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Divehi (Mahl)
Dhivehiscript.svg
Spoken in Maldives and India.
Region South Asia
Total speakers 350000+[1]
Language family Indo-European
Writing system Tāna (Official), Devanagari and Latin.
Official status
Official language in  Maldives (Divehi or Dhivehi)
Regulated by National Centre for Linguistics and Historical Research [1]
Language codes
ISO 639-1 dv
ISO 639-2 div
ISO 639-3 div
Indic script
This page contains Indic text. Without rendering support you may see irregular vowel positioning and a lack of conjuncts. More...

Divehi, Dhivehi or Mahl is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by about 350,000 people in the Republic of Maldives and also in the island of Maliku (Minicoy) in Union territory of Lakshadweep, India.

Divehi is closely related to Sinhala. Many languages have influenced the development of Divehi through the ages, most importantly Arabic. Others include Malayalam, Hindi, French, Persian, Portuguese, and English.

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 Divehi linguistics in the early 20th century. He also called the language Divehi, without an "h". However In 1976, when a semi-official Latin transliteration was developed for the Divehi language, an "h" was added to the name of the language, though it is an unaspirated sound , so this inconsistency has yet to be resolved.

English words such as atoll (a ring of coral islands or reefs) and doni (a vessel for inter-atoll navigation) are anglicized forms of the Divehi words Atoḷu and Dōni.

Contents

Etymology

The origin of the word "Divehi" is Div+vehi meaning Islanders' while bas means language. So Divehi-bas means Islanders' language.

The Lakshadweep Administration in India refers to Divehi as Mahl. The origin of the word "Mahl" is based on the Arabic name of the language and of the Maldives, which was al-lughath al-Mahaldibiyya and ad-Daulath al-Mahaldibiyya respectively. On this basis the British officials in British India recorded the name of the language as Mahl.

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 special subgroup within the Modern Indo-Aryan languages which is called Insular Indo-Aryan.

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 Divehi was a descendant of the Sinhalese language, in 1969 Sinhalese philologist M. W. S. de Silva for the first time proposed that Divehi and Sinhalese have branched off from a common mother language (a Prakrit). 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”. S. Fritz has recently reached the same conclusion in a detailed study of the language. De Silva refers to the Dravidian influences seen in the Divehi 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 colonists to the Laccadive-Maldives archipelago and Sri Lanka from the mainland (India) must have taken place simultaneously.

History

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

Divehi (Mahl) 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.

Divehi 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 Divehi 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 Divehi and Sinhalese.

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

De Silva proposes that Divehi and Sinhalese must have branched off from a common mother language. He says that “the earliest Indic element in Divehi (Mahl) 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”.

De Silva is referring to the Dravidian influences seen in the Divehi (Mahl) 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 colonists to the Minicoy, Maldives and Sri Lanka from the mainland (India) must have taken place simultaneously. This means that Divehi and Sinhalese must be “sister languages” that developed from a common Prakrit.

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

A rare Maliku Thaana primer written in Mahl (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.

Geographic distribution

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

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Official status

Divehi (Mahl) 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 Divehi 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 Huvadu, Fua Mulaku and Addu. Slighter variants are spoken in Haddummati and in Minicoy (Maliku), the latter being known as Maliku Bas and this dialect has less differences to the standard Divehi than other dialects. Among the dialects Male' Bas and Maliku Bas are most identical. The other variants show much difference.

Moloki Bas, is a dialect of Divehi which is spoken by the people of Fuvahmulah Island. Moloki Bas has laamu sukun (ލް)which is absent from the Male' dialect (Standard Divehi). This is a final 'l' without vowel sound. Another characteristic of this variant of Divehi is the 'o' sound at the end of words, instead of the final 'u' common in all other forms of Divehi. Eg. 'fanno' instead of 'fannu'. Regarding pronunciation, the retroflex 'ṣ', which has almost a slight 'r' sound in mainstream Divehi, becomes š in Moloki Bas, sounding like Arabic: شshīn.

The inhabitants of the large atoll of Huvadhu speak their own distinct form of Divehi, known as Huvadu Bas. 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 Divehi language and has some affinities with Moloki Bas. Traditionally all educated islanders from the three atolls of the south used the Addu Bas as their lingua franca. Hence, when for example an islander of any of the Huvadhu islands met with someone from Fua Mulaku, they would use the Addu Bas to talk to each other. Addu Bas is the most widespread of the dialect of Divehi. 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.[2]. 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 Divehi 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 Fua Mulah. She is yet to do research on the dialect of Huvadhu Atoll. And even she has to do more research on both Addu and Fua Mulah dialect. Only then can she determine whether the dialects Fua Mulah 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 Divehi seem to exhibit major differences between the two varieties of language.

Spoken Divehi, 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 Divehi sounds when speaking.

