Lazy But Smart Summary: Ma∙mȧ vs Ma∙tȧ – Part 1 & 2

Here’s one more of those world famous* Lazy But Smart Summaries of  Part 1 & Part 2 of Ma∙mȧ vs Ma∙tȧ, which Oprah Winfrey included in her “Top 10 things to do before you die” list.


*Legal disclaimer: It’s not world famous, Oprah has never heard of me, and there are a million better things to do before you die than read a Summary of 2 Sinhala posts – but read it anyway.


Ma∙mȧ vs Ma∙tȧ – Part 1

(Click to enlarge)

Click to enlarge



Ma∙mȧ vs Ma∙tȧ – Part 2

(Click to enlarge)


If you want to hear the pronunciation of the words, head over to the original blog posts here: Part 1 & Part 2


…if anything is not clear – and I mean ANYYYYTHIIING – leave your question below.

(If not, I’ll just assume that I did another perfect summary that has no room for any improvement).

Prove me wrong.


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25 Responses to Lazy But Smart Summary: Ma∙mȧ vs Ma∙tȧ – Part 1 & 2

  1. Daniel WOOD November 22, 2017 at 00:30 #

    Great post!

  2. creed November 22, 2017 at 00:31 #

    I’m very happy that you’re back ;i was really wondering what happened to you ;you’re really great and what i like most (as much as the courses !!) is your sens of humour
    just CHANGE nothing ; continue the same way .
    one of your fan !!

  3. Daniel WOOD November 22, 2017 at 00:40 #

    Hallo, කොතොමද Dilshan? Where does ” I am hungry fit in?” Because “mater badakini” would be more like saying for me hungry or to me hungry.

    One question, if dhil means heart in Hindi (hadawa in Sinhala), then what does Shan mean? Like in Dilshan ?

    බොතොම isthoothi

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 23, 2017 at 18:29 #

      That’s actually going to be an entire separate pose in this series, especially because, as you quite rightly pointed out, its English translation doesn’t make immediate sense. It will be bunched in with expressions of other states such as “I’m cold”, “I’m hot”, etc.

      Can you hang on till then?

  4. Max Gomez November 22, 2017 at 06:45 #

    it was nice to hear from you after a period of absence.



  5. Max Gomez November 22, 2017 at 06:47 #

    hello Dilshan

    It was nice to hear from you after the period of absence.

    Are you thinking of writing a book on conversational sinhalese

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 23, 2017 at 16:33 #

      Thanks, it has been a while, indeed.

      I keep getting this question, believe it or not. Please tell me what more what this would look like (what type of phrases, which scenarios, ideally how would it be presented, etc.), it’ll help me understand better what you want.

      • Julie S December 11, 2017 at 03:24 #

        ah yeah – I am also still interested about your upcoming book, Dilshan!

  6. Eddie Towndrow November 22, 2017 at 17:44 #

    Hi Dilshan,
    I’m having difficulty following the logic of the part 2 compound verb definitions side using relating to and ma.ta. Or is it ( I am forgiving ) and ma.ta ( you are forgiving )

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 23, 2017 at 17:52 #

      “Or is it ( I am forgiving )” – yes, it is.

      “OYAA ma.ta ( you are forgiving )” – YOU are forgiving ME

      Al you need to remember is that the same ‘mama & mata’ related rule for the verb dhenava will be the same for any compound verb that has the stem ‘dheneva’ (such as samaava dhenava)

      I’ve explained this in Part 2.

      Did I understand your question correctly, Eddie?

  7. Eddie Towndrow November 24, 2017 at 00:27 #

    i seems i missed the links to the original blog posts, which of course helps. I only saw the summary parts 1&2,

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 24, 2017 at 00:29 #

      Phew… My confidence in my ability to explain things has been restored.

  8. Faye November 25, 2017 at 15:17 #

    Hi, good to hear from you again, your regular updates makes it easier to keep up with my Sinhalese.
    So mata can mean ‘to me ‘ And ‘for me’? Whereas in English, to and for mean very different things, so does the meaning depend on context?

    • Dilshan Jayasinha December 11, 2017 at 08:52 #

      Yes Faye, always on context.

      Thanks for the nice welcome too. Nice to be back with some new posts and read all these comments.

  9. Julie S December 11, 2017 at 03:25 #

    great post, Dilshan,
    so happy about it!

  10. Kristen Warnakulasuriya January 15, 2020 at 00:21 #

    I think your doing a excellent job in teaching everyone who wishes to learn Sinhala. Keep going, you got this without a doubt.

  11. Gammiris November 25, 2021 at 17:14 #

    Hi Dilshan,

    In your Part 1 summary you give two definitions of maṭa: ‘to me’ and ‘for me’. To illustrate the first you use the sentence ‘You are giving to me’, which is fine. But for the second you use the sentence ‘You are talking to me’, which is another example of ‘to me’, not ‘for me’. What would be a good example of a verb that takes the dative in Sinhala but translates to ‘for me’ in English?

    Perhaps “I’ll buy you a beer” (i.e. “I’ll buy a beer *for* you”)?

    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 27, 2021 at 18:35 #

      Yes, that’s exactly right.

      I’m buying a beer for you = mama oyaata “beer” ekak gannava.

      Also, here’s a screenshot of table in Lesson 8 of the intro course you did when you joined:

      Did I answer your question?

  12. ගම්මිරිස් November 27, 2021 at 21:08 #

    Yes, thanks. I was aware of the table in Lesson 8, but it doesn’t contain any verbs, so I was looking for a better example than “You are talking to me”. Especially since English also lets you say “You are talking *for* me” — which of course means something different.

    Anyway, thanks for the reply. Glad to see these blog posts are still being monitored.

    I’m hoping to get to Sri Lanka in January (Covid permitting). If so, මම ඔයාට බීර එකක් ගන්නම්… (Is that correct?)


    • Dilshan Jayasinha November 28, 2021 at 10:57 #

      Almost. Beer = බියර් so it would be මම ඔයාට බියර් එකක් ගන්නම්

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