Maldivian language

Maldivian
Dhivehiscript.svg
(divehi)
Spoken in Maldives and Minicoy (India).
Region South Asia
Native speakers 350000+[1]  (date missing)
Language family
Indo-European
Writing system Tāna
Official status
Official language in  Maldives
Regulated by Academy of the Dhivehi Language
Language codes
ISO 639-1 dv
ISO 639-2 div
ISO 639-3 div

Maldivian (Maldivian: ދިވެހި Divehi) is an Indo-Aryan language predominantly spoken by about 350,000 people in the Maldives where it is the national language. It is also the first language of nearly 10,000 people in the island of Minicoy in the Union territory of Lakshadweep, India where the Mahl dialect of the Maldivian language is spoken.[2][3][4]

The major dialects of Maldividian are Malé, Huvadhu, Mulaku, Addu, Haddhunmathee and Maliku. The standard form of Maldivian is considered Malé, which is spoken in the Maldivian capital of the same name. The Maliku dialect spoken in Minicoy is officially referred as Mahl by the Lakshadweep administration. This has been adopted by many authors when referring to Maldivian spoken in Minicoy.[4][5][6]

Maldivian is closely related to the Sinhala language. Many languages have influenced the development of the Maldivian language through the ages, most importantly Arabic. Others include French, Persian, Portuguese, and English. There are some Dravidian influences too.[7] The English words atoll (a ring of coral islands or reefs) and doni (a vessel for inter-atoll navigation) are anglicized forms of the Dhivehi words Atoḷu and Dōni.

Contents

Etymology

The origin of the word "Dhivehi" is Dhiv+vehi meaning Islanders' while bas means language. So Dhivehi-bas means Islanders' language. H. C. P. Bell was one of the first transliterators of this tongue. Bell called the language Divehi, which was consistent with Maldives, the name of the country, for the -dives of Maldives and the word Divehi have the same root, Sanskrit dvīpa "island". Wilhelm Geiger was a German linguist who undertook the first research on Dhivehi linguistics in the early 20th century. He too called the language Divehi, without an "h". An "h" was added to the name of the language in 1976, when a semi-official Latin transliteration was developed for the Dhivehi language. Today the spelling with the h is the common-usage as well as the official spelling in the Maldives.

Origin

Dhivehi is an Indo-Aryan language closely related to the Sinhalese language of Sri Lanka. Dhivehi represents the southernmost Indo-Aryan language. Together with Sinhala, Dhivehi represents a subgroup within the Modern Indo-Aryan languages which is called Insular Indo-Aryan. However, Sinhala and Divehi are not mutually intelligible.[8]

Dhivehi is descended from Maharashtri, a Prakrit of ancient and medieval India. The Prakrit vernacular languages including Maharashtri Prakrit were originally derived from Vedic Sanskrit.

Whereas earlier it was believed that Dhivehi was a descendant of the Sinhalese language, in 1969 Sinhalese philologist M. W. S. de Silva for the first time proposed that Dhivehi and Sinhalese have branched off from a common mother language (a Prakrit).[citation needed] He says that “the earliest Indic element in Maldivian is not so much a result of branching off from Sinhalese as a result of a simultaneous separation with Sinhalese from the Indic languages of the mainland of India”.[citation needed] S. Fritz has recently reached the same conclusion in a detailed study of the language.[citation needed] De Silva refers to the Dravidian influences seen in the Dhivehi language such as in the old place names. De Silva’s theory is supported by the legend of Prince Vijaya as told in the Mahavamsa because if this legend is to be believed, the migration of Indo-Aryan people to the Maldives archipelago and Sri Lanka from the mainland (India) must have taken place simultaneously.

History

Lōmāfānu, a copper-plate grant of 12th century.

Dhivehi has a continuous written history of about eight hundred years. The earliest writings were on the Lōmāfānu (copper-plate grants) of the 12th and 13th centuries. Early inscriptions on coral stone have also been found. The oldest inscription found to date is an inscription on a coral stone, which is estimated to be from around the 7th or 8th century.

Dhivehi is based on Sanskrit foundations and it developed in relative isolation with little contact with the other languages until the 12th century. Since the 16th century, Divehi has been written in a unique script called Tāna which is written from right to left, like that of Hebrew and Arabic (with which it shares several common diacritics for vowel sounds).

