So far, the blog posts I’ve written have been on specific Sinhala phrases. So, for a change, I’m going to do a few on Sinhala vocabulary and wanted to start of with something very basic but important: Sinhala personal pronouns.
For those of you who have already watched Episode 1 of the Sinhala Video Tutorials, before you say “Boo Dilshan, old stuff, boooo!” and close your browser, not so fast, because I’ve put in some additional things about Sinhala personal pronouns that you didn’t see in the tutorials.
Plus, it’ll be nice n’ quick revision.
Sinhala Personal Pronouns
1st person pronouns: “I” & “we”
Although the correct word for “I” is ma∙mȧ, when speaking (especially when speaking quickly), you might hear this often being pronounced as mang.
The word for “we” is a∙pi.
|“I”||ma∙mȧ / mang|
2nd person pronouns: “you”
Let’s start with the informal “you”. The word is o∙yaa.
- This is the form of “you” that is most often used when speaking. It can be used on a friend, family member, or someone near your age.
- In an informal context, you could also use it on a stranger (for example when speaking to shop staff, hotel staff, etc)
The informal & plural “you” is used on two or more familiar people. In English, the closest equivalent is “you all” or “y’all” (the latter, which is usually accompanied by a nice southern drawl…).
- The word for plural “you” is either o∙yaa∙la or o∙yȧ gol∙lo.
- Note: During normal conversation, I’d say that o∙yȧ gol∙lo is used slightly more often than o∙yaa∙la.
Now, let’s look at the formal “you”. It’s good to know this form of “you” but honestly speaking, no one’s going to expect you (the non-native Sinhala speaker) to use it, especially in an informal context.
3rd person pronouns: “he”, “she”, “they”
In Sinhala, we use just one word for “he” and “she” and that word is é∙yaa.
The word for “they” is é∙yaa∙la or ḗ gol∙lo (the second word is used slightly more often than the first).
- And like the English word “they”, these words are gender-neutral, meaning that they can refer to a group of males, females, or a group consisting of both genders.
And that’s it for the main Sinhala personal pronouns. And you thought it was going to be difficult… tsk tsk…
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