Sinhalese. . . Yay!!!

I’m learning it.

That I’ve been taking lessons every now and then is not a surprise to you. If you’ve read those entries, that is.

I started learning the alphabet more recently.

See, Sinhalese is a phonetic language. That is, things are pronounced exactly as they’re spelled, completely unlike English which has too many exceptions for the native speakers to cope with, never mind people approaching it as a second, third, or fifth language.

In the process of the lessons I received from Rosemary, I realized that one of the problems I have is that I write things down phonetically, but when I get home, I don’t always remember if, when I wrote something down, did I mean this or that? So what good is writing it down like that if I’m going to be that inconsistent? No, that doesn’t work for me.

So I suggested, first to Fahim, and then to Rosemary, that perhaps I ought to learn the alphabet first, and then when I learn new words, write them down in the Sinhalese alphabet so that I do have the correct pronunciations. Makes sense to me, and also to both of them.

Rosemary started me on the alphabet, but then another problem I had was that when I started trying to recognize some of the characters in the typewritten form – ie labels, flyers, my Sinhalese phrase book – especially the Sinhalese phrase book – I found that I couldn’t tell which letter was which. The Sinhalese letters in the phrase book are so cotton-pickin’ small that I was getting them mixed up, assuming I could even tell that much. No good.

So Fahim gave me his Sinhalese font, which I installed on my computer, and I typed out the alphabet, using jointly the handwritten characters that Rosemary taught me and the Sinhalese phrase book, and picked my way through it.

Some letters are so similar that yeah, I got them mixed up. Well, it didn’t help that I haven’t been through the entire alphabet yet – I’m still learning them.

Think about it – when you were a kid, how long did it take you to learn the alphabet? And by that time, you already knew how to speak the language, at least the rudiments, right? It’s not a quick process. Five minutes doesn’t do it for me.

But I am practicing – I’m actually writing down letters a few dozen times on a sheet of paper and pronouncing them at the same time. Repetition helps.

This morning, as I looked at the bag of rice on the counter, the Ariya Red Raw Rice, I recognized the Sinhalese Ariya. That is, the word in Sinhalese that sounds the exact same as Ariya in English.


Author: LMAshton
Howdy! I'm a beginner artist, hobbyist photographer, kitchen witch, wanderer by nature, and hermit introvert. This is my blog feed. You can find my fediverse posts at

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