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    Sinhala is written using Sinhala script , which is one of the Brahmic scripts , a descendant of the ancient Indian Brahmi script closely related to the Kadamba script. Sinhala is one of the official and national languages of Sri Lanka. Sinhala, along with Pali , played a major role in the development of Theravada Buddhist literature. The oldest Sinhalese Prakrit inscriptions found are from the third to second century BCE following the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka , [7] [8] the oldest extant literary works date from the ninth century. The closest relative of Sinhala is the Maldivian language. It is a good example of the linguistic phenomenon known as diglossia. The name is sometimes glossed as "abode of lions", and attributed to a supposed former abundance of lions on the island.

    As a rule the literary language uses more Sanskrit -based words. Sinhala diglossia can also be described in terms of informal and formal varieties. It is also used in some modern literature e. Liyanage Amarakeerthi's Kurulu Hadawatha.

    The most important difference between the two varieties is the lack of inflected verb forms in the spoken language. The situation is analogous to one where Middle or even Old English would be the written language in Great Britain.

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    The children are taught the written language at school almost like a foreign language. Sinhala also has diverse slang. Most slang words and terms were regarded as taboo and most were frowned upon as non-scholarly.

    However, nowadays Sinhala slang words and terms, even the ones with sexual references, are commonly used among younger Sri Lankans.

    Sinhala script , Sinhala hodiya , is based on the ancient Brahmi script , as are most Indian scripts. Sinhala script is closely related to South Indian Grantha script and Khmer script taken the elements from the related Kadamba script. The writing system for Sinhala is an abugida , where the consonants are written with letters while the vowels are indicated with diacritics pilla on those consonants, unlike English where both consonants and vowels are full letters, or Urdu where vowels need not be written at all.

    Several of these diacritics occur in two forms, which depend on the shape of the consonant letter. Vowels also have independent letters but these are only used at the beginning of words where there is no preceding consonant to add a diacritic to. The complete script consists of about 60 letters, 18 for vowels and 42 for consonants.

    However, only 57 16 vowels and 41 consonants are required for writing colloquial spoken Sinhala suddha Sinhala. The rest indicate sounds that have been merged in the course of linguistic change, such as the aspirates, and are restricted to Sanskrit and Pali loan words. Sinhala is written from left to right and Sinhala script is mainly used for Sinhala, as well as the liturgical languages Pali and Sanskrit. The alphabetic sequence is similar to those of other Brahmic scripts:. Sinhala has so-called prenasalized consonants , or 'half nasal' consonants.

    A short homorganic nasal occurs before a voiced stop, it is shorter than a sequence of nasal plus stop. The nasal is syllabified with the onset of the following syllable, which means that the moraic weight of the preceding syllable is left unchanged. Most Sinhala syllables are of the form CV. Syllables using long vowels are always stressed.

    The remainder of the syllables are unstressed if they use a short vowel, unless they are immediately followed by one of: The main features marked on Sinhala nouns are case, number, definiteness and animacy. Sinhala distinguishes several cases. Next to the cross-linguistically rather common nominative , accusative , genitive , dative and ablative , there are also less common cases like the instrumental.

    The exact number of these cases depends on the exact definition of cases one wishes to employ. Depending on how far an independent word has progressed on a grammaticalisation path, scholars will see it as a case marker or not. The brackets with most of the vowel length symbols indicate the optional shortening of long vowels in certain unstressed syllables.

    Most inanimates mark the plural through disfixation. This can be interpreted as a singulative number. On the left hand side of the table, plurals are longer than singulars. The indefinite article is -ek for animates and -ak for inanimates.

    The indefinite article exists only in the singular, where its absence marks definiteness. In the plural, in definiteness does not receive special marking. Sinhala distinguishes three conjugation classes. Spoken Sinhala does not mark person, number or gender on the verb literary Sinhala does.

    In other words, there is no subject—verb agreement. There is a four-way deictic system which is rare: Sinhala is a pro-drop language: Arguments of a sentence can be omitted when they can be inferred from context. This is true for subject —as in Italian, for instance—but also objects and other parts of the sentence can be "dropped" in Sinhala if they can be inferred.

    In that sense, Sinhala can be called a "super pro-drop language", like Japanese. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Language family. Writing system. Sinhala script Sinhala Braille Bharati Braille. Main article: Main articles: Sinhala script and Sinhala Braille.

    Sri Lanka portal Languages portal. Retrieved Glottolog 3. Jena, Germany: Retrieved 16 November History of the Evolution of the Sinhala Alphabet. Colombo Apothecaries' Company, Limited. Indo-Aryan Languages. Discrete or Continuous Variation? Language in Society. Anthropological Linguistics. Sri Lanka: A Short History of Sinhala Language". George Allen and Unwin Limited. Gove basa. Teach Yourself Sinhalese.

    Sinhala language. Sri Lanka Sinhalese people. Central Southern Maldivian Rodiya dialect Vedda language.

    Literature Literary Sinhala Sinhala name Pali. Dutch English Portuguese Sanskrit Tamil. Macanese Patois. This site may have been important in the competition between the Mahayana and Theravada Buddhist traditions in ancient Sri Lanka.

