Visiting Sri Lanka – Communicating in Singhala

May 5th, 2012 | By | Category: Environment

 

Ayubowan – Greetings

The Singhala language is unique to Sri Lanka and is the language spoken by the majority of people in the country. Sri Lanka,  with its written history going back to 500 B.C, its early civilization rich in culture, religion and tradition, intertwined with periodic alien invasions, is a land with a rich national heritage.  An island blessed with an abundance of natural beauty and unique bio diversity, it still retains many of the old charm. 

In the shape of a teardrop, it is surrounded by soft-sandy beaches. 50miles across and a distance of 175miles from North to South, the population in the year 2000 approaching 19 million people is of multicultural, multiethnic and multi-religious origin. 

The Capital Colombo, with a temperature around 26 degrees C during the months of December to February, rising up to 32 degree during April to July, is generally humid. Throughout the year, one could journey to the hill country within 4hrs where the temperature varies between 8 degrees and 14 degrees C.

Colombo architecture represents around 400 years of history, from the Dutch museum, Fort and Canal systems to the modern “world trade center”. What is different about the city of Colombo is that the environment it is still naturally filled with greenery.  

The majority of people in Sri Lanka (78%) are Singhalese and speak the Singhala language. This is a unique language spoken only by the singhala people. Other Sri Lankans are the Tamils who’s mother tongue is Tamil as well as Muslims, Malays and Burgers.  

Early Sri Lankan art tends to have its origins from the Buddhist temples and rock art which are seen in the classical frescoes from the Sigiriya and Dambulla rock to stone sculpture in Anuradhapura and Pollonaruwa. The modern day art is an evolution from the classical oriental tradition to that depicting urban and village life with a mild western influences. 

Singhala -Words and Phases

The singhala alphabet letters are formed with individual phonetics. The Singhala alphabet does not have letters to represent the English Phonetic sounds for “F”,  “V” and “Or” .  However, it has many letters with combined sounds such as “mb”  “nd”   “ndh”  “ksh”  “bh” and  “ngh” . There are other letters which look different but with identical sounds, but used in different words. The letter “r” is generally rolled in pronunciation.

Here are a few words and phrases in Singhla with its English translations

Greetings – Ayu Bowan –It means “ long may you live” (common form of greeting)

You   -Oba

You (address respectfully)  – Oba thuma 

How are you?  Oba thuma kohomada?  How – Kohomada

Have you eaten? Are you after meals ? Oba Kaama kaladha?  Kaama – meals, or food

Are you after meals? Oba thuma kamen pasu dha?

After – Pasu    Before – Pera

Thankyou        stuti

What is your name ? Obe nama Kumakda?  Name – nama       what  -Kumak-da  

Where are you from? Oba kohendha? Kohenda – Where from

Me – Mama

I am from Sri Lanka – Mama Sri Lankawen  Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka-wa

From America – America-wen

I am from America – Mama America-wen

I come from England – Mama enne Engalanthayen

I am from Holland – Mama Olandhayen

I live in Japan – Mama jeewath wenne Japanaye  – (jeewath wenne  –live in)

I stay in Colombo – Mama inne Colomba  (mama –I)

 

I feel thirsty – Mata thibahai      (Mata – to me)

Give me a glass of water to drink – Mata Watura weeduruwak bonne denne (Watura – Water)

(To drink – bonne  ,  A drink – beema,   Give – denna, Cool drink –sisil beema

water is hot – watura unisum, or watura  rasnai

water fall – diya alle

pond – pokuna

rocks- gal,

rock mountain – parwatha

This is very pretty – meye itha lassanai  (meye – this )

This bird is beautiful – meye alankara kurullek  (kurullek – a bird)

birds – kurullo

sounds – nadha

This flower is fragrant – meye suwandha malak      (fragrent – suwandha)

Noise – shabdaya (volume)

Animals –saththu  Animal satha

Glass-weeduruwa  glasses – weeduru

humen – manussayo   (humanity – manussa kama)

I am learning singhala – mama singala egana gannawa

Our history – Ape ithihasaya

people- Janaya,   men – Minissu   Man – Minisa

women – gahanu    woman  – gahaniya

her dress – eya-ge anduma  She – aye    her – aye-ge

he is young – ohu tharunai

Speak to me – mata katha koranna  (to me – mata)

