Numbers in Sinhala – Part 1: The Simplest Introduction


Here’s what a loyal Tribester of mine recently wrote to me about numbers:

“…Simple nouns (numbers, etc.) can be easily found in a dictionary and are immutable (i.e., the form won’t change when plopped into any sentence for the most part.)”

That is true… in English, that is.

But unfortunately for us, it’s not the case in Sinhala. They change according to the context or what’s being counted.

But don’t you worry, old friend…

Dr. Dilshan is about to dissect this topic and hopefully simplify it for you while inflicting minimum brain damage.

“Nurse, hand me that damn scalpel. Surgery is about to start…” > > >


How I Plan To Operate:

  • Through a series of mini-posts, each one building on the previous one
  • Introducing practical examples whenever I think you can handle it
  • Using infographics to help retain what you see
  • Using flashcards to test what you saw
  • Oh, and by using cute little icons like this and this to describe certain groups


Today, we’ll only be covering numbers 0 – 9.

Not a digit more. Not a digit less.



Zero in Sinhala

(The first of the “Friendlies”)

A “friendly” is the name I’ve given to a number that gives us the least headaches. Hence the huggy emoji I’ve used.

They tend to follow a similar pattern and are easy to remember.

Zero is the first of such “friendlies” we’ll be seeing.


zero – 0bin∙dhu∙wȧ1      

My Random Notes:

1 ‘bin∙dhu∙wȧ’ also means “drop” (as in, “tear drop” or “water drop”), which kind of makes sense considering the shape of it


Lazy But Smart Infographic: Zero in Sinhala


1-9 in Sinhala

(The “Repeaters”)


These are the nine-most important numbers you’ll need to know as they pop up in (almost) every number we’ll see in the future.

So take your time and get used to them one by one.


one – 1é∙kȧ2      
two – 2dhé∙kȧ3      
three – 3thu∙nȧ      
four – 4ha∙thȧ∙rȧ      
five – 5pa∙ha4      
six – 6ha∙yȧ5      
seven – 7ha∙thȧ      
eight – 8a∙tȧ6      
nine – 9na∙mȧ∙yȧ7      

My Random Notes:

2 Sounds like the English word “acre” but without dragging the “A”.

3 Sounds like the English word “decker” but with a soft “D”.

4 ‘pa∙ha’ (“five”) is the only number among the Repeaters that doesn’t end with ‘ȧ’

5 Sounds like the English word “higher”

6 Sounds like the English word “utter”

7 You might hear some people pronouncing “nine” as ‘na∙vȧ∙yȧ’. I personally say it as ‘na∙mȧ∙yȧ’


Lazy But Smart Infographic: 0-9 in Sinhala
And that’s all for today!

Told you we’ll start off easy, didn’t I?


Flashcard Test

My advice: Keep going back and forth until you get all of them correct in one go. You’ll need it for the next post.




nine – 9

>> Click to view the Sinhala translation <<
>> Click to go back to the English translation <<







zero – 0

>> Click to view the Sinhala translation <<
>> Click to go back to the English translation <<







eight – 8

>> Click to view the Sinhala translation <<
>> Click to go back to the English translation <<







five – 5

>> Click to view the Sinhala translation <<
>> Click to go back to the English translation <<







seven – 7

>> Click to view the Sinhala translation <<
>> Click to go back to the English translation <<







one – 1

>> Click to view the Sinhala translation <<
>> Click to go back to the English translation <<







four – 4

>> Click to view the Sinhala translation <<
>> Click to go back to the English translation <<







two – 2

>> Click to view the Sinhala translation <<
>> Click to go back to the English translation <<







six – 6

>> Click to view the Sinhala translation <<
>> Click to go back to the English translation <<







three – 3

>> Click to view the Sinhala translation <<
>> Click to go back to the English translation <<







What You’ll See In The Next Post:

  • We’ll learn how each of these numbers have to be tweaked when you’re giving out your phone number to someone.


