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Rohini Chandrica Widyalankara

A cause- e!!ecI anaIysis o!


Ihe phonoIogy o! 5ri
Lankan FngIishes
lh!luehce o! Sihhala oh Sihhala/Sri Lahkah Ehglish
bilihgual prohuhciaIioh
PosIcolohial Ehglishes are a rich source oh cross lihguisIic dyhamics ih
cohIacI siIuaIiohs where Ehglish is Ihe supersIraIe. Sihhala is a mihoriIy
lahguage o! Ihe world ahd is spokeh by a populaIioh o! 15,173,820 ih Sri
Lahka. 1he lahguage speci!ic rahkihgs o! markedhess cohsIraihIs ih Ihe
phohological grammar ahd cohvehIiohs goverhihg grapheme Io phoheme
cohversioh rules o! Sihhala resulI ih Ihe dichoIomy o! Irahs!er versus
ihhibiIioh o! Ihe source lahguage phohology. 1he CohsIraihI FlucIuaIioh
HypoIhesis recoghizes IhaI Ihe rerahkihg o! cohsIraihIs o! a dohor
lahguage is hoI a homogeheous process. 1hus wiIhih Ihe Iypology o! Sri
Lahkah Ehglishes Ihe prohuhciaIioh o! Ihe SIahdard varieIy has gaihed
ehdohormaIive sIabilizaIioh ahd codi!icaIioh while OIher varieIies !louI a
mulIiIude o! horms seI dowh by Ihe sIahdard. Ehglish loahword
assimilaIioh paradigms which add Io Ihe corpus o! Ihe Ihadbhawa
wordsIock o! Sihhala ahd currehI pracIices ih loahword usage ih Sihhala
prihI media sca!!old !urIher evidehce IhaI Irahs!er o! Ihe assimilaIed
phohological cohIours Ioo is a causal !acIor. 1he IheoreIical basis o! Ihis
book recruiIs Markedhess ahd Expehse o! E!!orI durihg ahalysis.
Rohini Chandrica WidyaIankara
Rohihi Chahdrica Widyalahkara, 8. A., M. Ed. (1ESL),
M. Phil (LihguisIics) is a Sehior LecIurer aI UhiversiIy
o! Kelahiya, Sri Lahka.
978-3-659-60655-7
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Rohini Chandrica WidyaIankara
A cause- effect anaIysis of the phonoIogy of Sri Lankan EngIishes
Rohini Chandrica WidyaIankara
A cause- effect anaIysis of the
phonoIogy of Sri Lankan EngIishes
InfIuence of SinhaIa on SinhaIa/Sri Lankan EngIish
biIinguaI pronunciation
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Influence of Sinhala on Sinhala/Sri Lankan English bilingual
pronunciation: A cause- effect analysis
i
For
Amaya, Thisari and Radhi

ii
Contents
List of tables vi
List of figures... vii
Notational conventions and system of Romanization viii
List of abbreviations.. ix
General phonemic symbols . x

Chapter one
1.0 Introduction ............................................................................................................. 1
1.1 The dialectal typology of Sri Lankan English......................................................... 1
1.2 A cause- effect analysis........................................................................................... 3
1.2.1 Disparity in the phonological grammars of SBE and Sinhala ............................. 3
1.2.2 Transference of prior existing assimilation processes in Sinhala during the
nativization process of SBE phonology ........................................................................ 4
1.2.3 The rise of Colloquial Spoken Sinhala in functional domains ............................ 5
1.3 Methodology ........................................................................................................... 5
Chapter two
2.0 Sinhala /sil/ .................................................................................................... 11
2.1 The population and the distribution of the Sinhalese people................................ 12
2.2 The influences on Sinhala ..................................................................................... 14
2.2.1 Indo-Aryan influence .................................................................................... 14
2.2.2 The Polynisian influence on Sinhala............................................................. 15
2.2.3 The Dravidian influence..................................................................................... 15
2.2.4 Independent developement................................................................................. 15
2.2.5 Western colonial influence................................................................................. 17
2.3 The wordstock of Sinhala...................................................................................... 17
2.4 Two unique features of Sinhala............................................................................. 19
2.4.1 Unique vowel characters of Sinhala................................................................... 20
2.4.2 Five unique consonant characters ...................................................................... 20
Chapter three
3.0 The substrate influence of Sinhala on the superstrate English ............................. 21
3.1 The phonology of Sinhala ..................................................................................... 21
3.2 Contrasting the phoneme inventories of RP, SSLE and Sinhala .......................... 22
iii
3.3 Grapheme to phoneme conversion paradigms in Sinhala..................................... 25
3.3.1 Vowel graphemes in Sinhala.............................................................................. 26
3.3.2 Consonant graphemes in Sinhala ....................................................................... 26
3.3.3 Diacritics in Sinhala ........................................................................................... 27
3.4 Vowels inherent in Sinhala consonant graphemes................................................ 28
3.5 Aspirated to unaspirated consonants in Spoken Sinhala....................................... 29
3.6 Diglossic variation in Sinhala ............................................................................... 29
Chapter four
4.0 Registers of Sinhala and the rise of Colloquial Spoken in the functional domains
of Sinhala..................................................................................................................... 32
4.1 Registers of Sinhala............................................................................................... 32
4.2 The rise of Colloquial Spoken in the functional domains of Sinhala ................... 34
Chapter five
5.0 Literaure on cross linguistic dynamics and influence of Sinhala on SLE
pronunciation............................................................................................................... 42
5.1 Theories on cross linguistic dynamics .................................................................. 45
5.1.1 Markedness theory ............................................................................................. 45
5.1.2 Loanword adaptation behaviour......................................................................... 46
5.1.3 Perception and production.................................................................................. 47
5.1.4 Dual language processing in bilinguals.............................................................. 50
5.1.5 The process of lexical production ...................................................................... 51
5.2 The dichotomy of lexical production in S/SSLE and S/OVSLE bilinguals ......... 52
5.2.1 Lexical processing in OVSLE bilinguals........................................................... 52
5.2.2 Why do S/SSLE bilinguals pronounce skirt as /sk:t/?...................................... 55
5.3 Weak/proficient dichotomy in loanword adaptation............................................. 57
5.4 Second language learner lexical pronunciation and interference from loanword
phonology.................................................................................................................... 59
Chapter six
6.0 The substrate influence of Sinhala as a causal factor for generating several core
pronunciation features in S/SSLE bilinguals .............................................................. 62
6.1 Core characteristics of SSLE which show an affinity towards Sinhala................ 62
iv
6.1.1 Substrate influence of Sinhala on SBE diphthongs: glide omission of /ei/ and
// ..............................63
6.1.1.1 Diphthongs of Sinhala................................................................................ 64
6.1.1.2 Glide omission of OIA diphthongs /ai/ and /au/ during transition to OS.. 66
6.1.1.2.1 Current evidence for assimilation of Sanskrit words with /ai/ and /au/
to the tadbhawa word stock of Sinhala............................................................. 66
6.1.1.2.2 Evidence from print media for the rate of occurrence of Sinhala
tadbhawa words over Sanskrit words with /au/................................................ 67
6.1.1.2.3 Evidence from print media for the preference of Sinhala tadbhawa
words for Sanskrit words with /ai/ .................................................................... 69
6.1.1.3 The diphthongs of SBE.............................................................................. 70
6.1.1.4 SBE /ei/ and to SSLE /e:/ and /o:/: glide omission.............................. 71
6.1.1.5 Evidence that English words with /ei/ and borrowed to Sinhala
undergo glide omission .......................................................................................... 73
6.1.1.5.1 /ei/ to /e:/ in English lexicon assimilated to the Sinhala tadbhawa
wordstock compared with SSLE pronuciation ................................................. 73
6.1.1.5.2 to /o:/ in English lexicon assimilated to the Sinhala tadbhawa
wordstock.......................................................................................................... 73
6.1.2 Loss of aspiration in in Spoken Sinhala and its influence on the deaspiration of
SBE [p
h
], [t
h
] and [k
h
].................................................................................................. 74
6.1.2.1 Loss of aspiration in Sinhala...................................................................... 74
6.1.2.1.1 Loss of aspiration of /p
h
/ in Sinhala................................................... 76
6.1.2.1.2 Loss of aspiration of in Sinhala .................................................... 77
6.1.2.1.3 Loss oI aspiration oI /k/ in Sinhala................................................... 77
6.1.2.2 The influence of deaspiration of aspirate stops in Sinhala on SSLE......... 79
6.1.3 Influence of Sinhala on the nativization of SBE / and // ............................... 80
6.1.3.1 Nativization of SBE .............................................................................. 80
6.1.3.1.1 Evolution of the deaspiration of WS th
h
/ as in SS ...................... 80
6.1.3.1.2 Karunatillake (2001): th
h
/ and t to - coalescence..................... 80
6.1.3.1.3 Gunasekara (1891): th
h
/ to t - orthographic and pronunciation
mistakes............................................................................................................. 81
6.1.3.1.4 The emergence of SBE as the dental in SSLE: influence of Sinhala
+ less Expense of Effort ......................................................................................... 83
6.1.3.2 Nativization of SBE // .............................................................................. 85
6.1.3.2.1 Evolution of the deaspiration of / / to / / in Sinhala ............................. 85
v
6.1.3.2.2 Karunatilake (2001): to - Coalescence and loss of aspiration . 85
6.1.3.2.3 Gunasekara (1891): dh
h
/ to d - orthographic and pronunciation
mistake .............................................................................................................. 86
6.1.3.2.4 The emergence of SBE // as dental in SSLE: Less Expense of
Effort + retreat to the unmarked........................................................................ 88
6.1.4 Fricative devoicing of SSLE: // to // and /z/ to /s/ in medial and final positions
..............................89
6.1.4.1 The voiceless sibilants vs. voiced in SBE.................................................. 90
6.1.4.1.1 Substitution of // for //: Markedness of // in Sinhala + less Expense
of Effort in articulation ..................................................................................... 90
6.1.5 Emergence of the unmarked /s/ in Sinhala for SBE /z/ in the medial and the
final positions in SSLE: less expense of effort in articulation + retreat to the
unmarked..................................................................................................................... 92
6.1.5.2 English loanword assimilation to Sinhala: z to s in WS ............................ 93
Chapter seven
7.0 The influence of Sinhala on several selected pronunciation features of OVSLE . 96
7.1 Substitution /o, o:/ for /, : retreat to the unmarked.......................................... 96
7.1.1 Influence from English loanword assimilations in Sinhala: /o/ and /o:/....... 97
7.2 /f/ to /p/: Substitution for an alien superstrate phoneme + retreat to the
unmarked...................................................................................................... 99
7.2.1 Comparison of expense of effort in /p/ and /f/ .............................................. 99
7.2.2 The entry of a Sinhala grapheme for the English f ..................................... 101
7.2.3 Attempts at assimilating f through loanwords: f to p.................................. 102
7.2.4 Free variation between f and p and overuse of f: current evidence from
Sinhala print media .............................................................................................. 102
7.2.5 Transfer of the familiar practice of free variation of p and f + overuse of f to
OVSLE pronunciation.......................................................................................... 106
7.3 Substitution of for /s/ and free variation in S/OVSLE bilinguals ................... 107
7.3.1 The influence of the orthographic and phonological free variation of /s/, //
and // in Sinhala.................................................................................................. 108
7.3.1.1 Development of OIA to OS: s, and ................................................ 108
7.3.1.2 Mistakes` in the use oI s, and (Gunasekara, 1891: 61) ................. 110
7.3.1.3 Modern linguists in support of coalescence of the two sibilants ,
with the dental sibilant /s/ in SS...................................................................... 111
vi
7.3.2 Current practices in loanword usage in Sinhala print media: Free variation of
graphemes s, and ............................................................................................. 112
7.4 Insertion oI the lax Iront close vowel // beIore consonant clusters with word
onset /s/. ..................................................................................................................... 116
7.4.1 Sonority Sequencing Principle and word onset clusters............................. 116
7.4.2 Syllabification of Sinhala............................................................................ 118
7.4.3 Emergence of Sanskrit words in WS and SS pronunciation....................... 118
7.4.4 Assimilation of Sanskrit words to Sinhala: Mistakes evolving as diglossic
variation................................................................................................................ 119
7.4.5 Portuguese contact setting and loanwords in tadbhawa wordstock ........... 120
7.4.6 BE contact setting and English loanwords in tadbhawa wordstock........... 122
7.4.7 English loanword assimilation paradigms with word initial /i/ insertion from
Sinhala print media: ............................................................................................. 123
7.4.8 Insertion of the lax front close vowel // evolving as a characteristic OVSLE
pronunciation........................................................................................................ 124
7.5 The word initial /z/ to /s/: OVSLE pronunciation............................................... 126
7.6 Vowel epenthesis: The influence of the inherent vowels of Sinhala consonants on
OVSLE pronunciation............................................................................................... 127
7.7 Syllable omission and emergence of the unmarked syllable .............................. 130
7.8 The central vowel // substituted with //: a grey area....................................... 133
Chapter eight
8.0 Discussion........................................................................................................... 137

Bibliography........................... 141
Tables
Table 1: Diverse transliteration approaches from English to Sinhala used in Sri
Lankan dictionaries ....................................................................................................... 8
Table 2: Comparison of OALD pronunciation with transliterations of the
pronunciation based on Sinhala letters in English Sinhala dictionaries ....................... 9
Table 3: Population by ethnic group according to districts, 2012 .............................. 13
Table 4: Population aged 10 years and over, by ability to read and write languages by
ethnic group (2011) Sinhala ..................................................................................... 14
Table 5: Two unique vowel characters of Sinhala...................................................... 20
Table 6: The half-nasal or prenasalized stops in Sinhala............................................ 20
Table 7: Spoken Sinhala vowels (Wasala and Gamage, 2005: 474) .......................... 21
Table 8: Spoken Sinhala consonant classification: (Wasala and Gamage, 2005: 474)
..................................................................................................................................... 22
Table 9: Contrasting the vowel inventories of RP, SSLE, Sinhala............................. 22
Table 10: Contrasting the diphthong inventories of RP, SSLE, Sinhala .................... 23
Table 11: Contrasting the consonant inventories of RP, SSLE, Sinhala .................... 24
Table 12: Mapping Sinhala Graphemes to phonemes: Vowels (Karunatillake, 2004:
xxiii) ............................................................................................................................ 26
Table 13: Mapping Sinhala graphemes to phonemes: Consonants ............................ 26
Table 14: The Sinhala grapheme for p with diacritic paradigms................................ 28
Table 15: Selected letters with diacritic usage in Sinhala........................................... 28
Table 16: The frequency of occurrence of tadbhawa word against the tathsama
equivalent .................................................................................................................... 68
Table 17: Contrasting the phonemic systems for stops of OIA and OS..................... 75
Table 18: Grapheme to phoneme conversion of aspirate consonants Sinhala............ 79
Table 19: Assimilation of SBE stop allophones to SSLE........................................... 79
Table 20: Expense of effort in articulatory profiles of the Sinhala //, /
h
/ and the SBE
................................................................................................................................. 84
Table 21: Expense of Effort in the articulatory profiles of the Sinhala and the
SBE // ......................................................................................................................... 88
Table 22: Transliterations used by linguists for /s, and / ....................................... 108
Table 23: Standard SLE dialects of the dialectal taxonomy in SLE (extracts from
Fernando, 2006)......................................................................................................... 133
vii
viii
Figures
Figure 1: The use of Singrisi in Sri Lanka .................................................................. 33
Figure 2: Substrate interference from Sinhala during the evolution of SLE .............. 42
Figure 3: Superstrate lexical borrowing from L2 to L1.............................................. 44
Figure 4: Formulating a process for the emergence of /sk:t/ for skirt in an S/OVSLE
bilingual during a picture naming task demanding English output ............................ 53
Figure 5: Formulating a process for the emergence of /sk:t/ in an S/SSLE bilingual
during a picture naming task demanding English output............................................ 56
Figure 6: The dichotomy in S/SSLE and S/OVSLE bilingual pronunciation ............ 57
Figure 7: Loanword phonology transfering as interlanguage phonology................... 60
Figure 8: Loanword in Sinhala brought back` into English ...................................... 61
Figure 9: Selected advertisements from the Marriage Proposals section in a Sri
Lankan paper ............................................................................................................... 68
Figure 10: Preference for the Sinhala word vesak over Sanskrit vaishaak................ 69
Figure 11: Diphthongs of RP (Roach, 2004: 242) ...................................................... 71
Figure 12: Sinhala letter for /p/ is substituted for /f/ in the word facial in print media
................................................................................................................................... 104
Figure 13: f in fixed substituted with the Sinhala letter for /p/.................................. 104
Figure 14: Overuse of f in deep as Diif in Sinhala................................................... 105
Figure 15: Substitution of // for /s/ in Sinhala print media...................................... 114
Figure 16: Sonority profile of a syllable ................................................................... 117
Figure 17: The foot structure of Sanskrit words and alterations in Sinhala
pronunciation............................................................................................................. 118
Figure 18: Simplification of word final consonant clusters in Sinhala print media . 132
Figure 19: Substitution of the vowel // with // in cigarette ................................... 136










ix
Notctioncl contentions cnd sstem oj Romcnizction used in the bool
Notctioncl contentions
[ ] Allophonic transcription to indicate sounds from a phonetic point of view
// Phonemic transcription to indicate sounds from a phonological point of view
This sign is followed by a cross reference
~ In free variation with

The sstem oj Romcnizction
abc: Italicized letters denote graphemic representations of lexicon.
Based on the assumption that differential representations should be made for retroflex
sounds in graphemic representations italicized capital letters are utilized. For example
italicized D denotes the grapheme for the retroflex stop
The italicized t and d are used for graphemic representations of / and /
respectively.
Two letter combinations th and dh graphically represent
h
/ and /
h
/ respectively. ch
and sh are used graphically to denote /c/ and // respectively.
Geminates are represented by a sequence of identical consonants.
Each example sentence is provided with a gloss and a transliteration.
As Sinhala has two inherent vowels /a/ and // associated with consonant graphemes
to differentiate between them during transliteration of Sinhala words the symbol is
graphically used by this book.








x
Abbretictions
Language related Abbreviations

AE: American English
BCE: Before the Common Era
BE: British English
BE/SBE: This thesis uses BE as a general appellation of British English but SBE
when referring to Standard British English pronunciation.
CE: Common Era
CSS: Colloquial Spoken Sinhala
L1: First language
L2: Second language
OALD: OxIord Advanced Learners` Dictionary. Eighth edition (2010).
OVSLE: Other Varieties of Sri Lankan English
S: Sinhala
SLE: Sri Lankan English
SS: Spoken Sinhala
SSBE: Standard Southern British English
SSLE: Standard Sri Lankan English
T: Tamil
WS: Written Sinhala
Abbreviations in glosses

1sg: 1
st
person singular
DA: Dative
DF: Definite
GEN: Genetive
INF: Infinitive
NM: Nominalizer
Q: Queestion marker

xi
Genercl phonemic smbols used in this bool

Long vowels are denoted phonemically with a colon following the vowel letter.
Vowels
IPA Examples
t cup
d arm
cat
e met
away
s: turn
t hit

see
b hot
o: call
u put
u: blue
at five
au now
et say
ou go
ot boy
e where
t near
u pure
u no
Consonants
IPA Examples
b bad
d did
f find
g give
h how
j yellow
k cat
l leg
m man
n no
sing
p pet
r red
s sun
[ she
t tea
c check
think
this
v voice
w wet
z zoo
pleasure

just
1
Influence of Sinhala on Sinhala/Sri Lankan English
pronunciation: A cause- effect analysis

Chapter one
1.0 Introduction
Sociolinguistic dynamics in an era of postmodern globalization ascertain that
English which has undergone a long period of indigenization and acculturation within
Sri Lanka has emerged as a South Asian variety classified as Sri Lankan English
(SLE). Contact linguistic dynamics between the historical input variety British
English (BE) and the two main vernaculars of the country: Sinhala and Tamil, have
resulted in the creation of a prestigious, norm forming variety Standard Sri Lankan
English (SSLE) and Other Varieties of SLE (OVSLE). This study isolates the cause-
effect relationship between Sinhala and SBE phonologies and conducts diachronic
and synchronic analyses of its influence on Sinhala/Sri Lankan English (S/SLE)
bilingual pronunciation.
1.1 The dialectal typology of Sri Lankan English
Many scholars (Fernando, C. 1976; Fernando, S. 1988, 2006; Herat, 2001;
Gunesekera, 2005; Kandiah, 1965, 1980; Meyler (2007) have identified dialectal
variation within the typology of SLE pronunciation.
Meyler (2007: xi) discussing Sri Lankan English (SLE) claims that it is the
language spoken and understood by those Sri Lankans who speak English as their
Iirst language, and/or who are bilingual in English and Sinhala or Tamil`. As Iar as
the identity of SSLE is concerned Meyler (ibid: x) states that,
It is based on the grounds that it is a feature of the English spoken by Sri
Lankan speakers of English, and that it differs in some way from current
standard` British English.
Additionally he discards those features which other linguists have identified as
deviations Irom SSLE and deIines those variations as common errors made by
learners oI the language`. Discussing pronunciation (ibid: XIX) Meyler states,
While it is true that Sinhala and Tamil sounds feature prominently in SLE, it
should also be mentioned that this becomes more exaggerated among those
who speak Sinhala or Tamil as their first language, and who are not necessarily
as Iluent as speakers oI standard SLE`.
2
In sum Meyler, though with great trepidation, identiIies a standard SLE` and a
bilingual community who do not adhere to norms of SSLE.
Gunesekera (2005) states that the SSLE users construct a minor segment
1
of the
society and speak a virtually uniform variety whatever their racial origin Sinhala,
Tamil or Malay (ibid: 120). Thus the majority of the speakers of English in Sri
Lanka do not speak SSLE` and this population is more Iamiliar with Sinhala/Tamil
rather than English` (ibid: 125). Gunesekera (2005: 126) further states,
The supreme irony is that the dividing line is phonological rather than
morphological or syntactic, and most speakers are not aware that they are not
speaking SSLE.
Widyalankara (2014) too concurs that the main division is twofold: a prestigious,
norm forming variety SSLE and OVSLE.
She (2014: 5) recognizes that
The adherence to SSLE phonological norms due to the influence of the parity
in language specific markedness constraints of Sinhala/Tamil identifies
Sinhala/Sri Lankan English (S/SSLE) and Tamil/Sri Lankan English (T/SSLE)
bilingual speech communities respectively. They, together, form one entity in
the typology: the user of SSLE.

