Tabouli the animate salad (tabouli) wrote in linguaphiles,
Tabouli the animate salad

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Sinhalese names

1. I've noticed a lot of Sinhalese names with 'Don' in them. A Sri Lankan Australian told me this originally comes from Portuguese, and tends to be seen in people of high-ish social status (I found a couple of websites which used it in a way that looked like a title) but didn't know much more about it. Can anyone clarify what 'Don' is and how it's used in names?

2. Are 'Sinhala' and 'Sinhalese' (which I've seen written with a 'g' between the n and h - is there an official or generally agreed-on romanisation?) more or less interchangeable? Which name for the language should I use in professional settings?

3. The use of the ge name has always confused me. When I talked to some Sinhalese speakers years ago, they said that most Sinhalese people now use the "given name + middle name + surname" structure, but that the traditional ge name (meaning something like "from the house of", and indicating profession or clan) may still be seen.

(a) What is the current status of the ge name? When phoneticising names on graduations lists recently (yes, still doing plenty of this!), I saw quite a lot of Sinhalese names which had them. Has there been a revival of this form recently or something?

(b) After scanning a few websites on naming conventions in Sri Lanka, I'm getting more and more confused about how names which include a ge name are structured. One site implied that "ge name + given name" is standard, whereas I seem to remember that my Sinhalese speakers said a lot more components are usually included (something like "ge name + father's family name + mother's family name + given name + surname"?). AAARG. Can anyone fill me in here?

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