Language – basawa

Art – kalawa

culture – sanskrutiya

I like art and culture –  mama kalawata saha sanskrutiyata asai

place- thana, or  isthanaya  (station)

historical places, ithehasika isthanaya

natural – swabawika

beauty – allankara,

cradle – thotilla

island,  – dhupatha

beach – werala

shape – hadaya

teardrop kandulu bindha (tear – kandulu)

go across – haraha yanna  (go -yanna )

long – dhigai   lenght – dhiga

population – janagahanaya

Capital- aga nuwara

Temperature – ush-nath-waya

fruitful Journey- suba gamana

hill country – Kandhu rata

 

I am not well – mama a’saneepayen or mata saneepa naa

Take me to the hospital – Mawa sprithalata (or rohalata) geneyanne

Take me to a doctor – mawa dosthara wethata geneyanne

take me – gena yanna 

Write me a letter   – mata lipiyak liyanna (letter – lipiyak )

Translation – pariwarthanaya

King- raja or raja thuma

Queen – Rajina

Buddhisam – boudhdhagama  religion – agama

Be good  – hondhin stitinna

do good – hondha karanna

months – masaya

Rice –haal

Cooked rice – bath

Give me hot rice – mata unu bath denne

Paddy field – wee

Crane – coka

Buffalo – mee harak

Harvest – aswanne

Sow – see sama

Store – gabada

Mountain – kanda

Portuguese- pruthugeesi

Invasion – arkramna

Galle  – garlle

Music – gayanaya

Sing – sindhu kiyanna

Song – sindhu

food, – arhara

churches – palli

Dutch  – Olanda

museum, – kauthukagaraya

art gallery, kala garaya

fort – kotuwa

English – ingreesi

Foreigner – pita ratiya

Tourist – sancharakaya

tea, the’  (pronounced as in therapy)

parliament – parlimentuwa

municipality – nagarasabhawa

buildings – godanagilla

trains- dhum-riya

smoke – dhum

vehicle – riya, rathaya

station- stesama

Independence –

Freedom –nidhahasa

Square-hatharas, chathurasra

New parliament-nawa parlimenthuwa

Old parliament – parani parlimentuwa

Geography –bhugolaya

 

 

Simple grammar

 

When a sentence ends with the word/sound “dha” it generally denotes a question

Changes in the sound of a word denotes the subject , predicate and verb in a sentence. Therefore the sequence of words could be changed without changing the meaning.

 

 

Man –minisa (subject)

Man – minisawa (predicate)

Dog – balla (subject)

Dog – balla-wa (predicate)

 

will Bite – hapai  (verb)

Bit – hapuwa (verb)

 

The dog bit the man  – (all three sentences below mean the same)

balla minsa-wa hapuwa

minisa-wa balla hapuwa

hapuwa balla minisawa

 

The man bit the dog   – (all three sentences below mean the same)

minisa balla-wa hapuwa

balla-wa minisa hapuwa

hapwa balla minisa-wa

 

I hit the donkey – Mama buruwata gahowa

The donkey hit me – mata buruwa gahuwa

Man went to Village- minisa gama-te giya

Man-minisa

Went-giya

 

Take-ganna

Took –gaththa

Where – kohe dha

Who – kow dha

What – kumak dha

Why-ai

When (what date) – kawadha dha

Do –  karanna

That way – ese

That – Eya or Eka

 

Where are you going?  Oba Kohedha yanne?

Who is going? Kowdha yanne?

What are you doing – Kumakdha Oba karanne?

Why are you doing that way – Ai  oba ese karanne?

Why are you doing that – Ai oba eya karanne?

 

 

Give – denna

Give me that – Eya mata denna

To me – mata

 

 

Why are you going? Ai oba yanne

Time – welawa

At what time? Koi welawata-dha yanne

 

What is the time now? Dhan welawa keeyadha

 

A lot- hunggak or boho

More – wadiyen

Little child – podi lamaya   small amount – tikak

Too much – wadi

Some more – thawa

Where is this place? May kohedha thana?

Far – dhura

Near-langa

Is it far? – eya duradha

Is it near?- eya langhadha

Can I walk there? – mata ehi avidinna hakidha

Can I – mata haakidha (puluwandha)

Can you take me there? Mawa ehi geniyanna haaki dha ?

