Dhivehi language

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Dhivehi (Dhivehi)
Spoken in:
Total speakers: 300,000
Ranking: not in top 100
Genetic classification: Indo-European


Official status
Official language of: Maldives
Regulated by: ---
Language codes
ISO 639-1
ISO 639-2
See also: LanguageList of languages

Dhivehi is an Indo-Aryan language and the official language of the Republic of the Maldives. It has 300,000 speakers, mostly in the Maldives, and in Lakshadweep, an Indian Union Territory. The Mahl dialect is spoken in the Lakshadweep union territory. Many languages have influenced the development of Dhivehi through the ages, Arabic being one of the main ones. Others include Sinhalese, Malayalam, Hindi, French, Persian, Portuguese, and English. Dhivehi is thought to have shared a common mother language to Sinhalese, which became extinct with the birth of the two new languages around 500 BC.

Due to the widespread distribution of the islands, differences in pronunciation and vocabulary have developed, especially between the northern and southern atolls. People in Mal cannot understand the dialect of Addu.

Dhivehi is written using a unique script, called Thaana, written from right to left, but was formerly written in Dhives Akuru which is written from left to right. Dhives Akuru was used in all of the islands until the 1700s and the arrival of Islam, but was used in all official correspondence with Addu Atoll until the early 1900s. Also, it was used in some isolated islands and rural communities until the 1960s. Its last remaining native user died in the 1990s, and today it is not learned by all Maldivians, but if it is, it is as their second script.

Inherent in the Dhivehi language is a form of eloborate class distinction expressed through three levels: The first level, the reethi bas or aadhe-vadainevvun, 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, labba-dhuruvun is used. Most people use the more informal third level in every day life.

There is no direct translation of the English "hello" or "good-bye" in Dhivehi. Instead, someone might greet you with a smile or the raising of the eyebrow and just ask how you are doing. Goodbyes are usually expressed by announcing that you are leaving.

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 Dhivehi words Atholu and Dhoni.

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.

Template:InterWikide:Dhivehi id:Bahasa Divehi th:ภาษาดิเวฮิ


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