A more extensive influence of the phonological grammars of the vernaculars is
evidenced in the pronunciation of the bilinguals with Sinhala/Tamil more dominant
in their code repertoire and exhibit a higher frequency of use of the vernaculars in
functional domains. Thus they deviate from SSLE pronunciation norms and form the
user population of OVSLE. Here too the parity in language specific markedness
constraints of Sinhala/Tamil generates common areas of deviation from SSLE.
Gunesekera (2005: 126) identifies seven common deviations from SSLE in the users
of OVSLE. Shortlisting 6 norm forming SSLE and eight OVSLE norm deviating
characteristics from literature this book explores the influence of Sinhala on S/SSLE
and S/OVSLE bilingual pronunciation through a cause- effect analysis.
1
According to Gunesekera (2005: 120) SSLE is used by approximately 2 oI those speaking
English in Sri Lanka` and states that the margin oI error would veer towards Iewer speakers rather
than more`.
3
1.2 A cause- effect analysis
According to Reinhart (2000: 38) if causal relationships exist between variables
the independent variable can cause change while the variable in which change (or
effect) can be observed is the dependent variable. This analysis aims primarily to
incorporate causality to the parlance of scientific discourse on the influence of
Sinhala on dialectal variation in SLE pronunciation. Substantial evidence for a cause-
effect relationship is compiled to identify that the language specific markedness
constraints, diglossic norms and loan assimilation paradigms of Sinhala are causal
factors which influence dialectal variation in SLE pronunciation in S/SLE bilinguals.
Thus though the cause-effect relationship has one outcome effect: dialectal
variation in SLE pronunciation in S/SLE bilinguals, the cause subsumes to multi
factors within the entity influence of Sinhala`. This book shortlists three factors for
investigation.
i. Disparity in the phonological grammars of SBE and Sinhala
ii. Transference of prior existing assimilation processes in Sinhala during the
nativization process of SBE phonology
iii. The rise of Colloquial Spoken Sinhala in functional domains
1.2.1 Disparity in the phonological grammars of SBE and Sinhala
The language specific rankings of markedness constraints in the phonological
grammar and conventions governing grapheme to phoneme conversion rules of
Sinhala have caused unfaithfulness to several SBE pronunciation features in S/SLE
bilinguals. The reranking of constraints in SBE phonological grammar due to the
influence of Sinhala has affected the evolution of SLE pronunciation in this bilingual
population in Sri Lanka. Furthermore according to the Constraint Fluctuation
Hypothesis (Goodin-Mayeda et al., 2010: 75) Second Language (L2) learners differ
in the reranking of constraints in the course of L2 phonological development from
proficient users of English. Thus the ability/inability to converge with the L2
constraint hierarchy fluctuates in learners. In the contact dynamics of this study the
outcome based on the Constraint Fluctuation Hypothesis is the adherence to the
norms of SSLE pronunciation by the S/SSLE bilinguals and deviation from these
norms defining Sinhala users of OVSLE.
4
1.2.2 Transference of prior existing assimilation processes in Sinhala during the
nativization process of SBE phonology
Literature on the evolution of the phonology of Sinhala (Chandralal, 2010;
Dharmadasa, 2011; Gair, 1998; Gunasekara, 1891; Karunatillake, 1989; 2001;
Rajapaksha, 1993) states that a large number of lexica in the Sinhala wordstock are
assimilated from Indo-Aryan or Indo-European languages. These fall into the
category of tadbhawa
2
words that can be traced to an Indic source, normally Sanskrit
Prakrit
3
and have become nativized through assimilation processes to the Sinhala
phonological grammar. These nativization processes in Sinhala include loss of
aspiration, glide omission in diphthongs, insertion of the lax front close vowel //
before consonant clusters with word onset /s/ and the phonological loss of contrast in
the Old Indo Aryan (OIA) sibilants /s/, // and // which coalesced with the dental
sibilant /s/ in Old Sinhala (OS). The commencement of most of these assimilation
processes was during the development of the phonemic system of Sinhala from OIA
which according to Karunatillake (2001: 8) dates back to 3c. BCE
4
. For example he
states whenever an aspirated stop is Iound written it is equated phonemically with
the corresponding unaspirated stop` (ibid: 9) and provides evidence for its emergence
during 3c. BCE- the second half of 1c. BCE.
Thus this book argues, through provision of examples from Historical Linguistics
on Sinhala, that when the British East India Company annexed the Martime
Provinces of Ceylon in 1766 and English was introduced to country the prior,
familiar practices of assimilation of Sanskrit and Pali lexical pronunciation to Sinhala
were transferred non volitionally to the nativization of the pronunciation of the
colonial language. Sociolinguistically too this gains credence as these prior practices
had an existence history of around 2000 years at the time of British colonial contact.
2
Wasala and Gamage (2005: 475) define these as words derived from other languages mainly from
Sanskrit and Pali. Loan assimilations from English to Sinhala too belong to this category.
3
Derived from Sanskrit the word Prakrit carries the meanings original, natural, normal`.
4
The usage in Karunatillake (2001) is BC. But in current parlance Common Era abbreviated as CE,
a neutral usage is an alternative designation for the calendar era traditionally identified with Anno
Domini (abbreviated AD - Latin for The Year of Our Lord - used in the Gregorian calendar to refer
to the current era). Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the use of BCE (Before the
Common Era). More visible uses of Common Era notation have recently surfaced at major
museums in the English-speaking world which is followed by modern Sri Lankan scholars.
5
1.2.3 The rise of Colloquial Spoken Sinhala in functional domains
Sinhala is a multiglossic language and the rise of Colloquial Spoken Sinhala
(CSS) in functional domains is witnessed at present. One feature of CSS is the high
occurrence of assimilated loanwords from English. Most of these borrowings violate
not only SBE but also SSLE phonological grammar rules. As language selection in
functional domains of bilinguals favours Colloquial Spoken Sinhala the rate of
occurrence of English borrowings with assimilated loanword phonology increases.
Theory states that loan pronunciation can get transferred to L2 speech discourse in
weak bilinguals. The transference of these loanword phonological contours of
Sinhala to L2 pronunciation demarcates the user of OVSLE from the S/SSLE speech
populations.
In sum this causal-effect analysis is diachronic + synchronic and proceeds from a
brief introduction to Sinhala, through the historical development of its phonology to
grapheme to phoneme conversion parameters. This is followed by a synchronic
analysis which provides evidence from current practices in loanword assimilation in
Sinhala print media and dictionary extracts with reference to cause-effect correlation
of the variables of this study: influence of Sinhala and dialectal variation in the
pronunciation of Sinhala bilingual users of SLE.
1.3 Methodology
The main research question of this study is:
How does Sinhala influence dialectal variation in the pronunciation of
Sinhala/SLE bilinguals?
The above research question is subdivided as follows:
I. To what extent does the phonological grammar of Sinhala influence the
pronunciation of S/SSLE bilinguals?
II. How does the phonological grammar of Sinhala influence the pronunciation of
S/OVSLE bilinguals?
III. How far does the transference of English loanword assimilation paradigms of
Sinhala influence the pronunciation of users of OVSLE?
In the methodology followed in Research question III above the selection criteria
for English loanwords, lone or embedded in sentences, utilizes the following modes
in differentiating them especially from code mixing processes.
a) Borrowings or loanwords are often phonologically and morphologically
nativized. (Tent, 2000: 23)
6
b) If an utterance has the syntax and morphology of one language, then any
lexical item not native to that language must be a borrowing. Sankoff et al.
(1986, as quoted in Winford 2003: 107)
c) Borrowed items can often be predicted, since they have been adapted into the
recipient language and have therefore become part of that language. (Myers-
Scotton 1992: 37, as quoted in Tent 2000: 24.)
Research question I above will examine the influence of the phonological
grammar of Sinhala in constructing the following selected endonormative processes
in SSLE pronunciation which are recorded in literature as deviating characteristics
from SBE pronunciation.
1. The use of /e:/ and /o:/ in SLE for SBE diphothongs /ei/ and /o/ (Fernando,
1988: 51; Gunesekare, 2005: 121)
2. Deaspiration of SBE [p
h
], [t
h
] and [k
h
] (Gunesekera, 2005: 121)
3. The use of / and / for SBE / and // (Fernando, 1988: 47; Gunesekera, 2005:
120)
4. Substitution of // with // (Gunesekera, 2005: 123)
5. Substitution of /s/ for /z/ in the medial and the final positions (Kandiah,
1965: 163)
Research question II will examine the influence of the phonological grammar of
Sinhala in constructing the following eight selected deviations from SSLE
pronunciation in S/OVSLE bilinguals:
1. The substitution of /o, o:/ for (Fernando, C., 1976: 352; Fernando, S.,
1988: 51; Gunesekera, 2005: 126)
2. Insertion of // before consonant clusters with word onset /s/ (Fernando, C.,
1976: 352; Gunesekera, 2005: 126)
3. Substitution of /f/ for /p/ (Fernando, C., 1976: 352; Gunesekera, 2005: 126;
Kandiah, 1965: 163)
4. Substitution of /s/, for // and overuse (Gunesekera, 2005: 126)
5. The word initial /z/ substituted with /s/ (Gunesekera, 2005: 126)
6. Vowel epenthesis to break complex syllables (Kandiah, 1965: 163)
7. Syllable omission (Kandiah, 1965: 163)
7
8. The mid word central vowel // substituted with // (Fernando, 1988: 51;
Gunesekera, 2005: 126)
Research question III will undergo analysis in parallell with the analysis of the
above areas of Research question II.
These research questions undergo scrutiny through analysis of substrate and
superstrate dynamics along with loanword assimilation paradigms in contact settings
in Sri Lanka. Evidence is compiled through a sociolinguistic and historical linguistic
exploration on the evolutionary paradigms of the phonology of Sinhala. English
loanword assimilation paradigms will scaffold further evidence.
Analyzing English loanword assimilation paradigms this book cites examples
which are strictly from the thadbhawa wordstock of Sinhala compiled from Sinhala
print media: selected Sri Lankan Sinhala newspapers Divayina,
5
Dinamina
6
and
Silumina
7
.
The scansion of the Sinhala newspapers for English loanword usage paradigms
spanned from 2008 2014. The lexical examples were selected through purposive
sampling. Though English loanwords occur at a high frequency in Sinhala print
media the purpose of selection is based on assimilation paradigms which construct
phonological contours which clearly deviate from SSLE pronunciation.
Dictionary extracts are another source of primary data. In obtaining lexical
examples this study used Madura English-Sinhala Online Dictionary.
8
One
advantage of this dictionary is that it does not provide pronunciation for the English
words. The decision to restrict the source to Madura English-Sinhala Online
5
/d ijin/. Divayina is a Sri Lankan Sinhala newspaper, which was established in
1981. This daily newspaper currently has a circulation of 156,000 and its Sunday edition iridaa
Divayina sangrahaya, 340,000 per issue. As indicated by the National Media Survey Divayina
attracts an educated and discerning segment of readers.
6
/d inmin/ is a Sinhala language daily newspaper in Sri Lanka. It is published by
the Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited (Lake House), a government-owned corporation.
The newspaper commenced publishing in 1909. It has a circulation of 75,000 per issue.
7
/siumin/ is the sister weekend paper of Dinamina and it currently has a circulation of
265,000.
8
This dictionary is a popular online form of access for translations in Sri Lanka. For example all the
computers at University of Kelaniya have a download installed.
9
All this results in difficulty in converting a Sinhala grapheme to a phoneme which
is indicated through my attempt at transliterating (Table 2 below) the Sinhala
pronunciation in Table 1 above based on IPA. A comparison is drawn with the
pronunciation obtained from OxIord Advanced Learners` Dictionary (OALD).
Table 2: Comparison of OALD pronunciation with transliterations of the pronunciation based on
Sinhala letters in English Sinhala dictionaries
English word and OALD
transliteration
IPA transliteration of pronunciation in Table 1
Malalasekera
11
Rathna
12
Godage
13
Aback /bk/ /bk/ /bk/ /ebk/
14
Binocular /bankjlr/ /banokjul/ /__nokjul(r)/
15
/banokjul(r)/
Quota /kwot/ ____ /kwo:t/ /kwo:ta:/
Volcano /vlkeno/ /olkeno/ /(o)lke:no:/ /o:lke:no:/
Xenophobia /zenfobi/ /zenfubi/ /zenfo:bij/ /seno:fo:bia:/
Zero /ziro/ /ziru/ /ziro:/ /siro:/
These are but a few identified areas in the above dictionaries where the
pronunciation denoted deviates from OALD. These deviations evidence a strong
influence of Sinhala on the pronunciation of English words. The confusion generated
resulted in the selection of Madura English-Sinhala Online Dictionary which is
devoid of pronunciation thus permits my transliteration of pronunciation using IPA.
Thus the citations from these two primary sources: selected Sinhala newspapers
and Madura English-Sinhala Online Dictionary construct an argument that the
faithful grapheme to phoneme conversion of assimilated English loanwords to the
thadbhawa wordstock of Sinhala result in further establishing loanword phonology


11
Malalasekera, G. P. (2009). Malalasekera English Sinhala Dictionary. M. D. Gunasena Limited.
Of the three cited dictionaries Malalasekera English Sinhala Dictionary is the most recognized and
popular among Sri Lankans.
12
Rathna English Sinhalese Dictionary. (1970). Rathna Poth Prakasakayo.
13
Godage English-Sinhala Dictionary. (1999). S. Godage.
14
Highlighted phonemes denote a strong influence of Sinhala.
15
Highlighted and underlined areas denote inability to transliterate.
10
which deviates from SBE pronunciation in S/SSLE bilinguals and deviation from
SSLE pronunciation in S/OVSLE bilinguals.
11
Chapter two
2.0 Sinhala /sil/
Sinhala is an Indo Aryan (IA) language with an Indo European origin. The IA
languages, spoken by at least 700 million people in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Maldive Islands, and in countries where immigrants from South
Asia have settled, constitute a major group within the Indo-European family. They
have a claim to great antiquity, with the earliest Vedic Sanskrit texts dating to the end
of the second millennium BCE. This language family supplies a historical
documentation of language change over a longer period than any other subgroup of
Indo-European languages (Cardona, 2003). The Indo-European family of languages,
which is by far the largest and the most widely distributed linguistic group in the
world, includes such modern languages as German, French, English, Persian and
Hindi. The parent Indo-European speech, which is the source of all these languages is
believed to have flourished about 5000 years ago in central or eastern Europe (ibid).
According to Crystal (1997) language is fundamental to the ethnic identity of a
community and is intimately bound up with the community`s distinctive culture and
way of life. This is very true to the Sinhala people and Hewapathirane (2010) states
that from historic times, the primary distinguishing characteristic of the Sinhala
people of Sri Lanka has been their language through which the collective identity as a
distinct community is established. Sinhala is one oI the world`s oldest living
languages and as a vibrant language has a celebrated history of over 2300 years. The
history of Sinhala language, especially the documented graphemic evidence on the
evolution of its phonology, is of primary importance to the study of dialectal
variation in SLE within the S/SLE speech populations.
Karunatillake`s (2001) study on Sinhala phonology analyzing important
phonological changes in the evolution of Sinhala identifies five stages up to the 14c.
CE.
1. Development of the OS phonemic system from OIA up to second half of 1c. BCE.
2. Development of the phonology of Sinhala: second half of 1c. BCE to 2c. CE.
3. Development of the phonology of Sinhala from 2c. CE to the 4c. CE.
4. Development of the phonology of Sinhala from the 4c. CE to the 8c. CE.
5. Development of the phonology of Sinhala from the 8c. CE to the 14c. CE.
Though Geiger (1938: 3) states that the language of the early Brahmi inscriptions
in Sri Lanka is oI the same type oI Middle Indian Prakrit dialects both in phonology
and morphology` Karunatillake (2001: 3) disagrees and states that,
12
In terms of phonological developments, the language represented in the very
earliest inscriptions already shows a clear divergence from the Middle Indo
Aryan Prakrits. The unconditioned phonemic coalescence of the OIA aspirate
stops with the corresponding unaspirate stops during the period in question, is
a case in point.
These Brahmi inscriptions dated three centuries before the CE provide the first
recorded evidence for the written tradition of Sinhala. Scholars (Karunatillake, 2001;
Paranavitana, 1945 and others) diachronically analyzing the written tradition of
Sinhala trace the systematic phonological development of Sinhala and its conventions
of usage by the Sinhalese people in Sri Lanka.
Furthermore many scholars (Chandralal, 2010; Dharmadasa 2011; Gair, 1998;
Karunatilaka, 2001) state that the earliest system of writing was introduced to Sri
Lanka in the 3c. BCE when Buddhism was brought to the country. The letters used in
earliest records are in accord with the Brahmi script used for inscribing the
contemporary Asoka edicts in India. According to Chandralal (2010: 27) the modern
system of Sinhala writing is a product of a long history of borrowing characters from
India, independent developments and adaptations and relatively recent innovations
where extra-alphabetic conventions developed under the influence of Western
tradition.
As Dharmadasa (2011) states the most fascinating aspect of the evolution of
Sinhala from early times to the present day is the fact that there is an unbroken line of
records, first the inscriptions and then books starting from about the 3c. BCE to the
present day whereby the history of the language and its development can be traced.
2.1 The population and the distribution of the Sinhalese people
Sinhala is spoken natively primarily within the geological sphere of the country
Sri Lanka. The latest countrywide census conducted by the Department of Census
and Statistics in 2011 has placed Sri Lanka's population at 20.2 million. Out of this
population 15,173,82016 are Sinhalese and for a majority of them the mother tongue
is Sinhala. The ethnic composition of the Sri Lankan population is as follows:
Percentage distribution of population by ethnicity (2012) is as follows:
16
Census of Population and Housing: Population by ethnic group according to districts, 2012
http://www.statistics.gov.lk/PopHouSat/CPH2011/index.php?fileName=pop42&gp=Activities&tpl=3.
13
Sinhalese 74.9
Sri Lanka Tamil 11.2
Indian Tamil 4.2
Sri Lanka Moor 9.2
Burgher 0.2
Malay 0.2
Other 0.1
Source: Population by ethnic group according to districts, 2012
http://www.statistics.gov.lk/PopHouSat/CPH2011/index.php?fileName=pop42&gp=Activities&tpl=3
The Sinhala speech community is concentrated in the densely populated southwest
and central parts of the Island. The table below records the distribution of the Sinhala
communities in Sri Lanka.
Table 3: Population by ethnic group according to districts, 2012
Source: Statistics obtained from Population by ethnic group according to districts, 2012: A2
http://www.statistics.gov.lk/PopHouSat/CPH2011/index.php?fileName=pop42&gp=Activities&tpl=3
76.7
90.6
86.7
74.3
80.7
39.6
94.3
94.3
97.1
0.6
2
10
9.6
0.9
1.2
38.7
27
91.4
90.9
90.6
73.1
94.6
87.1
85.6
0 50 100
Colombo
Kalutara
Matale
Galle
Hambantota
Mannar
Mullaitivu
Batticaloa
Trincomalee
Anuradhapura
Badulla
Ratnapura
%Sinhalese
% Sinhalese
14
Furthermore what is evidenced by the statistics below is that in the Sinhalese
people of Sri Lanka, Sinhala and SLE are the main languages in the code repertoire
and a majority of them have no or a rudimentary understanding of Tamil.
Table 4: Population aged 10 years and over, by ability to read and write languages by ethnic group
(2011) Sinhala
Source: Department of Census and Statistics, Sri Lanka (2011)
17

