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Sri Lanka Key Phrases

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Sri Lanka is home to people of various religions, with different cultures and numerous traditions, which all combine as this great melting pot to give the island the exuberance it has.

Sinhalese and Tamil are the national languages of the country while English is widely spoken as well; Sinhalese, also known as Sinhala or Helabasa is believed to have been brought down to Sri Lanka by Prince Vijaya and his followers during 5th century BCE. Belonging to the Indo-Aryan branch of Indo-European languages, Sinhala has its own Brahmic writing system and the oldest literary work dates back to the 9th century. The language has developed over time but it continues to be the mother tongue of the Sinhalese people. Additionally, most people of ethnic groups other than the Buddhists also speak Sinhala, which totals to approximately 3 million people who speak Sinhala in Sri Lanka alone.

One of the longest surviving classical languages in the world, Tamil literature has existed well over 2,000 years with the first records dating back to 2nd century BCE. It is an official language of Sri Lanka and Singapore, one of India’s scheduled languages, and has a significant presence in Malaysia and Mauritius. Spoken mostly by the Hindu’s and Sri Lankan Moor Muslims, Tamil is one of the country’s national languages and has a strong presence in Colombo as well as Northern and Eastern provinces.

Though it is not an official language, English is spoken throughout the island and visitors to Sri Lanka will not run into many instances where they are misunderstood. Most businesses, schools and government offices will be able to correspond in English.

Sinhalese, Tamil and English may be the three main languages of Sri Lanka but a range of other languages are spoken as well: Tourists in Sri Lanka may also hear various forms of Portuguese Creole, Creole Malay and Dutch.




Hello (Traditional)



How are you?


Eppadi irukkiringa?

I’m doing good, thank you.

istuti mama hodin innava

Nalla Irukeran.

What's your name?

oyāgē nama mokakda?

Unga péranna?

My name is ...

magē nama ...

En péru …

Where are you from?

oba kohendha?

Nienga engirundhu varrienga?

I'm from…

mama ... ven/yen

Naan …… irundhu varéan.

Pleased to meet you.

oba hamuweema sathutak

Ungalai santhithathil magizhchi

Good morning.

subha udhaasanak

Kaalai Vanakkam

Good afternoon.

subha dhavalak


Good evening.

subha sandhavak

Maalai Vanakkam

Good night.

subha raahthriyak

Nalla thoungunga!

Good bye. (While leaving)

aayuboovan gehilla ennam

Poittu varén!

Do you understand?

terenavaa da?

Onglukku puriyutha?

I understand.

mata terenavaa

Enakku Puriythu!

I don't understand.

mata obava therum ganna baha

Enakku puriyala!

Please speak more slowly.

karunakara hemin kiyanna

Porumaiya pésunga?

Could you please repeat that?

karunaakarala eka navata kiyanna puluvandha?

Thirumba sollunga?

Could you please write that for me?

karunaakarala mata eka liyala dhenna puluvandha?

Ungalal Enakku Adhai eluzhi thara mudiyuma

Do you speak English?

oba ingreesi kathaa karanavadha?

Nienga English pésuviengala?

Do you speak Sinhala?

oba sinhala kathaa karanavadha?

Nienga Sinhala pésuviengala?

Yes, a little.

Ow Poddak

Ama Konjam

Excuse me



How much is it?

ehekka keeyada?

Idhu evvalavu?


mata samaavenna




Thayawu seydu

Thank you


Romba Nandri

Yes/ No

Ou/ Naa

Amaam / illai

Tomorrow/ Yesterday

Hete/ Eeyay

Naalai/ Netru

I’m hungry/ thirsty.

Mata badiginni/ Mata thibaha.

Enakku pasi/ thaaham irikku.

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Sri Lanka Info




It is an island, situated at the tip of the Indian Sub Continent. You can see breathtaking sights of beaches, hills, lakes, wildlife etc, all in an island of approximately 66,000 km². Sri Lanka has a coast line of 1,341 km's.


A population of close to 20 Million. Muslims account for about 8% of the population.


Tropical and warm. In the low-altitute areas the temperature will range from 28 °C (82.4 °F) to nearly 31 °C (87.8 °F). The temperature in the Central highlands could go as low as 17 °C (62.6 °F).


Sinhalese and Tamil are the two official languages. English is widely used as well.


GMT+5 1/2 hrs throughout the year


Government: 9 AM to 4 PM
General: 9 AM to 5 PM

Independence Day: February 4th
Milad-un-Nabi: March 9th
May Day: May 1st
Deepavali (Hindu Festival): October 26th
Christmas: December 25th

Based on the lunar calandar:
Sinhala & Tamil New Year
Tamil Thai Pongal
Vesak (Buddhist Holiday)
Full Moons (Poya Days) are holidays. Most businesses are closed and meats are not sold.


Sri Lankan Rupees


Police/ Emergencies: 119 or 118
Medical: 110
Fire: 111
Accident Service: 011 269 1111

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