As part of our roll out of minisites for feature languages, we are keen to announce a new page for Sinhala. The page gathers Sinhalese keyboards and partner applications in a single location for easy access.
Over 15,500,000 people speak Sinhala — in the island country of Sri Lanka and around the world. Sinhala is an Indo-European language, related more directly to Indic languages like Assamese, Bengali, Hindi, and Urdu, and less directly to European languages like English, French, Greek and Russian. And yes, that means Sinhala includes all the fun gender, number, and case agreement you’d expect from an Indo-European language.
The Sinhala script descends directly from Brahmi which in turn descends from Phonecian, that great ancestor of most scripts around the world, including Arabic, Cyrillic, Ge'ez, Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. Sinhala is an abugida (like Hindi) with two sets of characters: śuddha and miśra. Śuddha is a subset of miśra, containing all the characters required for every-day writing. Miśra contains the śuddha set plus a collection of characters for prestige and loanwords.
- Garp Sinhala is a phonetic Keyman keyboard. Its logical design makes it intuitive to type both śuddha and miśra characters, for anyone familiar with Sinhala sounds and the QWERTY keyboard. A few characters with no exact phonetic match can be typed using c, h, v, x, or z after the most similar QWERTY character. For example, to get ණ, type: nx
We also list two Sinhala applications that are built by our partners with Keyman Engine technology and are available for download from our website:
- LangPlus TSE is a complete application designed for simple, multi-lingual typing in Sinhala, Tamil, and English. The Sinhala keyboard follows a nearly phonetic model which puts the primary śuddha characters on the unshifted keyboard within easiest reach. Shift and AltGr (Right Alt) give the remaining śuddha and miśra letters.
- The MyPC HelaBasa application includes high quality Sinhala fonts and a keyboard based on the official Sri Lankan Sinhala layout. The arrangement of the Sinhala characters on the keyboard has no relationship to QWERTY, originating in an age before computers as the Wijesekara typewriter standard.
All three of these solutions can be downloaded from our Sinhala keyboards minisite. Head over to the Sinhala keyboards minisite now!