The 30.5% literacy in English amongst the Sinhala population is generated
through the self declared ability to read, write and speak English in S/SLE bilinguals.
This statistic does not delineate the SSLE/OVSLE dichotomy.
2.2 The influences on Sinhala
Discussing the origins of the Sinhala language Disanayaka (1976: 19) identifies
four influences: IA, Dravidian, Polynisian and the Indegenious.
2.2.1 Indo-Aryan influence
One theory on the IA influence on Sinhala is as follows:
Sinhala is ultimately derived from Old IA speech largely represented by the
Sanskrit of the Madya Desha (central India) via middle IA speech largely represented
by Pali. For instance, Sinhala kam (as in Kamhal: workshop) has evolved from the
OIA (Sanskrit) karma via the middle IA (Pali) kamm. Other examples include the
Sinhala mag (path) as Pali magg, Sanskrit marg and the Sinhala T // (bone)
as Pali atthi, Sanskrit, ashthi
18
.
17
This table of provisional data was obtained from Ms. A. Egodawatta, Statistician, Department of
Census and Statistics through personal communication on 10 January, 2014. It is an extract from
Table 28 which can be retrieved from:
http://www.statistics.gov.lk/PopHouSat/CPH2011/Pages/Activities/Reports/5cph2011/Table28.pdf
18
Retrieved 15 August, 2012 from http://www.lankalibrary.com/books/sinhala1.htm
Ethnic group
Population 10
years and over
Literacy (%)
Sinhala Tamil English
All groups 16,782.244 79.4 26.5 30.5
Sinhala 12,646,686 96.4 5.0 30.7
15
2.2.2 The Polynisian influence on Sinhala
Fraser (1896: 92-100) in his Malayo-Polynesian Theory compared a number of
Maldivian words with their equivalents in Modern Sinhalese, Pali, Sanskrit, and other
Indo-European, as well as some Oceanic languages. The theory on the Polynisian
influence on Sinhala, according to Disanayaka (1976: 20), springs from the affinity
Sinhala has to Divehi, the language of Maldives, a historical dialect of Sinhala which
branched off after the proto-Sinhalese period.
2.2.3 The Dravidian influence
According to Hettiarachchi (1965) the Tamil language, which belongs to the
Dravidian group has influenced the structure and vocabulary of Sinhalese to such an
extent that some scholars were erroneously led to believe that Sinhalese belonged to
the Dravidian group of languages.
But scrutinizing the phonological changes in the history of Sinhala Gair (1998:
196) states that.
A great majority of them, when looked at closely, do not really result in more
Dravidian like patterns and those that do often include un-Tamil consequences.
Thus Gair (1998: 186) warns that There is a danger in drawing too ready
conclusions about massive Dravidianization of Sinhala since it is easy to overlook
similarities and diIIerences in the opposite direction` and asserts that the IA and
hence the Indo European origin of Sinhala is now a matter of consensus among
serious scholars.
2.2.4 Independent developement
Sinhala developed independently on Sri Lankan soil, sans any foreign influences,
is not tenable considering the available philological evidence. But the existence of the
term Elu which is considered as the pure dialect of Sinhala (also Hela, Helu) forms a
diverse perspective. Elu is the ancient form of the Sinhala variant of the Middle Indo-
Aryan languages. R. C. Childers states the following on Elu:
Elu is the name by which is known an ancient form of the Sinhalese language
from which the modern vernacular of Ceylon is immediately received......The
name Elu is no other than Sinhala, standing Ior an older Iorm, Hla or Hlu,
which occurs in some ancient works, and this again Ior a still older, Sla,
which brings us back to the Pali Sinhala (Cited in Yule et al., 2006: 344).
16
The Pali scholar Rhys Davids (2007) who refers to Elu as the Prakrit oI Ceylon`
states that Elu is considered by some scholars to be a type of Prakrit from India
while others contend it is entirely native to Sri Lanka` (ibid: 155)
19
. Gair (1998: 219)
too calls Elu a classical form of Sinhala where the words are likely to have an even
more elevated ring than than direct Sanskrit borrowings`. He Iurther states that there
has been an active movement to revive such forms and bring about wide use of Elu
(or Hela) style, but it has met so far with only sporadic success in affecting the body
oI written material produced today as a whole`. Moreover based on scientific analysis
of historical linguistic evidence, scholars concur that the strong influence of IA
makes Sinhala remain a fundamentally IA language (Gair, 1998: 5) and at present is
considered a member of New Indo Aryan family of languages. Though Sinhala
retained some Aryan characteristics, because of its geographical separation from the
other Indo-Aryan tongues of mainland India for over 2000 years, the language
developed along independent lines (Disanayaka, 1991; Gair, 1998; Gunasekara,
1891, Karunatilaka, 1989, 2001).
Elaborating on the uniqueness of Sinhala, Dharmadasa (2011) states the
following:
In comparison with the other members of the New Indo Aryan group,
Sinhala stands out because of its unparalleled literary heritage which enabled it
to develop alone as an independent medium much beIore any oI its sister`
languages could do so. Perhaps its isolation in an island helped it to develop on
its own, free from the awesome presence of Sanskrit which remained the
classical` literary language cultivated by literati throughout the sub-continent.
The only classical language Sinhala grew up with at the initial stages was Pali,
the language of the Buddhist cannon, introduced with Buddhism in the 3c.
BCE. And, most fortunately, Pali helped Sinhala to grow and develop as a
19 A feature of Elu is its preference for short vowels, nonaspiration and the reduction of compound
consonants found frequently in other Prakrits such as Pali. Moreover many Pali and Sanskrit words
too were easily converted into Elu by a set of conventional phonological transformations. This
makes if difficult to identify whether a given Elu word is a part of the old Prakrit lexicon, or a
transformed borrowing from Sanskrit. For a comparison of lexicon of Elu, Sanskrit and Pali refer to
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elu_Prakrit.
17
literary medium by providing the initial resources, the vast textual repository
of the Buddhist scriptures.
Dharmadasa (ibid) further states that there are many features in Sinhala,
particularly in the sound system, which are not found in the neighbouring Aryan or
Dravidian languages. These elements are said to have crept in from African or
Polynesian languages thus identifying a Polynesian influence on Sinhala.
The potency of the influence of Sanskrit in the evolution of Sinhala is evidenced,
though at different levels of frequency, in the vocabulary of modern literary Sinhala.
Furthermore Sinhalization of Sanskrit words continues even today. Thus Gair (1998:
218) postulates,
Sanskrit borrowings have taken place at various stages in the history of
Sinhalese and with varying degrees of adaptation to the Sinhala speech habits
of the time. Such borrowings are found at all levels of the vocabulary, but
modern literary Sinhalese, particularly in its technical or learned varieties,
tends to make heavy use of forms or coinages based on Sanskrit.
He further states that Pali loans are comparatively rare in current Sinhala and are
insignificant compared with the vast number of Sanskrit borrowings. The Sinhala
language also contains lexical borrowings from Tamil, Malay, Portuguese, Dutch and
English. The claim by Gair (1998: 259) that Sinhala surviving as a clearly Indo
Aryan language can be considered a minor miracle oI linguistic and cultural history`
stipulates the uniqueness of the evolution of Sinhala.
2.2.5 Western colonial influence
Sri Lanka was under western colonial rule from 1505 until the country gained
independence from British in 1948, when it adopted a parliamentary system of
government. The country was declared a republic within the British Commonwealth
in 1972. During this period which the influence of the language of the colonial rulers
Portuguese, Dutch and British English is evidenced in Sinhala especially in its
wordstock.
2.3 The wordstock of Sinhala
A large number of lexica in the Sinhala wordstock are borrowed from Indo-Aryan
or Indo-European languages. The assimilation process of these words, though they
18
are from different sources, very often follows a similar paradigm. These paradigms
evidence the evolution of the language specific markedness constraint ranking of
Sinhala. The first assimilations were from the Indo-Aryan languages. This resulted in
the wordstock of Sinhala constructing vocabulary strata where the Prakrit or the
primitive forms can be divided into three categories.
The following taxonomy is from Chandralal (2010: 40):
1. Nispanna: indigenious forms. These are local words with a local origin.
2. Tathsama: unassimilated loanwords from Sanskrit or Pali. They are
homophonous with the source word.
3. Tadbhawa: words that can be traced to an Indic source, normally Sanskrit
Prakrit or Dravidian languages, which have become naturalized, that is
assimilated to the native phonological pattern.
According to Chandralal (ibid) the tadbhawa forms are distinguished from the
tathsama forms as they are integrated to the native language by necessary alterations
of the CVCV type. Chandralal (ibid) further states that almost all Sinhala words
which have come down from Indo-Aryan in day-to-day use belong to the tadbhawa
category. Some words taken from Sanskrit or Pali can appear in one form, tathsama
or tadbhawa, while others can be seen in both forms as given below.
Sanskrit Tathsama Tadbhawa Signification
prtiphal prtiphal /prip
h
al/ - results
badhir - bihiri /bihiri/ deaf
ganit ganit /gani/ ganan /gana/ Arithmatic
aasan aasn /a:sn/ asun /asun/ seats
Thus during the assimilation process many words undergo changes which reflect
different graphemic and phonological characteristics. The currency of these
borrowings is exemplified by Chandralal (2010: 41),
Even today Sanskrit words are used rather abundantly to introduce new
concepts, to coin technical terms and to provide alternative expressions
19
through word formation strategies such as compounding. Using Sanskrit words
is considered by many scholars as a means of enhancing elegance and dignity
of style.
After the 16c. CE words from Indo-European languages Portugese, Dutch and
English too increased the wordstock of Sinhala. Of this superstrate taxonomy the
strongest contact osmosis was between Sinhala and English. Chandralal (2010: 42)
concurs stating that the most recent addition to the lexicon, the borrowed words from
English makes a distinction in the tradition of borrowing and recognizes a very
productive lexical process to convert English words to Sinhala.
One main focus of this study is the English wordstock which has undergone
assimilation paradigms to fit the native phonological pattern and thus belong to the
tadbhawa category. Through the rest of the book multiple examples for English
lexicon in the tadbhawa wordstock of Sinhala are recorded. What transpires is that
most paradigms used when Sanskrit words underwent adjustments to suit the native
phonological grammar transferred when English lexicon were incorporated into
Sinhala. Furthermore it is noted that the script of Sinhala consists of several unique
features which make its alphabet very creative.
2.4 Two unique features of Sinhala
In October 2009 the script oI Sinhala was named as one oI the world`s 16 most
creative alphabets among today`s Iunctioning languages, some oI them the oldest
known to mankind, by nine international scholars who acted as judges at the first
World Character Conference in Seoul, South Korea (de Silva, 2009).
de Silva (2009) states,
The individual responsible for gaining the Sinhala alphabet this eminence
among the written scripts of the world is J.B. Disanayaka, a former Professor
of Sinhala at the University of Colombo who personally appeared before the
international jury to make an irrefutable case for placing the Sinhala alphabet
among the world`s most creative ones.
As stated in de Silva (2009) the basis of the argument in Disanayaka was through
the identification of two distinctive features in the phonology as given below.
20
2.4.1 Unique vowel characters of Sinhala
Graphemes for the vowels // and /:/ are not found in other Indo-Aryan or
Dravidian languages. But the Sinhala alphabet has a pair of characters to represent
these two sounds as illustrated in the table below.
Table 5: Two unique vowel characters of Sinhala
2.4.2 Five unique consonant characters
The other feature that distinguishes Sinhala from the sister Indo-Aryan languages
is the presence of a set of five nasal sounds known as half-nasal or prenasalized stops.
The table below shows how these sounds are represented in modern Sinhala writing
and Roman script.
Table 6: The half-nasal or prenasalized stops in Sinhala
While the Sinhala script has a rare creativity the substrate influence of the
phonology of Sinhala on colonial BE was multifaceted.
21
Chapter three
3.0 The substrate influence of Sinhala on the superstrate English
The substrate influence of Sinhala is multifaceted thus this scrutiny focuses on the
following areas of influence:
1. Language specific markedness constraint ranking of the phonology of Sinhala
in contrast with Received Pronunciation (RP).
2. Grapheme to phoneme conversion patterns of Sinhala influencing several norm
forming features of SSLE and several deviations from these norms in
S/OVSLE pronunciation.
3. The rise of Colloquial Sinhala in the functional domains giving added currency
to English loanword assimilations and the transference of loan phonology
influencing the pronunciation of S/OVSLE bilinguals.
The main instrument of analysis for the first two areas is the parity/disparity in the
markedness constraint ranking of the phonologies of Sinhala and English.
3.1 The phonology of Sinhala
The phonology of Sinhala ascertains that several phonemes of English are marked
in its constraint ranking.
Table 7: Spoken Sinhala vowels (Wasala and Gamage, 2005: 474)
Note the markedness of the SBE back phonemes /, / in Sinhala which this study
recognizes as influencing the user of OVSLE.
22
Table 8: Spoken Sinhala consonant classification: (Wasala and Gamage, 2005: 474)
20
Note the markedness of the SBE phonemes /z/, //, / and // which is of primary
importance to the discussion of the influence of Sinhala on SSLE pronunciation.
3.2 Contrasting the phoneme inventories of RP, SSLE and Sinhala
Table 9: Contrasting the vowel inventories of RP, SSLE, Sinhala
20
In this book the voiceless and voiced dental stops are denoted as / and / / respectively.
Furthermore the term approximant is used for semi vowel and the labial approximant is denoted by
//.
RP
Roach
(2004: 243)
SSLE
Gunesekera
(2005: 117)
Sinhala
Wasala & Gamage
(2005: 474)

i i
i: ii i:
u u
23
When compared with RP the disparity in the markedness ranking of the vowels of
Sinhala is evidenced in the lack of the back vowels / / and the presence of /o, o:/.
Note that in SSLE both / / and /o, o:/ are unmarked. Thus the SSLE speech
populations differentiate the two back vowels. Impaired by the markedness of / /
in Sinhala the inability to differentiate the back vowels identify S/OVSLE speech
population
Table 10: Contrasting the diphthong inventories of RP, SSLE, Sinhala
u: uu u:

e e
ee e:
o o
oo o:



:



:



RP
Roach
(2004: 243)
SSLE
Gunesekera
(2005: 117)
Sinhala
Wasala & Gamage
(2005: 474)

au au


24
Note the presence of only two diphthongs /ai/ and // in Sinhala and also note the
markedness of / and / in Sinhala and SSLE which are analysed in this book to
illustrate the influence of Sinhala on SSLE pronunciation.
Table 11: Contrasting the consonant inventories of RP, SSLE, Sinhala
21
21
In the tabulation of Wasala & Gamage (2005: 474) the alveolar /t/ and /d/ are denoted as dental
plosives. They are denoted by Gunesekera (2005: 117) as / and / /. Furthermore /v/ is denoted as a
semi vowel by Wasala & Gamage. In IPA /v/ is a labiodental fricative. Gunesekera (ibid) records
as a labial approximant in SSLE which this study states reflects the influence of Sinhala. This
study substitutes /, / / and / in all discussions of Sinhala pronunciation.



25
Based on the parity/disparity between the the vowel, diphthong and consonant
inventories of RP, SSLE and Sinhala this study discusses the influence of Sinhala on
SSLE and OVSLE pronunciation. But at this juncture the discussion moves from the
phonology of Sinhala to analyze the grapheme to phoneme conversion paradigms of
Sinhala as it augments the weightage of the cause-effect analysis of this study.
3.3 Grapheme to phoneme conversion paradigms in Sinhala
The importance of the exploration of grapheme to phoneme conversion patterns of
Sinhala to this study is twofold:
1. Several norm forming pronunciation features in S/SSLE bilinguals are
influenced by the grapheme to phoneme conversion patterns of Sinhala.
2. A stronger influence of the Sinhala grapheme to phoneme conversion
paradigms is witnessed in the S/OVSLE bilinguals. The nonvolitional and
nonelective transference of these paradigms makes the S/OVSLE bilinguals
deviate from SSLE pronunciation assisting dialectal variation in SLE
pronunciation.
26
3.3.1 Vowel graphemes in Sinhala
Sinhala is a phonetic language and each phoneme is represented by a grapheme
(Nagasundaram, 2004). Sinhala contains 12 vowel letters six of which are short and
six long and two diphthongs. The illustration below records that all core vowels and
the two diphthongs have graphemic representation in Sinhala. Vowel symbols are
usually written separately only in the absolute initial position of a word
(Karunatillake, 2004).
Table 12: Mapping Sinhala Graphemes to phonemes: Vowels (Karunatillake, 2004: xxiii)
Note the lack of graphemic representations for the vowels //, /:/ and the
restriction of diphthongs to two. Also note that there are no special symbols for //
and /:/.
3.3.2 Consonant graphemes in Sinhala
Sinhalese is written from left to right. It has no capital letters. The writing system
is called syllabic as the consonants are not represented as separate units like in the
Roman script, but as syllabic units in which a vowel is inherent in the consonant.
According to Masica (1991: 443) the script of Sinhala is a unique cursive script oI
South Indian type`.
Table 13: Mapping Sinhala graphemes to phonemes: Consonants
22
22
Extracts from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:IPA_for_Sinhala. Retrieved on August 11, 2012.
27
Note that the sound conversions do not denote the phonemic inventory of Sinhala
in Table 8. Furthermore is pronounced in the same manner as its respective alveolar
counterpart /l/ and is pronounced in the same manner as its respective alveolar
counterpart /n/ (Disanayaka, 2006; Karunatillake, 2004).
3.3.3 Diacritics in Sinhala
The diacritic usage is a characteristic of Sinhala. According to Nandasara et al
(1997) vowels come in two shapes: independent and diacritic. The independent shape
is used when a vowel does not follow a consonant, e.g. at the beginning of a word.
The diacritic shape is used when a vowel follows a consonant. Depending on the
vowel, the diacritic can attach at several places: above the consonant, below, can
follow the consonant while some diacritics precede as indicated below.
28
Table 14: The Sinhala grapheme for p with diacritic paradigms
Furthermore as illustrated above a consonant can be marked by a combination of
diacritics preceding and following. A diacritic takes a different shape according to the
consonant it attaches to. The most common ones are represented in the table below
for the consonants alveolar l, k, r and retroflex l //.
Table 15: Selected letters with diacritic usage in Sinhala
3.4 Vowels inherent in Sinhala consonant graphemes
Wasala et al. (2006: 502) state that all consonant graphemes in Sinhala are
associated with an inherent vowel the schwa or /a/ which is not represented in
orthography
23
. Vowels other than and /a/ are represented in orthographic text
singly or by placing specific vowel modifier diacritics around the consonant
grapheme. Furthermore in Sinhala when only the consonant value is to be indicated, a
special symbol that functions as the inherent vowel remover is added to the
consonant which is called the hal marker
24
. As vowels appear as a separate letter only
in the absolute initial position of a word in other places it is indicated by adding a
vowel stroke to the consonant which are diacritics or vowel modifiers. In the absence
of any vowel modifier for a particular consonant grapheme, there is an ambiguity of
23
For example the Sinhala word for tooth has only two graphemes. But with the
addition of an inherent vowel to each of the graphemes the pronunciation is / a .
24

29
associating or /a/ with a consonant. According to Chandralal (2010: 29) Sinhala
orthography does not provide any special indication for the inherent vowel // or /a/.
Thus the contrast of the inherent vowels whether it is /a/ or does not appear in
writing. In the absence oI a graphemic signal to the use oI the inherent vowels the
tendency of associating a with consonant is very much higher than associating
vowel /a/. Therefore, initially, all plausible consonants are associated with `
(Wasala et al., 2006: 504). The nonvolitional and nonelective transference of this
association oI all plausible consonants with ` emerging as epenthesis is discussed
as a pronunciation feature of S/OVSLE bilinguals in 7.6.
3.5 Aspirated
25
to unaspirated consonants in Spoken Sinhala
In the consonant inventory in Table 13 an aspirated/unaspirated dichotomy is
evidenced in the graphemes. According to Disanayaka (2006) and Karunatillake
(2004) the aspirated consonants which only occur in words borrowed from Sanskrit
or Pali languages are generally not pronounced differently from their unaspirated
counterparts. Thus though aspirated graphemes exist in Written Sinhala (WS), due to
the language specific markedness constraint rankings of Spoken Sinhala (SS), the
aspirated sounds coalesce with the unaspirated and emerge as de-aspirated phonemes.
Note the lack of aspirates in the Spoken Sinhala consonant classification in Table 8.
One norm forming pronunciation feature in SSLE influenced by grapheme to
phoneme deaspiration of Sinhala is the emergence of /p/, // and /k/ for SBEwod
initial aspirates [p
h
], [
h
] and [k
h
] are discussed in 6.1.2.
3.6 Diglossic variation in Sinhala
The importance of diglossic practices evidenced during grapheme-to-phoneme
conversion to this study is that they are transferred to L2 and construct some selected
pronunciation features of SLE.
Rajapaksha (1993) identifies the diglossic nature of Sinhala where Written Sinhala
(WS) differs from Spoken Sinhala (SS). The following examples evidence diglossic
variations in Sinhala where a letter in a Sanskrit word belonging to the Tathsama
category in the Sinhala wordstock becomes naturalized during pronunciation through
assimilation processes to the Sinhala phonological pattern. Thus a marked and more
25
Aspiration is the act of delaying the onset of voicing momentarily while exhaling air through a
partially open glottis.
30
difficult to pronounce aspirated sound of the grapheme emerges as an unmarked
easier to pronounce unaspirated sound.
Rajapaksha (1993) provides the following two Sanskrit words in the thathsama
wordstock of Sinhala as examples for diglossic variation in pronunciation.
Diglossia Orthography Pronunciation Signification
and transliteration
dh / / dhairya / airj/ / airj/ Courage (p. 64)
wardhanaya /war nj/ /war nj/ Growth (p. 26)
The following diglossic variation in grapheme to phoneme translation in Sinhala
is identified by Disanayaka (1976:13). The words are from the thathsama wordstock
of Sinhala.
Diglossia Orthography Pronunciation Signification
and transliteration
/s/ daka / ak/ / ass/ Talented
saaki /sa:ki/ /sa:kki/ Evidence
Gunasekara (1891) too discusses diglossic variation in Sinhala around 120 years
ago. He states that the dichotomy between the written and spoken Sinhala has created
a diglossic linguistic organization at sociocultural level and written Sinhala is
codified and is grammatically more complex. But one significant feature in
Gunasekara`s analysis in 1891 is that the current diglossic behavior identified by
Disanayaka (1976) and Rajapaksha (1993) is recorded as mistakes` in orthography
and pronunciation.
Examples given below are from (Gunasekara, 1891: 65).
Correct Orthography Wrong Orthography Signification
and pronunciation and Pronunciation
boodh /bo: / bood /bo: / Sacred Bo tree
31
Though current orthography would retain the unassimilated loanword from
Sanskrit boodh
26
from the Sinhala tathsama wordstock during pronunciation the
aspirated letter dh /
h
/ emerges as the unmarked / / as /bo: / Thus the wrong`
pronunciation has evolved as an accepted norm in diglossic variation of Sinhala.
These and other grapheme to phoneme conversion paradigms in Sinhala identify a
WS to SS diglossic variation. The emergence of the unmarked in SS and flouting of
spelling rules in WS when transferred as a substrate influence is a major contributing
factor in the nativization and the norm creation processes of Sri Lankan English.
Moreover most scholars (Ashford, 2005; Chandralal, 2010; Gair, 1968; 1986) agree
that WS vs. SS defines only one feature in multiglossic Sinhala while
Meegaskumbura (2000) states that Sinhala should be studied as a language with a
multitude of registers.
26

