Saturday, February 23, 2013

The funny world of Sinhala, Singlish and English


Sinhala is the primary language spoken in Sri Lanka and mother tongue of the Singhalese people. The Sinhalese people make up the majority of the island's total population, approximately 75%. The remaining 25% consists of Sri Lankan Tamils, Moors, Indian Tamils, Malays, Burghers and other minorities.

I've been slowly navigating my way around Sinhala. Given that my first language is English, I've found it more than a little challenging to pick up. Firstly, if you've ever stood and observed a conversation in Sinhala its quite apparent that fluent speakers talk at, what seems like, a million miles a minute. And it also sounds a little musical too, in a good way.

Early on, one of my challenges was mainly around the formation of some words and I do admit to still getting a little tongue-tied at times. For example, there's this sweet delicacy called "dodol" made from coconut milk, jaggery and rice flour. I had (and probably still have) difficulty with the pronunciation of this word. And it certainly makes my friends laugh. When I initially tried to say "dodol" it came out like "tho-thol". No matter how many times I tried it just kept coming out like that. It was embarassing, but I persisted. Now I think I've figured out where my tongue needs to be placed (i.e. roof of mouth, but towards the back of my teeth) so that it comes out as its supposed to...

** Please note, the full blog post has been removed as parts of the blog content will be edited for inclusion in an upcoming publication by the author. More information will be made available on the Adventures in a Tuk-Tuk Blog in due course **

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