Talk Like a Lankan!
Sri Lankans are a very proud people, and that’s no surprise cause they have many reasons to be proud of- a beautiful country to call home, an impressive heritage and a high literacy rate of 92%, which is the highest in South Asia. Thanks to the latter, many Sri Lankans can speak English, so you won’t have to worry about a huge language barrier. But just in case, here are five of the most important to know phrases in Sinhalese and Tamil to help you by.
Wherever the journey takes you across Sri Lanka, don’t forget to greet the people you meet with a hearty “Ayubowan” (ආයුබෝවන්) or “Vanakkam” (வணக்கம்), meaning “hello” or “welcome”. The Sinhalese phrase “Ayubowan” actually translates into “may you live longer”; a very thoughtful greeting wouldn’t you say?
Once you step out of the comfort and security of 5 Star hotels in Colombo the likes of One Galle Face; you will have to make it out on your own here, unless the hotel provides you with a guide. If in any situation you require the help of someone use the phrases “Udaw Karanna” (උදව් කරන්න) in Sinhalese or Utavi Cey (யூட்டா சீ) in Tamil, which means “help me”.
3. Thank You
Sri Lanka is listed among the Top 10 countries in the World Giving Index; the people here are very generous and very friendly towards tourists. So, when a kind Sri Lankan helps you out or offers you a cup of their world-famous Sri Lankan tea don’t forget to say “Isthuti” (ස්තුතියි) in Sinhalese or “nanri” (நன்றி) in Tamil.
4. What? Where? When? Who? Why?
When your new Sri Lankan buddies want you to come and hangout, you’re gonna need to ask them these questions.
What? Sinhalese- “Mokadhdha” (මොකක්ද) Tamil- “Enna” (என்ன)
When? Sinhalese- “Kawadadha” (කවදා ද) Tamil – “Eppoḻutu” (எப்பொழுது)
Where? Sinhalese- “Kohedha” (කොහෙද) Tamil- “Eṅkē” (எங்கே)
Who? Sinhalese- “Kaudha” (කවුද) Tamil- “Yār” (யார்)
“There are hundreds of languages around the world, but a smile speaks them all”!