32
Chapter four
4.0 Registers of Sinhala and the rise of Colloquial Spoken in the functional
domains of Sinhala
4.1 Registers of Sinhala
Crystal (1997: 295) states register is a variety oI language defined according to
its use in social situations`. Register can be used to define any variety of language
used in specific circumstances based primarily on the level of formality (Biber &
Finegan, 1994). Within the multiglossic linguistic environment of Sinhala, Ashford
(2005: 65 - 66) discussing registers states that,
There are six registers of Sinhala based on level of formality, prestige, style
and domain which serve different functions: the first three at the written level
include classical literary Sinhala, peasant or hybrid literary Sinhala (which
attempts to stylistically capture spoken Sinhala usage), and colloquial written
Sinhala (such as in the signboards used in this study
27
), and at the spoken level
include formal spoken Sinhala, colloquial Sinhala and Singrisi or Sinenglish
28
But Disanayaka (2002) differentiates between Singrisi and Sinenglish. He states
that in the contact settings in Sri Lanka a new brand of Sinhala evolved due to the
superstrate influence of English. He terms it Singirisi and states that it is a brand of
Sinhala with its own patterns of usage in Sri Lanka. Defining Sinenglish he states that
it is a brand of English used in Sri Lanka.
Agreement comes from Wickramasinghe (2000: 4) who states that there are two
varieties of English that have origins in this island: Sri Lankan English and
Sinenglish. He further states (ibid: iii) that Sinenglish is a variety of Sri Lankan
English which has more Sinhala words and phrases as well as ungrammatical usages`
and is still a nonstandard variety in the eyes of language purists. Of key significance
to this study is the recognition given by Ashford (2005) to colloquial written Sinhala
and Singrisi
29
within the registers.
27
The register of the Sinhala signboards in central Sri Lanka, studied by Ashford (2005), contained
multiple English loanwords.
28
This should not be confused with Singlish as in Singapore-English.
29
I feel that Singrisi would be the better option as it is Sinhala + ingrisi (a loan assimilation in
Sinhala for English) = /s.
33
AshIord`s (2005) study analyzes the transliterated single-word English loans in
the register of Sinhala on signboards in Central Sri Lanka. One observation made
(ibid: 68) is that those who are reading these loans may fail to fully comprehend the
word being used, especially outside of context. Furthermore the colloquial written
Sinhala found on the signboards according to Ashford (2005: 64) represents a
separate register from the Colloquial Spoken Sinhala (CSS) or the classical written or
peasant literary Sinhala`. Ashford (2005) states that what is witnessed in the
contemporary linguistic sphere of Sinhala is the advent of Singrisi into its written
register which is identified as separate from CSS. But other scholars (Chandralal,
2010; Disanayake, 1998; Wickramasinghe, 2000) consider Singrisi as a 'fossilized
interlanguage' form or Sinhala/English contact variety and categorize it as Colloquial
Sinhala within the registers.
Though Disanayaka (2002) states that Sinhalese would love to keep their
language, Sinhala, unpolluted by alien sources` what is evidenced in the current
context is that a large corpus of English loanwords has encroached the wordstock of
not only of spoken but also of written Sinhala. The following examples illustrate that
the use of Singrisi in written contexts is trendy in Sri Lanka.
Figure 1: The use of Singrisi in Sri Lanka
a)
Source: http://www.lankasriweb.com/album.php?alid=7
34
b)
Live TV balann click here
/laiv ti:vi: balann klik hi/
Live TV watch.INF click here
[To watch live TV click here]
Amidst the multitude of register classifications the following analysis recognizes
CSS as a register with a high frequency of occurrence of assimilated English
loanwords and assigns its use to a host of functional domains of Sinhala discourse.
4.2 The rise of Colloquial Spoken in the functional domains of Sinhala
The importance of functional domains of Sinhala to this study lies in that CSS,
with its high frequency occurrence of assimilated loanword phonology, encroaching a
multitude of domains formerly associated with formal spoken/written Sinhala has an
impact on the rate of occurrence of deviations from SSLE pronunciation in S/OVSLE
bilinguals. This results in a causal-effect correlational modification in dialectal
variation in SLE pronunciation. Thus the current functional domains of Sinhala in
which formal spoken/written Sinhala has lost ground needs scrutiny.
Most language registers do not remain static
30
. Various influences collide with a
register and the emergent register diversifies from the original. The current register of
CSS provides an example. The encroaching of English loanwords in to the register of
CSS which would have commenced at colonial contact has peaked and become a
stylistic feature in the current sociolinguistic context. Additionally not only can
registers vary according to the domain of usage, within domains a change of register
selection can result with a high variety been taken over by a colloquial variety.
Moreover patterns of dominance develop, usually in relation to the domains, between
high/low varieties of a language. As a result, a dominant register is differentiated
functionally and is used in specific domains.
The current position of dominance assigned to CSS has resulted in a register
selection shift in functional domains. This is the target of synchronic analysis at this
juncture and the primary source is Table 6 (Paolillo, 1997: 22) given below which is
30
It has to be noted that there are frozen language registers which do not change in content across
time as the register of Pali stanzas.
35
a summary oI Gair`s classification of the predicted varieties of Sinhala diglossia
along functional domains in 1986. Close to three decades later this study recognizes
the advent of the colloquial in many areas assigned to the High variety by Gair
(1986). Defining the High (H) and Low (L) diversity in Sinhala Gair (1968, 1986)
states the following:
I. Literary Sinhala, the variety used for most written communication, is the H
variety.
II. Gair (1998: 226) subdivides SS to Formal and Colloquial:
(a) Formal spoken Sinhala, a High variety makes use of one or more
grammatical features of literary Sinhala (other than verb agreement) with
relative consistency. It characteristically makes use of a formal lexicon
shared with literary Sinhala.
(b) Colloquial Spoken Sinhala is the language of ordinary conversation. Gair
(ibid: 214) states that colloquial Sinhala finds its life in speaking, and it is
acquired simply by growing up where it is spoken.
Chandralal (2010) and Ashford (2005) consider Colloquial Spoken Sinhala as a
register with a high frequency of occurrence of assimilated English loanwords. The
areas of shift are highlighted and numbered in the following table for the purpose of
discussion.
Table 6: Distribution of functions in domains and predicted variety of Sinhala
Source: Compiled from Gair (1986) by Paolillo (1997: 22)
Function in domains Sinhala variety Predicted variety
Instructions to servants, waiters, Spoken colloquial L
workmen, clerks
Conversations with family, Spoken colloquial L
friends, colleagues
Radio soap opera`
31
Spoken colloquial L
31
Radio soap operas in addition to Sinhala Television soap operas called tele dramas currently
have a very high viewership. Language remains CSS.
36
Caption on political cartoon Spoken colloquial L
Folk literature Spoken colloquial L
Sermon in church or mosque (1) Spoken formal H
University Lectures Spoken formal H
Speeches in parliament,
32
Spoken formal/ Literary H
political speeches (2) Spoken formal/ Literary H
Personal Letter (3) Spoken formal/ Literary H
Novels (conversational parts)(4) Spoken formal H
Novel (non-conversational parts) Literary H
News broadcast (5) Literary H
Newspaper editorial, Literary H
news story, picture caption (6)
Poetry (7) Literary H
Government documents, forms Literary H
Airline announcement
33
Literary H
The language selection in some of the above domains of function has undergone a
change from literary High to Low Colloquial Spoken Sinhala as recorded below.
32
Depending on the circumstances, the individual and degree of spontaneity this register too shifts
to CSS.
33
I would add announcements of arrival/ departure/ platform change within the locale of a railway
station to this as even today these announcements are in Literary Sinhala. For example the language
in the following announcement is formal spoken Sinhala.
devn veedikaavee navtaa ati dumriy mardaan
/d en e:d ika:e: nata: t d umrij marda:n/
Two platform stopped The train Maradana
balaa piTat venvaa at.
/bala: piat ena: t/
will leave for
[The train on platform two will leave for Maradana.]
37
1. Buddhist sermons: At present sermons in Sinhala occur at a high frequency in
audiovisual media. Even at temples a majority of Buddhist priests who used the
H variety for sermons formerly have shifted to CSS. The register at present is
interspersed with Pali stanzas with translations in CSS. This is recognized as an
attempt to reach the masses.
Church sermons: Most preachers tend to conduct church mass in spoken formal
H variety. But again in audiovisual media there is a tendency to use CSS in all
religious discussions.
Sermons in mosque: Very oIten sermons` as Gair (1986) calls the religious
preaching in mosques are recitations of the Koran in Arabic. Tamil/Sinhala is the
mother tongue of most members of the Muslim clergy as well as the lay Muslim
congregation in a mosque. Religious discussions on Islam in Sinhala especially in
audiovisual media can be H formal SS or CSS depending on the proficiency of
Sinhala and its usage in functional domains of the Muslim preacher.
2. Political speeches: In live platforms and during political debates in audiovisual
media what is clearly seen is the use of CSS. This shift generates solidarity with
the masses where jokes and, depending on the individual, the use of street
language very often splatter speeches creating a heightened intimacy. The speech
of many politicians, from the lower as well as the higher ranks, clearly evidences
a high rate of occurrence of assimilated loanword phonology.
3. Personal letter: Rarely written at present. Would fluctuate between CSS and
formal spoken and thus cannot be stated as H. Literary Sinhala would be
restricted to communication with older generation and clergy. Thus H and L
depending on addressee status.
4. Novels (conversational parts)
Discussing the language of Sinhala fiction Meegaskumbura (2000: 267) states,
The language of fiction had a hesitant beginning, vacillating between
formal written form with a classical descriptive style and the colloquial got
fixed by the use of an elite vocabulary and formal written grammatical
structures for description, and colloquial use for conversation.
38
According to Abeysekara (2009) by the beginning of the 19c. CE the language
used in Martin Wickramasinghe`s
34
romances was a straightforward simple
language crafted mostly through a deft use of colloquial speech.
But the use of CSS in modern novels differs from the colloquial of the past.
The conversational parts in modern popular (predominantly romantic) fiction
35
which has a high reader population are in CSS and in most instances is splattered
with English loanword assimilations. As stated by Premawardhena (2003)
Spoken Sinhala has a large number of English loanwords and if conversation is to
be realistically depicted in the present sociolinguistic context within Sri Lanka
CSS has to be utilized. WS in modern novels too moves away from the classical
formal grammatical structure and favours a colloquial written style. Thus the near
monopoly of CS in modern popular fiction cannot be denied.
5. News broadcasts: These are divided into main and hourly bulletins. A plethora of
radio and television channels are available for the Sri Lankan Sinhala audiences
at present and each of them tele/broadcast news not only in the above forms but
also as Breaking news`.
Television news broadcasts: Senarathna (2009: 34) commenting on the
language use in Sri Lankan television channels states that the two state-run media
channels ITN and Rupavahini use standard written Sinhala during news
broadcasts. Two popular channels which have more viewership Sirasa and
Swarnavaahini use formal SS. By 2012 two additional television channels
Siyatha and Hiru both which have an increasing viewership entered the
audiovisual dominion. The language used in news broadcasts in these channels
fluctuates between formal SS and CSS as does in Sirasa and Swarnavaahini at
present.
What is of interest to this study is the language use in areas other than news
broadcasts in most of these channels. The attitude towards CSS used in audio-
visual media can be illustrated through Chandrarathne`s (2008) interview of the
well-known writer and novelist Sumithra Rahubaddhe. Discussing the language
of audio-visual media anchors and presenters she states that,
34
Martin Wickramasinghe`s writings span from 1914 1973.
35
A rough scan of 10 novels in this genre evidences a high use of English loanword assimilations.
39
In electronic media, they use a mixed language which is neither Sinhalese nor
English. It is apparent those who conduct these types of programmes are
ignorant of both languages. (Sunday Observer, 03.08.2008: 10)
This is further justification for defining CSS as a mixture of Sinhala and
English loan assimilations, very often deviating from SSLE pronunciation as
ignorance of the right pronunciation of English words in the anchors and
presenters
36
is suggested in the above statement.
Radio news broadcasts: Over thirty state and privately owned radio stations are
currently in operation in Sri Lanka
37
. Though the state radio networks operated
by the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation formerly used literary Sinhala at
present especially the commercial service (other than in news broadcasts)
functions in CSS.
The influx of a large number of new radio channels has revolutionized audio
media in Sri Lanka. Some new stations are Neth fm, Sirasa fm, Hiru fm, Siyatha
fm, Lakhanda fm, Derana - city fm. The new culture in audio media has moved
away from the use of literary Sinhala even during news broadcasts. The listeners
are attracted by the use of CSS by the presenters. Most of these Sinhala channels
are entertainment` channels and reach many Sinhala listeners all over the
country. The language use is CSS.
It is to be noted that there is much criticism on the language usage of Sinhala
news readers and programme hosts as a majority of these young media personnel
ignore H grammar rules and are inconsistent in pronunciation. Furthermore as the
SS becomes more colloquial the high occurrence of English loanwords which
often flout SSLE pronunciation norms is evidenced.
6. Newspaper editorial, news story, picture caption: The number of Sinhala
newspapers includes Dinamina, Silumina, Lankaadiipa and Divayina the latter
two with daily and Sunday issues and with high circulation. While the editorial
may be in the H variety news stories and picture captions fluctuate between H
36
My observations too indicates that a high frequency of occurrence of of OVSLE pronunciation in
most Sinhala anchors and presenters in audio-visual media.
37
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-12000330 15 July 2012 (Retrieved on 14 August,
2012)
40
and L. The spoken colloquial has gained journalistic currency in most print media
and it is used as an effective tool. The use of English loanwords with a haphazard
use of typographic marking/meta linguistic commentary has a high frequency of
occurrence.
Disanayaka and Coperahewa (1998: 171) state that the language used in
Sinhala newspapers, radio and television programmes have influenced Sinhala
vocabulary, orthography, style and usage. Disanayaka (1999: 268) further states
the Sinhala press, in particular helped not only to mould different styles of
writing but also to produce a simplified grammatical structure suitable for
practical communication`.
7. Poetry: In modern poetry Literary Sinhala is very rarely used as the popularity of
free verse
38
has resulted in CSS being used frequently as the medium of
expression. Many of these creative works use English loanwords to be close to
the realistic depiction of the language of experience which is CSS.
In sum what can be concluded is that the advent of CSS is strongly evidenced in
areas where the predicted variety by Gair (1986) was Spoken formal or Literary.
Ironically Disanayaka way back in 1976 had perceived this sociolinguistic evolution
of Sinhala.
The gradual but steady influx of patterns of Spoken Sinhala into writing,
coupled with changes within literary Sinhala itself, has brought about a number
of variants in literary usage (ibid: 31).
Furthermore he states (ibid: 32) that the formulation of a literary Sinhala standard
has led to an impasse between the two main schools oI thought, the puristic, which
maintains that the pristine purity of the language must be preserved at any cost, and
the pragmatic, which recognizes change in language as a natural phenomenon`. What
is of importance to this study is that the rise of CSS within the functional domains
and the use of interlingual texting result in the acceleration of the use and the
38
It is broadly considered that the proponent of free verse as an alternative for metrical verse in the
classical mode in modern Sinhala was Siri Gunasinghe who published a collection of free verse
Mas lee nathi aT /mas le: n / (bones sans flesh and blood) in 1956. What is significant
in his collection is the general absence of English loanwords.
41
fossilization of deviations from SSLE pronunciation embedded in the registers of
CSS used by S/OVSLE bilinguals. Though most English loanwords when used in a
matrix of Sinhala flout SSLE norms, according to Senarathne (2009), it is acceptable
in CSS discourse.
Senarathne (ibid: 55) discussing such usages in a Sinhala matrix states,
It is important to note that as lone lexical items occurring in predominant
Sinhala utterances these nativizations are not considered as mistakes or errors.
She further observes that these nativizations have occurred in the integration of
lone words into Sinhala creating unexpected phonological patterns. Thus flouting the
norms of SSLE pronunciation in English loan assimilations occurring as lone words
in a Sinhala matrix, according to Senarathne (ibid) is acceptable in CSS discourse.
Thus at present in the evolutionary status of Sinhala there is a preference for the
pragmatic which requires a shift from literary to CSS in most functional domains.
Sociolinguistically this can be identified as a withdrawal from the linguistically
difficult code to the undemanding. Furthermore it is hypothesized that the increase in
the use of CSS splattered with English loanword phonology has a direct link with the
rate of occurrence of deviations from SSLE in English speech discourse of S/OVSLE
bilinguals.
In sum the markedness of some phonemes and language specific grapheme to
phoneme conversions in Sinhala affects the pronunciation of S/SSLE as well as
S/OVSLE bilinguals but to a lesser degree in the former than in the latter. The rise of
CSS as the language selection in a majority of functional domains where the rate of
occurrence of English loanword assimilations is increased daily and the transference
of loanword phonology to SLE discourse are considered as causal factors which
affect the pronunciation of S/OVSLE bilinguals. This study selects the core features
shortlisted in 1.3 Methodology for an in depth analysis of cause-effect correlations
between Sinhala phonological conventions and S/SLE bilingual pronunciation. Prior
to such analysis it is deemed necessary to review literature on contact dynamics.
42
Chapter five
5.0 Literaure on cross linguistic dynamics and influence of Sinhala on SLE
pronunciation
This chapter surveys literature on cross linguistic dynamics relevant to the cause-
effect analysis of the influence of Sinhala on SLE pronunciation. Invoking tenets of
the Markedness Theory it reviews research work on weak/proficient dichotomy in
dual language processing in bilinguals and adapts processes in bilingual lexical
production models to gain credence for exploring the diversity in SLE pronunciation.
According to Schneider (2007: 1) English, though a language of international
communication which links people across the globe, is one that has diversified and
developed local homegrown Iorms and uses in many locations`, especially in the
postcolonial linguistic ecologies. Mohanan and Mohanan (2003) claim that the
unique encounter between a superstratum and a substratum in contact settings gives
birth to a new language variety. Introducing the terms offspring and parent
languages, they (ibid: 14) state that novel patterns emerge in an offspring language
born through contact between substrate and superstrate parent languages`. The major
contributing factor in the creation of these novel patterns is substrate interference.
This phenomenon in the contact setting of Sri Lanka is illustrated as follows.
Figure 2: Substrate interference from Sinhala during the evolution of SLE
Superstrate Substrate
BE Sinhala
Contact dynamics




to a new linguistic ecology
Substrate interference
Phonology
Morphology
Syntax
Phonology
Morphology
Syntax
Sri Lankan English
Phonology
Morphology
Syntax
43
Evolution of the offspring
As illustrated above the offspring language SLE has deviating structures from the
superstratum SBE and is heavily influenced by the substrata Sinhala/Tamil. One
reason for this, according to Mohanan and Mohanan (2003), is that in most situations
of contact speakers of the substratum will fail to identify some of the functional
categories in the superstratum. The main area where such recognition failure occurs
is in the phonology.
Schneider (2007: 78) discussing phases of his Dynamic Model of Postcolonial
Englishes states that structural eIIects oI nativization are evidenced especially in the
phonology oI the variety` during Phase III. Described as innovations by Schneider
(ibid) these are identified as byproducts of incomplete acquisition of the BE phonetic
and phonological functions. Mohanan and Mohanan (2003: 14) identify the
characteristics of substrate interference in the phonology of an offspring language as
overlap, adaptation, loss and retention.
i. Overlap- A unit x is present in the superstratum and the substratum.
For example, the fairly straightforward correspondences between BE and Sinhala can
be identified in the segments /p, b, c, k, g, s, h, m, n/ which exist in the parent
language Sinhala. The offspring SLE phonology too consist of these phonemes. Thus
the three systems exhibit an overlap with respect to these segments.
ii. A unit x in the superstratum is absent in the substratum. The resultant
phenomena are identified by Mohanan and Mohanan (2003) as follows:
(a) Adaptation - x is adapted in the offspring as x' from the substratum.
Sinhala speakers do not aspirate the grapheme consonants p
h
, t
h
, k
h
and
phonemic realization is the voiceless stops /p/, //, /k/. In BE the voiceless
stops /p/, /t/, /k/ tend to be aspirated word initially as [p
h
, t
h
, k
h
]. This
allophonic variation is not found in SLE (Gunesekera, 2005). As a result
[p
h
, t
h
, k
h
] are adapted as the voiceless stops /p, , k/.
(b) Loss - x is lost in the offspring.
The contrast between the BE labio dental fricative /v/ and the glide /w/ is
lost in SLE and both phonemes are realized as the labio dental approximant
//.
44
Sinhala vocabulary
(c) Retention - x is introduced into the offspring.
The phoneme /f/ had been initially absent in the substratum Sinhala. In the
Tamil phonemic inventory it is still peripheral. But /f/ has been retained in
the offspring and this superstrate segment initially absent/still alien in the
substrata is evidenced in SLE.
Furthermore Mohanan and Mohanan (2003: 14) caution that a particular
phenomenon may involve more than one category`. For instance, the neutralization oI
BE /v/ and /w/ to the frictionless continuant // in SLE not only involves the loss of
the BE contrast, but also can be categorized as the adaptation of both segments to //.
Another aspect of substrate interference is lexical borrowings from the substrate
encroaching the vocabulary of the superstrate language. Loanword assimilation is
another feature in the cross linguistic dynamics between the superstrate BE and a
substrate in contact settings. The first mode of borrowing during the nativization of
BE within Schneider's Dynamic Model of Postcolonial Englishes (2007) is substrate
lexical borrowing which, according to Schneider (ibid), is evidenced in Phase 1 -
Foundation: contact stage or the introduction of BE to a new geographical territory
with indigenous languages. The other mode of borrowing which occurs when one
country is colonized by another is superstrate lexical borrowing: from BE to a
substrate L1, Sinhala in the context of this study.
Figure 3: Superstrate lexical borrowing from L2 to L1


Superstrate lexical borrowing
Though not a component of the Schneider's model, superstrate lexical borrowing
too is an outcome of contact linguistics. If the frequency, depth and time span are
taken into consideration superstrate borrowing is much more intense and is a
universal phenomenon as the local language/s oIten borrow substantially Irom the
colonial language` (Halvor and RolI, 2005: 1). These borrowing patterns in the Sri
English vocabulary
Sinhala tadbhawa wordstock
45
Lankan context are twofold. While proficient bilinguals adhere to SSLE norms, the
loanword phonology in weak bilinguals evidences further assimilation patterns due to
intense substrate interference which result in deviations from SSLE norms. Theory
states that this dichotomy can be transferred to speech discourse in SLE. The
relevance of superstrate lexical borrowing to this study is that the transference of
loanword phonology in turn will result in nourishing dialectal variation in SLE
pronunciation. Many theories carry a high significance to the cause-effect analysis of
the influence of Sinhala on SLE pronunciation.
5.1 Theories on cross linguistic dynamics
5.1.1 Markedness theory
In Linguistics, markedness is studied under phonological, grammatical and
semantic oppositions. The feature-evaluation of this study is restricted to
phonological markedness. According to Broselow (2004) theory states that there are
phonological universals which are patterns common to all known languages. They are
divided into two categories unmarked, (common and regularly occurring
phenomena), or inversely, as being marked (distinctive and unique phenomena). Each
language has a unique ranking in its markedness constraints.
Markedness constraints are constraints on phonological output and can affect syllable
structure or segmental pronunciation favouring the emergence of phonological
unmarkedness. Calabrese (1995) states that the unmarked member of opposition
phonology is widely considered to be easier and less complex than the marked
counterpart in terms of production.
A critical aspect of Markedness Theory is that markedness constraints are violable
and can be overruled which is obvious due to the presence of faithfulness constraints.
Faithfulness constraints regulate variation between input and output, and work to
keep transformations as minimal as possible (Prince & Smolensky, 2004). In other
words, if L2 lexical pronunciation is faithful to the input phonological contour, output
should remain identical thus prohibiting repair strategies such as deletion, insertion,
and segmental feature change. Discussing Markedness vs Faithfulness ranking and
L2 pronunciation learnability Tesar and Smolensky (1998) state that the increased
domination of markedness constraints over faithfulness constraints (Markedness >
Faithfulness ranking) will lead to a reduced L2 phonology consisting of relatively
high rate of emergence of the unmarked. Faithfulness constraints, on the other hand,
46
can be ranked so as to require that input structures be retained even when they are
marked. According to Miglio (2005: 10) actual L2 outputs in a bilingual are
compromises between the conficting Iorces oI IaithIulness and violations oI the
specifc constraints ranking set oI L2. Thus in bilinguals the L2 constraints are
reranked during SLA and differences in this reranking results in dialectal variation.
Agreement comes from de Lacy (2006a) who states the manifestation of the
reranking can vary between dialects or even individual speakers. Universally the
reranking of markedness parameters moves the marked to the unmarked.
The theoretical underpinning for markedness parameters is classified as follows:
Marked Unmarked Source
1. Aspirates Unaspirates Sloat et al (1978)
39
2. Fricatives Stops -do-
3. Diphthongs Monophthongs Kubozono (2001)
4. Voiced obstruents Voiceless obstruents Sloat et al (1978)
5. Complex syllable margins Simple syllable margins Eckman (1977)
(onsets and codas)
6. Violates the SSP Abides by the SSP Yavas (2006)
7. Lower back vowels Higher back vowels De Lacy (2006a)
8. Less rounded vowels More rounded vowels Eckman (1977)
The above classification also signifies the validity of the Expense of Effort theory
of markedness (Kirchner, 2001) which claims that greater articulatory effort equates
to greater markedness. Articulatory effort is defined as the amount of energy required
to move from one articulatory gesture to the next.
5.1.2 Loanword adaptation behaviour
Loanword adaptation has gained much attention from theorists who have studied
the adaptation behaviour of a multitude of languages in contact. The discussion is
restricted to studies where the superstrate donor language is English. While
loanwords undergo transformation during adaptation they conform to the segmental,
39
Cited in Bauman (2008: 69).
47
phonotactic, and prosodic structure of the recipient language influenced by the
language specific markedness constraint ranking of the recipient phonology while
preserving as much information as possible from the donor language.
Confirmation can be gained from Kang (2010: 1),
Loanwords are words borrowed from one language to another. These
borrowed words usually undergo adaptation processes to conform to the
structural constraints of the borrowing language phonology. Such adaptation
affects all facets of phonological structure, reflecting the segmental,
phonotactic, suprasegmental and morphophonological restrictions of the
borrowing language.
From the above facets this study selects the segmental and phonotactic
assimilations done to loanwords for investigation as they illustrate a clear diversity in
lexical pronunciation and are vital indicators of dialectal variation in the
pronunciation of S/SLE bilinguals.
Other linguists too (Broselow, 2004; Hock and Joseph, 1996; Shinohara, 2004;
Kenstowicz 2003a) define multiple levels within loanword adaptation. They concur
that in loanword adaptation on the segmental level, where the principle of minimal
modification is phoneme substitution, L2 sounds are replaced by their closest match
available in the L1 inventory. Phonotactic adjustments aim to adapt L2 syllable
structures that are incompatible with the phonological grammar of the L1. The
replacement of L2 sounds, many linguists argue is due the inability to perceive the
sound or phonological deafness (Dupoux et al., 1997) in the receiver communities.
5.1.3 Perception and production
Theorists (Fowler and Galantucci, 2005; Kenstowicz, 2001; LaCharite and
Paradis, 2005) state that perception of speech depends upon phonological properties
of our native language. Accordingly, it has been argued that certain loanword
adaptations take place during perception, due to the difficulties that listeners have in
perceiving non-native sound patterns.
According to (Calabrese 2009: 86)
When faced with an unfamiliar linguistic sound, a perceiver has an obvious
problem insofar as a configuration that is uninterpretable in terms of his/her
own system of linguistic knowledge must be analyzed in terms of this system.
A first rough account of what happens in this case is the following. If a
segment, or a syllabic combination of segments, is unfamiliar, foreign, i.e.
48
absent from L1, a speaker has no instructions for how to produce it, i.e. no
representation of it with the right combinations of features, or segments in the
case of syllable configurations.
Then (ibid: 85) these illicit configurations must be adjusted, repaired. The
application oI these repair operations will produce a more Iamiliar` nativized
representation. This connection between perception and production is expanded by
Peperkamp and Dupoux (2003: 367) who note that,
The language specific processing during loanword adaptation makes the native
language, distort the way in which we produce, but also memorize, and even
perceive foreign sounds. The phenomenon of phonological deafnesses that is,
the inability or extreme difficulty to discriminate certain nonnative contrasts,
involves segmental and suprasegmental contrasts, as well as contrasts based on
the presence versus absence of a segment.
They term these distortions as repairs and classify them into phonological
processes where segmental, and phonotactic changes occur. They cite examples and
argue that loanword adaptations are not only due to the phonological grammar but
also to perceptual processes involved in the decoding of nonnative sounds.
Best (1994) discussed loanword adaptation based on a psycholinguistic model of
perceptual assimilation. According to Best, non-native segments are assimilated to
the closest available phonetic category by a phonetic decoding module that is part of
the speech perception system. Peperkamp & Dupoux (2003) argue that the surface
form of the donor language (L2) is mapped to L1 phonological categories on the
basis of language-independent acoustic similarity. Their model consists of a speech
perception module that assigns an acoustic output of L2 with the closest acoustic
match that can be generated by the L1 grammar. In other words their model proposes
that loanword adaptations take place during perception and are due to the automatic
process of phonetic decoding, which maps nonnative sound patterns onto the
phonetically closest native ones.
The Optimality Model with its key insight to faithfulness constraints allows both
the phonetic details of the donor language as well as the phonotactic constraints of
native grammar to interact in shaping the loan. According to Boersma & Hamann
(2009: 12) all Optimality Theory analyses agree that minimal close-copy-plus-L1-
filtering is not how loanword adaptation proceeds. Storage of the repaired loanwords
49
as exemplar clouds which are activated when needed is the end process of
assimilation.
Exemplar theory postulates that phonological entities are stored as labels over a
continuous space representing relevant articulatory and acoustic parameters. As
exemplar clouds represent the categories of a given language (Pierrehumbert, 2002),
in the context of this analysis most S/OVSLE bilinguals have already formed and
stored these exemplar clouds for loanwords during their acquisition of Sinhala. The
`Exemplar Theory views phonological entities as labels over a continuous space
representing relevant articulatory and acoustic parameters. Furthermore, in the
exemplar-theoretic view (Lacerda 1995; Nosofsky 1988; Pierrehumbert 2001) lexica
are stored in memory as exemplars in perceptual space (Bod, 2006). These exemplars
contain ample phonemic and phonological information and are grouped together in
exemplar clouds (McQueen et al 2006). Thus language input is stored as detailed
exemplars which are activated during the production and the perception stages
(Pierrehumbert, 2002). The task of speech perception involves matching an acoustic
signal to the exemplar it most resembles in the stored distribution. The task of speech
production involves averaging over the distribution to select the relevant exemplar.
The exemplars which are similar are placed in closer vicinity, while the dissimilar
ones are located farther apart in the perceptual space. Exemplar clouds are said to
represent the categories of a given language (Pierrehumbert, 2002).
This book in exploring the influence of Sinhala on SLE pronunciation considers
the Exemplar Theory as one basis for comprehending the divergences within S/SLE
speech communities. The following example is from an S/OVSLE bilingual which
provides linguistic evidence for the relevance of the Exemplar Theory to this study.
In many English monosyllabic words, the onset consists of three consonants. Such
combinations pose difficulties for the bilingual speakers of OVSLE as their L1
Sinhala does not allow sC- clusters word initially. As a result, they insert the high
front short vowel // which eases their pronunciation during loanword assimilation
from English to the vernaculars.
The exemplar cloud given below indicates the phonemic representation for the
word skirt which is a borrowing from English to Sinhala. As exemplar clouds
represent the categories of a given language (Pierrehumbert, 2002), it is assumed that
most S/OVSLE bilinguals have already formed these exemplar clouds during their
acquisition of their mother tongue Sinhala but as /sk:/ adhering to its phonological
grammar. It is argued that in these bilinguals, who vary from SSLE speakers in the
50
pronunciation of English borrowings with initial sC- clusters, exemplar activation
will be as follows:
Input Activated existing Perception L2 speech
L1 exemplar production
Skirt /skt/
40
/sk:/ /sk:/ /sk:/

