language of the Maldives is Dhivehi and displays great
resemblance to several other languages from Sri Lanka,
South East Asia and North India. It also contains many
Arabic, Hindi and English words.
speaking, the early people spoke “Elu”, a form of ancient
Sinhalese. The language has undergone many transformations,
and the present-day Dhivehi is written from left to
right, probably to incorporate many of the Arabic words
used. Modern ‘Thaana’ script was invented in the 16th
century, following the overthrow of the Portuguese.
The earliest Dhivehi is inscribed on copper plates known
as the “Loamaafaanu”. The script is written with consonants
in the middle, and vowels either on top or below the
letters, depending on the sound.
is used equivocally in the administration of the country.
Until the 1960s, Dhivehi was also the medium of instruction
in all schools, but with the need for further education,
Dhivehi-medium syllabuses have given way, to a large
extent, to English-medium teaching. For this reason,
English is widely understood, spoken and written by