Sri Lankan Creole Malay


A language of Sri Lanka

Alternate Names
Java Jati, Melayu Bahasa, Sri Lankan Malay

46,000 (Ansaldo and Lim 2006), decreasing.


Ampara, Baddulla, Colombo, Galle, Gampaha, Hambantota, Jaffna, Kalutara, Kandy, Matara, Matale, Moneragala, and Nuwara Eliya districts, especially Badulla, Colombo, Hambantota, Kandy, and Kirinda urban areas.

Language Maps
Language Status

6b (Threatened).


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).


SOV; postpositions; case; adjectives and genitives precede noun heads.

Language Use

Language shift taking place. Malay communities using either English [eng], Sinhala [sin], or Tamil [tam] favor Sri Lankan Creole Malay. Clear shift to English among youth in Colombo. Kirinda is the only vital community of Sri Lanka Malays who have youth who speak it as L1. There is also a desire to acquire Standard Malay [zsm] as a useful economic tool but still preserve Malay identity. Beginning to shift to Standard Malay even in Kirinda. Home, community. Some young people, all adults. All ages only in Kirinda; being lost by youth in every other community. Also use English [eng], Sinhala [sin], Standard Malay [zsm], Tamil [tam].

Language Development

Newspapers. Radio.


Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments

Malay vocabulary with grammatical structure based on Sri Lankan Moor Tamil. Muslim, traditional religion.

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