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 source, 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 in ‘u’ in ‘cup’
aa: as in 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: like ‘eye’
au: like the ‘ow’ in ‘how’ dh: the ‘th’ in ‘then’
g: as in ‘go’
s: like ‘sit’
th: like the ‘th’ of ‘thin’
Goodbye: poytu varukirehn
Please: tayavura saydhih
Thank you: nandri
Excuse me: mannikavum
How much is it?: ahdu evvalah-vur?
My name is..: en pay-yehr…
What time does the…leave/arrive?: eppohlidur arutur…sellum/vahrum?
I’d like a one way/return ticket: enakka oru/iru vahlay ticket vaynum
Where is it?: un-ghe irukkaradhur?
Where is..?: …un-ghe?
Turn left/right: valadhur/ itadhur pakkam tirumbavum
Pharmacy/Chemist: marunduh kadhai-karehr
My hotel: en udehr hotehl
Post office: tavaal nliayem Food Bread: rotti
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.