The language of the Maldivians is Dhivehi and displays much resemblance to several other languages from Sri Lanka, South East Asia, North India. It contains many Arabic, Hindi and English words.
Historically speaking the early people spoke "Elu" a form of ancient Singhalese. The language had gone many transformations and the present day Dhivehi is written from left to right, probably to incorporate many Arabic words. Modern Thaana script was invented in the 16th century following the overthrow of Portuguese.
The earliest Dhivehi is inscribed on copper plates known as the "Loamaafaanu". The script is written with letters and vowels separately on top or below the letters, depending on the sound.
Useful Dhivehi phrases
|What is your name?||Kon nameh kiyanee?|
|How are you?||Kihineh?|
|I am sorry||Ma-aafu kurey|
|Where is it?||Kobaa|
|How much does it cost?||Agu kihaavareh?|
|What time are we leaving?||Aharemen dhanee kon irakun?|
|What time is it?||Gadin kihaa ireh?|
|Where are you going?||Kon thanakah thi dhanee?|
|How long does it take?||Kihaa ireh nagaanee?|