5 thoughts on “Dioglossia in Sinhala”

  1. Grammatical Sinhala is extremely rule based and logical, very like Latin which I studied for two years.. Some one (or a committee) sat down and wrote up the rules. It is not a language that has evolved.
    e.g. case, first person singular first person plural the verb will have different ending based on tense.
    Present tense
    “mama” (I) the verb has to end with “mi”
    “Api’ (we) the verb has to end with “mu”

    Date is Year first, month and date last eg. 2015, 10, 31.
    An address has to be written as (obviously no one follows it now in day to day life)
    Street, house number
    Surname, given name

    Spoken Jaffna Tamil used to considered very formal, almost to the point could not be understood by people in Tamil Nadu. Dont know about its grammar.

    1. Srilankan Tamil is a distinct dialect of Tamil – much like Hochdeutsch and Schweiz Deutsch. Srilankan Tamil usage of றி – which is used in place of டி – can totally spook Tamils in India. OTOH, their ‘Tamil consciousness’ is as strong if not stronger than in Tamilnadu. I think Batticalao (Mattakkalappu) Tamil is another dialect , distinct from Jaffna.

    2. Srilankan Tamils also bypassed Pure Tamil movement , even though they might look sympathetically at Tamlnadu. They also escaped the crazy ideologies like Lemurian Tamil and lot of other froth which are accompaniments of Pure Tamil which is prevalent in Tamilnadu.

  2. Zach, Dioglossia is a curse of my native tongue in south India as well. I hate it. I love some ancient poets and what they wrote. I read them on the Web. I have no clue what was being said. All Sanskritized and obscure. I could be as well reading Greek and Latin. And I have studied the same language as an undergraduate. For a long time, the vested interests have the power of monopoly over the language. No wonder West is more attractive to hoi pollois of this world 🙂

  3. Diglossia ! As one with Tamil as mother tongue , I can write , see and hear pages about it. Tamils have been proud of 2000 – or more – years of continuity. This pride has been purchased at the cost of massive diglossia . There is a wide divergence between spoken and written languages and one may call them even separate languages ; and in the spoken language there is such a large variation that one can say Tamil is a family of languages rather than a language. Modern diglossia has been made infinitely worse by Pure Tamil movement for the last 100 years and has been made intractable. The result of diglossia has been to reduce the comprehensive and expressive capabilities of language and to reduce it’s operability in the public sphere – you can straightway discount the very public deification of Tamil and the Cult of Tamil language. Deification and cultification has nothing to do with operational efficiency. Diglossia along with Purist movement leads to all kinds of language hangups , even while the efficacy is slipping away

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