What I need from you:

Feedback, questions, and more feedback.

Tell me what I’m doing wrong, tell me what I’m doing right. Tell me everything.

Also, did you already know these numbers? If yes, what difficulties have you faced when using them? What were the stumbling blocks.


Enroll for free in my new Sinhala email course!

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30 Responses to Numbers in Sinhala – Part 1: The Simplest Introduction

  1. Raine Siebel May 7, 2017 at 19:43 #

    Very nicely displayed using the clock system Dilshan. Yes that was the first thing I learnt from an old uncle of mine so I did know 1-9 but I used to mispronounced some…so of course that is something I would like to see…being able to HEAR the numbers said out loud by you. Everytime I hit the voice button it doesn’t work…

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 7, 2017 at 20:11 #

      Oh no… What’s the device you’re using Raine? (PC, Mac, iPhone, etc). I’ve tested it on all my devices and they seem to work for me.

      • Daniel Wood May 7, 2017 at 21:59 #

        Hello Dilshan,

        great post, bohoma sthoothi. I have had problems too with the sound button, it only seems to give me a problem when using an Ipad. Using anything else is not a problem though.

        • Dilshan Jayasinha May 8, 2017 at 10:16 #

          Thanks Daniel, yes, that confirms what I was suspecting. The audio player plugin I use is not yet compatible with the latest Apple iOS. I’m getting in touch with the makers of it now to get it fixed. Thanks for your input.

    • Sergii May 8, 2017 at 00:19 #

      Ajubowan to all.

      I hear sound good (Windows 10 + IE11). May be some troubles in your sound systems?

      • Dilshan Jayasinha May 8, 2017 at 00:25 #

        Thanks Sergii, the problem is the sound plugin that I’m using on my site. It works on my Windows 10 and iOS 9 but doesn’t work on my wife’s phone that’s using the latest iOS. This means the plugin hasn’t released an update yet. Will figure out a solution soon my dear people, but in the meantime please use a desktop/laptop device to listen to my charming pronunciation, haha.

  2. Keith Lanham May 7, 2017 at 20:07 #

    Hello Dilshan. Thanks for this. But i am a bit confused as to when to use E ka, dhe ka. as averse to e kai, dhe kai etc.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 7, 2017 at 20:51 #

      Aha, there it is! I was expecting this question. That will be covered in the next post but here’s my answer in a nutshell: What you’ve seen in this post will rarely be used in the form I’ve shown (with the exception of eka). It’s used mainly for giving the date (e.g. Desaembar paha (“5th December”). However, we need to still know it in this raw form in order to move onto the other forms (for example, ekayi, dhekayi, etc – when counting objects or giving your phone number). Thanks for the question, please feel free to follow up.

  3. Soumen Patnaik May 7, 2017 at 21:17 #

    Dear Dilshan,

    The way you have given an introduction to numbers from 1 to 9 and 0 in sinhala is nice and very easy to remember but I am not able to hear the manner in which they should be pronounced in your blog and it was not audible after pressing the arrow buttons.Can you please help me in that regard and also give me the Sinhala numbers at least now up to 100.-Soumen Patnaik

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 8, 2017 at 10:17 #

      Hi Soumen, many iphone/ipad users are having the same sound issue as you are. I’m getting it fixed right now but in the meantime, any chance you might be able to use a desktop/laptop to read this post. It will work then.

  4. Sergii May 8, 2017 at 00:39 #

    Ajubowan, Dilshan.

    Good idea with clock style numbers reminder.
    And good idea with test cards. But it would be better, if card appears randomly… and endless.
    Because, I only just remember numbers, and cards is finished :(

    However, Isthoothi for all your great work. :)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 8, 2017 at 00:42 #

      Hi again Sergii, the cards are random. You just have to refresh the page and you’ll get a new random set. Let me know if it works. Thanks for the good feedback too.

      • Sergii May 18, 2017 at 00:30 #

        Ajubowan, Dilshan.

