Sinhala Phrases

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Sri Lanka has a diversity of ethnic groups.  Languages spoken in the country vary. The two major native languages are Sinhala spoken by the Sinhalese majority and Tamil language used by the Tamils. Although, Sinhala and Tamil are languages from different sources, both share some common characteristics and obviously have influence on each other's linguistic evolution as well. English is widely spoken but it may be useful to learn some phrases in Sinhala if visiting the country for business or pleasure.

a : as the ‘u’ in ‘cup’
aa : like the ‘a’ in ‘father’
e : the ‘e’ in ‘met’
i : the ‘i’ in bit
o : the ‘o’ in ‘hot’
u : the ‘u’ in put
ai : as the word ‘eye’
au : like the ‘ow’ in ‘how’

Hello : hello
Bye: aayu-bowan
Yes: owu
No: naeh
Please: karuna kara
Thank you: stuh-tee
Excuse me: sama venna
Sorry: kana gaatui
How much is it?: ehekka keeyada?
What’s your name?: oyaaghe nama mokka’da?
My name is..: maaghe nama…
Getting Around: 

When does the nest …leave/arrive?: meelanga…pitat venne/peminenne?
Boat: bohtuwa
Bus: bas eka
Train: koh-chiya
Plane: plane eka
I’d like a one way ticket: mata tani gaman tikat ekek ganna ohna
I’d like a return ticket: mata yam-eem tikat ekek ganna ohna
Train station: dumriya pala
Ferry terminal: totu pala
Where is the…?: ….koheda?
Turn left/right: wamata/dakunata herenna
Far: durai
Near: lan-ghai

Around Town: 

Bank: benkuwa
Pharmacy/Chemist: faamisiya
My hotel: mang inna hotalaya
Market: maakat eka
Post office: tepal kantohruwa 

Useful Words: 

Big: loku
Small: podi, punchi
Help!: aaneh!/aayoh!/amboh!
Go away!: metanin yanna!
I’m lost: mang ivarai/mang vinaasai 


Bread: paan
Butter: batah
Coffee: koh-pi
Tea: te-eh
Sugar: seeni
Water: watura
Fruit: palaturu 


1: eka
2: deka
3: tuna
4: hatara
5: paha
6: haya
7: hata 
8: a-teh 
9: navaya 
10: dahaya

Hope you found the above useful. If you do not know the language, we recommend that you print this page out and keep it on your person when travelling around Wonderful Sri Lanka.


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