Sinhalese language

සිංහල sinhala
Word Sinhala in Yasarath font.svg
Region Sri Lanka
Native speakers
14 million (2012)[1]
2 million L2 speakers (2012)[1]
Early form
  • Vedda (perhaps a creole)
Sinhala alphabet
Sinhalese Braille (Bharati Braille)
Official status
Official language in
Sri Lanka
Language codes
ISO 639-1 si
ISO 639-2 sin
ISO 639-3 sin
Glottolog sinh1246[2]
Linguasphere 59-ABB-a

Sinhalese (/ˌsɪn(h)əˈlz, ˌsɪŋ(ɡ)ə-/), known natively as Sinhala (Sinhalese: සිංහල; siṁhala [ˈsiŋɦələ]),[3] is the native language of the Sinhalese people, who make up the largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka, numbering about 16 million.[4][5][6] Sinhalese is also spoken as a second language by other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, totalling about four million.[7] It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages.[8] Sinhalese is written using the Sinhalese script, which is one of the Brahmic scripts, a descendant of the ancient Indian Brahmi script closely related to the Kadamba alphabet.[9]

Sinhalese is one of the official and national languages of Sri Lanka. Sinhalese, along with Pali, played a major role in the development of Theravada Buddhist literature.[10][11]

The oldest Sinhalese Prakrit inscriptions found are from the third to second century BCE following the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka,[12][13] the oldest extant literary works date from the ninth century. The closest relative of Sinhalese is the Maldivian language.[14]

  1. ^ a b Sinhalese at Ethnologue (19th ed., 2016)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Sinhala". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  3. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student's Handbook, Edinburgh
  4. ^ "Census of Population and Housing 2011". Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  5. ^ "Sinhalese people". Wikipedia. 2017-04-04. 
  6. ^ "Sinhala". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  7. ^ "Census of Population and Housing 2001" (PDF). Retrieved 16 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Sinhalese people". Wikipedia. 2017-04-04. 
  9. ^ Jayarajan, Paul M. (1976-01-01). History of the Evolution of the Sinhala Alphabet. Colombo Apothecaries' Company, Limited. 
  10. ^ "Sinhalese people". Wikipedia. 2017-04-04. 
  11. ^ "Sinhala". Ethnologue. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  12. ^ Danesh Jain, George Cardona. Indo-Aryan Languages. Routledge. p. 847. 
  13. ^ "Introduction ~ හැඳින්වීම - Wikibooks, open books for an open world". Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  14. ^ "Introduction ~ හැඳින්වීම - Wikibooks, open books for an open world". Retrieved 2017-04-06. 

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