In the exemplar-theoretic approach, frequency of occurrence and frequency of
experience play crucial roles (Pallier et al. 2004, Wade et al. 2010, Walsh et al.
2007). Thus if language users frequently experience the pronunciation /sk:t/ for
skirt in fellow interlocutors within functional domains, the frequency of occurrence
of a similar pronunciation is high as the perception and production of skirt will
trigger the exemplar /sk:t/. On the other hand the proficient users of L2 store the
lexeme in the acoustic space for L2 and preserve it for proper L2 production as well
as L1 loanword pronunciation. Not only the exemplar-theoretic approach but also
theories on Dual language processing during lexical production in bilinguals shed
light on the disparity in the influence of Sinhala causing the S/SLE bilingual to
diversify in their lexical pronunciation.
5.1.4 Dual language processing in bilinguals
Literature provides evidence which suggests that both languages in a bilingual`s
code repertoire are active when bilinguals read (Dijkstra, 2005), hear (Marian &
Spivey, 2003), and speak (Kroll et al., 2006) one language. Discussing cross
language lexical processes Linck et al (2008: 349) too concur stating both languages
are active when balanced bilinguals and second language learners are reading,
listening, or speaking one language only`.
Green (1998a) proposed the Inhibition Control model in which competing
potential outputs of the lexico-semantic system are inhibited depending on the goals
of the speaker. Agreement comes from Linck et al (2008) who state that during
lexical production inappropriate responses such as words from the non target
language are inhibited to prevent their production. The main tenet behind inhibition
control is that in bilinguals, recognition of linguistic information is not language-
40
/ in SBE emerges as :/ in SSLE and / is marked in the SSLE vowel inventory of
Gunesekera (2005: 117) and in Sinhala.
51
specific. This tenet is shared by a plethora of theorists. Green (1986, 1993, 1998b)
and de Bot and Schreuder (1993) propose language non-selective models for lexical
access and state that words from both languages are activated and compete for
selection during lexical access. Finkbeiner and Caramazza (2006: 154) and Costa and
Santesteban (2004) state that the language non-specific model allows competition for
selection and candidates within and across languages actively compete with
alternatives in the unintended language.
All theorist cited above collectively agree that the non target language lexical
candidates are eventually inhibited to allow accurate production to proceed.
5.1.5 The process of lexical production
The process of translating a visual stimulus, whether it is a picture or a word,
through conceptual information to articulated speech, according to Finkbeiner et al
(2006a: 1075), needs a mechanism which will finally specify the phonological
segments of the to-be-articulated word. Most theorists (Caramazza, 1997; Dell et al.,
1997; Gollan and Ferreira, 2009; Hoshino and Kroll, 2008; Levelt, 1999) identify that
the mechanism consists of three different levels of representations: concepts/semantic
nodes, lexical nodes/words, and phonemes/phonological segments. At each level, the
speaker is involved in the processes of activation and selection of corresponding
representations.
At the conceptual/semantic level, the speaker has to make a decision on which
conceptual information is to be conveyed. For this, according to de Groot (2010: 224)
the selection of the required information from the relevant memory stores of
exemplars and the ordering of this information for selection are a prerequisite. This
aggregate is called conceptualizing and the output takes the form of a collection of
activated memory nodes each representing a particular conceptual meaning. During
this step, not only the semantic representations of the target concept but also the
semantic representations of related concepts get activated. This triggers the activation
of multiple representations in the lexical level.
The selected nodes in the lemma stratum access their syntactic properties. From
the activated lemma nodes during lemma selection the target node is selected through
competition/inhibition process and it continues activation to the word form selection
stage while the activation of any semantic alternative nodes to the target wanes. Thus
the associated word form information (morphological, phonological and phonetic) is
processed only for the target lemma which is the output of the lexical selection stage.
52
At each level of this process literature (Colom, 2001; de Bot and Shreuder, 1993;
Green, 1998a, 1998b) suggests that all activated nodes enter into competition. The
activation cascades continuously from the lexical to the phonological level and
phonological representations and all segment nodes of the non-response language too
are activated.
Then at the phonological encoding level Roelofs (1997b: 176) states,
Phonological production rules select the segment nodes linked to the
morpheme nodes and syllabify the segments in a rightward fashion to construct
phonological word representations. These representations specify the syllables
and the stress pattern (for polysyllabic words). Phonetic production rules select
syllable-based articulation programs that encode the phonological words.
The most important factor for this study, a statement by Roelofs (1997b: 259), is
given below.
Essentially, each vowel and diphthong is assigned to a different syllable node
and consonants are treated as onsets unless phonotactically illegal onset
clusters arise.
To examine the occurrence of the word initial sk- which is a phonotactically
illegal onset cluster in Sinhala this study selects a picture of a skirt as a stimulus and
explores the resulting output in an S/SSLE and an S/OVSLE bilingual.
5.2 The dichotomy of lexical production in S/SSLE and S/OVSLE bilinguals
5.2.1 Lexical processing in OVSLE bilinguals
In Sinhala, my experience states, the frequency of use of the loanword
assimilation skirt in functional domains is higher than of its Sinhala equivalent
saaya
41
. Furthermore faithfulness to the markedness of the syllabification grammar of
Sinhala which prohibits word initial consonant clusters commencing with /s/ makes
the OVSLE bilinguals pronounce skirt / as . does not flout the
syllabification grammar of Sinhala as it has a VC-CVC structure which is compatible
with the syllabification rules of Sinhala.
41
The words saaya is an assimilated loanword from Portuguese to Sinhala. It is given as the
translation for skirt in the Madura English-Sinhala Dictionary denoting that saaya is recognized as
a word in the thadbhawa wordstock of Sinhala.
53
Based the Inhibitory Control Model (Green, 1986; 1998a) the process of
articulatory production of an S/OVSLE bilingual during naming the picture of a skirt
is generated as follows.
Figure 4: Formulating a process for the emergence of for skirt in an S/OVSLE bilingual
during a picture naming task demanding English output
Source: Adaption of Finkbeiner et al (2006a).
Task command Language task schema
Semantic nodes Lexical nodes Phonological nodes
Flow of inhibition Flow of activation ----- waning activation
The thickness of the arrows/ shapes indicate the level of activation
54
Note that at the lexical activation level that the two words iskert and saaya each
receive an equal number of semantic links, three, which should result in equal
activation. Also note that the Language task schema, which receives the task
command that the intended language is English, inhibits the lexical and phonological
levels of the Sinhala words saaya and kamisy.
It is suggested that the word iskert is not inhibited as it is an assimilated English
loanword in Sinhala. Theoretical backing comes from Kroll and Stewart (1994),
Potter et al. (1984) who stipulate that during the lexical access of low proficiency
bilinguals when the target language is L2 the lexical nodes activated are assimilated
phonological forms which have transferred as L2 contours. For example note the
highest activation level for /sk:t/ at the phonological level in Figure 4 above. It is
suggested that this activation is influenced by the fact that the phonemic
representation /sk:t/ has formed an L1 exemplar cloud and it has a high frequency of
activation during Sinhala as well as in English discourse. Thus in the figure above the
language task schema does not inhibit /sk:t/.
Kenstowicz (1994), Ladefoged (2001), Ladefoged and Maddieson (1996) state
that, during phonological node compilation some phonemic/phonotactic segments are
common between languages and hence their representations may, in principle, be
shared between languages in memory. The phonemes /s, k, :, t/ are shared by English
and Sinhala. But word onset /sk/ is an illegal structure in Sinhala. The weak L2
bilingual cannot inhibit the activation of // as it is needed by the syllable programme
nodes to construct a legal syllable structure /s/ in Sinhala which denotes the
faithfulness to the language specific markedness constraint ranking of Sinhala, the
dominant language in the S/OVSLE bilingual.
Concurrence comes from Levelt (1989, 1993) and Roelofs (1997b) who state that
weak bilinguals, when the target language is L2, might experience problems in all the
three major phases of phonological encoding:
1. They might encounter difficulties upon generating the metrical frames.
(Word initial /sk/ is illegal in Sinhala thus its production is difficult).
2. Adding the segmental information, i.e. the specifications of the phonemes,
inserting them into frames too can pose a problem, if the L2 speaker has
not acquired the lexeme or the phonological contour of the given word
appropriately. (The S/OVSLE bilingual speaker whose articulation process is
illustrated in Figure 4 has not acquired /sk:t/ appropriately.)
55
3. Thus problems can arise when the speaker maps the syllabified and metrically
specified phonological strings onto articulatory programs (Levelt, 1993: 5)
Note that in Figure 4 the metrical and phonological retrieval processes are
separate, parallel processes. Both processes must be completed before the next step of
speech production can begin (Roelofs et al., 1998). Thus if the metrical structure
encoding triggers the familiar L1 two syllabic [s] [k:t] the final articulatory program
will retain it.
Word initial /s/ clusters are illegal in the language specific markedness constraint
ranking of Sinhala and S/OVSLE bilinguals retreat to the unmarked word initial /s/
syllabic structure. Chen et al. (2002) suggest that a language user`s word Iorm
encoding architecture will, at least in part, be tuned to specific requirements of target
language phonology. What subsumes is that the other part is tuned to specific
requirements of` the nontarget language phonology. Most importantly in bilingual
word production the phonology and phonotactic rules might differ in the two
languages (for example between Sinhala and English the languages of this study) and
the influence of L1 in a weak L2 bilingual cannot be denied when the target language
is L2.
Thus the Inhibitory Control Model (Green, 1986; 1998b) provides explanations
for why an S/OVSLE bilingual speaker who views a picture of a skirt in a picture
naming task or the word skirt, would produce /sk:t/ at the output stage.
5.2.2 Why do S/SSLE bilinguals pronounce skirt as /sk:t/?
The S/SSLE bilinguals possess competence in both languages and adhere to
norms of SSLE pronunciation during English discourse and would rarely abide by
Sinhala phonological grammar rules during the pronunciation of English words
assimilated to Sinhala. In the pronunciation of the word skirt they substitute SBE /:/
which is an absent phoneme in SSLE with /:/ which does not impair intelligibility.
They will retain the word initial consonant cluster sk- and pronounce the word as
/sk:t/.
56
Figure 5: Formulating a process Ior the emergence oI /sk:t/ in an S/SSLE bilingual during a picture
naming task demanding English output
Source: Adaption of Finkbeiner et al (2006a).
Task command Language task schema
Semantic nodes Lexical nodes Phonological nodes
Flow of inhibition Flow of activation ----- waning activation
The thickness of the arrows/ shapes indicate the level of activation
Note the lack of the node /sk:t/ which is activated in the lexical processing for
skirt in S/OVSLE bilinguals ( see Figure 4) at the phonological level of the lexical
production process in the S/SSLE bilinguals. The latter will use L2 perception and
devoid of an exemplar equivalent to /sk:t/ their L2 competency would trigger /sk:t/
57
and thus be faithful to L2 syllable formation.This dichotomy in lexical production
can be further illustrated through a word elicitation task as follows.
5.3 Weak/proficient dichotomy in loanword adaptation
A graphemic representation of English loanword assimilation for office written as
opis in Sinhala print media is the stimulus. It was noted that the S/OVSLE bilinguals
have triggered L1 perception and the associated L1 exemplar cloud. But proficient
S/SSLE bilinguals Iluently restored` mispronounced/wrongly written words to their
correct forms (Marslen-Wilson & Welsh, 1978).
The flowchart below illustrates the outcome where when asked to read the English
loanword office written as opis in a Sinhala newspaper the output differed in S/SSLE
and S/OVSLE bilinguals. Based on the theories on perception and production
(Fowler and Galantucci, 2005; Kenstowicz, 2001; LaCharite and Paradis, 2005) it
could be argued that the former perceives the word as an English loan assimilation
and utilize L2 perception and activates an L2 exemplar cloud and Iluently restored`
the correct pronunciation during production while the latter was dependent on L1
perception. The following flow chart illustrates the perception/production process of
S/SSLE and S/OVSLE bilinguals in L1 in Step I. Step II illustrates the transference
of L1 loan phonology to L2 pronunciation during the production of the word office by
the S/OVSLE bilingual in Sinhala print media (divayina 27.10.2012: 10).
Figure 6: The dichotomy in S/SSLE and S/OVSLE bilingual pronunciation
Step I: Pronounce the English loanword office written as opis

opis /opis/
S/SSLE bilingual S/OVSLE bilingual
L2 perception L1 perception
/fs/ /opis/
(Two segmental repairs)
Production in L1 Production in L1
/fs/ /opis/
58
Step II: Pronounce the English word on the flash card: office
office

Transference from L1 to L2
Production in L2 Production in L2
/fs/ /opis/

Dialectal variation in SLE phonology
As illustrated above once the loanword pronunciation /ops/ fossilizes in
S/OVSLE bilinguals due to frequent usage in Sinhala discourse the pronunciation
gets transferred to the L2. Thus this weak/proficient dichotomy in loanword
perception/production in bilinguals with SLE as their L2 when transferred to L2
lexical production leads to dialectal variation in SLE phonology. This survey finds
concurrence from literature
Loanword adaptation according to many phonologists (Jacobs and Gussenhoven,
2000; Kang, 2010; LaCharit & Paradis, 2005; Uffmann, 2002; Ulrich, 1997) is
primarily phonological, i.e. the adaptation of borrowings represents a negotiation
between the L1 and L2 phonologies. But a speech community differs with respect to
the presence of bilingual speakers possessing differing levels of proficiency
(Vendelin and Peperkamp, 2006) in their L2. Thus though the same two language
specific markedness constraint ranking of the phonologies interact in the adaptation
process the outcome is not homogeneous in the adapting community.
Discussing weak/proficient dichotomy in loanword adaptation Boersma and
Hamann (2009: 35) who investigated Korean loanword adaptation states,
It is likely that loanword adaptation is partly performed by advanced L2
speakers. If this occurs, English loanwords may be filtered by L2 English
perception rather than by native Korean perception, because proficient L2
listeners have been found to shift their perceptual boundaries depending on the
language they think they hear. Also, lexical storage may occur in terms of an
L2 English inventory rather than in terms of the native Korean inventory.
59
LaCharite & Paradis (2005) are in agreement and state that adaptations are
established by highly proficient bilinguals through accessing the underlying
representation of words in English through L2 perception.
Conversely Jenkins (2000) and Yavas, (2005) postulate that weak bilinguals have
to constantly deal with the phonological mismatches between the native and the
target languages; and the difficulties resulting from these mismatches cause
pronunciation variation from the more proficient L2 speakers who have robust
intuitions on the proper pronunciation of most words in their L2.
According to Kenstowicz (2005) most native speakers of the contact variety know
how to map phonological categories based on the norms of the variety. On the other
hand the second language learner bilinguals due to disfluency not only are influenced
by the mismatches in the markedness constraint rankings of the two languages but
also transfer fossilized loanword phonology in their L1 during their attempts to
function in L2 speech discourse. This transfer of assimilated loanword phonology in
L1 to L2 pronunciation is of prime importance to this study.
5.4 Second language learner lexical pronunciation and interference from
loanword phonology
In a contact situation, as evidenced in the colonial transplantation of superstrate
BE in the Sri Lankan linguistic ecology, the initial population directly exposed to
English would have been minute. For the majority of the population English lexicon
would first enter as loanwords and then be used in Sinhala discourse. Monolingual
speech communities according to Friesner (2009) nativize loanwords rather than
importing
42
them. Filtered through the monolingual speech community the nativized
loan phonology gets established in the borrowing language.
In Phase 2 of Schneider's Dynamic Model of Postcolonial Englishes (2007)
bilingualism increases amongst the indigenous population through education:
learning English as a second language in a formal educational setting. But prior to
that most would be exposed to and thus are users of assimilated loanwords in their
L1. According to theories on SLA during their first stages of L2 learning a learner
population moves across interlanguage stages. The phonology of an interlanguage is
in an intermediate place between a learner`s native language and the target
pronunciation.
42
Importation is incorporation of words without changing their phonetics and phonology.
61
Though the utterance contains Ane an interjection in Sinhala the matrix sentence is
in English. Note how fish emerges as /pi/. This depicts a transfer of loanword
phonology as interlanguage phonology in a weak S/ OVSLE bilingual.
Ane
43
sorry sir no pish
/ane: sri
44
s: no: pi/
This intertwining of loanword and interlanguage phonology yet again can morph
lexical items as seen in the roadsign below where those who are not familiar with
Sinhala may fail to fully comprehend the English word being used.
Figure 8: Loanword in Sinhala brought back` into English
Source: http://indi.ca/2012/02/sir-quler-road-typoincolombo/
The road name on the signboard states skulr paar /s:kulr pa:r/ in Sinhala.
Circular is used as a borrowing in this instance. Note how the loanword thus used in
Sinhala is brought back` into English. skulr paar which should be translated as
Circular Road /s:kul ro:d/ emerges as SIR QUELER ROAD.
43
Ane is an interjection which acts as a discourse marker in Sinhala. Based on the context and the
topic it can be stated that it is an extention oI sorry`.
44
Most probably this would emerge as /sori/ as the pronunciation /pi/ identifies a user of OVSLE
pronunciation.
62
Chapter six
6.0 The substrate influence of Sinhala as a causal factor for generating several
core pronunciation features in S/SSLE bilinguals
The objective oI this section is to examine Gunesekera`s (2005: 124) statement
that the characteristics of SSLE show an affinity towards the sounds of colloquial
Sinhala`
45
utilizing the S/SLE bilingual speech populations. Though there are a
multitude of features defining SSLE phonology in literature the following
compilation is done under the strict proviso that the selected features in the S/SSLE
bilinguals have evolved due to the substrate influence of Sinhala during its
cohabitation with the superstrate: colonial BE. Furthermore clear discernibility
between the binary sounds too is a selection criterion.
6.1 Core characteristics of SSLE which show an affinity towards Sinhala
This section endeavours to conduct a cause-effect analysis for the first research
question of this study. The cause is identified as influence of the language specific
markedness constraint rankings of the phonological grammar of Sinhala and the
effect is identified through selected endonormative pronunciation paradigms codified
by Gunesekera (2005).
Research question I:
To what extent does the phonological grammar of Sinhala influence the
pronunciation of S/SSLE bilinguals?
The Influence of Sinhala constructing norms in SSLE pronunciation which deviate
from SBE pronunciation is analyzed uder the following criteria.
6.1.1 The use of /e:/ and /o:/ in SLE for SBE diphothongs /ei/ and /o/
respectively
6.1.2 Deaspiration of SBE [p
h
], [t
h
] and [k
h
]
6.1.3 The use of / and / for SBE / and // respectively
6.1.4 Substitution of // with //
45
Widyalankara (2014) argues that the T/SSLE bilingual is influenced by the phonology of Tamil
and the affinity in their SSLE pronunciation is to the phonological grammar of Tamil. In the five
endonomative areas discussed in this section there is parity in the phonologies of Sinhala and
Tamil. Thus based on Widyalankara (2014) it is suggested that while the S/SSLE bilinguals are
influenced by the language specific markedness ranking of Sinhala the T/SSLE bilinguals are
influenced by an equivalent ranking in Tamil.
63
6.1.5 Substitution of /s/ for /z/ in the medial and the final positions
The theoretical basis recruits Markedness and Expense of Effort during analysis.
The term markedness` is used by linguists to identiIy asymmetric, language specific
constraint rankings between phonological grammars of languages. According to
Rowe and Levine (2011: 84) evidence for emergence of the unmarked has prevalence
in the study of language contact, language change and language acquisition. This
study proposes that the manifestation of selected core pronunciation paradigms
identified in the nativization process of SBE in S/SSLE bilinguals are due to
asymmetric language specific constraint ranking of Sinhala and SBE phonological
grammars.
This asymmetry results in the emergence of the unmarked and the adherence to
the Expense of Effort theory of markedness in the S/SSLE bilinguals. Kirchner
(2001) states that in contact settings bilinguals retreat from the greater articulatory
effort needed for marked features of an L2 to the lesser expense of effort needed for
unmarked in L1. The features discussed in this chapter clearly signify unfaithfulness
to the donor SBE pronunciation. The discussion of each feature is supported with a
brief, relevant diachronic analysis of the historical development of phonology of
Sinhala which provides evidence of language specific constraint ranking emerging
during its evolution from OIA. The transference of the familiar assimilation processes
of Sinhala to nativize SBE pronunciation too undergoes scrutiny.
6.1.1 Substrate influence of Sinhala on SBE diphthongs: glide omission of /ei/
and //
Defining diphthongs, Dobrovolsky & Katamba (1997: 36) state that diphthongs
consist of sequences of two adjacent vowels pronounced together, the two vocalic
elements being members of the same syllable. The focus of the analysis of the
substrate influence of Sinhala in this section centers round the nativization of the
SBE diphthongs /ei/ and // Less expense of effort is identified as a causal factor
for this nativization and markedness too places all diphthongs at a higher level of
difficulty in pronunciation than monophthongs. One reason for the nativization of the
SBE diphthongs /ei/ and // is their markedness in the phonological grammar of
Sinhala
64
6.1.1.1 Diphthongs of Sinhala
When contrasted with SBE, Sinhala has only two diphthongs /ai/ and /au/.
According to Kubozono (2001: 08) /ai/ and /au/ presumably represent the two most
common diphthongs across languages. Both of them have representative graphemes
with a diacritic + letter combination in Sinhala ( Table 12). Karunatillake (2001)
discussing diphthongs /ai/ and /au/` (p.117) states that the symbols Ior these occur
only in Sanskrit loanwords`. He further states that these too were probably
pronounced as /ayi/ and /avu/ respectively` and records the following Sinhala
graphemic representations for Sanskrit words.
Following extracts are from Karunatillake (2001 117:)
46
Sanskrit Sinhala Signification
maitri mayitri Compassionate Gadaladeniya rock inscriptions (14c. CE)
kauthuka kavuthuka Nuptial thread ekharaya (1935)
Furthermore Karunatillake (2001: 117) has an attached proviso:
These symbols can be considered as alternant orthographic representations for
/ayi/ and /avu/ respectively, and of no other phonemic relevance.
But what is illustrated is that though the Sanskrit word demands the diphthong the
Sinhala written formats had an assimilated form which had an epenthetic /j/ which
would have been enunciated during grapheme to phoneme conversion of Sinhala.
Furthermore according to Chandralal (2010: 29) combination of different vowels
occur in Sinhala.
For instance, the following combinations are common: ei, i, ai, oi, ui, iu, eu,
u, au, ou, ae.
Concurrence comes from Weerasinghe et al. (2005: 505) who record the
phonemic sequence of these combined vowels as /eji, ji, aji, oji, uji, iwu, ewu, wu,
awu, owu/
47
. Other scholars too have restricted the diphthongs of Sinhala to two.
46
My highlighting for all citations.
47
ae is not included in the table of phoneme sequence in Weerasinghe et al. (2005)
65
Discussing Sinhala diphthongs Sirisena (2004: 6) states,
In modern Sinhala literary language there are two diphthongs: /ai/ and /au/.
From a phonetic point of view Sinhala diphthongs represent a combination of
two vowels forming one phoneme. The morphemic boarder never occurs inside
Sinhala diphthongs, hence Sinhala diphthongs are monophonemic. These
diphthongs are used in loanwords.
Sirisena thus identifies /ai/ and /au/, as monophonemic diphthongs in modern
Sinhala and attributes this usage to loanwords from Sanskrit.
Diphthongs according to Hayes (2011) are often called contour segments. They
have two phonetic qualities in sequence but are often treated phonologically as a
single sound. Rajapaksha (1993) concurs but states that though diphthongs are found
in most languages their values differ according to the language.
Rajapaksha identifies the following features in Sinhala diphthongs:
a. All diphthongs in Sinhala end in /i/ or /u/ (Rajapaksha, 1993a: 96).
b. A diphthong consists of two vowels pronounced in quick succession. Though
two vowels can be pronounced in quick succession if they do not belong to the
same syllable they are not considered as diphthongs (ibid: 19).
c. Rajapaksha (1993b: 18) states that the diphthongs /ai/ and /au/ occur in
thathsama words in Sanskrit and provides the following examples.
/ai/ aitihaasika /aiha:sk/ historical
aikyy /aikjj/ total
/au/ aushadha /au
h
/ medicinal substances
d. Historical linguists recognized the articulation value of the diphthongs /ai/ and
/au/. They considered these as diphthongs in Sinhala, not two monophthongs
occurring in sequence (Rajapaksha, 1993b: 18).
In sum while some scholars agree that /ai/ and /au/ occur as diphthongs each
represented by a grapheme symbol in modern Sinhala and state this usage is found in
66
loanwords from Sanskrit others state that in pronunciation an epenthetic consonant is
inserted. What is of further interest to this study is that when the Sanskrit words in
the thathsama wordstock were assimilated into Old Sinhala (OS) the diphthongs /ai/
and /au/ underwent a glide omission.
6.1.1.2 Glide omission of OIA diphthongs /ai/ and /au/ during transition to OS
Karunatillake (2001: 24) discussing the phonology of Sinhala during 13c. CE
states that in the development of the OIA phonemic system into OS the following
changes transpired.
The complete merger of the diphthongs /ai/ and /au/ with /e/ and /o/
respectively brought about an inventory change of the OIA vowel system in its
transition to OS.
Karunatillake (ibid)
48
cites the following examples where the Sanskrit words
underwent assimilation:
OIA OS Signification
aurasa ora chest, breast
gaura gora white
Accordingly evidenced in the above is glide omission + nucleus substitution
which resulted in the emergence of the unmarked creating a member of the tadbhawa
wordstock of Sinhala. The nucleus of the diphthong the low central vowel /a/
increases in height and the tongue body is pulled back and raised to produce the short
vowel /o/ and the glide /u/ is omitted.
6.1.1.2.1 Current evidence for assimilation of Sanskrit words with /ai/ and /au/ to
the tadbhawa word stock of Sinhala
This study provides examples from the current era. The following Sanskrit words
belong to the tathsama stratum in the Sinhala word stock. The words under the
Sinhala category are tadbhawa with a native phonological pattern. Both word groups
have the same signification and coexist in the vocabulary of Sinhala. The Sanskrit
48
Retaining author transliteration. My highlighting for all citations.
67
words are mainly used in Literary Sinhala while the Sinhala words are preferred in
modern writing. The Sanskrit words rarely occur in SS. The trajectory of the user of
Sinhala is to habitually omit the glide of the Sanskrit diphthong. In the following
examples attention is directed strictly on the shift points of the diphthongs ai ad au
thus other changes in the lexicon are not scrutinized.
Sanskrit tathsama words Sinhala tadbhawa assimilations
Word pronunciation Word pronunciation Signification
1. aushadh /au
h
/ osu
49
/osu/ medicinal substances
2. bauddh /bau
h
/ bodu /bo u/ buddhist
3. naukaav /nauka:/ nv /n/ ship
4. kaurav /kaur/ karaav /kara:/ a caste
5. kairaaTik /kaira:ik/ kapTi /kapi/ crafty
6. aikyy /aikjj/ ekthuv /eku/ total
7. vaishaakh /aia:k
h
/ vesak /esak / the main Buddhist
religious celebration
What is noticeable in the above examples is that when the Sanskrit tathsama
loanwords evolved as Sinhala tadbhawa words the diphthong underwent glide
omission and in some instances a nucleus vowel change emerging with unmarked
rankings. In examples 1- 4 the diphthong /au/ emerges as the short vowels /o/, o/, //
and /a/ respectively. Diphthong /ai/ in 5 - 7 moves to /a/, /e/ and /e/. Though there is
no homogeneity in retaining the nucleus the glide omission signifies that even
diphthongs in Sanskrit tathsama words in Sinhala retreat to monophthongs during
assimilation to the Sinhala tadbhawa wordstock.
6.1.1.2.2 Evidence from print media for the rate of occurrence of Sinhala
tadbhawa words over Sanskrit words with /au/
Attempting to provide evidence for the occurrence of Sinhala tadbhawa
assimilations in contrast with their tathsama equivalents with the diphthong /au/ this
49
For example the government Pharmaceutical Corporation outlets are called osusal /osusal/.
68
study cites an example for the rate of occurrence of the two words bauddh and bodu
from the register of the Marriage Proposals
50
section of a Sunday Sinhala paper. The
selection of this primary source is based on the high frequency of occurrence of these
two words.
Figure 9: Selected advertisements from the Marriage Proposals section in a Sri Lankan paper

