LBSS 02: Greetings & Responses in Sinhala [AUDIO TUTORIAL]

Learn Sinhala Podcast - Greetings & Responses in Sinhala In this 2nd session of the Lazy But Smart Sinhala Podcast, we do our first Audio Tutorial together where I introduce you to some typical greetings & responses in Sinhala. (Before listening to this you might want to check out Session 01 first…) In this session I talk to you about :

  • Some Basic personal pronouns in Sinhala
  • A typical informal greeting
  • How to respond to such a greeting
  • The traditional formal greeting in Sinhala

And at the end of the session I’ll walk you through a sample dialogue between you and me and I’ll ask you some quick questions on the material we learned.  


(Click on the video below to watch the Video Tutorial version of this post):

Sinhala Video Tutorial - Ep-01


Key Sinhala Words and Phrases Used In This Session

Section 1: Basic Sinhala Personal Pronouns


ma∙mȧ “I”
o∙yaa Informal “you”
é∙yaa “he/she”


Section 2: Typical Informal Greeting


ko∙ho∙mȧ∙dhȧ? “How?”


o∙yaa   ko∙ho∙mȧ∙dhȧ?  /  ko∙ho∙mȧ∙dhȧ? “How (are) you? / How (are you?)”
é∙yaa   ko∙ho∙mȧ∙dhȧ? “How (is) he/she?”
‘Ricky’   ko∙ho∙mȧ∙dhȧ? “How (is) Ricky?”


Section 3: Responding To An Informal Greeting


hondhin  in∙nȧ∙va “fine/well”


ma∙mȧ   hondhin  in∙nȧ∙va “I (am) fine”


Section 4: Traditional Formal Greeting


aa∙yu∙bō∙wan (Traditional formal greeting. Lit: “May your lifespan be long”)


Right-click here for a free download of the MP3. Don’t forget to post all your comments & questions in the section below. And also, please feel free share this around. Thanks!

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19 Responses to LBSS 02: Greetings & Responses in Sinhala [AUDIO TUTORIAL]

  1. Mary Jane August 4, 2013 at 16:00 #

    I like this podcast for listening while walking, but I also really like you flashcards for practicing. Looking forward to more.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha August 4, 2013 at 16:09 #

      Thanks Jane, great to hear from you again. Glad you liked the first couple of sessions. I’m working on a few more as we speak, should be out soon.Take care.

  2. ingrid August 4, 2013 at 17:57 #

    Hello Dilshan,

    I found your site right in time before getting too embarrassed for hardly speaking any sinhala after living here for nearly one year. But with your kind of teaching I am finally making progress. Same as Mary Jane, above, I am also looking forward to more sessions including those fantastic flashcards.
    Thanks a million.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha August 4, 2013 at 18:41 #

      Hi Ingrid, I personally don’t think you should feel too embarrassed about it. I know how fast we Sri Lankans tend to speak… Could get quite difficult to pick up any words that way. I’m glad you like my approach. Do keep me posted about your progress and thanks again for the nice comment.

  3. Wendy August 8, 2013 at 11:49 #

    Hi Dilshan, love the podcasts! I also like how you elaborate on the pronunciation more in these. I’ve been able to correct one or two mistakes I’ve been making thanks to that. :)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha August 8, 2013 at 17:45 #

      That’s awesome, thanks! I’ll continue to focus on the pronunciation.

  4. jis August 12, 2013 at 09:51 #

    Hi dilshan. KOHAMADHA? Thank you very much for the wonderful work. Can I use OYA to father, mother and other elderly people?? looking forward to hearing from you more. cheers!!!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha August 12, 2013 at 11:07 #

      Hi Jis,

      The short answer is yes, you can use ‘o∙yaa’ when speaking to your mother, father, grand-parents, etc…

      But I’ll add one comment to this.

      ‘o∙yaa’, as you know, is the familiar/informal “you”.

      In Sri Lanka, being respectful to elders is something very important and is generally instilled in every child. So even if you can freely use o∙yaa with your parents, the older someone is (for example, grandparents), or the more distant someone is from your immediate family (for example, uncles and aunts), one tends to see o∙yaa as somewhat ‘less’ respectful.

      But on the other hand ‘o∙ba’ (the formal “you”) is TOO formal.

      So what do you do?

      Well, I have identified 2 ‘work-arounds” that are generally used. They are:

      1) Speaking to someone in the 3rd person:

      For example, if I meet my grandfather (note that the word for grandfather in Sinhala is ‘see∙ya’), I probably wouldn’t greet him with o∙yaa ko∙ho∙mȧ∙dhȧ? Instead I will ask ‘see∙ya ko∙ho∙mȧ∙dhȧ?’ (which translated means: “How is grandfather?”. It’s as if I’m referring to a 3rd person)

      2) Starting a sentence with the person’s name, title, etc. and then continuing with ‘o∙yaa’.

      For example, when I see my grandfather, I could also greet him saying ‘see∙ya, o∙yaa ko∙ho∙mȧ∙dhȧ?’ (“Grandfather, how are you?”)

      But note that if you’re not a Sinhala native speaker, and it is obvious that you’re a foreigner learning the language, I find it hard to believe that anyone (even older generation) would get offended by you using o∙yaa. I think that people would be too busy respecting and admiring the fact that you’re making an effort to speak their language than to get offended in any way, so you’ll be fine with even ‘o∙yaa’.

      • jis August 14, 2013 at 05:39 #

        Thank u so much. it helped me alot. Now I’m gonna move on to 3rd session :)

  5. Shiju Krishnan U K September 20, 2013 at 21:33 #

    Rather than text blog i prefer audio blog, so that our pronounce will be correct.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha September 22, 2013 at 14:34 #

      Understood. But also note that in every text blog so far, I think I have provided audio clips for all the important phrases.

  6. Martina November 1, 2013 at 17:32 #

    Great. I enjoyed your 2nd lesson very much. The first was too much talking. I want to learn as quickly as possible since I have just moved to Colombo. I really appreciate your effort to teach foreigners very very much.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 2, 2013 at 09:34 #

      Hi Martina, you’re very very welcome. I like your enthusiasm to learn.

      Unfortunately though, you might need to get used to the excess talking since I tend to do a lot of unnecessary yapping on the podcast :)

      Take care and all the best with your move to Colombo.

  7. Elisabeth August 22, 2014 at 02:11 #

    Hi Dilshan,

    What an amazingly professional set-up. Loved the session on body parts with your nephew. He is really sweet (and so are you :-) in all your forms)

    I hope you keep this going, it makes many things I ‘learned’ before fall into place.

    Thank you sooo much,


    • Dilshan Jayasinha August 23, 2014 at 15:45 #

      You’re very welcome, Elisabeth! Glad you like what I’ve done. I shall also convey your words to my nephew. He’ll be thrilled :)

      Take care and speak to you again soon!

  8. Michelle June 1, 2015 at 23:21 #

    Would it be possible to also include the actual Sinhalese written language with your phonetic words, and also have them broken up in your syllabic structure? I have just started as I have met a guy who’s parents speak mostly Sinhalese. I want to make a good impression when I actually meet them. :)

  9. Charles February 9, 2016 at 22:57 #

    Hi Dilshan,
    Can you recommend a podcast player that will work for your podcast series? I would prefer to be able to listen while driving with more “hands-free” capability. The podcast player I have been using (Player FM) says I cannot subscribe to your feed because it is a paid subscription.

    I’m really looking forward to learning Sinhala with you. I recently married a wonderful Sri Lankan Canadian and we will be visiting Sri Lanka later this year to meet family.

    Thanks for your help!

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