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Learn Sinhalese

It would be easy to travel in Sri Lanka speaking only English. (Your English can be very basic, but you should have some ability. Even in former European territories, like Pondicherry or Goa, very few people speak the colonial language.)

However, making an attempt, however limited, to get around in a local language can have a magical effect and can enhance your Sri Lanka experience. When you can say " No " or ask directions in a local language, you're demonstrating your interest in the local culture and implying local experience. This earns you respect and makes interactions easier. Of course, it also creates the assumption that you speak more of the language than you do.

The simple words suggested here, and the phrases you can build from them, are so basic that you'll be speaking only a "pigeon" form of the language. You will only be able to make a request or ask a simple question. You will not be able to interact with free speech. However, these words would get you started and you can easily add to your vocabulary as you go along. This is just to get you started.

 

Yes

ow

No

Nee

Why

ay/mokada

How

Kohomada

Where

Koheda

What

Mokakda

OK

Hari

How much

Keeyada

How many

Keeyada

help

Udaw Karanna

doctor

Dhosthara/Veda mahatthaya

police station

Poleesiya

taxi

taxi eka

train

Koochchiya

bus

bus eka

road

paara

left

Wama

Right

Dhakuna

Middle

Meda

under

yata

Chicken

Kukul mas

Beef

Harak mas

Mutton

Elu mas

Fish

Maalu

Pork

Uuru mas

Vegetable

Elawalu

Salad

Salaadha

Bread

Paan

Cheese

Cheese

Rice

Bath

Soup

Sup

Coffee

Koopi

Tea

Thee

Water

Wathura

Hello

Hallo

Good bye

Tataa

Please

Karunakaralaa

Thank you

Sthuthiy

Nice to meet you!

Dakeema Sathutak!

To give a ring

Phone karanna

What time is it?

Welaawa keeyada?

How far is that?

Kochchara Durada?

How are you ?

Kohomada ?

Who is that?

Kawuda ea ?

What is your name?

nama mokadda?

My name is George

Mage nama George

What are you going to do ?

Mokadda oya karanna yanne ?

Copyright 2002 Sampath Suranga Weerawarna