One of my readers, Myra, very kindly requested that I write a blog post on the names of animals in Sinhala.
I immediately LOVED the idea!
Not just because I think it could be something useful for anyone wanting to learn Sinhala. But also because personally, I’ve always been fascinated by the animal world.
This was going to be fun for me.
It began with an elephant who didn’t give a crap…
I fell in love with animals, right from that very first childhood trip to the Dehiwala zoo in Sri Lanka. And I vividly remember the exact moment it happened.
It was during the elephant show. I remember giggling my little 5-year old tush off when one of the elephants decided to say “Screw this. Show or no show, I need to poop. Like right now”. What he forgot to add was “And brace yourselves kids, it’s gonna be so epic, you’ll even mention it in a blog post decades later…”.
(Come to think of it, technically speaking, he DID give a crap. Lots of it).
My brother’s obsession with the zoo was worse than mine. Way worse.
As a kid, he usually ate all his vegetables or finished all his homework only if he was bribed with a trip to the zoo. Most of these promised trips never materialized but that’s beside the point. Don’t go “awww.. poor child”, he was like any other kid who would forget about it as soon as you distracted him with something shiny and new. So no permanent damage done (I think).
Besides, the guy couldn’t even pronounce “Elephant” properly. According to him, Elephant = “elf” and Elephants = “ellis”. That kind of gobbledygook cannot be tolerated. Even if he was only 3-years old.
The King & I
My favorite animal has been and will always be the lion.
Maybe I’m biased due to the fact that my family name “Jayasinha” means “Victorious Lion”… Or perhaps it’s because the Sri Lankan flag has the emblem of a lion on it… Or maybe it’s because our awesome national cricketers are known as the “Fearless Lions”.
Either way, I love this majestic creature and the respect he effortlessly commands. I might even say I’m somewhat obsessed with his highness. Those of you who personally know me, know that I’m not kidding (I give you Exhibit A: My current iPhone & desktop wallpapers – exactly how they look right now).
Now about these names of Animals in Sinhala…
The names below have been put into 8 categories. Obviously, it’s not an exhaustive list, I’ve just included the names of the main/common animals in Sinhala that came to mind.
Notice the similarities between some of them. If something doesn’t make sense, leave all your questions for me below.
As I usually say, just have fun with it!
General Terms for Animals in Sinhala
|Goldfish||gōld fish (same as in English)|
Farm Animals in Sinhala
Wild Animals in Sinhala
|Cheetah||chee∙ta (same as in English)|
|Giraffe||ji∙raaf (same as in English)|
|Hippopotamus||hi∙po∙po∙tȧ∙mȧs (same as in English)|
|Kangaroo||kæn∙gȧ∙ru (same as in English)|
|Panda||pæn∙da (same as in English)|
1 Huge “Thank you!” to Hansini and Zach for pointing out my error. Thanks guys… FYI, whether you like it or not, I’ve just fired my resident reptile consultant and am replacing him with you both :)
|Penguin||pén∙gwin (same as in English)|