group in Sri Lanka who are partially descended from 16th century Portuguese traders and the African slaves who were brought by them.The Kaffirs spoke… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”