Source: Silumina
51
June 01, 2014
52
Following is the rate of occurrence of the two words bauddh
53
and bodu
54
from
the register of the Marriage Proposals section in two editions of Silumina. There is a
noted preference for the tadbhawa word bodu as indicated by the following statistics.
Table 16: The frequency of occurrence of tadbhawa word against the tathsama equivalent
Area of investigation
Date of Silumina edition
May 25, 2014
55
June 01, 2014
Frequency of occurrence: bodu 9 8
Frequency of occurrence: bauddh 2 0
Additionally as the highlighted and underlined lexical item karav
56
in Figure 7
above denotes a caste
57
in the Sinhala population which is from the tadbhawa word
50
A very popular mode of advertising for a bride/ bride groom in Sri Lanka.
51
A Sinhala weekly paper published on Sunday with a high Sinhala readership.
52
http://www.silumina.lk/2014/06/01/_marriage_Proposals.asp
53

54

55
http://www.silumina.lk/2014/05/25/_marriage_Proposals.asp
56
69
stock of Sinhala and is the popular selection against Sanskrit tathsama kaurav
58
which rarely occurs in these advertisements.
6.1.1.2.3 Evidence from print media for the preference of Sinhala tadbhawa
words for Sanskrit words with /ai/
Scanning current print media especially the headlines for a contrast in the rate of
occurrence between Sinhala tadbhawa words and equivalent Sanskrit words with /ai/
the target was vaishaak
59
and its tadbhawa equivalent vesak
60
. This scansion was
conducted during the vesak (the main Buddhist religious ceremony) period where the
religious observances were held on the 14
th
and 15
th
of May (for the year 2014). The
papers carried very many news items on vesak and I cite selected headlines from
Sinhala print media.
Figure 10: Preference for the Sinhala word vesak over Sanskrit vaishaak
Sources: Dinamina and Silumina
61
What was noted during the compilation was the complete absence of the Sanskrit
vaishaaka and the regular presence of the tadbhawa equivalent vesak. Thus it could
be stated that though both the Sanskrit tathsama and the assimilated Sinhala
tadbhawa words coexist in the wordstock of Sinhala there is a preference for the
latter in current Sinhala written discourse.

57
Marriage Proposals is an area where the caste system in the Sinhala people is given prominence.
58

59

60

61
The three citations in Figure 8 are respectively from:
http://www.dinamina.lk/2014/05/16/
http://www.silumina.lk/2014/05/11/_art.asp?fn=aa1405113
http://www.dinamina.lk/2014/05/15/
70
Reconnecting with glide omission in Sinhala it is argued that this habitual retreat
of diphthongs to monothongs when Sanskrit words were nativized to Sinhala
influenced the nativization process of SBE diphthongs /ei/ and //.
6.1.1.3 The diphthongs of SBE
During the nativization process SBE /ei/ and // it can be stated that SSLE
retained the nuclei and added greater articulatory energy to the vowels moving them
to the long vowels /e:/ and /o:/ respectively. Thus the substratum influence was not a
complete replication of the Sinhala process. It can be stated that it stopped midway
retaining/substituting the phoneme nucleus of the diphthong but advancing it to a
long vowel.
According to Roach (2004) the eight diphthongs of SBE may be subdivided into
centering diphthongs (ending in //) and closing diphthongs which end in either /i/ or
// (Roach, ibid: 241). In English diphthongs the glide branching off the nucleus acts
as a weak position, thus it contains a weak vowel either //, /i/, //.
Dobrovolsky & Katamba (1997: 36) illustrates the parameters as follows:
Diphthongs of SBE
Three centering diphthongs Five closing diphthongs

vowel + // vowel + /i/ vowel + //
/i/, /e/, // /ei/, /ai/, /i/ /a/, //
They (ibid) further state,
In a centering diphthong, during the final phase of the vowel articulation, the
highest point of the tongue moves quickly towards the center of the mouth
the typical position it assumes for the articulation of schwa. In closing
diphthongs, the tongue starts in a relatively low position and ends up in a high
position either in the palatal area at the front of the mouth in the region where
the glide /j/ is articulated, or at the back of the mouth in the velar area where
the glide /w/ is produced.
72
the nucleus /e/ (the tongue body is intermediate and is pushed forward), the
tongue has to glide still higher raising the tongue body and moving in the
direction of the high front vowel /i/, in other words from front mid to front
close lax position. This makes the production of /ei/ difficult or high in
markedness as well as in expense of effort. Thus the user of SSLE resorts to
glide omission and shifts the quality of the diphthong by retaining the nucleus
/e/ and omitting the glided vowel /i/. The nucleus /e/ is lengthened with greater
muscular tension or greater articulatory energy and is realized as the long
vowel /e:/. Thus they retreat to the unmarked or the easier to pronounce long
vowel and pronounces say, weigh as /se:/ and /e:/ respectively instead of the
SBE /sei/ and /wei/.
b) SBE // to SSLE /o:/ Glide omission as retreat to the unmarked
// too reflects the same retreat to the unmarked process. // is a central,
mid vowel while // is fairly close, more back than central, higher and slightly
rounded. Movement commences from the lower mid or half close back vowel
// (the tongue body is intermediate and is pulled back) which is the nucleus,
and flow into the off-glide // which requires the tongue body to be raised. For
the glide the tongue moves upwards in the direction of //. But the speaker of
SSLE substitutes /o/ for the nucleus // omitting the glided vowel //. Thus //
is produced as the long vowel /o:/ which is slightly higher and moves
backwards in position necessitating less expense of effort than the diphthong
//. Thus devoid of the need to complete the glide in // shifting to the long
vowel /o:/ becomes less complex. Thus go in SBE which is realized as /g/ is
nativized as /go:/ and hello - SBE /hl/ emerges as /helo:/ in SSLE.
In sum during the nativization process of SBE to SSLE diphthongs /ei/ and //
undergo gliding omission and this could be argued as transference of the familiar
practice of glide omission used during the transition of OIA diphthongs to OS and the
assimilation of Sanskrit thathsama words to the thadbhawa wordstock of Sinhala.
Moreover the markedness in these diphthongs in Sinhala and the lesser expense of
effort needed during pronunciation too influence the retreat.
Not only is this gliding omission evidenced in SSLE pronunciation it is also
evidenced in loanword assimilation process from English to the Sinhala.
73
6.1.1.5 Evidence that English words with /ei/ and // borrowed to Sinhala
undergo glide omission
The compilation in this section uses Madura English-Sinhala Online Dictionary
as its primary source. When an English word is transliterated if a borrowed tadbhawa
form exists in the Sinhala wordstock it is included in the list of Sinhala words
provided in this dictionary. Thus all following Sinhala word examples are English
lexicon assimilated to the Sinhala tadbhawa wordstock. This online dictionary does
not provide pronunciation for the Sinhala word. Thus the equivalent Spoken Sinhala
pronunciation is provided by me which very often is a direct grapheme to phoneme
conversion in the speaker of Sinhala.
6.1.1.5.1 /ei/ to /e:/ in English lexicon assimilated to the Sinhala tadbhawa
wordstock compared with SSLE pronuciation
English SSLE Sinhala
63

Word Pronunciation Pronunciation loanword Pronunciation
Basin /besn/ /be:sn/ beesm /be:sm/
Bakelite /beklat/ /be:klat / beeklait /be:klat /
Container /knten/ /knte:n/ kanteenry /knte:nrj/
Rose /rz/ /ro:s/ roos /ro:s/
Source: Madura English-Sinhala Online Dictionary
What is noted is the analogous nature in Sinhala loan phonology and the nativized
SSLE pronunciation.
6.1.1.5.2 // to /o:/ in English lexicon assimilated to the Sinhala tadbhawa
wordstock
English SSLE Sinhala
64
Word Pronunciation Pronunciation Word Pronunciation
Ammonia /mni/ /mo:nija:/ amooniyaa /mo:nja:/
63
The Sinhala words would be respectively:
64
The Sinhala words would be respectively:
74
Clone /kln/ /klo:n/ klo:n /klo:n/
Poster /p/ /po: poosty
65
/po:/
Ozone /zn/ /o:zo:n/ ooso:n66 /o:so:n/
In sum what is evidenced is that glide omission was practiced by the user of
Sinhala when Sanskrit words were assimilated to the thadbhawa wordstock of
Sinhala. Later during the contact setting with English this practice was transferred to
nativization and loanword assimilation phonological paradigms of SBE diphthongs
/ei/ and //.
6.1.2 Loss of aspiration in in Spoken Sinhala and its influence on the
deaspiration of SBE [p
h
], [t
h
] and [k
h
]
This investigation recognizes the transference of a historical assimilation
paradigm in Sinhala constructing language specific markedness constraints for SBE
[p
h
], [t
h
] and [k
h
] in SSLE phonology Prior to contact with BE a retreat from the
greater effort to lesser articulatory expense is evidenced in the loss of aspiration
during evolution of OS from OIA.
6.1.2.1 Loss of aspiration in Sinhala
There are two thought schools with regard to loss of aspiration in Sinhala.
1) Some historical linguists consider this is one area where a direct influence of
Tamil is recorded in the evolution of Sinhala. According to Gair (1998: 194)
the apparent suddenness and completeness of the loss of the aspirated series
does make the assumption that Tamil with its lack of aspirates, is the obvious
candidate. The Tamil influence on this area according to Gair (1998: 193) has
been accepted by a number of scholars including Elizarenkova (1972: 132),
Geiger (1938: xviii) and Wijerathna (1945: 590).
65
Suffix -r singular deIinite -j
66
Note that the /z/ in SSLE /o:zo:n/ has retreated to /s/ in the Sinhala word due to the markedness
of /z/ and a lack of a grapheme to denote the sound in the vernacular.
75
2) On the other hand Karunatillake (2001) states that the loss of aspiration
occurred during the development of the OIA phonemic system into OS and
provides evidence for OIA aspirates emerging as unaspirated consonants by the
second half of 1c. BCE as follows.
Table 17: Contrasting the phonemic systems for stops of OIA and OS
As illustrated above OIA grants phonemic values to all aspirated stops while in
Old Sinhala they are absent phonemes.
67
The voiceless dental stop / in this book.
68
The voiceless dental stop / in this book.
69
The voiced dental stop / / in this book.
70
The voiced dental stop / / in this book.
Stops Aspiration
Karunatillake (2001)
OIA (ibid: 4) OS (ibid: 34)
Labial Unaspirated p p
Aspirated p
h
Unaspirated b b
Aspirated b
h
Dental unaspirated t
67
t
68
Aspirated t
h
unaspirated d
69
d
70
Aspirated d
h
Retroflex Unaspirated
Aspirated
h
Unaspirated
Aspirated
h
Palatal Unaspirated c c
Aspirated c
h
Unaspirated j j
Aspirated j
h
Velar Unaspirated k k
Aspirated k
h
unaspirated
Aspirated g
h
76
Karunatillake (2001) further states that aspirated stops of OIA are generally
represented in Old Sinhala inscriptions by the corresponding unaspirate consonant
symbols. The Brahmi script which was used in writing these inscriptions had symbols
for unaspirated consonants. (ibid; 9)
From the above two thought schools, this study, bases its discussion on the
historical linguistic analysis of the evolution of the phonology of Sinhala by
Karunatillake (2001). Karunatillake (ibid: 9) postulates that a complete merger oI
aspirate stops with the corresponding unaspirate stops is assumed Ior OS`. Thus by
13c. CE, Karunatillake (ibid: 113) states the All the occurrence of aspirate stops in
the prose literature of Sinhala are loanwords from OIA or Middle Indo Aryan (MIA).
There is no evidence for considering these as phonemic for Sinhala`. He further states
that some examples in the prose literature of the period 12-14c. CE attests a non-
aspirate pronunciation of the sounds represented by the aspirate stop symbols. Thus
what he is tracing is a natural evolution of OIA to OS and the historical development
of the phonology of Sinhala. This results in a language specific constraint where
aspirated stops are not phonemic for Sinhala.
From a multitude of aspirate to nonaspirated consonant conversions recorded in
Karunatillake (2001: 10-12) this section selects the deaspiration of Sanskrit/Pali /p
h
/,
// and /k
h
/ for the purpose of discussion. Note that Sinhala lacks the alveolars of
SBE thus a comparison is drawn through the retreat and deaspiration to the retroflex
// in SSLE.
6.1.2.1.1 Loss of aspiration of /p
h
/ in Sinhala
Discussing deaspiration of the labial series Karunatillake (2001: 11)
71
records the
following coalescence for /p
h
/ and /p/.
OIA OS
/p/ /p/

/ph/
72
71
Henceforth in all citations from Karunatillake (2001) original transliterations and notations are
retained.
72
/p
h
/ in this study.
77
Karunatillake (ibid: 12)
73
provides the following as an example.
Pali OS Date Name of inscription
Comfortable phsu
74
<p
75
/psu/ 3 or 2c. BCE Brhmi inscriptions in
caves in Vavuniya C22
6.1.2.1.2 Loss of aspiration of // in Sinhala
Discussing deaspiration of the retroflex series Karunatillake (2001: 12) records the
following coalescence for /
h
/ and //.
OIA OS

76


/h/
77

Karunatillake (ibid: 13) provides the following as an example.
Pali OS Date Name of inscription
Eight aha
78
<aa>
79
3c. CE Jetavanrma inscriptions of Malu-Tisa
6.1.2.1.3 Loss of aspiration of /k/ in Sinhala
Discussing deaspiration of the velar series Karunatillake (2001: 10) records the
following coalescence for /k
h
/ and /k/.
OIA OS
/k/ /k/

/kh/
80

73
My highlighting for all citations.
74
/p
h
a:su/. Karunatillake (2001) uses for the IPA long vowel /a:/.
75
Karunatillake (2001) uses < > for orthographic representations.
76
IPA//.
77
IPA //.
78
/a
h
/
79
/a/. Karunatillake (2001) states that only the orthographic representation is given as it is from
inscriptional Sinhala.
78
Karunatillake (ibid)
81
provides the following as an example.
OIA OS Date Name of inscription
To the sanghasy<sagasa> /sangass/ 3c. BCE-1c.CE Cave inscriptions
community published in Ceylon
of monks Journal of Science, II: 695
Thus Karunatillake (2001) states that during the development of the phonemic
system of OS Irom OIA the complete merger of aspirate stops with the
corresponding unaspirate stops is assumed Ior OS` (ibid: 9). He further states that
wherever an aspirate stop is found written, it is phonemically equated with the
corresponding unaspirate stop in Sinhala. Karunatillake (2001) also cites evidence for
orthographic free variation and overuse of aspirate consonants in OS.
1. Karunatillake (2001: 8) identifies and provides evidence for orthographic
free variation during the development of OIA aspirate consonants into OS.
There are a few instances where an aspirate consonant is written
corresponding to an aspirate consonant of OIA. In almost all such cases the
same form is also found written in the corresponding unsapirate consonant.
An example is cited from the 1c. BCE where brother is inscribed as bata
and bhatu in the -kanda cave inscriptions: 5 and 10a respectively for
the OIA bh- (Karunatillake, 2001: 8).
2. Karunatillake (ibid) states that more important are those few cases where an
OIA unaspirate consonant is represented by the corresponding aspirate
consonant symbol in OS. The following are from Karunatillake (2001: 8).
82
OIA OS Date Name of inscription
Wife j
83
<jhaya>
84
2c. BCE Vessagiri rock B cave inscriptions, C. 2b

80
/k/ in this book.
81
My highlighting for all citations.
82
My highlighting for all citations.
83
.
84

h
a:ja:/
79
King j
85
<rajha>
86
1c. BCE -kanda cave inscriptions, C. 1
Thus orthographic free variation between aspirate and unaspirate consonants and
the overuse of aspirate consonants in OS reflect the state of uncertainty in the use of
these graphemes in OS writing.
6.1.2.2 The influence of deaspiration of aspirate stops in Sinhala on SSLE
Evidence that the deaspiration process when OIA aspirate consonants were
assimilated into OS was transferred to the nativization of SBE phonology during
contact dynamics between Sinhala and BE can be drawn from literature as illustrated
in Tables 18 and 19 below.
Table 18: Grapheme to phoneme conversion of aspirate consonants Sinhala
As seen above Sinhala has an aspirate for each nonaspirate grapheme but the three
aspirate plosives do not carry a phonemic value.
Table 19: Assimilation of SBE stop allophones to SSLE
SBE
phonemes
87

