Episode 001 – Greetings & Responses

Episode 1 – Greetings & Responses

In this episode, we cover:

  • Basic personal pronouns in Sinhala
  • Typical informal greeting
  • Responding to an informal greeting
  • Traditional formal greeting


Video Tutorial

53 Responses to Episode 001 – Greetings & Responses

  1. Shanti June 13, 2013 at 01:37 #

    Bonjour … On attends avec impatience les prochains épisodes … Comptes les mettre rapidement …? En tout cas milles merci pour tous ! Ma maman est sri lankaise malheureusement elle ne m’a pas appris la langue … Mais je comprends assez bien … :) …

    • Dilshan Jayasinha June 13, 2013 at 18:06 #

      Bonjour Shanti et merci pour ton commentaire. J’espère pouvoir mettre en ligne le prochain épisode (“Wrap Up” of episodes 1-5) dans les semaines à venir. Je n’ai pas pu le faire pour le moment puisque je travaille actuellement sur des nouveautés additionnelles du blog que j’annoncerai d’ici un mois. Merci pour ton interêt and j’espère à très bientot!

  2. feroj July 16, 2013 at 07:20 #

    Thanks, I am learning

  3. Wendy July 16, 2013 at 11:02 #

    Hi Dilshan,

    quick question. I’ve come across a variation for “what?” “mokakdha?”, namely “mokadda?”.
    Is there a difference in usage or is it a difference in pronunciation, like stoothi and istoothi?


    • Dilshan Jayasinha July 16, 2013 at 11:52 #

      Hi Wendy,

      It’s the same word, different pronunciation (but note that in both words you should use the soft ‘D’ – such as ‘dh’).

      When I was putting the tutorials together, I tested these 2 words on a couple of Sinhala non-speakers and discovered that they found ‘mo∙kak∙dhȧ’ easier to pronounce and remember than ‘mo∙kadh∙dhȧ’.

      So I went with that option, especially since it is the more ‘correct’ way of saying “what”. (‘mo∙kadh∙dhȧ’ is tad bit more colloquial).

      Also, in a future tutorial I hope to introduce two variations of this word (mo∙kȧk vath and mo∙kak ha∙ri) and therefore ‘mo∙kadh∙dhȧ’ seemed like the simpler option to base these on.

      Personally, which word do you prefer (in terms of pronunciation and ease of remembering)?

      • Wendy July 16, 2013 at 16:28 #

        Thanks for you reply. I thought as much but it’s nice to have the confirmation. Especially since I was reading in Sinhala script and it’s nice to have the confirmation in the alphabet I’m used to :)!

        I much prefer mokakdha, if only because I’m a little hazy on how to differentiate pronounciation of double and single consonants: mokadhdha and mokadha for example… It feels safer and more correct to say mokakdha for me. That way I know for sure I’m not saying a completely different word :).

  4. Dil... September 17, 2013 at 07:35 #

    Hi Really Happy to find you through Utube I really need a video that you are the only one that can do it LOL!!! ( trying to seduce the lazy srilankan in you ;) ) That is the simple videos of the alphabet with the different pronunciation of the same letter but when placed in the different place in the word ( begining or not ) Hope you will hear my cryyyyy for it ;)
    Really like your site thanks for it !!!!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha September 18, 2013 at 10:39 #

      Hi Dil, thanks for the really nice comments. I really appreciate it.

      Now about your ‘seductive’ request to the lazy Sri Lankan, haha…. As you may have read on my About Page, right now I’m not focusing on the reading and writing of Sinhala. Although I myself can do both reading and writing, I just don’t think I am able to teach it in a simple and effective way.

      However, I keep a list all new ideas for the blog and I’ll be happy to add your request to it. I can’t promise you that I’ll do it anytime soon since it’s not within the scope of this blog but I can promise you that I will not forget about it, ok?

      Take care and I hope to talk to you again soon.

  5. Dil... September 17, 2013 at 07:53 #

    Really You are smart so true hum hum We are smart ;) Seriously Love that video and the animations that you put in it I see that you love our language givethanks again ;)

  6. Dilshari September 18, 2013 at 11:16 #

    Ohhh thanks for your answer ! Don’t doubt yourself I am sure you can do it your smart right:-D¿?
    Sorry I wrote you on your Facebook too did not want to arrass ( roo don’t know ho to write it I speak better French sorry) but only making sure that you got my message …

    Are you based in sri lanka? I am in France!
    Have a bless day

    • Dilshan Jayasinha September 18, 2013 at 11:31 #

      No worries at all, I don’t feel harassed… haha.

      I am based in Monaco. You’ll find a bit of my background on my About Page.

