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Sinhalese
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Official Language: Sri Lanka

Home Speakers: Thailand

Background
It belongs to the Indo-European family, Indic group. Sinhala or Sinhalese is the official language of Sri Lanka. It is spoken by about 14 million people, living mainly in the southern and western two-thirds of the island. Sinhala descended from Sanskrit, and was brought to Sri Lanka by settlers from northern India in the 5th century B.C. The alphabet, however, with its generally rounded letters, more closely resembles those of the Dravidian languages of southern India. The English words "tourmaline" and "beriberi" are of Sinhalese origin.

Reprinted from www.unhchr.ch/udhr/