Most of you who’ve known me for a while know that I’m not a big fan of all these fancy “grammar” words…
And so I try my best to avoid them. I’m not just talking about weird sounding words like “Subjunctive” or “Gerund” but even simple things likes “Articles”.
Simply because most of the time, I need to look it up to know what on earth it means (See, told you I was not a “teacher”).
But sometimes, I can’t get around them and have to use them. This is one of those posts, so bear with me. But just know that although I’ll be saying “Articles” throughout the post, I’m simply referring to the words “The”, “A”, & “An”…
The GOOD News And (Unfortunately) The NOT-SO-GOOD News About Articles In Sinhala
The GOOD news: There is no equivalent for “The” in spoken Sinhala
Remember from the Sinhala adjectives post that “dog” is ‘bal∙la’?
The good news is that in Sinhala, “The dog” is also ‘bal∙la’.
For example; “The dog is eating” would be ‘bal∙la ka∙nȧ∙va’
Good. Now get ready for less good news…
The NOT-SO-GOOD News: Not only does the Sinhala equivalent for “A”/”An” exist but it’s also kind of tricky…
Unlike in English where we simply put “A”/”An” before the noun, in Sinhala we need to change the last syllable of the noun.
- “Dog” = ‘bal∙la’
- “A dog” = ‘bal∙lék’
We replaced the last letter ‘a’ with ‘ék’. But if the noun was a “thing” or an “object”, then we replace “ȧ” with ‘ak’. Not so bad, right?…
Ok, fine. Calm down and keep your “jungies” on… Dilshan’s got you covered. I present to you the “Lazy But Smart Guidelines”:
“Lazy But Smart Guidelines” – Using The Equivalents Of “A”/”An” With A Noun In Sinhala
Here’s what I did…
I took a list of some common nouns that we’ve seen, and just started converting them to the “A”/”An” equivalent. I just wanted to see if there was a pattern. And indeed, a pattern there was.
Here’s a summary of what I saw, all in one downloadable image, just the way you like it. Click to enlarge.
Protecting My “Brown Sri Lankan Ass” – A Disclaimer About These Guidelines
Before some of you begin to find holes in my guidelines above, know this:
- I’m not saying that they apply to ALL the nouns in Sinhala. I could never test that because:
- there are so many Sinhala words that I don’t know
- I honestly can’t see my impatient self spending that much time testing each word.
- But I can tell you for sure that for all the words I’ve tested so far (which were quite a lot) , the rule definitely applies
- As you’d expect, there are exceptions to the guidelines. However, I won’t even talk about them in this post since they rarely occur. Saving that for Part 2 of this post.
- If you do find an inconsistency in what I’ve said above, I’d love to hear from you. Believe it or not, although I do tend to come across as an arrogant ass (and by “ass” I mean “donkey”, obviously…) I believe I am humble enough to be corrected.
Putting This Stuff To Practical Use
Remember this guy, the “good-looking dog” from my previous post?
Well, I could use him as an example for this one too but I’m someone who likes variety and who likes to keep things fresh. So I’ve decided to introduce a new character for this post.
…Ladies & Gents, I’d like to introduce you to “Fat Man”!
Learning to say “fat man”
We saw both these words in Sinhala Adjectives Part 2. This is just to refresh your memory:
- But wait, I told you before that in Sinhala there is no equivalent for “The”.
- So this means that “fat man” = “The fat man” = ‘ma∙ha∙thȧ mi∙ni∙ha’
|fat man / the fat man||ma∙ha∙thȧ mi∙ni∙ha|
Learning to say “You are THE fat man”
- You know by now (as we saw in the first Sinhala Video Tutorial) that “is/am/are” in Sinhala are usually implied, so we can re-write this sentence as:
- “You (are) the fat man” – I’ve put “am” within parentheses to show that it’s implied.
- You also know from that same tutorial that “you” = ‘o∙yaa’
- And we just saw that “fat man” = “The fat man” = ‘ma∙ha∙thȧ mi∙ni∙ha’
- So if we put all this together, “You are the fat man” would simply be:
|You are THE fat man||o∙yaa ma∙ha∙thȧ mi∙ni∙ha|
Easy peasy sleazy greasy…
Learning to say “You are A fat man”
- We know that “man” in Sinhala is ‘mi∙ni∙ha’
- Following the above Lazy But Smart Guidelines we also know that since ‘mi∙ni∙ha’ is a “People & Animal” noun ending with ‘a’ all we need to do is replace it with ‘ék’
- And so…
Therefore, “A fat man” would be…
|A fat man||ma∙ha∙thȧ mi∙ni∙hék|
And finally, to say “You (are) a fat man”, like before, we just add ‘o∙yaa’ to the beginning of the sentence.
|You are a fat man||o∙yaa ma∙ha∙thȧ mi∙ni∙hék|
That’s “almost” the end of this post… But before that… I’d like to ask you to do something for me.
Bonus Supplement: Replacing words in “You are a fat man”
Here’s a little bonus supplement for you to download, print, treasure, keep under your pillow, etc. It should help you really digest internalize every thing you learned above.
Just right-click on the “Bonus” image below and save/download the PDF.
And Finally, A Special “Thank You”…
To my “little” brother (a.k.a. “Komitel Brother”) who gladly let me use his photo as “Fat Man” above.
I’ll end this post by showing you a photo of the two of us from way back then when we were neither “fat” nor “men” :)
Leave all your questions, comments, and suggestions in the comments section below. Speak to you in a bit.