      Take care and thanks again Dilshari.

  7. Dilshari October 12, 2013 at 07:23 #

    Hi So i finally can start my internet is back ;)
    I wanted to know so Oba is the you polite form like vous in french right ?
    And oya I only use when I know the person or even if I dont know the person but he or she is the same age as me ?
    thanks again for everything ;)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha October 16, 2013 at 16:14 #

      Hi Dilshari, sorry for the delay.

      Short answer is yes, ‘o∙bȧ’ is the polite form like ‘vous’ and o∙yaa is the more familiar form.

      However, when speaking, o∙bȧ is not used as often as ‘vous’ is used in French. Instead of saying oba, we use a couple of ‘workarounds’. Let me explain…

      Below is a copy & paste of an answer I gave to another reader who asked a similar question, which was “Can you use oyaa with parents & grandparents”. The answer I gave can also apply to people who are unfamiliar (to the type of people you would say “vous” to) so I think it answers your question too:


      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’.


      Let me know if this answered your question. Sorry again for the delay.

  8. Dilshari October 16, 2013 at 22:09 #

    No problem for the delay my friend I Am SO greatful that you take the time to answer me ;) thanks !
    One more question when you put see-ya : the sound see is it like english see ?

    Thanks for your email reply I will reply you soon ;)
    A bientôt ;)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha October 17, 2013 at 07:27 #

      Yes, like “see” in English.

    • Mirjana January 23, 2017 at 08:22 #

      Hi, Mr Jayasinha,

      I was wondering if we need to put this dots between the letters in a word, e.g., ‘o.yaa’, or can we write just ‘oyaa’? Also, if ‘o.ba’ is used in formal addressing, why is then this word used in songs where a male is addressing to a female? Is this way of polite addressing to a girlfriend or a wife also applied in everyday life?

      Thank you and best regards,

      • Dilshan Jayasinha January 23, 2017 at 15:10 #

        No Mirjana, the dots are something I put in between the syllables to help with pronunciation.

        Good question about oba. Yes, almost every romantic Sinhala song has ‘oba’ in it. It’s a very “literature” way of speaking to ones partner. But trsut me, you’ll only see that in songs. In real life, I’ve never come across a husband and wife saying oba to each other.

        Does that answer your question?

  9. Dilshari October 16, 2013 at 22:12 #

    BUT O-ba then when is it really used? If Use ???? Is it more for the writting and not talking ?or in officiel talk like if you meet the president LOL!!!!
    Sorry I am still in doubt of the use of it ……

    • Dilshan Jayasinha October 17, 2013 at 07:28 #

      Yes, it is more for writing, or like you suggested speaking with high status individuals. It is also used in any type of formal conversation (such as TV interviews, TV news, etc.). Basically, you probably won’t need to use oba very often.

  10. Steve November 27, 2013 at 02:31 #

    Thanks Dilshan! A real pleasure to learn with your professional yet simple approach. I am really impressed by your use of the technology!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 27, 2013 at 10:56 #

      Thank you Steve, to be honest, it took me a while (much longer than me and inflated ego anticipated) to learn the technical side of setting up and managing a blog since I had to learn everything from scratch. 7 months ago I didn’t know what CSS, HTML, and other scary looking acronyms meant. Today, a little better. However, regarding having a simple approach (towards almost anything), I probably had it since I was a child, haha.Thanks again for your comment and welcome to the blog.

  11. Mahesh February 3, 2014 at 05:41 #

    really awesome……i am an animation student and simply impressed with your usage of technology. Animations in the clips are simple and good. I find it very easy to learn sinhala by them. Thank You :)

    • Dilshan Jayasinha February 4, 2014 at 18:35 #

      Thank you Mahesh. That’s great to hear that from, especially since you’re in animation. Now I know whom to email whenever I get stuck! :)

      All the best with the Sinhala learning. Hope to hear from you again soon.

  12. lahiritch June 14, 2014 at 11:29 #

    Hi dilshan. I really find helpful of your blog i actually download all your pdf profile. But i also want to download your video. I dont know how. Can you help me? Im learning your language for my fiancee. I just want him to be surprise and love me more. Please! Thanks in advance.

  13. Anya August 15, 2014 at 15:19 #

    Hello Dilshan,
    First off, I consider coming across your blog as a super nice and unexpected surprise! In no way can it be lazy, at least for you ;) having put so much effort+time+humor+love into it :) So far I have tried the 1st Video and loved every bit of it, beginning with the drums :-P I also like your style, cannot keep smiling hearing smth like “answer some of my questions before I let you go”! Being a teacher of English as a foreign language, I feel can not only learn some Sinhala to impress my Srilankan friends, but even pick some of your fun ways of teaching as well! Thank you very much for giving this opportunity! I am a novice here so don’t have much more to say, but hoping to enjoy the treasures available and then share more of my delight!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha August 25, 2014 at 20:29 #

      Hello Anya! Thanks so much for your comment, it’s so nice everything you’ve said in it! :)

      I sincerely am happy that you’re finding my blog interesting and useful. Thank you!