The foundation of the historical linguistic analysis of both Divehi and Sinhalese was laid by Wilhelm Geiger (1856–1943). In Geiger’s comparative study of Divehi (Mahl) and Sinhalese, he assumes that Dhivehi is a dialectical offspring of Sinhalese and therefore is a “daughter language” of Sinhalese. However, the material he collected was not sufficient to judge the “degree of relationship” of Dhivehi and Sinhalese.

Geiger concludes that Dhivehi must have split from Sinhalese not earlier that the 10th century CE. However, there is nothing in the history of these islands or Sinhalese chronicles, even in legendary form that alludes to a migration of Sinhalese people which results such a connection.

Vitharana suggests that Dhivehi did not evolve as a separate language to Sinhalese until 12th century CE. But Reynolds and others have suggested that Dhivehi started showing indications of divergence as early as the 4th century CE.

De Silva proposes that Dhivehi and Sinhalese must have branched off from a common mother language. He says that “the earliest Indic element in Dhivehi is not so much a result of branching off from Sinhalese as a result of a simultaneous separation with Sinhalese from the Indic languages of the mainland of India”, referring to Dravidian influences seen in the Dhivehi language, such as in old place names.

De Silva’s theory is supported by the legend of Prince Vijaya as told in the Mahavamsa because if this legend is to be believed, the migration of Indo-Aryan colonists to the Minicoy, Maldives and Sri Lanka from the mainland (India) must have taken place simultaneously. This means that Dhivehi and Sinhalese must be “sister languages” that developed from a common Prakrit.

Whatever the origin of Dhivehi, linguists agree that Dhivehi is an Indo-Aryan language which also has older Indic elements in it.

A rare Maliku Thaana primer written in Divehi published by the UT Lakshadweep Administration during the time of Rajiv Gandhi's rule was reprinted by Spanish researcher Xavier Romero-Frias in 2003.

Dhivehi Language Day

Dhivehi Language Day is marked on 14 April. Reference: http://www.nationallibraryofmaldives.com/node/417

Geographic distribution

Most speakers of Dhivehi live in the Maldives, where it is the national language of the Island nation. Dhivehi is also spoken in Minicoy Island in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India, while a few have migrated to Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and elsewhere in the state of Kerala.

Official status

Dhivehi is the official language of Maldives and semi-official language in Union Territory of Lakshadweep, India.

Dialects

Due to the widespread distribution of the islands, differences in pronunciation and vocabulary have developed during the centuries. The mainstream form of Dhivehi is known as Malé Bas and is based on the dialect spoken in the capital of the Maldives.

The most notable dialects of the language are to be found in the southern atolls, namely Huvadhu, Fuvahmulah and Addu. Slighter variants are spoken in Haddhunmathi and in Minicoy (Maliku) where Haddhunmathee bas and Maliku Bas (Mahl) are spoken respectively. The dialect spoken in Minicoy has less differences to the standard Dhivehi than other dialects. Among the dialects Male' Bas and Maliku Bas are most identical. The other variants show much difference.

Mulaku Bas, is a dialect of Dhivehi which is spoken by the people of Fuvahmulah. Mulaku Bas has laamu sukun (ލް)which is absent from the other dialects of Dhivehi. This is a final 'l' without vowel sound. Another characteristic of this variant of Dhivehi is the 'o' sound at the end of words, instead of the final 'u' common in all other forms of Dhivehi. E.g. 'fanno' instead of 'fannu'. Regarding pronunciation, the retroflex 'ṣ', which has almost a slight 'r' sound in mainstream Dhivehi, becomes š in Mulaku Bas, sounding like Arabic: شshīn. One of the most unique features of Mulaku bas is that it distinguishes gender unlike other dialects. Also, there are many remarkable differences in the dialect in place of the Sukun system as well as the vowel or diacritical system following a distinctive set of rules.

Huvadhu Bas, spoken by the inhabitants of the large atoll of Huvadhu is another distinctive form of Dhivehi. Because of the isolation from the Northern Atolls, and the capital of Malé, the local dialect Huvadhu Bas compared to other variants makes much use of the retroflex 'Ţ'. Huvadhu Bas also retains old Sinhala words, is sometimes considered to be linguistically closer to Sinhala than the other dilects of Divehi.

