Brief Political History / Development of Sinhala Characters / Evolution of Sinhala Characters / Three Sinhala (Hodiyas) without the Vowel Expansion / Development of Tamil Characters / Tamil Alphabet with the Vowel Expansion / Position of Sri Lanka Standard Institute / Difficulties Relating to the Current Software / Advantages of having a Sinhala and Tamil Character Matrix / Why we need complete Sinhala and Tamil Characters / News Paper Articles / References / Solution / Cartoons / Comments / Save our Language Sinhala/Computer literacy low / Sinhala Grammer & Reading / Some E mail from Linux Group / Catalogue of Palmleaves

Brief Political History....... ......Referance: Samarasinghe, S.G. 1996. "Language Policy in Public Administration, 1956-1994" & Vamadevan, V.1996. National Language Policy in Sri Lanka

The Beginning of Sinhala only policy

     Early years (1830-1833) English was introduced as a medium of instruction and the British administration decided to encourage the use of English language as the language of management, education, and of the courts in Sri Lanka. In 1943-1944, J. R. Jayewardene introduced a resolution in the State Council that Sinhalese alone should replace English. However, the Sinhalese and Tamil parties worked out a compromise based on which the Council passed a resolution that English be replaced by Sinhala and Tamil as the official languages of the nation.

     The Ceylon (Sri Lanka) government followed a policy of using Sinhala and Tamil as its official languages until the passage of the Official Language Act No. 33 of 1956. This Act declared Sinhala to be the only official language.

Status of the Tamil Language in Sri Lanka

     The Tamils people opposed the implementation of the Sinhala Only policy of the government. As the resistance to the official language policy grew stronger, the Ceylon (Sri Lanka) Parliament passed the Tamil Language (Special Provisions) Act of 1958. The act provided for the use of Tamil in correspondence with the public for prescribed administrative work in the Northern and Eastern provinces. Tamil was accorded the status of an official language in the Northern and Eastern provinces without prejudice to the operation of Sinhala as the official language in those provinces.

The 1972 Constitution

     The 1972 Constitution provided that Sinhala be the language of legislation with a Tamil translation. It also sanctioned that the Sinhala laws once published and laid before the National Assembly would supersede the corresponding law in English. While this constitution was an accommodation of some of the wishes of the Tamils, it did not go far enough. Meanwhile, the ethnic and religious divide between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority was growing and total distrust between the communities was by now well established.

The 1978 Constitution

     The 1978 constitution once again reiterated that the official language of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala. This position was somewhat a change from the hitherto accepted position of the 1956 Act that declared explicitly that the Sinhala language shall be the one official language in Sri Lanka. The constitution also said that Tamil shall be an official language. It also declared that English be the link language. In another article, the constitution declared that the National Languages of Sri Lanka shall be Sinhala and Tamil. The constitution also declared through its 16th amendment passed in 1988 that Sinhala and Tamil be the languages of administration throughout Sri Lanka, and Sinhala shall be the language of administration of all the provinces in Sri Lanka other than the Northern and the Eastern provinces where Tamil shall be so used, etc. All laws and subordinate legislation shall be enacted or made and published in Sinhala and Tamil together with a translation thereof in English. Sinhala shall be used as the language of the courts situated in all the areas of Sri Lanka except those in any areas where Tamil is the language of administration

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