Sinhala is an Indo-Aryan language spoken by about 16 million Sinhalese people in Sri Lanka. It also used as a second language by another 3 million people belonging to other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, where it is one of the official and national languages, along with Tamil. There are also considerable numbers of Sinhala speakers in Singapore, Thailand, Canada and the United Arab Emirates.
Sinhala is also known as Sinhalese or Singhala – the latter version is closer to the pronunciation native name. The native name of the language is සිංහල (Siṃhāla), which comes from Sanskrit and could be translated as “lion-seizer”, “lion-killer” or “lion blood”, which refer to the legendary founder of the Sinhala people, Prince Vijaya, a descendant of Sinhabahu/Sīhabāhu (“Lion-arms”), the son of a princess of the Vanga Kingdom and a lion.