Addu Bas is also quite different from the official form of the Dhivehi language and has some affinities with Mulaku Bas. In the past Addu atoll being a centre of Education, the islanders from the three atolls of the south who acquired education from the atoll used the Addu Bas as their lingua franca. Hence, when for example one of these islanders of any of the Huvadhu islands met with someone from Fuvahmulah, they would use the Addu Bas to talk to each other. Addu Bas is the most widespread of the dialects of Dhivehi. The secessionist government of the Suvadives (1959–1963) however, used the Male' Bas in its official correspondence.

The letter Ṇaviyani ޱ (different from the letter Ñaviyani), which represented the retroflex n sound common to many Indic languages (Gujarati, Hindi, etc.), was abolished from official documents in 1950 by Muhammad Amin, the ruler of Maldives. The reason why this particular letter representing a retroflex sound was abolished and not others like Ḷaviyani, Ḍaviyani or Ṭaviyani is not known.[9] Letter Ṇaviyani's former position in the Thaana alphabet was between letters Gaafu and Seenu. But today this position is taken by Palatal Nasal Ñ or Ñyaviyani ޏ. It is still seen in reprints of traditional old books like the Bodu Tarutheebu and official documents like Rādavaḷi. It is also used by people of southern atolls when writing songs or poetry in their language variant.

According to Sonja Fritz:

"In many respects, the dialects of Dhivehi represent different diachronial stages in the development of the language. Especially in the field of morphology, the amount of archaic features steadily increase from the north to the south. Within the three southern most atolls (of the Maldives), the dialect of the Addu islands which form the southern tip of the whole archipelago is characterized by the highest degree of archaicity".

Sonja Fritz puts forward this theory based on research into the dialects of Addu and Fuvahmulah. She is yet to do research on the dialect of Huvadhu Atoll. And even she has to do more research on both Addu and Fuvahmulah dialect. Only then can she determine whether the dialects Fuvahmulah and Huvadhu or that of Addu is more archaic. However, from Male' (Maldives) to the south up to Huvadhu Atoll (Maldives) the amount of archaic features increase but from Huvadhu Atoll the amount of archaic features decrease towards south. And the dialect of Huvadhu is characterized by the highest degree of archaicity.

Fritz also adds:

"Thus the different classes of verb conjugation and nominal inflection are best preserved there, morphological simplifications and, as a consequence increasing from atoll to atoll towards north (in the Maldives)".

Spoken and literary varieties

Divehi presents another aspect with which English speakers are not too familiar: the distinction between what is spoken and what is written. Every language that has a written idiom has this distinction to a greater or lesser degree. But Asian languages such as Dhivehi seem to exhibit major differences between the two varieties of language.

Spoken Dhivehi, for instance, has twenty seven consonants. In contrast, written or literary Divehi contains these sounds and some Arabic sounds as well. Though these sounds are also used in speaking, their phonetics is not strictly observed. This results in pronouncing it as close as possible to the Dhivehi sounds when speaking.

To make thing simpler it may be said that every sentences in written Dhivehi ends with the addition of ‘ve’, which is never used to end a sentence in spoken Dhivehi. In using ‘ve’ a strict word-order too has to be maintained. But in spoken Dhivehi word-order is not considered to be very rigid.

One of the very important things one has to take into account in written Dhivehi which is not so important in spoken Dhivehi is the ‘sukun’, on the letters ‘alif’ and ‘rhaviyani’. ‘Sukun’ in general, is a mark to indicate an abrupt stop on the sound of the letter on which it is placed. However if it comes within the word, the letter is repeated; if it comes on a ‘rhaviyani’ or ‘alif’, at the end of a word, it signifies the sound ‘h’; if it comes on a ‘thaa’, the sound is replaced by ‘iy’. Another thing to note! Though Dhivehi has some dialects, these dialects are hardly used in writing. Only Malé Bas and Maliku Bas are used in writing, and both does not show much differences like the rest of the dialects.

Writing system

The Maldivian language has had its own script since very ancient times, most likely over two millennia, when Maldivian Buddhist monks translated and copied the Buddhist scriptures.

