The Sinhala alphabet, a descendent of the Brahmi
script, started to appear in inscriptions during the 3rd and 2nd centuries
BC. Both the alphabet and the language have changed considerably since
then. The earliest surviving literature in Sinhala dates from the 9th
- Type of writing system: syllabic alphabet.
- Direction of writing: left to right in horizontal lines.
- When they appear the the beginning of a syllable, vowels are written
as independent letters.
- Prenasalized consonants, such as mb, nd, ṇd and ng, are formed
by special conjunct symbols that combine the stop and the homorganic nasal.
- Conjunct symbols are used only when writing Sanskrit of Pali with the
- A subset of the letters, known as Eḷu hōḷdiya,
was used to write classical Sinhala (Eḷu) – shown in blue below.
Many extra letters were added to write Sanskrit and Pali loanwords.
Used to write:
Sinhala or Sinhalese, an Indo-Aryan language spoken in Sri Lanka by
about 12 million people. There are also considerable numbers of Sinhala
speakers in Singapore, Thailand, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
Also used to write Pali and Sanskrit in Sri Lanka.
Vowel diacritics with ka
These numerals are no longer used in written Sinhala, instead the Western-style numerals are used.
Sample text in Sinhala
Spreadsheet containing the Sinhala alphabet (Excel, 56K)
Information about the Sinhala alphabet and language
FSI Sinhala Basic Course
Free Sinhala fonts and software
Sinhala search engine
More Sinhala links