      (PS: I also received your email which I will reply right now).

  14. Kelum August 23, 2014 at 23:24 #

    This is awesome work!! Great site for people who haven’t learned Sinhala before!
    You have maintained the presentations and the site very well. I will recommend this site to my foreign friends. Thanks and keep up the good work!!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha August 25, 2014 at 20:32 #

      Hi Kelum, thanks so much.

      Whenever a fellow Sri Lankan offers to tell his or her friends about my blog, for me, it’s the ULTIMATE compliment I could get! So thank you my friend, I appreciate your support very much.

      All the best!

  15. Wendy September 14, 2014 at 18:54 #

    Hi Dilshan! I started way at the beginning to prepare my course and expected to breeze through this… and here I am already with a question, haha!
    You say hondhin innava is composed of two words: which ones? My instinct would be to say “hondayi” (good) and “innawa” (which I understood to mean waiting or staying). Is that correct? Then why the -in ending to hondayi? Thanks!

    • Dilshan Jayasinha September 14, 2014 at 19:06 #

      Hi Wendy,

      in∙nȧ∙va = “waiting” / “staying” / “being”

      In this case, we take the meaning of “being”.

      hoňdhȧ = “good” (adjective)

      hoňdhayi = “is good”

      hoňdhin = “well” (adverb) – like when we say “He does it very well”

      So, in effect, hoňdhin in∙nȧ∙va = “(I am) being well”

      Hope that helped?

      I didn’t give too much detail (and I used the word “fine” instead of “well”) in the episode since it was the first one and I didn’t want to scare anyone away. But judging by your good question, it looks like I underestimated my audience :)

  16. Tapajyoti October 4, 2014 at 07:51 #

    Helpful a lot mate! Was interested in Sinhala from reading Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost. This has further piqued it.
    Greetings from West Bengal, India

    • Dilshan Jayasinha October 7, 2014 at 11:45 #

      Hi Tapajyoti, great to hear that. I must confess though, I don’t know this book. But sounds like I might have get my hands on it.

      All the best and good luck with the Sinhala learning.

  17. Shelley Woodroffe October 10, 2014 at 00:04 #

    Hi Dilshan

    I’ll be spending all if December in Sri Lanka with friends and I’m finding LBSS really useful. Just a quick question – what it the Sri Lankan equivalent to a handshake or is it the same?



    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 6, 2014 at 17:45 #

      Hi Shelley, sorry about the delay.

      Well, a hand-shake is fine and quite common. But I’ve noticed that most times when I’m introduced to people it’s also quite normal to smile and do the slightest of head-nods, the type you’d do when you cross a co-worker along the corridor of an office.

  18. Bob January 4, 2015 at 00:36 #

    Hi Dilshan,

    First off, let me say thanks for providing such a nice website for all of us who want to learn some Sinhala (Sinhalese?) words.

    I will be volunteering for awhile with children in Kandy. I am determined to know at least some words, not because it will be absolutely necessary, but rather because it will enable me to relate more with Sri Lankans. It will make me feel better to say some of their words, and Sri Lankans in turn will naturally admire that I am trying to reach out to them by speaking some of their native tongue.

    I was a school teacher for 36 years. I taught English among other subjects. I have been writing structured verse for a number of years. I have also done editing of prose for friends, including the editing of one book. AND YET I AM TERRIBLE IN LEARNING A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. I seem not to have an ear for language, and my memory is definitely poor. Thrown into this mix is that I am now 72 years old, which probably makes certain aspects of language development more difficult for me than ones much younger.

    But I am not giving in. I want to go through your tutorials and see what comes of it. Anything I learn will be a positive, and maybe I’ll learn more than I thought I could.

    In any event, I feel so pleased that I came upon your site. I am appreciative that it is so graciously without charge, and that you have a pleasant attitude in your first tutorial I’ve looked at, as well as a pleasant enthusiasm for helping others that I note when you are responding to your bloggers.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha January 14, 2015 at 17:38 #

      Hi Bob, that is such a nice comment, thank you! I really admire your enthusiasm and your persistence to learn this language. And more importantly, I love the reasons behind wanting to learn it too.

