Learn Sinhala

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About Sinhala

Sinhala, also known as Sinhalese or Singhala, is spoken as a first language by the majority of the population of Sri Lanka, where it shares official status with Tamil. There are another 3 million people who speak it as a second language. Its closest relative is Dhivehi, or Maldivian. Over time it has borrowed extensively from Tamil. The written and spoken forms of Sinhala are significantly different, including different grammatical features.

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Planet Earth

Where is it spoken?

Sri Lanka

People Talking

Number of speakers


Family Tree

Language family




Fun facts — Sinhala

  • Where English has 'here' and 'there', Sinhala has four words: 'here, close to me', 'there, close to you', 'there, close to that visible person' and 'there, close to that invisible person'.
  • There's a Sinhala phrase, 'What use is a lamp to a blind man?', which means don't give useless things to people.
  • Sinhala is an Indo-Aryan language and is thus related to the languages of North India rather than neighbouring South Indian ones, which belong to the Dravidian language family.

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