SSLE
phonology
88
/p/
/p/
[p
h
]
/t/
//
[t
h
]
/k/ /k/
85
/r
86

h
a:/
87
Roach (2004: 243)
88
Gunesekera (2005: 119)
80
[k
h
]
Thus it is suggested that due to the transfer of a familiar practice of deaspiration in
Sinhala the SBE aspirates retreated to their equivalent unaspirated forms thus
constructing a norm in SSLE pronunciation. This feature is shared by the S/OVSLE
speech populations.
6.1.3 Influence of Sinhala on the nativization of SBE / and //
Of a multitude of aspirate to non aspirated consonant conversions recorded in
Karunatillake another area relevant to this study is the loss of /
h
/ and / / in OS where
the sounds merged with the dental plosives // and / respectively. Identifying this as
retreat to the unmarked an argument is constructed to indicate that this process
influences the nativization of SBE dental fricatives / and // which are marked
phonemes in Sinhala and are assimilated as // and / to SSLE
6.1.3.1 Nativization of SBE //
6.1.3.1.1 Evolution of the deaspiration of WS th /
h
/ as in SS
Along the evolutionary process of Sinhala Karunatillake`s (2001) analysis
classifies the emergence WS th /
h
/ as in SS as coalescence, for Gunasekara (1891)
this emergence signifies a pronunciation mistake while current linguists categorize it
as diglossic behavior. This study connects all three with the language specific
markedness ranking of Sinhala.
6.1.3.1.2 Karunatillake (2001): th /
h
/ and t to - coalescence
Karunatillake (2001: 9) states that historically the written th /
h
/ is equated in SS
with // by the Sinhala speech community. According to Karunatillake (ibid) this
familiar diglossic practice of equating written th with // in SS backdates to 1c. BCE.
He further states that the dental series which bears evidence of a merger where
the Iour way
89
phonemic manner of articulation in OIA stops is reduced to a two
way contrast retaining only a voiced - voiceless distinction in OS` (2001: 11). The
merger of the stops // and /
h
/ in OIA which coalesce as // in OS is recorded by
Karunatillake as follows:
89
The other two and are discussed in 6.1.3.2.1
81
Coalescence in articulation of the voiceless dental series (Karunatillake, 2001: 11)
OIA OS
/t/
90
/t/
/th/
91
This loss of aspiration is cited through the following example from Karunatillake
(2001: 11). The words thera
92
in Pali and sthavira
93
in OIA signifying elder are
recorded as tera /era/ in Vessagiri rock B cave inscriptions in 2c. BCE. But on the
other hand Gunasekara in 1891 records both phonemes // and /
h
/ and their graphemes
as been current in Sinhala orthography and pronunciation during that period.
6.1.3.1.3 Gunasekara (1891): th /
h
/ to t - orthographic and pronunciation
mistakes
Though Karunatillake (2001) states that the OS speaker has been replacing the
comparatively difficult to pronounce or marked, aspirated pronunciation of the letter
th in orthography, equating it with // which is a consonant articulated devoid of any
audible release of breath, Gunasekara in 1891 records the existence of letters t and th
in orthography and the aspirated /
h
/ as well as the unaspirated // in Sinhala speech
discourse of the 19c. CE. Evidence is recorded in Gunasekara (1891: 20) who states
that consonants are again divided according to quality to unaspirated (alpa praana
94
little breath) and aspirated (mahaa praana
95
-great liIe)` and the graphemes t and th
equivalent to the sounds // and /
h
/ are recorded in the list
Furthermore Gunasekara (1891) identifies two divisions in the 19c. CE. Sinhala:
the spoken formal and the spoken colloquial. The spoken colloquial, according to
Gunasekara (ibid), often flouts the pronunciation rules of the spoken formal and the
90
/ in this study.
91
/
h
/ in this study.
92
/
h
er/
93
/s
h
vir/
94
/alp pra:n/
95
/mahappra:n/
82
written language. Gunasekara (1891: 61) identifies this flouting of rules by the users
oI Sinhala resulted in mistakes` during orthographic representations and
pronunciation of a large number of Sinhala words and lists a plethora of such usages.
Gunasekara (ibid) declares that a list oI words oIten incorrectly spelt, written and
pronounced is subjoined Ior the beneIit oI the student` (ibid).
Thus Gunasekara has clearly defined correct/wrong dichotomy not only for
orthography but also for pronunciation which suggests a strong effort to preserve the
Sanskrit graphemic and phonemic contours in Sinhala. Gunasekara (1891) adds the
Iollowing to his list and provides correct orthographic and phonetic representations`
which includes the dental series discussed by Karunatillake (2001: 11)

96
.
Correct orthography and Wrong orthography and Signification
pronunciation pronunciation
gruhasth
97
/gruhas
h
/ gruhast
98
/gruhas Householder (p. 63)
prath
99

h
/ prtm
100
/pr First (p. 64)
This endeavour to retain the phoneme /
h
/ has not been successful as Wasala and
Gamage (2005: 474) do not record the phone in their Spoken Sinhala consonant
classification ( Table 8) though the graphemic equivalent to /
h
/ is recorded in the
table for Sinhala graphemic representations ( Table 13).
Coming to the present era the free variation between the Sinhala graphemes t //
and th /
h
/ is evidenced in modern orthography. The following examples from modern
print media carry proof. The graphemic usage is transliterated to the phonemic form
by this author for the purpose of discussion.
Signification Orthography Pronunciation Source
Whole samast
101
/samas (Divayina, 17.02.2008: 05)
96
My transcription and highlighting of the Sinhala words in Gunasekara (1891) with transliterations
97

98

99

100

101
83
samasth
102
/samas
h
-do-
Telephone durakatny
103
/durj (Divayina, 23.07.2012: 7)
durakathny
104
/duraka
h
j (Divayina, 23.07.2012: 3)
In the Madura English-Sinhala Dictionary the lexicon are recorded as follows:
Thus the user of Sinhala is familiar with the orthographic free variation between
the aspirated and unaspirated graphemes th and t in Sinhala. Furthermore they
habitually realize the graphemic representation th phonemically as the unaspirated
stop //. It is suggested that this habitual behavior in the user of Sinhala where /
h
/
emerges as // influences the retreat to the unmarked of the voiceless fricative / in
SSLE in speech discourse. This study identifies that when faced with SBE voiceless
dental fricative / absent in the phonology of Sinhala the asymmetry in the language
specific markedness ranking of constraints between SBE and Sinhala in addition to
the habitual practice of moving towards less expense of effort in SS makes the
S/SSLE bilingual retreat to the unmarked voiceless dental plosive //.
6.1.3.1.4 The emergence of SBE / as the dental in SSLE: influence of Sinhala
+ less Expense of Effort
The speaker of Sinhala for around 2300 years when encountering the grapheme th
/
h
/ in Sinhala has habitually retreated to the unmarked // in speech discourse as
Karunatillake (2001: 35) does not record the aspirates in the phonemic inventory for
OS (3c. to 1c. BCE). This signifies a ranking for // in Sinhala but a markedness
constraint for /
h
/ which makes the speaker adhere to the Expense of Effort theory of
Markedness (Kirchner, 2001) and deaspirate the Sanskrit /
h
/ which required greater
articulatory effort during pronunciation.
102

103

104

84
Thus later in 1876 when the British colonial contact occurred cross linguistic
dynamics required the pronunciation of SBE breathed dental fricative / which is
more marked, needs a higher expense of effort and is thus more difficult to
pronounce than the familiar ranked // in Sinhala, the habitual practice of retreating to
the unmarked was utilized to nativize the pronunciation. Before further discussion on
the above features there is a linguistic exigency to classify the expense of effort in
articulation of the 3 sounds //, /
h
/ and /.
Table 20: Expense oI eIIort in articulatory proIiles oI the Sinhala /t/, /t
h
/ and the SBE //
105
Degree of stricture means how narrow the gap is between the active articulator and the passive
articulator at the narrowest point in the vocal tract. Three degrees of constriction are distinguished
in phonetics: i) complete closure, ii) close approximation, iii) open approximation. Complete
closure is self-explanatory. Close approximation means "so close together that it causes audible
friction". "Open approximation" means that the oral tract is somewhat more open than in "close
approximation", so that there is no friction. ( Retrieved on May 2, 2013 from
www.phon.ox.ac.uk/~jcoleman/VSANDCS.htm.
Sinhala // Sinhala /
h
/
/
Classification Voiceless
unaspirated dental
stop. (Karunatilake,
2001: 117)
Voiceless aspirated
dental stop.
(Karunatilake, 2001:
4)
Voiceless dental
fricative
Organ of
articulation
The tip of the tongue
with the bottom of
the top teeth.
The tip of the tongue
with the back of the
top teeth.
The upper teeth and
the tip of the tongue.
Manner of
articulation
Sudden removal of
the tip of the tongue
from the upper teeth.
Aspiration delays the
onset of voicing
momentarily while
exhaling air through a
partially open glottis.
A continuous stream
of air escapes through
the narrow passage
between the upper
teeth and the tip of
the tongue. Audible
frictional turbulence.
Degree of
stricture
105
Complete closure Close/open
approximation
Close approximation
85
As the classification illustrates there is a high contrast between the first and the
following two phonemes in the process of articulation. The manner of articulation
though not similar is equally difficult for / and /
h
/ when compared with //. Degree
of stricture is the highest for / as its enunciation is accompanied by audible
frictional turbulence. The increase in expense of effort and thus in markedness can be
recorded as // < /
h
/ < / Thus of the three phonemes SBE / is more marked or has
the highest degree of expense of effort in pronunciation. The corollary is that the
S/SSLE speech community retreats to the unmarked when confronted with the
marked phoneme / in English which requires a higher expense of effort Thus the
realization of the dental fricative / as the dental stop // makes the SLE speaker
pronounce, for example, thanks / as //.
In sum the speaker of Sinhala who, over the ages, has been unfaithful to grapheme
to phoneme conversion of th in Sanskrit words in the Sinhala thathsama wordstock
and retreated to the easier // which required a lower expense of effort in articulation
conducts nonvolitional and nonelective transference of this existing, familiar
pronunciation practice when encountered with the ranked / in SBE phonology. This
emergence of the unmarked resulting from the substrate influence of Sinhala during
the nativization process of SBE / evolves as a norm in the phonology of SSLE and
this feature is shared by the S/OVSLE bilinguals.
6.1.3.2 Nativization of SBE //
6.1.3.2.1 Evolution of the deaspiration of / / to / / in Sinhala
A trajectory similar to /
h
/ to // is traced in the emergence of the grapheme dh /d/
as the phoneme / / in Sinhala.
6.1.3.2.2 Karunatilake (2001): / to / /- Coalescence and loss of aspiration
The coalescence of the voiceless unaspirated dental stop / / and the voiceless
aspirated dental stop /
h
/, according to Karunatilake (2001: 11), occurred when OIA
emerged as OS in 1c. BCE. Thus OS retained only a voiced - voiceless distinction in
dental stops and the aspirated forms were not carried over from OIA. Karunatilake
(ibid) illustrates the coalescence as follows:

86
OIA OS
/d/
106
/d/

/dh/
107
Karunatillake (2001: 35) does not record the aspirates in the phonemic inventory
for OS (3 to 1c. BCE) and provides examples for the emergence of the unmarked
from inscriptions.
Loss of aspiration of / / (Karunatilake, 2001: 11)
108

OIA OS Date Inscription Signification
dharma
109
dama /damma/
110
2c. BCE Vessagiri rock Doctrine
B cave inscriptions
By the 12c. CE Karunatilake (ibid: 113) cites an example for the Sanskrit
adhra
111
written as ad
112
(not brave) from But Sarana (ed. Sorata Thera, 1931).
But in this diachronic analysis, it is interesting to note that Gunasekara in 1891
records the existence of
h
/ in both pronunciation and orthography in the
contemporary Sinhala and identifies deviations as mistakes`.
6.1.3.2.3 Gunasekara (1891): dh
h
/ to d - orthographic and pronunciation
mistake
Gunasekara (1891: 61-66)) lists the following examples where the user of Sinhala
substitutes another mahapraana sound
h
/ in pronunciation and the letter in its
orthographic representation in free variation with the dental stop / .
106
/ in this study.
107
/ in this study.
108
My highlighting.
109
/ arm/ in this study.
110
/ amm/ in this study.
111
Retaining in Karunatilake (2001: 11). /a i:r/.
112
/a i:r/
87
Substitution of d and for dh and / /
113
Correct pronunciation and Wrong pronunciation and Signification
orthography orthography
audh
114
/au / (p. 62) aud
115
/au / Medicine
adhool
116
/a o:l/ (p. 62) adool
117
/a o:l/ Footnote
durgandh
118
/durgan / (p. 63) durgand
119
/durgan / Bad smell, stench
prdh
120
/pr / (p. 64) prd
121
/pr / Chief, principal
Modern phoneticians (Karunatillake 1992; Rajapsksha 1993; Wasala and Gamage,
2005: 474) do not record the phone /
h
/ in their Spoken Sinhala phoneme inventory
though the graphemic equivalent th is recorded in Sinhala graphemic inventory.
Of the above Rajapaksha (1993) provides the following examples as diglossic
variation in Sinhala.
Orthography Pronunciation Signification
dhairy
122
/
h
airj/ / airj/ Courage (p. 64)
vardhny
123
/ar nj/ /ar nj/ Growth (p. 26)
Thus the evolution of Sinhala resulted in the Sanskrit aspirated dental sounds
being marked in Spoken Sinhala and though an attempt was made at a later period to
eradicate this markedness at present deaspiration defines a diglossic characteristic of
Sinhala.
113
As Gunasekara (1891) provides only the Sinhala words my transliterations. My highlighting.
114
in Gunasekara (1891) in Sinhala. My highlighting.
115
-do-
116
-do-
117
-do-
118
-do-
119
-do-
120
-do-
121
-do-
122
in Rajapaksha (1993) in Sinhala. My highlighting.
123
-do-
88
Influenced by this deaspiration process the Sinhala speakers not only deaspirated
the voiceless dental fricative of SBE but encountering its voiced counterpart //
they retreated to familiar, unmarked dental / / of Sinhala which was a movement
from more to less expense of effort. Furthermore retreating from a fricative to a
plosive is a feature in markedness. This is influenced by the habitual diglossic
practice of deaspiration of dh / by the speaker oI Sinhala.
6.1.3.2.4 The emergence of SBE // as dental / / in SSLE: Less Expense of Effort
+ retreat to the unmarked
Similar to the dental stop //, is a marked phoneme in SS and the Sinhala
speaker retreats to the unmarked during the pronunciation of the grapheme dh and
realizes it as the nonaspirated dental plosive . Thus encountering the breathed
dental fricative // of SBE, which needed even more expense of effort in articulation
than the aspirated dental stop , the users of SLE retreated to the easier or the
unmarked dental plosive in SS. This study contrasts expense of effort in the
articulation of the three phonemes in the following table.
Table 21: Expense of Effort in the articulatory profiles of the Sinhala and the SBE //
Sinhala / Sinhala / / SBE //
Classification Voiced unaspirated
dental stop.
(Karunatilake,
2001: 117)
Voiced aspirated dental
stop. (Karunatilake,
2001: 4)
Voiced dental
fricative.
Organs of
articulation
The tip of the
tongue with the
bottom of the top
teeth.
The tip of the tongue
with the back of the top
teeth.
Upper teeth and the
tip of the tongue.
Manner of
articulation
Sudden removal of
the tip of the
tongue from the
upper teeth.
Aspiration delays the
onset of voicing
momentarily while
exhaling air through a
partially open glottis.
A continuous
stream of air
escapes through the
narrow passage
between the upper
teeth and the tip of
the tongue.
Audible frictional
89
Although the organs of articulation are the same for the three phones according to
the expense of effort in the Manner of Articulation and Degree of Stricture they
arrange as / /</ / < //.
In sum the speaker of Sinhala who, over the ages, has avoided pronouncing th and
dh of Sanskrit with aspiration as // and / / respectively and retreated to the easier
thus unmarked nonaspirates // and in SS conducts a nonvolitional and nonelective
transference of this existing, familiar pronunciation practice of Sinhala to SSLE
pronunciation. This transference has evolved as two endonormative features in the
phonology of SSLE: the phonemic value granted for // and and the markedness of
/ and //. Gunesekera (2005: 120) records the dental Iricatives // and // being
realized as dental plosives // and ` (ibid: 120) and codifies these as norms in SSLE
pronunciation. These norms are not flouted by the S/OVSLE bilinguals.
6.1.4 Fricative devoicing of SSLE: // to // and /z/ to /s/ in medial and final
positions
The user of SSLE encountering the SBE /z/ and // which are absent and thus
marked phonemes in the constraint rankings of Sinhala, retreats to the unmarked and
devoices the /z/ in medial and coda positions while retaining the voicing in the word
onset position. The // undergoes complete devoicing in all three positions and is
replaced by //. A comparison of the articulation process of these four fricatives is
deemed necessary to justify the retreat to the unmarked argument.
According to Ladefoged and Maddieson (1996) a fricative is produced with a
turbulent airstream passing through the vocal tract, forcing air through a narrow
channel made by placing two articulators close together. In many fricatives,
particularly the sibilants
124
in English, an exactly defined shape of the vocal tract has
to be held for a noticeable period of time. They further state that during the formation
of a sibilant air is forced through a narrow channel and the tongue is curled
124
Sibilants are a subset of fricatives. English /s/, /z/, //, and // are examples. The aerodynamic
behavior oI sibilants maniIests more acoustic energy, - that is, greater loudness- at a higher pitch
than the other Iricatives` (Ladefoged, 2006: 170).
turbulence.
Degree of
stricture
Complete closure. Close/open
approximation.
Close
approximation.
90
lengthwise to direct the air over the edge of the teeth. This makes the sibilants high in
expense of effort.
6.1.4.1 The voiceless sibilants vs. voiced in SBE
The first phonemes in the binary sets /s, z/ and /, / are voiceless and the second
are voiced fricatives A voiced sound is produced when air expelled from the lungs
causes the vocal chords to vibrate. The resulting sound is modified by movements in
the vocal tract, by the volume of the airflow and by the degree of constriction of the
vocal chords. Furthermore according to Hayward (2000) voiced fricatives are
characterized by larger pharyngeal volumes than the unvoiced fricatives due to
tongue-root advancement. Thus voicing adds complexity to the more basic voiceless
configuration. This makes the voiced /z/ and // needing a higher expense of effort in
articulation than the unvoiced /s/ and /.
A study by Stevens et al (1992) reported that the time duration of sustaining a
fricative too renders it as voiced/voiceless. According to Pirello et al. (1997) the time
interval must exceed about 60 milliseconds if the fricative is to be judged as
voiceless. Shortening the duration of frication for a voiceless fricative produces a
change from the voiceless to voiced. Duration differences between the voiced and
voiceless fricatives are recognized by Ladefoged (2006: 65) who records that the
voiceless fricatives are longer than their voiced counterparts`.
Is sum the voiced sibilants which are more complex, are of shorter time duration
and have to generate energy in a higher frequency range during the short time and
thus they are higher in expense of effort. The voiceless sibilants are of longer time
duration and needs less energy to generate and thus are lower in expense of effort.
6.1.4.1.1 Substitution of // for //: Markedness of // in Sinhala + less Expense of
Effort in articulation
The post-alveolar voiced fricative // is produced through the vibration of the vocal chords. To
create the sound, air is forced between a wide groove in the center of the front of the tongue and the
back of the tooth ridge. The sides of the blade of the tongue may touch the side teeth. The lips are
kept slightly tense, and may protrude somewhat during the production of the sound. The voiced //
is the binary counterpart to the unvoiced //. In the hierarchy of markedness in the language specific
ranking of Sinhala // is unmarked while the absence and the higher expense of effort
in the articulation of // makes it marked.
91
In English the following rules are stated by Davenport and Hannahs (2005: 122) for
the correct selection of // or // during pronunciation.

1. If the s+ure spelling is preceded by a vowel sound, the word is likely to be
pronounced with the // sound. When the letter s is preceded by a consonant
sound or is spelled with two adjacent s's (respectively as in the words insure and
pressure given below), it is usually pronounced as the // sound.
Accordingly in SBE the following words contain // Davenport and Hannahs:
ibid) But in the emergent pronunciation for the words in SSLE it retreats to //.

Letter combination Word Pronunciation
SBE SSLE
-s+ure leisure /le/ /le/
measure /me/ /me/
insure /in/ /in/
-s+ual casual /kul/ /kul/
usual /ju:ul/ /ju:ul/
pressure /pre/ /pre/
The -sion suffix is only likely to be pronounced with a // sound when it is
preceded by an /r/ sound or a vowel sound. In most other circumstances, the sound //
is the more likely pronunciation for this suffix.
Letter combination Word Pronunciation
SBE SSLE
-s +ion decision /dsn/ /dsn/
Conclusion /knklu:n/ /knklu:n/
In all the above examples the SSLE user either retains the // or substitutes the
voiceless // for // Thus influenced by the language specific markedness constraint
ranking of Sinhala the users of SSLE violate the rule based discrimination between //
and // in SBE. As a result the alien // retreats to the unmarked and emerges as //.
92
6.1.5 Emergence of the unmarked /s/ in Sinhala for SBE /z/ in the medial and the
final positions in SSLE: less expense of effort in articulation + retreat to the
unmarked
/z/ is an absent and thus marked phoneme in the rankings of Sinhala. Unlike
English it lacks a grapheme for the sound. It is interesting to note that substitution of
/s/ for /z/ occurs only in the medial and the final positions of the SSLE speakers. For
example the use of the /z/ in coda position during pluralization is rare in the SSLE
speech community.
The rules for pronouncing plural formations (Fowler and Burchfield, 2000) in SBE
are as follows:
1. If the final sound of the nouns singular or the verbs root form is a vowel or /
l/ the ending is formed by adding the sound /z/. For example
city /siti/, cities /siti:z/; ring /ri/, rings / riz/.
2. If the final sound of the nouns singular or the verb`s root Iorm is /p, t, k, f, / the
ending is formed by the addition of /s/. For example, work /w:k/, works /w:ks/.
3. If the final sound of the nouns singular or a verb`s root Iorm is /s, z, , , c , j /
the ending is formed by the addition of /iz/. For example match /mc/, matches
/mciz/.
But in pronouncing plural formations the SSLE speaker substitutes /s/ even in
instances where the pluralization has a final /z/ in SBE. The word final /s/ is
unmarked in the markedness ranking of Sinhala (Karunatillake, 1989: 93) and the /z/
to /s/ devoicing process renders it as retreat to the unmarked. The following examples
are of /s/ to /z/ devoicing in speakers of SSLE.
Word Pronunciation
SBE SSLE
Cities stz st:s
Rings rz rs
Matches mcz mcs
This substitution is not restricted to pluralization. Other words which contain the
phone /z/ undergo a /s/ devoicing in SSLE pronunciation. The following examples
are for substitution of /s/ for /z/ in paradigms other than plural formation.
93
Word Pronunciation
SBE SSLE
Business /bzns/ /bsns/
His /hz/ /hs/
Busy /bz/ /bs/
But the influence of Sinhala in substitution of /s/ for /z/ in SSLE pronunciation is
strictly restricted to the medial and the final positions. As intelligibility is affected
when the substitution is extended to word initial position the /z/ is retained. For
instance the user of SSLE would not substitute the /z/ at word initial position in zoo
and zip. They would pronounce the words as /zu:/ and /zip/ as /su:/ and /sip/
respectively would carry differing semantic values.
The influence of Sinhala in the the substitution of /z/ in the medial and the final
positions is clearly seen in the loan assimilation paradigms.
6.1.5.2 English loanword assimilation to Sinhala: z to s in WS
This retreat to the unmarked in the assimilation is signified in the multitude of
English loanwords borrowed to Sinhala tadbhawa wordstock. Due to the lack of a
grapheme for z it is represented by the Sinhala grapheme for s in all words. Following
examples come from Sinhala print media.
English Sinhala
Galvanize /glvnaiz/ galvnais
125
/glvnais/ (Divayina, 04.08.2012:14)
Amazing
126
zi ameesin
127
si (Divayina, 24.08.2012: III)
Amazon /mzn/ amsn
128
/msn/ (Divayina, 25.08.2012: 3)
The regularity of fit in the grapheme to phoneme conversion makes the Sinhala
reader pronounce the loanwords with /s/ and these loanwords have a high frequency
of occurrence in Sinhala discourse. The SSLE user, influenced by Sinhala transfers
125