It used to be written in the earlier form (Evēla) of the Dhives Akuru ("Dhivehi letters") which are written from left to right. Dhives Akuru were used in all of the islands between the conversion to Islam and until the 18th century. These ancient Maldivian letters were also used in official correspondence with Addu Atoll until the early 20th century. Perhaps they were used in some isolated islands and rural communities until the 1960s, but the last remaining native user died in the 1990s. Today Maldivians rarely learn the Dhives Akuru alphabet, for Arabic is being favoured as second script.

Dhivehi is presently written using a different script, called Thaana or Tāna, written from right to left. This script is relatively recent.

The literacy rate of the Maldives is very high (98%) compared to other South Asian countries. Since the 1960s English has become the medium of education in most schools although they still have Dhivehi classes, but Dhivehi is still the language used for the overall administration.

In Minicoy, a variant of Devanagari is used along with Tāna.

Dhivehi uses the mainly Tāna script for writing. It is an abjad, with vowels derived from the vowel diacritics of the Arabic abjad. It is a largely phonemic script: With a few minor exceptions, spelling can be predicted from pronunciation, and pronunciation from spelling.

The origins of Tāna are unique among the world's alphabets: The first nine letters (h–v) are derived from the Arabic numerals, whereas the next nine (m–d) were the local Indic numerals. (See Hindu-Arabic numerals.) The remaining letters for loanwords (t–z) and Arabic transliteration are derived from phonetically similar native consonants by means of diacritics, with the exception of y, which is of unknown origin. This means that Thaana is one of the few alphabets not derived graphically from the original Semitic alphabet – unless the Indic numerals were (see Brahmi numerals).

Tāna, like Hebrew and Arabic, is written right to left. It indicates vowels with diacritic marks derived from Arabic. Each letter must carry either a vowel or a sukun (which indicates "no vowel"). The only exception to this rule is noonu which, when written without a diacritic, indicates prenasalization of a following stop.

The vowel or diacritical signs are called fili in Dhivehi; there are five fili for short vowels (a,i,u,e,o), where the first three look identical to the Arabic vowel signs (fatha, kasra and damma). Long vowels (aa,ee,oo,ey,oa) are denoted by doubled fili (except oa, which is a modification of the short obofili).

The letter alifu has no sound value of its own and is used for three different purposes: It can act as a carrier for a vowel with no preceding consonant, that is, a word-initial vowel or the second part of a diphthong; when it carries a sukun, it indicates gemination (lengthening) of the following consonant; and if alifu+sukun occurs at the end of a word, it indicates that the word ends in /eh/. Gemination of nasals, however, is indicated by noonu+sukun preceding the nasal to be geminated.

The most intriguing fact about the Tāna alphabet is its order (hā, shaviyani, nūnu, rā, bā, etc.). Its order doesn’t follow the ancient order of the other Indic Scripts (like Sinhala or Tamil) or the order of the Arabic alphabet.

Dhivehi also uses Roman script and Devanāgarī script. It used to be written in the older script Dhives Akuru.

Latin Transliteration of the Dhivehi language

Towards the mid 1970s, during President Ibrahim Nasir's tenure, Telex machines were introduced by the Maldivian Government in the local administration. The new telex equipment was viewed as a great progress, however the local Tāna script was deemed to be an obstacle because messages on the telex machines could only be written in the Latin script. Following this, Dhivehi Latin, a new official Latin transliteration was swiftly approved by the Maldive government in 1976 and was quickly implemented by the administration. Booklets were printed and dispatched to all Atoll and Island Offices, as well as schools and merchant liners. This was seen by many as the effective demise of the Tāna script.

Clarence Maloney, the American anthropologist who was in the Maldives at the time of the change, lamented the inconsistencies of the "Dhivehi Latin" which ignored all previous linguistic research on the Maldivian language done by H.C.P. Bell and Wilhelm Geiger. He wondered why the modern Standard Indic transliteration had not been considered. Standard Indic is a consistent script system that is well adapted to writing practically all languages of South Asia.[10]

The Tāna script was reinstated by the Maldivian government shortly after President Maumoon took power in 1978. There was widespread relief in certain places, especially rural areas, where the introduction of Latin had been regarded with suspicion. However, the substandard Latin transcription of 1976 continues to be widely used.

Phonology

The sound system of Dhivehi is similar to that of south Indian languages. Like other modern Indo-Aryan languages the Dhivehi phonemic inventory shows an opposition of long and short vowels, of dental and retroflex consonants as well as single and geminate consonants.

