Travelling in Sri Lanka: 10 most important expressions in Sinhala.
In this beautiful paradise you will need some knowledge of how to say things to get through your daily adventures and trust me…it makes life a whole lot easier for everyone !
We have listed the 10 most important expressions to know when travelling to Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka and its different languages:
Although Sri Lanka has two main languages, Sinhala and Tamil. English is present on the island and used by the locals ( in the more touristic zones) or younger generations.
This means that you can make yourself understood most of the times, but we strongly recommend knowing a few words in Sinhala as they appreciate the gesture so much. It may also save you from paying the “tourist” price when buying items or going places.
Meeting and greeting!
Let’s start with the basics. When locals meet each other they don’t necessarily greet one another before starting a conversation, which is a little surprising for us the first few days. But as our cultures has taught us this, it only feels natural for us to say hello, thankyou, etc when we are exchanging . So here are a couple of Sinhala words you can use daily:
(pronounciation based on English)
āyubōvan (Ayubowan), ආයුබෝවන්
How are you?
I am good, thanks.
oyāṭa kohoma da( oya ta ko homa de)? ඔයාට කොහොම ද?
mama hondayi, stūtiyi ( mama hon die stu T). මම හොඳයි, ස්තූතියි.
Stutiyi (Stu T), ස්තුතියි
Ov (ow) ඔව්/ Nae (ney)නැත
Sooo... many questions!
So we now know how to greet people but that ain’t going to get us far..So let’s get down to the important part, the questions. This is the simplest way of asking different things, perfect for travelers:
Koheda? (ko hede) කොහෙද?
Kavadā da? (kava dade) කවදා ද?
Kavuda (kawu de) ? කවුද?
How much is this?
Too expensive/ Ok.
Meya kīya da? (May a kiya de) මෙය කීය ද?
Mila adhika. (mila ad hika)
මිල අධික/ Hari ( harry)හරි
Any last words?
And to finish your day on a good note:
subha rātriyak ( suba ratriya) , සුභ රාත්රියක්
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