photo credits: Wikimedia Commons

Sinhala ( SIN-hə-lə, SING-ə-lə; Sinhala: සිංහල, siṁhala, [ˈsiŋɦələ]), sometimes called Sinhalese ( SIN-(h)ə-LEEZ, SING-(g)ə-LEEZ), is an Indo-Aryan language primarily spoken by the Sinhalese people of Sri Lanka, who make up the largest ethnic group on the island, numbering about 16 million. Sinhala is also spoken as the first language by other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, totalling about 2 million speakers as of 2001. It is written using the Sinhala script, which is a Brahmic script closely related to the Grantha script of South India. Sinhala is one of the official and national languages of Sri Lanka, alongside Tamil. Along with Pali, it played a major role in the development of Theravada Buddhist literature. Early forms of the Sinhala language are attested as early as the 3rd century BCE. The language of these inscriptions, still retaining long vowels and aspirated consonants, is a Prakrit similar to Magadhi, a regional associate of the Middle Indian Prakrits that had been used during the time of the Buddha. The most closely related languages are the Vedda language (an endangered, indigenous creole still spoken by a minority of Sri Lankans, mixing Sinhala with an isolate of unknown origin and from which Old Sinhala borrowed various aspects into its main Indo-Aryan substrate), and the Maldivian language. It has two main varieties, written and spoken, and is a conspicuous example of the linguistic phenomenon known as diglossia. Source: Wikipedia (en)

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Subject - wd:Q13267

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