      I wish you all the very best during your time in SL. I’m sure the kids will appreciate having someone like you around. Do keep me posted on how it goes. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

  19. bea May 13, 2015 at 06:04 #

    Just arrived in Sri Lanka to work here for some years! I really love your video tutorial! Finally i started to believe that it it not hopeless for a Belgian to learn Sinhala; and your “caramel” voice is quite nice :-). Thank you very much Dilshan! I am looking forward to doing the next video tutorials!! Those are to me even more useful than the book because I need to hear how to pronounce the words in the right way and repeat them.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 25, 2015 at 13:52 #

      Thanks Bea. Sorry it took me this long to reply, I didn’t see this comment until now. Hope it’s going well for you in Sri Lanka. Write to me and let me know. All the best and sorry again.

  20. Lea November 10, 2015 at 17:43 #

    Hi Dilshan.
    So I have been to Sri Lanaka enough times that I should be fluent now. Unfortunatly the years have gone on (with everyone giving me random words they think will be helpful to me) and the fact that i retain information and words very badly, I have not done so well. Now I am actually looking forward to learning sinhala at my own pace and by someone that seems to be able to put it all across so well.
    Thank you and maybe one day I will be able to report back that I am communicating much better over here.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 25, 2015 at 13:55 #

      Hi Lea, happy to hear that I’ve been able to give you a “push-start” in your motivation to learn. Keep it up and let me know how it goes?

  21. Elvie J. Nunie February 2, 2016 at 06:07 #

    Hi Dilshan.
    This is the first video sinhala tutorial i ever watch and i learn a lot i memorized this episode already and i am proud to Ow!Yes i can speak sinhala language already. sooooo happy!.Bohona Isthoothi :-)

  22. Venuja February 12, 2016 at 16:06 #

    hello sir,
    I am enjoying your teaching style, go ahead.
    and please let me know the difference between mok-kadh-dha and monavatha.

    • Dilshan Jayasinha February 13, 2016 at 12:41 #

      Hi Venuja, glad you like my teaching style.

      I should do an entire post on answering your question but for now, here’s the quick and short answer. “Mokakdha?” is usually when you ask “what?” when inquiring about one object. “Monavadha?” is usually when you ask “what?” when inquiring about multiple objects.

  23. Stefano March 11, 2016 at 19:39 #

    Hello Dilshan,
    I incidentally came across your blog this morning through a video I found on YouTube and let me tell you this……it is VERY VERY VERY WELL DONE!
    I found that in the videos things are explained in a simple and clear way, the graphic is very catchy, the teaching methods are extremely efficient and it is not boring at all !!
    I have troubles to believe that you started from scratch and that you are not a professional! I think that the secret of the success of your blog and videos is that you are motivated by passion and not by money.
    Me and my wife began learning Sinhala in 2008. We are “quiet” fluent now but it called for HUGE efforts! Your videos would have been of great help at that time!
    A couple of friends of ours would like to learn Sinhala so I’ll definitely direct them to your videos even though they are not fluent in English. I’ll try to help them out translating things from English to Italian.
    Just a question: in the video I watched you say that “how are you?” Is “oya kohomada” while the vast majority of the people I talk to say ” oyaTa kohomada”…. Even young people say so.
    May it depend on where they are from? As you probably know in Italy there is a huge community of Sinhalese so I was wandering why this difference.
    Thank you again for the hard work!
    Stefano from Florence Italy

  24. Vijay March 16, 2016 at 18:54 #

    You video tutorial very good. I want more videos

  25. Sue Little April 14, 2017 at 03:21 #

    Hi Dilshan

    Thanks for you time and energy putting your website together it’s been awesome learning from you.

    All the local Sri Lankans in Darwin use Hondai to answer I am fine and I’m curious why you haven’t included this as an alternate answer.

    I’m looking forward to your 2017 update!
    All the best Sue

  26. Atulo Bhikkhu September 15, 2017 at 05:09 #

    Excellent job Dilshan. What a well thought out tutorial.

  27. Jaya Jivarajah April 29, 2018 at 06:07 #

    Hi Dilshan, First I have to say thank you. I saw your videos and I am very happy. Now I like to learn Sinhala language, because your teaching way. Go ahead.God bless you.
    Thank you again.

  28. Luís Henrique Nery March 4, 2021 at 18:17 #

    Dear Dilshan,

    I hope you are doing very fine; I´m a Brazilian citizen presently living in Colombo and should I mention that practically by fortune I have recently come across your lazy but smart method; it does function, according to the locals whom I work with and have been daily evaluating my approaches to their language. The point now is: how to proceed from 8th episode on? Is this the very last you have displayed? If so, please be a little less lazy show up more often, thanks for so much quality. Looking forward, all the best,

    Luís Henrique

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