Sri Lanka

Print
English
[eng] 1,910,000 in Sri Lanka, all users. L1 users: 10,000 (Crystal 2003a). L2 users: 1,900,000 (Crystal 2003a). Status: 3 (Wider communication). De facto national working language, used in government. Classification: Indo-European, Germanic, West, English. Comments: Non-indigenous.

More Information

Indo-Portuguese
[idb] Batticaloa, Colombo, Galle, Kandy, and Tincomalee districts. 2,220 (2011 J. Leclerc). No monolinguals. Ethnic population: 3,410. Status: 6b (Threatened). Classification: Creole, Portuguese based. Comments: Non-indigenous.

More Information

Sinhala
[sin] Widespread except some districts north, east, and center. 16,000,000 in Sri Lanka, all users. L1 users: 14,000,000 (2012). L2 users: 2,000,000 (1997). Total users in all countries: 16,210,660 (as L1: 14,210,660; as L2: 2,000,000). Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (1987, Constitution (amended), Article 18). Alternate Names: Cingalese, Singhala, Singhalese, Sinhalese. Autonym: සිංහල‎ (Siṃhāla). Dialects: Rodiya. Great differences exist between literary and colloquial language. Rodiya dialect is spoken by low caste Rodiya people. Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Outer Languages, Southern, Sinhalese-Maldivian. Comments: Buddhist.

More Information

Sri Lankan Creole Malay
[sci] Badulla, Colombo, Galle, Gampaha, Hambantota, Kalutara, Kandy, Matara, Matale, Moneragala, and Nuwara Eliya districts, especially Badulla, Colombo, Hambantota, Kandy, and Kirinda urban areas. 46,000 (Ansaldo and Lim 2006), decreasing. Status: 5 (Developing). Alternate Names: Java Jati, Melayu Bahasa, Sri Lankan Malay. Dialects: None known. Not intelligible of Standard Malay [zsm] due to phonological and syntactic differences, and strong influence from Tamil [tam]. May be similar to Malaccan Creole Malay [ccm] (Lim 1981). Classification: Creole, Malay based. Comments: Malay vocabulary with grammatical structure based on Sri Lankan Moor Tamil. Muslim, traditional religion.

More Information

Sri Lankan Sign Language
[sqs] Scattered. 12,800 deaf persons (Van Cleve 1986). Status: 6a (Vigorous). Classification: Sign language.

More Information

Tamil
[tam] Anurdhapura district: north and southwest; Batticaloa, south Baddulla, Galle, Jaffna, west Kandy, Matale, Mannar, northwest Moneragala, Mullaitivu, Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Ratnapura, Tincomalee, and Vavuniya districts. 4,960,000 (2012). Status: 1 (National). Statutory national language (1987, Constitution (amended), Articles 22(1), 24(1)), concentrated in North and East provinces; also in local administration and courts elsewhere. Classification: Dravidian, Southern, Tamil-Kannada, Tamil-Kodagu, Tamil-Malayalam, Tamil. Comments: Hindu, Muslim.

More Information

Veddah
[ved] Baddulla, Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya, and Polonnaruwa districts in eastern mountains; Moneragala district. Ethnic population: 2,500 (2002). Status: 8b (Nearly extinct). Alternate Names: Beda, Bedda, Vaedda, Veda, Veddha, Weda, Weddo. Classification: Indo-European, Indo-Iranian, Indo-Aryan, Outer Languages, Southern, Sinhalese-Maldivian. Comments: They live in small rural settlements and are more of a caste than a separate ethnic group. Generally accepted as equal in rank to the Sinhalese Goyigama caste.

More Information

Page Views Left: