Talk:Sinhalese alphabet

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Good article Sinhalese alphabet has been listed as one of the Language and literature good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
May 10, 2007 Peer review Reviewed
August 25, 2007 Featured article candidate Not promoted
October 26, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
Current status: Good article
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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Talk:Sinhala alphabet:
  • unify citations
  • rewrite ligature sections
  • find image of sigiriya graffiti
  • find the sinhala alphabet as an image
  • embellish prose
  • make screenshots of tables and update linked images
  • find the unicode encoding for transliteration of prenasalized consonants, i.e. a brevis over n or m
  • change membership of letters in suddha and misra according to Gair1997
  • update screenshots of tables
  • Maybe the better headword for this article (as for all Asian languages) would be Sinhala writing system. The script does not use western letters which gave the name to alpha-bet(a-gamma)
Priority 5

Transcription of Sinhala script[edit]

The transliteration of Sinhala script is not done according to IPA. This article should be reviewed Paryeshakaya 09:51, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

To enhance the confusiuon: Transliteration, Transcription and Pronounciation are different things. The pronounciation should be given in IPA, the transliteration according to ISO 15919 (and additionally according to any Sri Lanka national standard that may exist) and Transcription should show the most popular system. --Pjacobi 10:03, 25 August 2006 (UTC)
Ops, I mis-typed! You are right! Paryeshakaya 11:11, 25 August 2006 (UTC)


Could someone help me out and explain where all this is coming from?

What is meant by "ü, ö, á, aá, í, ií, ú, uú, é, eé, ó, oó"?

"ø palatal lateral approximant (muurdhaja layanna)

ä voiceless uvular fricative (visarjaniiya)

q voiceless velar fricative (jihvaamuuliya) -- allophone of visarjaniiya

f voiceless bilabial fricative (upadhmaaniiya) -- allophone of visarjaniiya"

A "palatal lateral" would be an l-like sound in the region where c and j are pronounced. That doesn't exist in Sinhala. A "voiceless uvular fricative" must be like a German "ch" or Scotch "ch" as in "Loch Ness" - not there in Sinhala. Or is the visarga meant (sanskrit ":")? Why write an "ä" for that which in Sinhala is used in for the sound of "a" as in engl. "bat"? And the "voiceless bilabial fricative" wouldn't be an "f" (that`s labio-dental) but a "p" with air leaving through the lips - not there in Sinhala, and not even in Sanskrit.

I don't understand that at all, as a lot of the rest of the article. I think we need to redo this thing! Cheers, Krankman 18:10, 8 October 2006 (UTC)

Unique Sinhala[edit]

Sinhala is the only Indic language whice adopted the english sound "F" onto its own language. Hence the sinhala F is indeed labio-dental and isn't found in Sanskrit. Uvants 17:20, 13 October 2006 (UTC)


We should add some stuff on the two different systems, the `pure' one and the one with the aspirates. Jasy jatere 20:19, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree. You mean the miśra siṃhala and śuddha siṃhala alphabets. I will add some info on the difference when I have the time. Krankman 22:50, 9 April 2007 (UTC)
I think I have done the bulk of the technical synchronic stuff now. I have no information about diachrony, prestige, fluency, register, poshness etc, but I think you do. It would be nice if you could add some of this background info Jasy jatere 01:45, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Grapheme signs[edit]

If there is anyone who can put i and u between angle brackets without the following happening, go ahead: i u. Ideally, we should use grapheme brackets instead of angel brackets, they should have a special unicode number. Jasy jatere 20:19, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

Look at this: <i>, <u>, isn't it beautiful? ;-) By the way: Nice work on the transliteration section! Cheers, Krankman 22:44, 9 April 2007 (UTC)


I put the ligature types, but I do not know how we are going to show them. I think browser support for Sinhala ligatures is weak, so we might as well go for png/svg. Any ideas? Jasy jatere 20:24, 4 April 2007 (UTC)

I would use as many pictures as possible. In the text, all of the Sinhala characters are question marks (and as far as American computers go, my computer supports a lot of non-Latin writing systems). Do you know where I can obtain a Sinhala font? I have a Devanagari one, but I am missing all other abugidas. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 03:12, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
OK, there it is, picture- and table-heavy. Not ideal for the visually impaired, but what can I do? I will resize the images so that they align neatly somewhere in the not-too-far future.
Re: fonts, I am using opera on xubuntu, and I get about a third of the Sinhala unicode characters displayed correctly out of the box, the rest are small rectangles. Have you tried the link to Sinhala fonts at the bottom of the page? Jasy jatere 01:53, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Topics to expand/cleanup[edit]