Vowels
Front Central Back
short long short long short long
Close i u
Mid e o
Open a
Consonants
Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Plosive voiceless t ʈ c k
voiced b d ɖ ɟ ɡ
prenasalized ᵐb ⁿd ᶯɖ ᵑɡ
Fricative voiceless f s ʂ ɕ h
voiced v z
Nasal m n ɳ ɲ ŋ
Approximant l ɭ j
Trill r

Intonation

Intonation is how words rise and fall in pitch when one speaks a sentence. Dhivehi, like English, has intonation, but its patterns are very different from those of English. You will, in fact, get accustomed to the Dhivehi patterns of intonation if you listen to the native Dhivehi speakers speaking English. For most Dhivehi speakers speak English with the intonation patterns peculiar to Dhivehi. But do not worry about your inability to grasp these patterns all at once. The context in which a sentence is used will clarify many of your problems.

Stress is another point that may bother you. The patterns of stress in Dhivehi are very different from those in English. In Dhivehi, the general tendency is to stress the first syllable of a word.

The set of two identical sounds together in Dhivehi is also quite unlike in English. Take the word ‘possible’ in English. The two ‘ss’ sounds in it are pronounced in much the same way as the single ‘s’ in a word like ‘positive’. When two such identical sounds occur together in a word in Dhivehi, it is important to assign such sounds to the adjacent syllables. Thus, the two ‘s’ sounds in ‘vissaara’ (storm) will fall into the two adjoining syllables as follows: ‘vis-saara’. Note, for example:

feth-thun (to make sink) dhek-kun (to show)

Consonant clusters

Native Dhivehi (mabbas) words do not allow initial consonant clusters; the maximum syllabic structure is CVC (i.e. one vowel flanked by a consonant on each side). Many speakers of Dhivehi restrict their phonology to this pattern, even when using loan words, such iskūl (VC.CVC) for skūl (CCVC) "school".

Grammar

Letters

The old set of letters used to be:

ހ ށ ނ ރ ބ ޅ ކ އ ވ މ ފ ދ ތ ލ ގ ޱ ސ ޑ ޒ ޓ ޔ ޕ ޖ ޗ

The Dhivehi letters now used are:

ހ ށ ނ ރ ބ ޅ ކ އ ވ މ ފ ދ ތ ލ ގ ޏ ސ ޑ ޒ ޓ ޔ ޕ ޖ ޗ

The letter ޱ was replaced by ޏ during the rule of Mohamed Ameen Didi

Morphology

Nouns

Nouns in Dhivehi inflect for definiteness, number and case. Definiteness may be one of definite, indefinite or unspecified. Number may be singular or plural. Case may be one of nominative, dative, ablative, genitive, locative, instrumental or emphatic.

Nominal morphology

The nominal system of Dhivehi comprises nouns, pronouns, adjectives and numerals as parts of speech.

Numerals

Dhivehi uses two numeral systems. Both of them are identical up to 30. After 30, however, one system places the unit numeral stem before the decade (for example: eh-thirees '31' lit. one and thirty) while the other combines the stem of the decade with the unit numeral (for example: thirees-ekeh '31' lit. thirty + one). The latter system also has numerals multiplied by ten for decades 70, 80 and 90.

The decade fas dholhas '60' lit. five twelves, comes from a much older duodecimal or dozen system which has nearly disappeared.

Verbal morphology

The Divehi verbal system is characterized by a derivational relationship between active, causative and involitive/intransitive verb forms.

Word order

The word order in Dhivehi is not as rigid as in English, though changes in the order of words in a sentence may convey subtle differences in meaning. To ask for some fish in a market, one uses the following words: ‘mashah’ (to me) ‘mas’ (fish) ‘vikkaa’ (sell), which may be put in any of the following orders without a change in meaning:

  • mashah mas vikkaa.
  • mas mashah vikkaa.
  • mas vikkaa mashah.
  • vikkaa mashah mas.

The word ‘mashah’ (to me) may be dropped wherever the context makes it obvious.

Loan words in Dhivehi

Speakers of Dhivehi use a great deal of loan words in their everyday conversation. The extent, to which loan words and host of words from many other languages are used, varies from speakers to speaker, depending on his contacts with that language. Thus, those who have had an English education will tend to use a larger number of English words while an average speaker with little or no contact with English will tend to use just a few. Some of these adapted words, of course have now become so much part of the Dhivehi language that there seem to be no other words that could replace them.