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

One of the very important things one has to take into account in written Divehi which is not so important in spoken Divehi 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 Divehi 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 Divehi Akuru (or Dives Akuru, "Dhivehi letters") which are written from left to right. Divehi Akuru were used in all of the islands between the conversion to Islam and until the 1700s. These ancient Maldivian letters were also used in official correspondence with Addu Atoll until the early 1900s. 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 Divehi 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.

Divehi 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 Divehi; 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.

Divehi 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 Letin", 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 Letin" 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.[3]

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.

Sound

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

Vowels
  Short Long
Front Central Back Front Central Back
Close i   u ī   ū
Mid e   o ē   ō
Open   a     ā  
Consonants
  Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Voiceless
stops
p t   c k  
Voiced
stops
b d   j g  
Prenasalized
stops
ⁿb ⁿd   ⁿḍ   ⁿg  
Nasals m   n ñ  
Semivowels           y  
Lateral   l r      
Flap     ŗ (ṣ)        
Voiceless
fricatives
f   s ś   h
Voiced
fricatives
v z          

Intonation

Intonation is how words rise and fall in pitch when one speaks a sentence. Divehi, like English, has intonation, but its patterns are very different from those of English. You will, in fact, get accustomed to the Divehi patterns of intonation if you listen to the native Divehi speakers speaking English. For most Divehi speakers speak English with the intonation patterns peculiar to Divehi. 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 Divehi are very different from those in English. In Divehi, the general tendency is to stress the first syllable of a word.

The set of two identical sounds together in Divehi 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 Divehi, 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 Divehi (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 Divehi restrict their phonology to this pattern, even when using loan words, such iskūl (VC.CVC) for skūl (CCVC) "school".

Grammar

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 Divehi comprises nouns, pronouns, adjectives and numerals as parts of speech.

Numerals

Divehi 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

Languages have words and words have meanings. To be able to say something, one must know the words, but that is not all. How one puts the words together also matters. Of course, in some languages it matters more than in others.

In English, for instance, the sentence ‘dog bites man’ does not mean the same thing as ‘man bites dog’, even though both sentences have the same words. The order of words seems to be quite important in English. In fact, it can be extremely rigid, at times. An Englishman must only say ‘I need some fish’ and not ‘some fish I need’ or ‘some I need fish’.

The word-order in Divehi however is not as rigid as in English. To a Divehi speaker, even a slight change in the order of words in a sentence may indicate a slight difference in meaning, but he would ignore some of these subtleties when a foreigner speaks his language. For he is delighted that the foreigner is making an attempt to speak it at all! Moreover, the practical purposes for which you will be using Divehi will eliminate some of the possible alternative meanings a phrase may have.

Let us say that you walk into the fish market and ask for some fish. You need only three words to make the seller understand your requirement: ‘mashah’ (to me) ‘mas’ (fish) ‘vikkaa’ (sell). You may put these three words together in any of the following ways, without changing the meaning:

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

You may even drop the word ‘mashah’ (to me) wherever the context makes it obvious.

Loan words in Divehi

Speakers of Divehi 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 Divehi language that there seem to be no other words that could replace them.

There are certain ways by which loan words are naturalized in Divehi. 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 Divehi 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 Divehi 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 Divehi 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)

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

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

Concerning its vocabulary, grammatical categories and its stylistic possibilities Divehi is not a “poor” language at all given its abundant dialectal variation on the one hand and its rich tradition of folklore on the other.

Some common phrases

Divehi Phrase Latin Transliteration English Translation
ސުވަސްތީ Suvasthee Welcome
ޝުކުރިއްޔާ Shukuriyyaa Thank you
ނޫން Noon No

Sample Text

The following is a sample text in Divehi, 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 Mahl (Divehi) printing work is undertaken. The press also releases the Lakshadweep Times in three languages on a regular basis: Mahl (Divehi), 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, Mahl (Divehi) 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 Mahl (Divehi) 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 Divehi.

Fonts

See also

Topics related to the Mahal language
PhonologyWriting systemsTānaDevanagariRomanizationLiterature

References

  1. ^ http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=div
  2. ^ Xavier Romero-Frias, The Maldive Islanders, A Study of the Popular Culture of an Ancient Ocean Kingdom
  3. ^ Clarence Maloney; People of the Maldive Islands

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 (2001), The Divehi Language: A Descriptive and Historical Grammar of the Maldivian and its Dialects, Heidelberg.
  • Geiger, Wilhem (2001), Maldivian Linguistic Studies, Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Colombo.
  • Menick, 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.
  • 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

Divehi (Mahl) language edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Contents

English

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Wikipedia

Proper noun

Dhivehi

  1. An Indo-Aryan language, the official language of the Republic of the Maldives.

Translations

External links


Simple English

Dhivehi, Divehi or Mahl is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by about 350,000 people in the Republic of Maldives and Suvadives and also in the disputed island of Minicoy (Maliku), claimed by Maldivians that is annexed by neighbouring India, where it is known by another name, the Mahal language or Mahl (މަހަލް). In the Maldives, it is the official national language.


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