I've been asked to evaluate this article for possible points of improvement, etc., so here goes:

  • The article needs to be delisted. Some of the lists can stay, but sections such as "Vocalic diacritics" need to be converted into prose and wikitables, like Devanagari's section on symbols.
  • The article needs a section pertaining to its current usage, its frequency of use and its cultural/political meaning (if any).
I am not too much of an expert there, there is some info now
  • There needs to be a more general description of the language before all of the subsections pertaining to ligatures and diacritics.
There is a dedicated article Sinhalese Language for that purpose, so that it does not seem wise to reduplicate the information contained there.
  • The official name in Sanhala language should be present, along with its meaning/etymology (if it means anything other than "Sinhala script").
  • IPA should be in the description section.
This is not clear to me. IPA is used to render phonetic sounds. This article is used to illustrate the Sinhala script. There is no direct relation between the two. The relation is established by phonology, which discusses the phonetic realization of phonemes on the one hand, and the orthographic representation of phonemes by graphemes on the other hand. IPA should of course be present in Phonology of the Sinhalese Language, but not here.

I hope this helps. I've added a history section, and I'll try to add more to the article. Feel free to use this as a checklist, or ask me for clarification on anything above. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 21:42, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Comments in italics added by Jasy jatere 22:30, 23 April 2007 (UTC), and thanks for the feedback

Facebook newsfeed Translator: I have a question , is there any information about Facebook automatic translation (of Facebook posts ) from Sinhala to English ? Facebook posts translation seems to be available for every major national language except Sinhala .... Does anyone know if it is somehow available now or will be available in the future  ? Google translate exists for the Sinhala language and works fairly well, why does facebook not have the same for newsfeeds? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:19D:301:ACA0:904D:E02E:3C7B:71BA (talk) 21:12, 7 January 2017 (UTC)

table formatting[edit]

Following up on work by Ikiroid, I have formatted the table for the misra stops. I am not a designer, so I would like to have some feedback on style, accessibility, clearness etc before reformatting the other tables. Jasy jatere 21:44, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

The Misra table should really be a wikitable like the others. I also think that the "other consonants" section below should be merged with it after the formatting is fixed. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 17:49, 29 April 2007 (UTC)
I think that all the tables should have the same design. Is there are reason for prefering class="wikitable"? I am not very fond of all those lines everywhere. I agree that a lot of merging can be done once we have agreed on the formatting. Jasy jatere 18:13, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
I don't think there is any specific preference in WP:MOS—if there is, I can't find one. Personally, I don't have a preference of one style over another, although wikitables are the de facto standared. Feel free to make them all in your style, it looks kind of cool that way. There might be some complainers on peer review or FAC, but if there isn't an official style, then it is all aesthetics anyway. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 20:20, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Why was the Sinhala letter removed?[edit], you removed the Sinhala letter without an edit summary or a comment on the talk page. Would you be so kind to tell us why you think that the picture should not be in the article? If you think you have a better picture to illustrate the use of Sinhala script, feel free to upload and link it. Jasy jatere 17:09, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

I added it back into the article—either it was an accident, or it was removed for political reasons. Until we know more, we should keep it, it is really a nice depiction of the Sinhala script in non-ceremonial use. The ikiroid (talk·desk·Advise me) 03:37, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

Spelling corrections and Unicode Sinhala[edit]

I made some changes necessory to correct some spelling mistakes.

"මිශ්ර" should be "මිශ්‍ර"

"ඟොඩිස" ... I think it should be "හෝඩිය"

ශ්‍ර : Use Zero Width Joiner in Unicode between "ශ්" and "ර" to make it "ශ්‍ර"

Two requests for additions[edit]

1) As there really is very little information on Sinhala online and this is probably the first place learners like me will turn to for basic information, it would be great if there were a detailed description of how to write each sign in the Sinhala abugida/syllabary/whatever it is. Such a description ideally would contain arrows showing where the stroke begins, its direction, and where it ends; as well as an example of a hand-printed version of the sign.