There are certain ways by which loan words are naturalized in Dhivehi. This depends on whether the loan word refers to (a) a person, (b) a thing or (c) some kind of action.

Words referring to persons

If the loan word is one that refers to a person, the Dhivehi word ‘eh’ is added after it to make it an ‘indefinite’ noun and ‘un’ to make it plural and the word as it is expresses the idea of definiteness, in the singular. And most of the time ‘u’ is added to make it a definite singular noun, which should be omitted to add the suffixes mentioned above.

Waiter (veitar) + eh = a waiter (veitareh) Waiter (veitar) + un = waiters (veitarun) Waiter (veitar) + u = the waiter (veitaru)

Among some of the most common words of this kind are the following:

Agent (ejentu) Ambassador (embesedaru) Architect (aakitektu) Cashier (keyshiyaru) Director (direktaru) Doctor (doktaru) Driver (duraivaru) Guard (gaadu) Inspector (inispektaru) Manager (meneyjaru) Minister (ministaru) Operator (opareytaru) Producer (purodiusaru) Sergeant (saajentu)

Words referring to things

If the loan word refers to a thing, the Dhivehi word ‘eh’ is added after it, to make it an indefinite singular noun and plural by adding ‘uthah’ to the word and ‘u’ is added to make it a definite singular noun, which should be omitted to add the suffixes mentioned above.

Car (kaar) + eh = a car (kaareh) Car (kaar) + u = the car (kaaru) Car (kaar) + uthah = cars (kaaruthah)

Some of the most commonly used words of this kind are the following:

bicycle (baisikalu) bill (bilu) cable (keybalu) cake (keyku) coat (koatu) counter (kauntaru) parcel (paarusalu) ticket (tiketu)

Words referring to actions

If the loan word refers to some kind of action, the Dhivehi word ‘kuranee’ (present), ‘koffi’ (past) or ‘kuraane’ (future) is added after it, if it is done intentionally, and ‘vanee’ (present), ‘vejje’ (past) and ‘vaane’ (future) is added after it, if it happens to be unintentional or passive.

  • Cancel (kensal) + kuranee = canceling
  • Cancel (kensal) + koffi = cancelled
  • Cancel (kensal) + kuraane = will cancel
  • Cancel (kensal) + vanee = canceling (on its own) i.e. getting cancelled.
  • Cancel (kensal) + vejje = cancelled (on its own) i.e. got cancelled.
  • Cancel (kensal) + vaane = will cancel (on its own) i.e. will get cancelled.

Here are some examples:

  • Book (buk) kuranee = booking
  • Develop (divelop) kuranee = developing
  • tharaqqee (develop) kuranee = developing.

Levels of speech

Inherent in the Dhivehi language is a form of elaborate class distinction expressed through three levels: The first level, the enme maaiy goiy (known colloquially as reethi bas), is used to address members of the upper class and of royal blood, but is now more often used on national radio and TV. To show respect for elders, officials and strangers the second level, maaiy goiy is used. People use the more informal third level aadhaige goiy in everyday life and to talk about themselves. Even a nobleman or a high official does not use the high level to talk about himself.

Regarding salutations, there is no direct translation of the English "hello" or "good-bye" in Dhivehi. Instead, islanders greet each other with a smile or the raising of the eyebrow and just ask "where are you going?", followed by "what for?". Goodbyes were not traditionally expressed, except in highly formal speech or in poetry (Lhen).

Vocabulary

The Divehi language contains many loan words from other languages.

Word origins

After arrival of Islam in South Asia, Persian and Arabic made a significant impact on Divehi. It borrowed extensively from both the languages, especially terms related to Islam and Judiciary. Some examples follow:

  • namādu – prayer (from Persian namāz)
  • rōda – fasting (from Persian rōzā)
  • kāfaru – infidel (from Arabic kāfir)
  • taareekh – date or history (from Arabic tarikh)
  • zaraafaa – giraffe (from Arabic zarafah)

Portuguese influence, in the language can be seen from the period of Portuguese colonial power in the region. Some examples follow:

  • lonsi – hunting spear (from Portuguese lança)
  • mēzu – table (from Portuguese mesa)

Dhivehi has also borrowed words from Urdu, Hindi and more recently, English (in particular many scientific and technological terms).

