Sri Lankan Creole Malay
|Sri Lankan Malay|
|Native to||Sri Lanka|
|Ethnicity||Sri Lankan Malays|
Sri Lankan Creole Malay (also known as Sri Lankan Malay and Bahasa Melayu) is an Austronesian creole language formed through a mixture of Sinhala and Tamil with Malay. Sri Lankan Malay is a restructured vernacular of Malay base spoken by at least five different communities in Sri Lanka which has evolved to be significantly divergent from other varieties of Malay due to intimate contact with the dominant languages of Sinhala and Tamil. Sri Lankan Creole Malay originated as a means of communication between the incoming Malays and the Sri Lankan people in the 13th century. It is now exclusively spoken by Sri Lankan Malays, whose ancestry include exiles and labourers brought by the Dutch and British, as well as soldiers in the Dutch garrison. They now constitute 0.3% of the Sri Lankan population, some 46,000.
Sri Lankan Malay survives mostly through oral contact. However, there have been rare instances when it was written in Sinhala or Tamil alphabet. In the 19th century, Sri Lankan Malay was written in the Gundul alphabet, which was based on the Arabic alphabet with similarities to the Jawi alphabet. Although there have been attempts to revive the written form of Sri Lankan Malay, it is in decline because many Malay youth are starting to adopt Sinhala or Tamil and English at home.
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