Even better than pictures with arrows would be videos showing stroke order and direction. Maybe both could be included, or put on a separate page and linked to. (I know I'm asking for a lot of work on some kind person's part here.)

You might want to contact people at the WP:Graphics Lab for thatJasy jatere (talk) 07:15, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

2) The tables' background is so dark that there is almost no contrast between the background and the foreground content. I don't feel comfortable changing what must have taken a huge amount of work without asking (and I don't know how to do so anyway!). So I'm asking - please make the tables easier to read by creating lighter backgrounds. And thanks for the great article! [accidental doublepost removed by creator] Dveej (talk) 00:00, 28 August 2008 (UTC)

On my monitor, the table contrast is fine. There might be a problem with your browser or with your monitor. Is the image better than the table or the same?Jasy jatere (talk) 07:15, 28 August 2008 (UTC)
They are the same: the outermost part of the table has such a dark grey background that it provides almost no contrast with the dark blue title words; the next outermost part of the table is slightly better, and then each subsequent part is quite legible. But the outermost two "rings/valences/?" of the table are absolutely illegible. You say it is not illegible on your computer - but I never have this problem with the thousands of websites I view in the course of any given month, so if the viewing problem is with my browser or computer, it's new and unique to these tables on this website alone. Anyway, I originally wrote because I tried to save the table as an image so I could read it better, but immediately found out it was a table, not an image, so I couldn't save it. Thanks for your kind advice, JJ! Dveej (talk) 06:09, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

GA Hold[edit]

This may be a bit picky, but it's actually somewhat hard to sort out Sinhala alphabet support, so I'm going to have to suggest that a full chart, setting out the entire Sinhala alphabet as a graphic would... probably be necessary for this to make GA. Otherwise, it looks pretty good, except I might like to see a little bit more information on the archaic Sinhala numeral system, as part of the history.

Contact me when this is done, and I'll re-review. Shoemaker's Holiday (talk) 01:12, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

I just wanted to put in my two cents and mention that yeah, it's not just Shoemaker's computer; I couldn't get the text to render either. I was actually about to do a review but I spent about 45 minutes trying to find the right support to get the text to show, and nothing worked, so I gave up. I'm using Firefox 3.something and I have a lot of complex scripts installed on my computer, so if I can't get the text to show then I would imagine a lot of other people can't, either. I'm glad Shoemaker took the initiative to bring it up here. —Politizertalk • contribs ) 03:54, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
I guess I am the main editor of this article, so here my reply. The font support for Sinhala is clearly suboptimal, and I guess most people will not have the necessary fonts installed, let alone rendering support. This is why all the tables have a *png-version, for which you do not need the fonts. You can click on the link on the bottom of the tables to see them. The content is thus accessible to anyone, whether they have the fonts installed or not. All tables combined give you a complete overview over the independent glyphs. Making the image version the default would make the article visually more pleasing to most of the public, but might annoy people who do have the fonts installed. Any opinions on whether to prefer unicode, png, or a combination of both?
The archaic Sinhala numeral system mentioned above is so incredibly archaic that it is not mentioned in any Sinhala grammar or article I am aware of. The referenced webpage is the only source, so I am not sure if this would even pass WP:V and should be included. Any more material on the numerals would probably be OR. Jasy jatere (talk) 08:31, 9 October 2008 (UTC)
There is an external link to the entire Sinhala alphabet (600+ glyphs). Given the size of the alphabet, I am not sure whether the full text should be included inline, but I could make a similar table to store on WP itself. Not sure though whether this would make any difference to the reader, they might just as well click the external link. Jasy jatere (talk) 08:31, 9 October 2008 (UTC)

added a [show] button for Sinhala_alphabet#Consonants. Tell me if that would solve your problem and I will add it for the other tables as well. Jasy jatere (talk) 12:24, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Actually, I think it's less of a problem with the tables; the "Display this table as an image" link you had up before using {{show}} is probably fine, I think. (I apologize if this message is a contradiction of the suggestions I made in a hurry earlier in the weekend.) I think the main issue is the inline text that doesn't render. For example, in the second paragraph of the lead-in (reproduced here:
Sinhala is often considered two alphabets, or an alphabet with another alphabet, due to the presence of two different sets of letters. The core set, known as the śuddha siṃhala (Pure Sinhala, ශුද්ධ සිංහල) or eḷu hōḍiya (Eḷu alphabet එළු හෝඩිය), can represent all native phonemes. In order to render Sanskrit and Pali words, an extended set, the miśra siṃhala (Mixed Sinhala, මිශ්‍ර සිංහල), is available.)

