Sri Lanka is a South Asian country surrounded by the Indian Ocean and separated from the Indian
subcontinent by the Palk Strait.
Sri Lanka has more than one language. The widely used ones are Sinhala and Tamil. The areas of which each
language is used depends on the dispersion of the Tamil and Sinhala people throughout the land. Sinhala is
the predominant language in the southern part includes Galle, Matara, Hambantota. Also in the western part
and the central part of Sri Lanka include Colombo, Gampaha, Kurunegala, Kandy, etc.
Tamil is mostly used in northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka. Tamil is used by Tamil and Muslim people.
There are some other small groups of people called Malay and Burger and their main language is known to be
English. Therefore there are three or four languages mainly used in Sri Lanka.
The Sinhala language is the main language spoken in Sri Lanka. Approximately 74% 76% of the population
speak Sinhala as the main language. The history of this language runs back to the earliest inscriptions on the
rocks which are written in Brahmi Characters. Although it is considered that Sinhala is influenced by Pali and
There are some variations of each language spoken in Sri Lanka, due to the accents and some additions in
various regions. Most popularly, the people in the southern part of Sri Lanka has a special accent and some
words that make them unique in speaking the Sinhala Language. They use some different words than
Sinhala in other parts of Sri Lanka for the same meaning.
Other than the Southern part, there are some distinguishable variations in the Sinhala language used in Uwa,
up-country and Sabaragamua regions.
The modern Sinhala contains some loanwords of Portuguese, Dutch, and English languages because of
centuries of colonial rule.
The Tamil Language is usually used in Sri Lanka by Tamils and Moors. Same as the Sinhala language, there
are some variations in Tamil too. The main sub-groups which are Jaffna Tamil, up-country Indian origin Tamil,
Batticoloa Tamil, and Negombo Tamil.
Language of Malay and Burgher People
Sri Lankan Malays are Muslims because of their ancestors from Indonesia and Malaysia. Usually, they live in
Beruwala, Hambanthota, Slave Island, etc. According to the region they live in, the language they speak
depends. Sri Lankan Malays speak Sinhala, Tamil and/or English. By the census in 2012, Nearly 28,980 Malays
speak Tamil language and 24,200Malays speak English.
Burgher people are considered as descendants from Portuguese, Dutch and English and some other foreign
European groups who settled in Sri Lanka in ancient times. After Sri Lanka was invaded by those nations,
some of them developed relationships and got married to native Sri Lankan women. The generation
descending by them is known to be Burghers.
The main language of those people was English until the early Ż0th century and in the present-day, most of
them speak Sinhala. Some may speak English or Tamil according to where they live.
Because there is more than one language spoken in Sri Lanka, it can be named as a multilingual country.