SOAS University of London

SOAS Language Centre

Sinhala Beginners Course

Duration: 3 terms, 10 weeks per term, 20 hours blended learning. Each term courses are subject to quorum requirements.

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Mode of Attendance: Part-time

Fees: Course fees quoted are per term of 10 weeks.

Course Aim:

This course provides you with a basic knowledge of Sinhala and of contemporary Sinhala culture. It concentrates on spoken Sinhala, the language used by speakers at all social and from all educational backgrounds. Literary Sinhala differs markedly from the colloquial variant and does not form the basis of this course.


The course is taught in English and Sinhala with coverage of the four key skills (speaking, listening, reading and writing). Instructions are given largely in English, but Sinhala expressions are used as often as possible to ease you into using Sinhala directly rather than using an English-to-Sinhala translation approach. The course includes a pronunciation guide, lessons on conversation, grammar and set exercises followed by review exercises after every four lessons. Whilst phonemic transcription will be used for the first 6 weeks, the basic Sinhala transcript will be introduced from the seventh session. You are expected to attend regularly, participate in class and complete homework regularly to ensure learning progress. You will receive regular feedback from your tutor.

This will be achieved through 20 hours of blended learning: this is composed of 15 hours of online structured lessons with the teacher. This is supplemented by a minimum of 5 hours of guided independent learning supported by complementary material and regular feedback from the tutor. The course objective will be achieved within the 10-week course.

Entry requirement:

For the first stage of Sinhala Beginners (i.e. Sinhala Beginners 1), no previous knowledge is required. To be able to join Beginners 2 or 3 you should have completed Beginners 1 and 2 respectively at SOAS Language Centre or have an equivalent knowledge of guided learning hours (20 hours blended learning per each sub-level). The progression route from Sinhala Beginners 1 is to Sinhala Beginners 2; from Beginners 2 to Beginners 3. Upon successful completion of Sinhala Beginners 3 you will be able to progress to the Elementary level course in Sinhala. 

Online Course Requirements

Please ensure you have checked the Learner Support page for the Collaborate Session Preparation and Checklist, Required Equipment & Software.


The tutor will provide you with the course material. You are encouraged to make use of recommended websites, listen to radio broadcasts and watch television programmes available on the intranet.

Timetable Information:
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Sinhala Beginners 1

By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Use the Sinhala writing system
  • Use greetings and farewells
  • Introduce yourself
  • Talk about your family
  • Use time expressions
  • Use the days of the week
  • Ask and give directions
  • Use numbers 0-100
  • Describe things
  • Order a taxi
  • Give a command
  • Order food in a café or restaurant

 The above is an indication of content that may be covered over the duration of the course but it could vary depending on the level and progress of students in the class.