from a reader's point of view, it's a pain to have to scroll down to where the tables are. My first suggestion would be to make long skinny images of the text (images that are the same size as the type here, and would fit inline)...but that does raise the problem you mentioned earlier, that it might be annoying to people who already have the fonts installed. I'm still trying to think of a good way to get around that. —Politizertalk • contribs ) 20:48, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Your new setup (with the image as a reference, in the lead-in) looks to me like the best solution we've seen so far, and I think it's fine for the places where Sinhala is within parentheses, naming something that's already been named, as in the example above. The only places where I think it's important that we somehow get the images in-line are parts where the article actually talks about particular Sinhala graphs and discusses them (as in the segment reproduced below, from Characteristics:)
    • Thus, for example, the basic form of the letter k is ක "ka". For "ki", a small arch is placed over the ක: කි. This replaces the inherent /a/ by /i/. It is also possible to have no vowel following a consonant. In order to produce such a pure consonant, a special marker, the hal kirīma has to be added: ක්. This marker suppresses the inherent vowel.
For something like that, I think it would probably be nice to have the image right there, so the reader doesn't have to go back and forth. Since I can't think of anything better, maybe we could just have the image and the text reproduced next to each other? (That way the text is there for readers who have support and want to be able to search the page for it, copy & paste it, or whatever; and the image is there so that people who don't have rendering can still read along without having to jump between the article and the images at the bottom.) How would that look? —Politizertalk • contribs ) 17:06, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
added an img with the ka/k/ki stuff and put description in the caption Jasy jatere (talk) 08:07, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

While the article is linguistically very elaborate it does not provide a clear unified picture of the Sinhala alphabet. While the separation of 'shuddha' and 'mishra' is linguistically important common and contemporary view of the alphabet has always been as these 2 components together (eg. see any image of the Sinhala alphabet under the Google images). As it is the article provides a technically correct but disjointed view of the alphabet.Jan deno (talk) 15:52, 11 July 2016 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Sinhala alphabetSinhala script

Resolved: Article moved.

This article is in a total mess. Sinhala is an abugida but the article mentions that it's an alphabet and even the title of the article mentions the same thing. Now I'm confused. kotakkasut 01:56, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Would it help to move the article to Sinhala script? Politizer talk/contribs 03:47, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I also thought that "script" is a better word than "alphabet" when I started working on that article, but was told that that was not a problem. I would definitely support a move to "Sinhala script" Jasy jatere (talk) 11:50, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
If there is anything else in this article you find a mess, feel free to point it out in more detail. Jasy jatere (talk) 11:50, 13 January 2009 (UTC)
I absolutely agree that Sinhala script would be a better title rather than Sinhala alphabet. Sure thing, if I have any questions, I'll definitely post it here in more detail. kotakkasut 02:45, 4 February 2009 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Move: Alphabet vs Script[edit]

Why was this article moved back to Sinhala alphabet when there was consensus (above) that Sinhala script is more appropriate? Danielklein (talk) 01:53, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

I agree. This script is not an alphabet, and should never be referred to as an alphabet, let alone have the article devoted to it call it an alphabet. It's rather like calling an orange a vegetable: Why do it? (talk) 12:54, 2 March 2017 (UTC)

Sinhala script[edit]

Phrase sanskrit.png


Please could you correct the Sinhala on this image for different scripts used for Sanskrit? Thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:26, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

It appears that you want a phonetic transcription. It would be: "ශිවෝ රක්ෂතු ගිර්වාර්ණභාෂාරසාස්වාදතත්පරාන්". This probably makes no sense in Sinhala. Danielklein (talk) 01:47, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Need help transcribing words[edit]

How would you transcribe the Sinhalese word බණුව - telephone? --Anatoli (talk) 00:13, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

The transcription would be "banuva" but I think you mean translation. The translation I've found is "phone" so that seems correct. Danielklein (talk) 01:31, 6 May 2014 (UTC)


The alphabets of Sinhala really look like a Dravidian one. Can anyone please clarify? Please see the scriprts of Telugu and Kannada. (talk) 11:12, 27 August 2011 (UTC)