        Random does not work. Any type of refresh (F5 of Ctrl+R) makes same cards order (9,1,4,7,5,8,6,2,3,0).
        I try it in latest versions of different browsers on PC Win10: IE, Edge, Chrome, FireFox, Opera, YandexBrowser.

        • Dilshan Jayasinha May 19, 2017 at 23:53 #

          That’s very strange, Sergii. I tried it on 3 different devices and with 4 other Tribesters and it shuffled the order of the cards every time on refreshing. I’ll have to think about this…

  5. Shirley Vilathgamuwa May 8, 2017 at 01:56 #

    Great, one of the first things I learned years ago was how to count, made it up to 10 without an issue.

    Love your presentation, great job. As always of course. :)

    Shirley V

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 8, 2017 at 10:20 #

      Thank you Shirley. And let me say “Love your comments, great job. As always of course”. :)

  6. Shirley Vilathgamuwa May 8, 2017 at 02:11 #

    Ha Ha, had to share thu-na, when learning my numbers before. I often was yelled at ITS thu-na NOT tuna, that’s a b**** fish not a number. Of course being a bit cheeky, I told him but Tuna is English, what is a Tuna fish in Sinhala? Never did get an answer, just kind of smile, and I was impossible to teach. LOL

    This was from the person who told me a story of getting in trouble learning English pronunciation.
    Of put and bus, apparently he was using the ut sound in put, in the word bus. I do not know how to apply the phonetic symbols for the pronunciation, I hope you can understand what I am saying.

    Eagerly looking forward to next set dha-ha-ya onward or something close I think, the rusty wheels are trying to grind!!!

    Blessing to you and your family

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 8, 2017 at 10:35 #

      Haha, yes I understood what you meant about “put” and “bus”.

      Funny stuff about “Tuna” too. To answer your question, “Skipjack Tuna” is ‘balaya’, “Yellow-fin Tuna” is ‘kelavalla’.

      Hope that helps?

  7. Ivan May 8, 2017 at 03:47 #

    thanks: very nice and easy: the only thing is that one is to create some specific allusions to “supporting” words in native language, to establish the regulations, as e.g., in “paha” = Ukrainian “pyat'” or “hate.ra” = Ukrainian “chotyry”…or to just cram them

  8. Velo May 8, 2017 at 05:37 #

    Hodai, ishthooti Dilshan. Navaya. ;-)

  9. Siva May 9, 2017 at 02:06 #

    Thanks Dilshan,
    Eagerly awaiting for part 2 and beyond. This is what I requested in one of my emails to you last year. I have some difficulty with higher numbers, probably part 6,7 & 8.

    As usual, the format and the plan of presentation are very good and helpful, with the pronunciation.
    I had to click the sound button 3 times at 7 to get is working. All else worked well.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 16, 2017 at 10:28 #

      Thanks Siva, I’m hoping to release Part 2 tomorrow. Yeah, I am indeed starting at a very basic level that you already know but hopefully soon should reach a level which will be new material for you. Speak again tomorrow.

  10. Erica May 11, 2017 at 10:42 #

    Loved the clock and test cards. I knew the numbers, but had forgotten correct pronunciation of namaya.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha May 16, 2017 at 10:29 #

      That’s awesome, Erica. Thanks. Also, like I mentioned, I don’t believe that either ‘namaya’ or ‘navaya’ is wrong, but I personally pronounce it as ‘namaya’.

  11. Phil McCoy June 7, 2017 at 18:49 #

    Just a friendly warning that your “sounds like” hints don’t work very well in American English, because we pronounce those words with a strong ‘r’ sound at the end. I shudder to think what my wife would do if I started counting “ek-err, dhek-err, thu-nerr. . .”

    • Dilshan Jayasinha July 15, 2017 at 23:25 #

      You’re right, Phil. I should probably make a mention of it somewhere. Thanks.

  12. Niroshan July 20, 2017 at 18:10 #

    It is very useful to me.
    Thanks 😊😊😊

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