5 Useful Phrases in Sinhala You Must Know 0 383

5 Useful Phrases in Sinhala You Must Know 0 384


With so much to see and explore in Sri Lanka, the land of diverse landscapes is often termed as a ‘paradise’. What makes it tick with vacationers from around the world, is that the population around the popular tourist spots is privy to the English language, making communication easier and convenient. For example, the team at Yoho Bed Hikkaduwa accommodation Yoho Baddegama Road, will be well-versed with speaking in English and therefore would be able to better assist you.

However, knowing certain phrases and words in Sinhala can really be of a lot of help. When interacting with the locals in the more unexplored areas of Sri Lanka, you may find that not all would be as well-versed with English. So why not learn some local phrases in Sinhala instead of avoiding exploring those scenic spots all together? It’ll also help in bridging the gap between you and them, putting you more at ease with the locals.

Some of the most helpful phrases include:

Oba ingreesi kathaa karanavadha?

(Do you speak English?)

A way to start the conversation can be with the polite Ayubowan (hello and/or may you live long!) that symbolises a feeling that goes a beyond a greeting! The next phrase can ideally be something that confirms whether they will be able to assist you in a language you know. So, ask them if they speak English. If they can’t, they will immediately redirect you to someone who does. When they do, do not forget to thank them by saying isthuthi (thank you) or bohoma isthuti (thank you very much).

Magei nama…

(My name is…)

The custom on meeting someone for the first time is to introduce yourself and what better way to do it than by introducing yourself in Sinhala. Especially when checking into hotels, like luxury villas in Mirissa, or catching up on a game of cricket in Galle, introducing yourself in their language is bound to surprise them and fill them with joy! You may go a step ahead and ask them their names as well with oyaage nama mokakda? (what is your name?)

Mata badagini

(I’m hungry)

A sure shot helper of a phrase if you are trekking or exploring really remote places. Using this phrase can help the natives redirect you to the nearest restaurant. If the phrase seems difficult, you can also go with kaama (food) or wathura (water) – the basics among the basics of words in Sinhala you need to know! These two words are effective on their own when used in the right tone.

May ka keeyadha?

(How much is it?)

Best asked when inquiring about the prices of water bottles, food and souvenirs, meeka keeyadha is your gateway to a sweeter deal. This can help in better negotiations with the shop vendor. If you feel it’s too expensive, don’t hesitate in saying ganan wedi (too expensive) to let them know so. A little interaction in the regional language usually does win brownie points during bargaining.

Mang poddak atharamang wela!  

(I’m a little lost)

This phrase can be life saver when you are travelling solo or in a group without locals. There may be times when your map doesn’t work or you got the wrong directions. Reaching out for help can help the locals understand that you need assistance. And from there on it should be smooth sailing!

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