Sinhala script is based on Brahmi, just like a lot of Dravidian languages's scripts. However, Sinhala is a north-Indian language and unrelated to Dravidian languages. There is no such thing as a Dravidian script. Dravidian describes languages, Brahmi describes scripts. The proto-Sinhalese people either didn't bring a writing system with them and adopted the local one or their system was supplanted by the local one. Either way it was subsequently modified to become the script we see today. Danielklein (talk) 01:39, 6 May 2014 (UTC)

Graphically closest language to Sinhala may be Malayalam. Even though Telugu and Kannada shows the cursive pattern of Sinhala, graphically they are somewhat more distant than Mayalayam. Letter 'ka' in Sinhala (ක), Malayalam (ക), Tamil (க), Kannada (ಕ), Telugu (క) illustrate this to a certain extent. While Brahmi script is the basis for all these scrips, Grantha Script [1] (itself evolved from Brahmi) is a more recent relative of Sinhala, Tamil and Malayalam. Jan deno (talk) 16:47, 10 July 2016 (UTC)

Tables as images[edit]


At the beginning I saw rectangles, so the tables as images are a really nice idea. Please correct them : replace unicode with Unicode. Thanks.

--Nnemo (talk) 01:03, 30 December 2011 (UTC)

Anusvara and Visarga[edit]

The article does not mention two Sinhala characters:

ං "Sinhala Sign Anusvaraya" Unicode 0D82

ඃ "Sinhala Sign Visargaya" Unicode 0D83

Could these be added in the appropriate place? (My apologies if they're already there and I missed them.) ATC2 (talk) 17:27, 28 December 2012 (UTC)

Okay, I see that I missed them: they are discussed under Non-vocalic diacritics. However, there is no transliteration or IPA given. Can these be added? ATC2 (talk) 06:15, 4 January 2013 (UTC)

Table of ligatures in the Consonant conjuncts section[edit]

Is the table of ligatures in the Consonant conjuncts section helpful? It takes up a lot of screen real estate and most of the combinations do not form a special ligature. Wouldn't it be more useful to show some of the most common ones and, if necessary, link to the full table? Danielklein (talk) 01:41, 15 May 2014 (UTC)

General Revisions / updates to be considered for this article.[edit]

1. This article is still referred to as Sinhala Alphabet though it was already mention in few places (rightly so in my opinion) that it should be titled as Sinhala Script. Already other Brahmic Abugida scripts such as Tamil, Malayalam etc. have followed this norm.

2. While the presentation of alphabet in linguistically logical groupings may scientifically be correct it has led to the fragmentation of the traditional order of presentation of the script. This traditional order is important for understanding the relationship between graphemes and also to co-relate with others Brahmic scrips of the region such as Tamil, Malayalam etc. which follows the same rythm and pattern of sounds (ka, kha, ga, gha, n̆ga etc.).

3. Presentation order in Śuddha graphemes could be confusing as it jumps from a group of consonants to vowels, to Pili to then again to a group of consonants.

4. Only additional letters are presented in the mishra set. again while it makes academic sense it is nonsensical in general usage.

5. in consideration of points 2,3 & 4 it may be a better approach collate graphemes in to 2 tables (vowels & consonants) and use the table structure to explain other nuances such as shuddha vs mishra or Consonant types such as plosives, nasals etc. Pages for Malayalam script and Telungu scripts can be taken as effective examples. While they are no as eye catching as this page, manage to convey the essens of the script very efficiently and simply compared to this page.

6. Non-vocalic diacritics (අං අඃ) are only described but not shown as graphemes. Or I have not been able to find them as the page is extremely fragmented as I have mentioned before.

7.Under pili table following pilla; ෟ is shown as gayanukitta. This in my humble opinion is not correct. This ( ෟ) and the following pilla (ෳ) do not serve the purpose of a gayanukitta and pronounced if I remember correctly as ilu, iluu and not in contemporary usage. Therefore Used in conjunction with kombuva for consonants. is incorrect for this pilla. However there is a seperate occasion where gayanukitta is used in conjuction with kombuwa as in ගෞරව which is correctly noted.

8. In fact it is useful if somebody can pointout the actual pronunciation of ෟ and ෳ using Sanskrit words etc. I have seen these 2 letters in Malayalam as well.

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