Singhalese and North-Indian languages

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by bearded man, Mar 19, 2014.

  1. bearded man

    bearded man Senior Member

    Milan
    Italian
    Hello everyone
    I read that the Sinhalese language was imported from Northern India to Ceylon/SriLanka many centuries ago. Now I would like to know what language(s) in Northern India is/are most similar to Sinhalese nowadays, and if (or to what extent) mutual understanding is still possible
    Thank you in advance for your kind replies..
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  2. Dib Senior Member

    Germany
    Bengali (India)
    Personally, as a native speaker of Bengali with good command of Hindi and Sanskrit, and rudiments of Oriya, Gujarati and Punjabi, I find Sinhala totally unintelligible, except the Sanskrit loanwords. In fact, I suspect, most North Indian Indo-Aryan speakers (including me) will have a hard time telling apart spoken Sinhala from Dravidian languages.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  3. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    Thank you, Dib bhai, for the (by now expected) learned and enlightening contribution. I have but one question: Does Sinhalese really have any significant number of loanwords from Sanskrit? Are you sure you do not mean Pali?
     
  4. Dib Senior Member

    Germany
    Bengali (India)
    Thanks, fdb for flagging this probable mistake. You might well be totally right. To be frank I don't really know Pali. I mean, I am familiar with some sound laws and grammatical tidbids, etc. but it is not good enough for me to always distinguish (Sinhalized) Pali words from Sinhalized Sanskrit words (asuming they exist to some extent), especially because I am even less acquainted with how Sinhala adapts "classical" words. So, what I really meant, I guess, would be best described as "Sanskrit-sounding words". They may well actually be of Pali origin.
     
  5. Wolverine9 Senior Member

    American English
    Actually, Sanskrit loanwords are extensive in Sinhala, especially the literary language. Sinhala is one of best known examples of diglossia.
     

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