Where are you going? Oba Kohedha yanne

Why are you sleeping? Ai oba nidhanne ?

Who is walking in the garden? Kawdha watte awidinne?

How much is this? meka keeyadha ?

How much is that? Eaka kkeyadha?

Don’t want – epa

Please Give me one – Mata ekkak denne

Please give me two – mata dekkak denna

 

give –denna

add –ekathu karanna

sum – ekatuwa

subtract – adu karanna

multiply – vadi karanna

divide – bedanna

Dawn Aluyama

Morning – udhaya

Afternoon – daval

Evening – savasa

Night Raathriya

Sunset- ira baseema

 Pagent –Perahara

Water –Jalaya or watura

Drink bottle –beema bothalaya

King coconut –Thambili

Good wishes – subapathum

Go  Yanna

Come Enna

Yes – Ow

No – Naa

Colours – paata

White – Sudhu

Black – Kalu

Green – Kola

Red – rathu

Blue – Nil

Yellow  –Kaha

Mauve- dham

Pink – Rosa

orange – Narandha or Thambili pata

Light colours – laa pata

Dark colours – Thada pata

Mango – Amba (pronounced as in our)

Pineapple – Annasi

Coconut – pol  (pronounced as in Pol)

King coconut  – Thambili

elephant – Atha or Aliya

tortoise – Ibba

frog – Gemba

centipede – Hakaralla

mosquito – Maduruwa

deer – Muwa

wild-boar – Wal oora

leopard – diviya

Tiger – Kotiya

dog – Balla,  or Sunakaya

cat – Balala or poosa

long slacks – dhiga kalisam

shorts – Kota Kalisam

shirts – Kamisa

blouse – Hatta

dress – Anduma

cool – sisila

cold – seethala

hot – rasnaya or Unusuma

tree – Gasa or Ruka

fruit – Palathuru

hen – Kikili

Cockerel – Kukula

fish – Maalu

book – potha

hungry – Bada gini

Mother, I am hungry  – Amme, mata bada gini

tired – Mahansi

Father, I am tired. – Thaththe, mata mahansi

Elder brother, can you tell me a story?

Younger brother, can you give me a pencil?

Elder sister,  can I wash my face?

Younger sister, can I carry you?

 

Mother’s brother

Father’s brother

Aunty

 

Run

walk

swim

jump

speak

lift

let go

listen

cook

drink

climb

come

go

give

Take care,

Break

mend

 

vest

shoes

socks

slippers

sarong

skirt

blouse

fish

crab

prawn

house – gaya

home -nivasa

 

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

30

31

40

41

50

51

60

61

70

71

80

81

90

91

100

101

200

201

300

400

500

600

700

800

900

1000

1001

 

The months of the year that is commonly used are that of the English, but with slight phonetic modifications.

 

January

February

March

April

May

June

July.

August

September

October

November

December

Year

 

The Months of the year in traditional singhala are: Dhuruthu,

These terms are used mainly with reference to Buddhism

 

 

Days

 

The days of the week are also represented by reference to our solar system

Monday –

Tuesday-

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday- Sun

 

Colours of the rainbow are generally referred to in simple colloquial singhala.

Red

Orange

Yellow

Green

Blue

Indigo

Violet

 

The rainbow colours are also given in using the following words.

 

Vocabulary

 

Ruins – natabun

Abandoned – athahara

Puppy-

This puppy has been abandoned

Abbreviate- ketiyen

Please say it in a shorter form

Ability – hakiyawa

work

What is your ability to do this work?

Above/on top –uda

Box

I kept the book above the box

Absent-

week

He has been absent all week

Accident – anathura

The little child has met with an accident

Little

child

Administration – palanaya

In charge – barakaru

Who is in charge of administration here?

Airport

I like to go to the airport

 

Shop

Boutique

Cash – mudal

Coins – kasi

Balance – ithuru salli

 

 

 

One Comment to “Visiting Sri Lanka – Communicating in Singhala”

  1. Carletta says:

    Really liked what you had to say in your post, Sri Lanka singhala phrases visiting Sri lanka, thanks for the good read!
    — Carletta

    https://www.terrazoa.com