    In Major Jonathan Forbes of the 78th Highlanders of the British army, while returning on horseback from a trip to Pollonnuruwa, encountered the "bush covered summit of Sigiriya". Archaeological work at Sigiriya began on a small scale in the s. Bell was the first archaeologist to conduct extensive research on Sigiriya. Archaeological work began on the entire city for the first time under this project.

    There was a sculpted lion's head above the legs and paws flanking the entrance, but the head collapsed years ago.

    Sigiriya consists of an ancient citadel built by King Kashyapa during the 5th century. The Sigiriya site contains the ruins of an upper palace located on the flat top of the rock, a mid-level terrace that includes the Lion Gate and the mirror wall with its frescoes, the lower palaces located behind the lavish lower gardens, and moats and ramparts which protected the citadel.

    The site was both a palace and a fortress. The upper palace on the top of the rock includes cisterns cut into the rock. Sigiriya is considered to be one of the most important urban planning sites of the first millennium, and the site plan is considered very elaborate and imaginative. The plan combined concepts of symmetry and asymmetry to intentionally interlock the man-made geometrical and natural forms of the surroundings.

    The south contains a man-made reservoir; these were extensively used from the previous capital of the dry zone of Sri Lanka.

    Five gates were placed at entrances. The more elaborate western gate is thought to have been reserved for the royals. John Still in suggested, "The whole face of the hill appears to have been a gigantic picture gallery There are references in the graffiti to ladies in these paintings.

    However, most have been lost forever. More frescoes, different from those on the rock face, can be seen elsewhere, for example on the ceiling of the location called the "Cobra Hood Cave".

    Although the frescoes are classified as in the Anuradhapura period, the painting style is considered unique; [10] the line and style of application of the paintings differing from Anuradhapura paintings. The lines are painted in a form which enhances the sense of volume of the figures.

    The paint has been applied in sweeping strokes, using more pressure on one side, giving the effect of a deeper colour tone towards the edge. Other paintings of the Anuradhapura period contain similar approaches to painting, but do not have the sketchy lines of the Sigiriya style, having a distinct artists' boundary line.

    The true identity of the ladies in these paintings still have not been confirmed. There are various ideas about their identity. Some believe that they are the ladies of the king's while others think that they are women taking part in religious observances. These pictures have a close resemblance to paintings seen in the Ajanta caves in India. Originally this wall was so highly polished that the king could see himself whilst he walked alongside it.

    Made of brick masonry and covered in highly polished white plaster, [11] the wall is now partially covered with verses scribbled by visitors, some of them dating from as early as the 8th century. People of all types wrote on the wall, on varying subjects such as love, irony, and experiences of all sorts.

    Further writing on the mirror wall now has been banned for the protection of the old writings. The Archaeological Commissioner of Ceylon , Senarath Paranavithana , deciphered verses written in the 8th, 9th and 10th centuries CE on the mirror wall. Came with hundreds of people to see Sigiriya. Since all the others wrote poems, I did not! The Gardens of the Sigiriya city are one of the most important aspects of the site, as it is among the oldest landscaped gardens in the world.

    The gardens are divided into three distinct but linked forms: The water gardens can be seen in the central section of the western precinct. Three principal gardens are found here. The first garden consists of a plot surrounded by water. It is connected to the main precinct using four causeways, with gateways placed at the head of each causeway.

    This garden is built according to an ancient garden form known as char bagh , and is one of the oldest surviving models of this form. The second contains two long, deep pools set on either side of the path.

    Two shallow, serpentine streams lead to these pools. Fountains made of circular limestone plates are placed here. Underground water conduits supply water to these fountains which are still functional, especially during the rainy season. Two large islands are located on either side of the second water garden. Summer palaces are built on the flattened surfaces of these islands.

    Two more islands are located farther to the north and the south. These islands are built in a manner similar to the island in the first water garden. The third garden is situated on a higher level than the other two. It contains a large, octagonal pool with a raised podium on its northeast corner.

    The large brick and stone wall of the citadel is on the eastern edge of this garden. The water gardens are built symmetrically on an east-west axis. They are connected with the outer moat on the west and the large artificial lake to the south of the Sigiriya rock. All the pools are also interlinked using an underground conduit network fed by the lake, and connected to the moats. A miniature water garden is located to the west of the first water garden, consisting of several small pools and watercourses.

    This recently discovered smaller garden appears to have been built after the Kashyapan period, possibly between the 10th and 13th centuries. The boulder gardens consist of several large boulders linked by winding pathways. The gardens extend from the northern slopes to the southern slopes of the hills at the foot of Sigiris rock.

    Most of these boulders had a building or pavilion upon them; there are cuttings that were used as footings for brick walls and beams. They were used to be pushed off from the top to attack enemies when they approached. The terraced gardens are formed from the natural hill at the base of the Sigiriya rock. A series of terraces rises from the pathways of the boulder garden to the staircases on the rock.

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    These have been created by the construction of brick walls, and are located in a roughly concentric plan around the rock. The path through the terraced gardens is formed by a limestone staircase.

    From this staircase, there is a covered path on the side of the rock, leading to the uppermost terrace where the lion staircase is situated. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Sigiriya Sigiriya Rock from the main public entrance. The Story of Sigiriya. Panique Pty Ltd. City, Palace, Gardens, Monasteries, Painting.