English words are also commonly used in the spoken language, for example "phone", "note" and "radio".

Some common phrases

Dhivehi Phrase Latin Transliteration English Translation
Marhaba Marhaba Welcome
ޝުކުރިއްޔާ Shukuriyyaa Thank you
ނޫން Noon No

Sample Text

The following is a sample text in Dhivehi, of the Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (by the United Nations):

މާއްދާ 1 – ހުރިހާ އިންސާނުން ވެސް އުފަންވަނީ، ދަރަޖަ އާއި ޙައްޤު ތަކުގައި މިނިވަންކަމާއި ހަމަހަމަކަން ލިބިގެންވާ ބައެއްގެ ގޮތުގައެވެ. އެމީހުންނަށް ހެޔޮ ވިސްނުމާއި ހެޔޮ ބުއްދީގެ ބާރު ލިބިގެން ވެއެވެ. އަދި އެމީހުން އެކަކު އަނެކަކާ މެދު މުޢާމަލާތް ކުރަންވާނީ އުޚުއްވަތްތެރި ކަމުގެ ރޫޙެއް ގައެވެ.

Transliteration (SAMT):

māddā 1 – hurihā insānun ves ufanvanī, daraja āi ḥaqqu takugai minivankamāi hamahamakan libigenvā ba-egge gotuga-eve. Emīhun-naṣ heyo visnumāi heyo buddīge bāru libigen ve-eve. Adi emīhun ekaku anekakā medu mu’āmalāÿ kuranvānī uxuvvaÿteri kamuge rūḥek ga-eve.

Gloss (word-to-word):

Article 1 – All human-beings also born, dignity and rights' in freedom and equality acquired people like is. Them to reason and conscience's endowment acquired is. And they one another to behaviour to do brotherhood's spirit with.

Translation (grammatical):

Article 1 – All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Modern issues

Information technology issues

Typography

The Mahal Unit Press at Minicoy started functioning in 1984 onwards where all kinds of Dhivehi printing work is undertaken. The press also releases the Lakshadweep Times in three languages on a regular basis: Dhivehi, English and Malayalam. Presently this unit is functioning in the main Building which is constructed in 1998. For the first time in the history of Lakshadweep, Dhivehi Language was brought into the field of typography.

Activities :

  1. Production of note books for the department of Education and Jawahar Navodaya School at Minicoy.
  2. Printing Dhivehi Text Book for I to IV Standards.
  3. Undertaking printing work from the public on a payment basis.

Text editors

Fthaana, Universal Word, Accent Express, Accent Special Edition are the most common word processors used. However now most of the people use MS Word to write Dhivehi.

Fonts

See also

References

Further reading

  • Cain, Bruce D (2000), Divehi (Maldivian): A Synchronic and Diachronic study, PhD thesis presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School at Cornell University .
  • Crystal, David (2000), Language Death, Cambridge University Press .
  • De Silva, M W S (1970), Some Observations on the History of Maldivian, in Transactions of the Philological Society, London .
  • Fritz, Sonja (2002), The Divehi Language: A Descriptive and Historical Grammar of the Maldivian and its Dialects .
  • Geiger, Wilhem (2001), Maldivian Linguistic Studies, Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Colombo .
  • Manik, H A (1995), A Concise Etymological Vocabulary of Dhivehi Language, The Royal Asiatic Society of Sri Lanka .
  • Muhammad, Naseema (1999), Dhivehi Writing Systems, National Centre for Linguistic and Historical Research, Malé .
  • Reynolds, C H B (1974), Buddhism and The Maldivian Language, in Buddhist Studies in Honour of I. B. Horner, Dordrecht .
  • Romero-Frias, Xavier (1999), The Maldive Islanders, A Study of the Popular Culture of an Ancient Ocean Kingdom, Nova Ethnographia Indica, ISBN 84-7254-801-5 .
  • Vitharana, V (1987), Sri Lanka – Maldivian Cultural Affinities, Academy of Sri Lankan Culture .
  • Wijesundera, et al. (1988), Historical and Linguistic Survey of the Dhivehi Language, Final Report. University of Colombo, Sri Lanka .

External links


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