126
As in Amazing spider man
127

128

94
this practice of retreating to the unmarked when the target language is English speech
discourse and devoices the /z/ in word mid and final positions. Pass as far back as in
1948 records the use of weak /s/ or a partially unvoiced /z/ in inter vocalic and medial
positions. In sum the causal factors for devoicing /z/ in SSLE are identified as
emergence of the unmarked and the lack of a grapheme for the phoneme /z/ in
Sinhala.
But word initial /z/ is strictly not devoiced by S/SSLE bilinguals ( see 7.5: The
word initial /z/ to /s/: OVSLE pronunciation for the contrast). Encountering word
initial /z/ written as s in WS they use L2 processing and differentiate between /z/ and
/s/ as the two phones can generate different semantic values (only one meaning for
each word is footnoted to show the contrast) as in the words given below.
English words WS
zinc
129
sink
130
sink
131
/sik/ for zinc (Divayina, 02.05.2013:02)
zip
132
sip
133
sip
134
/sip/for zip (Divayina, 21.01.2012:12)
Madura English-Sinhala Online Dictionary too recognizes zinc as the Sinhala
tadbhawa word sink
135
/sik/ the metal. But when sink is accessed no tadbhawa word
is recorded. But in SS day-to day discourse the tadbhawa word sink is used to
identify a fixed open container used for washing purposes, especially in a kitchen and
has a high frequency of occurrence. Thus the differenciation between zinc and sink
both pronounced as /sik/ has to be gained through the context.
But the S/SSLE bilinguals who devoice /z/ at word mid and final positions retain
the pronunciation word initially when required by the context and are not influenced
by loanword phonology. On the other hand the S/OVSLE bilinguals strongly
129
A lustrous metallic element
130
Though there are multiple meanings to this word in the loanword assimilation to Sinhala
tadbhawa wordstock it is used as a noun and is a fixed open container, especially in a kitchen, with
water supply and a drain for waste water to flow away.
131

132
A fastening device.
133
To drink in small quantities.
134

135

95
influenced by the markedness constraint rankings of Sinhala extend the devoicing to
the word initial position too.
In sum though the S/OVSLE bilinguals broadly follow some of the above norm
forming SSLE pronunciation practices (retreating to /e:/ in SLE for SBE diphothongs
/ei/ he use of / and / for SBE / and //; substitution of /s/ for /z/ in the medial
and the final positions
136
) of the S/SSLE bilinguals in addition their pronunciation
reflects further deviations classified below which violate SSLE norms. Thus it can be
hypothesized that OVSLE pronunciation demonstrates a more intense interference
from the phonological grammar of Sinhala projecting a higher rate of Sinhala
dominancy in S/OVSLE bilinguals.
136
But S/OVSLE bilinguals could also confuse /s/ with // especially word initially. For example:
Zipper /zp / /sip/ or /ip/.
96
Chapter seven
7.0 The influence of Sinhala on several selected pronunciation features of
OVSLE
Evidence is compiled in this chapter to exemplify that several core deviations
from SSLE in OVSLE pronunciation show a further and more intense aIIinity
towards the sounds oI colloquial Sinhala` (Gunesekera, 2005: 124) thus generating
dialectal variation within the SLE bilingual speech communities.
This section conducts a parallel analysis for the cause-effect correlation for the
following research questions.
II. How does the phonological grammar of Sinhala influence the pronunciation of
S/OVSLE bilinguals?
III. How far does the transference of English loanword assimilation paradigms of
Sinhala influence the pronunciation of users of OVSLE?
Eight pronunciation practices of users of OVSLE selected from literature for causal-
effect analysis will be discussed in the following sections:
7.1 The substitution of /o, o:/ for
7.2 Insertion of // before word onset consonant clusters commencing with /s/
7.3 Substitution of /f/ for /p/ and overuse
7.4 Substitution of /s/, for // and overuse
7.5 The word initial /z/ substituted with /s/
7.6 Vowel epenthesis
7.7 Syllable omission
7.8 The central vowel substituted with //
Primarily reviewing Disanayaka (1991), Gunasekara (1891), Karunatillake (1989,
2001) and Rajapaksha (1993) and providing evidence from print media this study
emphasizes that Sinhala has had an intense influence on the lexical pronunciation of
S/OVSLE bilinguals.
7.1 Substitution /o, o:/ for /, /: retreat to the unmarked
According to Wasala and Gamage (2005: 474) and Gair et al (2005: xix) the
vowel inventory of Sinhala possesses only three differentiations in back rounded
97
vowels: /u/, /o/, /a/ and their long vowels. Thus the vowels // and /:/ are marked in
the constraint ranking of Sinhala. Discussing Sinhala vowels Chandralal (2010: 28)
states that the Sinhala /o/ is a high mid back round vowel but the rounding is weak
and less than for the corresponding cardinal vowel in English.
Comparing the articulation of // with /o/ Cranne (2011: 113) states in the
production of // the muscles of the tongue are slightly tense. The back of the tongue
is lower than for /o/ and the tip rests behind and touches the lower front teeth. For //
the lips are less rounded than in /o/ but still pursed forward. This places // higher
than /o/ in the expense of effort ranking.
Discussing the markedness of the two vowels /o/ and // Eckman (1977: 16) states
the presence oI rounding is more unmarked Ior vowels which are both back and non-
low`. Thus /o/ which is halI closed and rounded is less marked than the more open //.
De Lacy (2006a: 310) states that in retreating to the unmarked all vowels retain their
place specifications: back vowels are raised to a higher position. Thus the up stepping
of // to /o/ is emergence of the unmarked influenced by the phonology of Sinhala.
But it is noted that graphemic representations of English loanword assimilations in
Sinhala too give more currency to this emergence in users of OVSLE.
7.1.1 Influence fromEnglish loanword assimilations in Sinhala: /o/ and /o:/
The graphemes o, oo
137
regularly emerge as the sounds /o/ and /o:/ respectively in
Sinhala. In comparison the letter o
138
within English lexica has a high frequency of
realization as //. Furthermore /o/ and /o:/ are absent phonemes in SBE. The use oI
the graphemes Ior /o/, /o:/ or diacritics that add vowels to consonants in WS when
English loanwords with /, are transcribed has a high rate of occurrence in Sinhala.
Some examples are illustrated below.
137

138
The letter o is the fourth most common letter in the English language. o is most commonly
associated with the open-mid back rounded vowel (Retrieved on April 14, 2013).
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O. But the lack of regularity of fit is depicted by the
letter combinations ar, or, au, as in the words war, cork and baught. A multitude of other
combinations too are pronounced as //. (Retrieved on April 14, 2013).
http://www.scribd.com/doc/134013232/English-Reading-Rules
98
Word/SSLE Sinhala
pronunciation Graphemic Pronunciation
representation
139
Volleyball /lib:l/ volibool
140
/olibo:l/ (Divayina: 20.12.2013: iv)
Oil
141
/l/ ojil
142
/oil/ (Divayina: 20.12.2013: 5)
Anaconda /nknda/ ankonDa
143
/nkona/ (Divayina: 20.12.2013: 1)
Mod /md/ moD
144
/mo/ (Divayina: 08.06.2014:
nimny I)
Additional evidence is drawn from Karunatilleka (1989: 93) who records the word
ball (/b:l/ in SSLE) under the constituent vowel /o/ in Sinhala word phonology and
the pronunciation is denoted as /bo:l/. Thus the substitution of /o/ for // in an English
loanword is accepted in thadbhawa wordstock of Sinhala.
I further identify that spoken Sinhala rarely uses one of the most important organs
of speech: the lower jaw. In English the pronunciation of the vowel sound // requires
a distinct lowering of the jaw. The fossilized lack of usage of the lower jaw prevents
the S/OVSLE speaker from pronouncing // and resort to substituting the phone with
the Sinhala /o/ which needs less expense of effort. Furthermore frequent exposure to
these loan assimilations in Sinhala which might have commenced with L1 reading
fossilizes in S/OVSLE bilinguals. Later when functioning in L2 speech discourse
these bilinguals transfer the familiar Sinhala pronunciation.
On the other hand the S/SSLE bilinguals identiIy the above words as assimilated
Iorms of English words. During grapheme to phoneme conversion they rerank
constraints in the face of recognizing the words as L2 data. They demote the
139
140

141
As in brake oil.
142

143

144

99
markedness constraints of Sinhala when /, is required and faithfulness to SSLE
pronunciation is declared optimal. Thus uninfluenced by the markedness of /, in
Sinhala they diIIerentiate between the phonemes /, and /o, o:/. This is a stabilized
endonormative Ieature in SSLE which is retained even during loanword
pronunciation. This creates dialectal variation in SLE pronunciation. The following
examples from Gunesekera (2005: 121) detail the dichotomy in the use of the English
vowel // and the diphthong // in SLE.
Sound in English Word Pronunciation
SSLE OVSLE
// not /n/ /no/
// boy /b:/ /bo:/
The above discussion conveys evidence for the argument that the non adherence
to the SSLE norm of differentiating between // and /o/ in the S/OVSLE speech
community is due to the strong influence of the markedness of // in Sinhala.
Furthermore loanword phonology when transferred to L2 discourse too increases the
rate of occurrence of deviation from SSLE pronunciation. Thus it could be stated that
in the area of differentiating between // and /o/ the influence of Sinhala is a causal
factor for dialectal variation in SLE pronunciation.
7.2 /f/ to /p/: Substitution for an alien superstrate phoneme + retreat to the
unmarked
Historical evidence illustrate that the infiltration of an alien phone, SBE /f/,
through loanwords into the discourse of Sinhala necessitated its orthographic
representation in the Sinhala alphabet but yet caused pronunciation difficulties to
Sinhala monolinguals and S/OVSLE bilinguals. This study constructs the argument
that this is yet again due to the practice of retreat to the unmarked /p/ in Sinhala due
to the resistance generated to the transfer of the alien, superstrate /f/. This resistance
is generated as a result of the asymmetric language specific rankings of SBE and
Sinhala phonological grammars and the familiar preference for less expense of effort.
7.2.1 Comparison of expense of effort in /p/ and /f/
/f/ is a labio-dental fricative while the substitution /p/ is a bilabial stop. Fricatives
are different from stops in that they are made by the lower lips moving towards the
100
upper teeth forming a constriction that does not completely obstruct the flow of air
out of the mouth. Furthermore fricatives result in the generation of a turbulent
airflow. Stops are sounds that are produced by completely obstructing the flow of air
in the oral cavity.
The feature continuant distinguishes stops from fricatives. Fricatives are
+continuant while stops are continuant. Clements (1985: 7) state that Continuants
are formed with a vocal tract configuration allowing the airstream to flow through the
mid saggital region of the oral tract and stops are produced with a sustained occlusion
in this region`. Thus Boersma (1998: 17) concludes Iricatives are complex, since the
correct spatial relationship between the active and passive articulators must be very
precisely controlled in order to maintain turbulent airIlow`. According to Yavas,
(2005) along a scale of sonority (loudness of a sound relative to that of other sounds
with the same length stress and pitch) on which sounds are placed by value from one
(least sonorous) to ten (most sonorous) stops are some of the least sonorous and are
in the lower end of the scale. The sonority profile of Radford et al. (2003: 89) too
provides approximate values for the degree of sonority of different classes of sound
starting from the least: plosives, fricatives, nasals, and approximants to vowels. Thus
voiceless oral stops have the least sonority because there is no acoustic energy during
the closure in the vocal tract and fricatives have a relatively higher sonority when
compared with the stops.
Discussing stridency Calabrese (1995: 376) classifies strident sounds as marked
acoustically by greater noisiness than their nonstrident counterparts. Stridency is a
natural consequence of the type of constriction found in fricatives. According to
Clements (1985: 5) strident sounds are produced with a complex constriction forcing
the air stream against a secondary obstruction in the case of /f/ the sharp edges of the
upper teeth. They further state that the change of /f/ into /p/ would also be a change in
stridency.
The following comparison classifies the similarities and the multitude of
differences in the manner of articulation (highlighted) which increases the
markedness of /f/.
/p/ /f/
Bilabial Labiodental
Voiceless Voiceless
- continuant + continuant
No turbulence Turbulent airstream mechanism
101
Lower in sonority Higher in sonority
- stridency + stridency
Articulatorily simple Articulatorily difficult
Thus in expense of effort and markedness taxonomies the fricative /f/ is higher
than the dental /p/ and substitution of /p/ for /f/ is retreat to the unmarked. Yavas
(2005: 131) concurs stating that substituting stops for fricatives is moving to a more
unmarked class from a marked class.
7.2.2 The entry of a Sinhala grapheme for the English f
The encroachment of the superstrate English /f/ into the Sinhala graphemic
inventory has a history of its own. The first appearance of a symbol for the consonant
f in the recorded history of Sinhala occurs 95 years after colonial contact in
Gunasekara (1891). Under the title A new letter to represent the sound /I/` he states,
Of the late years a symbol
145
... which is like the lower part of the Sanskrit
labial-sibilant called upadhmaniya, has been adopted by some to represent the
sound oI the English letter I` which is wanting in the Sinhala language. In the
absence of another more appropriate symbol it may be adopted with advantage,
giving it all the inflections proper to Sinhala letters. (ibid: 34)
But almost 50 years later the /f/ is not recorded in the consonant inventory in one
of the oldest comprehensive studies done on Sinhala by Geiger (1938: 9). He
classifies modern Sinhalese period as from the middle of the 13c. CE but does not
include a symbol for /f/ niether in the Sinhala grapheme nor in the phoneme
inventories.
Hundred years after Gunasekara recorded the existence and the acceptance of the
half symbol upadhmaniya, Disanayaka (1991) records the presence of the sound /f/ as
a labio-dental fricative in the 26 consonants identified in Sinhala (ibid: 33) and states
that the sound is produced at the upper teeth by the lower lip. He further claims that
the sound /I/ occurs only in words taken Irom English`, thus restricting its usage and
states that its nature and patterns oI distribution are not discussed` (p. 113) in his
research works. At present Wasala and Gamage (2005: 474) include /f/ as a labial
145

102
spirant in the inventory of consonant sounds in Sinhala ( see Table 8) and the
suggested symbol by Gunasekara (1891) the lower part of the upadhmaniya is used
as a grapheme in WS ( Table 13).
What could be derived from the above records is that though a symbol for the
sound /f/ was suggested as a representative for the absent letter f in Sinhala as far
back as in 1891, it did not gain currency at the stage of introduction. Later with a
plethora of English names and loanwords needing orthographical representation in
Sinhala, especially in print media, established it as a letter in the Sinhala orthography.
7.2.3 Attempts at assimilating f through loanwords: f to p
I trace an attempted entry of the sound /f/ into the phonology of Sinhala through
the multitude of English names given to Sri Lankans, during the British colonial
period
146
. This entry of the sound /f/ into the discourse of Sinhala users underwent
reorientation as they substituted the familiar unmarked /p/ and produced a unique
system of pronouncing English names. Following is a compilation from current print
media of a few names of western origin given to Sri Lankans where examples for
substitution of p for f and overuse of and free variation between p and f are
evidenced.
7.2.4 Free variation between f and p and overuse of f: current evidence from
Sinhala print media
(a) Obituaries from Sinhala papers, especially death notices of the older generation
provide examples for English names/designations where the letter f is
substituted with the Sinhala p in print media.
Loanword SBE pronunciation Sinhala orthographic representation and
with /f/
147
pronunciation with p
Joseph /zf/ jooshp
148
/o:p/ (Divayina, 18.04.2008: 02)
-do- (Divayina, 09.03.2009: IV)
146
According to Disanayaka (1976) the following names Fernando and Fonseka are of Dutch
origin and they too have the letter f substituted with p /p/.
Fernando /fu/ in Sri Lankan written English formats is very often pranaandu in WS and
/pr u/ in SS.
Fonseka /fonse:ka:/ is very often written as ponseekaa in WS and emerges as /ponse:ka:/ in SS.
147
SBE pronunciations of all the names are obtained from OALD.
148
103
Josephine /uzfi:n/ jospin
149
/ospin/ (Divayina, 15.12.2008: 02)
Francis /frd:nsts/ pransis
150
/prnsis/ (Divayina, 22.12.2008: IV)
Wilfred /wtlfrtd/ vilprD
151
/uilprq/ (Divayina, 17.04.2008: 02)
Christopher /krtstf/ krisTopr
152
/kris[opr/ (Divayina, 22.06.2009: 09)
-do- (Divayina, 15.07.2014: 04)
Philip /ftltp/ pilip
153
/pilip/ (Divayina, 22.06.2009: 02)
Fiscal /ftsko:l/ piskl
154
/piskl/ (Divayina, 18.04.2008: 02)

(b) Substitution of p for f in other words
Loanword SBE pronunciation Sinhala orthographic representation and
pronunciation with p
Facial /fet[l / peeshl
155
/pe:[l/ (Divayina, 09.02.2012: 17)
-do- (Divayina, 03.09.2012: 18)
Food /fud/ puD
156
/puq/ (ibid)
Future /fju:c/ piyuch
157
/pju:c/ (ibid)
(Hand) cuff /ktf/ kap
158
/ktp/ (Divayina, 14.01.2012: 11)
Freedom /fri:dm/ priiDm
159
/pri:qm/ (Divayina, 23.12.2011: 24)
Formalin /fo:mltn/ poomlin
160
/po:mli:n/ (Divayina,18.12.2013: 15)
149
150

151
152

153

154

155

156

157

158

159

160

104
For Facial the first example above I provide a further example through an extract
from a news article from print media. It records an interview between a politician and
a journalist. The word occurs in recorded direct speech.
Figure 12: Sinhala letter for /p/ is substituted for /f/ in the word facial in print media
Source: Divayina irida Sangrahaya; July 13, 2014: 10
http://www.divaina.com/2014/07/13/politics05.html
Note the word facial occurring twice as an assimilated loanword from English
with the contour /pe:l/
161
where the Sinhala letter for p is substituted for f.
For the emergence of the SSLE pronunciation /fe:l/ the word should be written in
Sinhala as .
In the following extract the words highlighted construct a Sinhala borrowing of
the words fixed deposit (in a bank). In the assimilated contour f in fixed is substituted
with the Sinhala letter for p. In this instance too the word occurs in recorded direct
speech.
Figure 13: f in fixed substituted with the Sinhala letter for /p/
Source: Divayina; July 14, 2014 http://www.divaina.com/2014/07/14/mano06.html
161
In recorded direct speech an utterance could either be a direct transliteration of the speaker
pronunciation or it could symptomize the assimilated loan pronunciation of the journalist. Most
probably it could be the latter. For example the recorded pronunciation of the word facial as /pe:l/
in the utterance could either be a direct transliteration of the speaker pronunciation or it could
symptomize the assimilated loan pronunciation of the journalist.
105
Loanword SBE pronunciation Sinhala orthographic representation
and pronunciation with p
Fixed (deposit) /fikst/ piks/piks/
Also note that the word final consonant t has undergone deletion as Sinhala
discourages word final consonant clusters of which fixed has three.The confusion
regarding the correct use of the Sinhala grapheme in this area, whether it is p or f, is
further illustrated through the two translations given in the Madura English-Sinhala
Online Dictionary for the word formalin /f:mn/:
In this instance the user is given the choice to decide on the onset phoneme: /f/ or /p/.
(c) Overuse of f for p
Loanword SBE pronunciation Sinhala orthographic representation
and pronunciation with p
Plumber /plb flambar
162
/flamb (Divayina, 21.09.2008: 3)
Deep (extra cover) /di:p/ Diif
163
/i:f/ (Divayina, 18.02.2012: 16)
The final example above is from the sport page of Divayina where as seen in the
extract below the English words Deep extra cover are embedded in a matrix Sinhala
sentence.
Figure 14: Overuse of f in deep as Diif in Sinhala
Source: Divayina, 18.02.2012: 16) http://www.divaina.com/2012/02/18/sports01.html
162

163

106
The borrowed words emerge in Sinhala as Diif exraa covers
164
graphemically with
the pronunciation /i:f eksra: ka(r)s/. Not only the overuse of f in the Sinhala word
Diif but also a word mid consonant deletion in exraa is evidenced.
(d) Overuse of p and f
Loanword SBE pronunciation Transliteration of the Sinhala
orthographic representation
Free press /fri: pres/ pree fress
165
/pri: fres/ (Divayina, 27.02.2012: II)
This study cites further evidence for overuse and lack of consistency in the use of
f and p from print media.
(e) Retention of f and the substitute of letter p for f within one article: (Divayina:
02.12.2008: 16)
Loanword SBE pronunciation with p Transliteration of the Sinhala
orthographic representation
with f with p
Pacific /pf/ pasifik
166
/psifik/ pasipik
167
/psipik/
The high regularity of the occurrence of the above usages in Sinhala print media
evidences the multifarious cross relationship between f and p in WS. Direct grapheme
to phoneme conversion will extend this to SS. The transference of this practice to
English discourse results in a deviation from a core norm in SSLE.
7.2.5 Transfer of the familiar practice of free variation of p and f + overuse of f
to OVSLE pronunciation
The transfer of the intricate correlation between /p/ and /f/ in many words
borrowed into Sinhala is evidenced during English speech discourse and this practice
164

165

166

167

107
is a characteristic of OVSLE pronunciation. Gunesekera (2005) identifies this
through the following examples.
Word SSLE pronunciation OVSLE pronunciation
Profit /prf/ /frf/ (p. 126)
Paddy field /p fi:l/ /ffi:l/ (p. 123)
In sum this study identifies that though f and /f/ cannot be categorized as an alien
grapheme and phone in contemporary WS and SS respectively they still cause
pronunciation difficulties to S/OVSLE bilinguals. They either substitute the more
familiar /p/ or overuse /f/ in Sinhala. Cross language influence transferring this
familiar practice to SLE speech discourse when pronouncing /f/ in English lexicon
identifies the S/OVSLE bilinguals as deviating from a core norm of SSLE. On the
other hand the SSLE users utilize pragmatic mechanisms to differentiate L1/L2
phonological grammars and remain faithful to their L2 pronunciation in all
occurrences of /p/ and /f/ even in English loanwords in Sinhala
168
.
7.3 Substitution of for /s/ and free variation in S/OVSLE bilinguals
Discussing the distribution of English /s/ and In English Rutter (2011) states
that /s/ and are sibilant fricatives that differ by place of articulation while /s/ is
classified as alveolar, is generally described as palato-alveolar. According to
Perkell et al. (2004b) the production of the sibilants /s/ and can be distinguished in
principle by the absence of a sublingual cavity for /s/ vs. presence of a sublingual
cavity for . They state that if contact was registered between the tongue and lower
alveolar ridge, it was assumed that there was no sublingual cavity. Furthermore in the
case of /s/, the tongue is retracted horizontally without an elevation whereas in the
tongue is elevated and follows the palate contour. Thus based on the front cavity size
to be generated for producing the phonemes the alveolar /s/ < palato-alveolar
English. This makes higher in expense of effort and thus in markedness.
168
Two SSLE users who were required to read the loanwords cited in 7. 2.4 (a) (e) in Sinhala print
media were faithful to the SBE pronunciation in the target area and retained the /f/. In some
instances they did commence with faithful grapheme to phoneme conversion but rectified the
violation of SSLE norms immediately as they comprehended the Sinhala words consisted of
assimilated loanword contours.
108
7.3.1 The influence of the orthographic and phonological free variation of /s/, //
and // in Sinhala
The Sinhala alphabet has three different letters named kada sayanna
169
(Dental
/s/), golu sayanna
170
(Palatal //), and maha sayanna
171
(Retroflex //) with the
significations broken sa letter`, dumb sa letter` and large sa letter` respectively
(Gunasekara, 1891: 28)
This study considers it pertinent to record the diverse transliterations used by
linguists under survey to arrive at a general uniform transliteration format.
Table 22: Transliterations used by linguists Ior /s, and /
Source Representation Dental Palatal Retroflex
Disanayaka (1991: 118) Fricatives
/s/ //
Karunatillake (2001:4)) Spirants
172
/s/ //
Rajapaksha (1993: 8) Fricatives
/s/ // //
IPA Fricatives
/s/ //
173
//
The IPA symbols above would be used generally henceforth but author usage will
be retained or mention would be made of changes in citations.
7.3.1.1 Development of OIA to OS: s, and
Karunatillake (2001: 14) states that there was a coalescence of the three sibilants
//, //, /s/ with the dental sibilant /s/ in all positions within a word in OS phonology.
The phonemic consequence of this change is the loss of the three-way contrast
among dental = retroIlex = palatal sibilants oI OIA in OS`.
Representation of the change (ibid):
174
169

170

171

172
The spirants involve the same restriction of the speech canal as fricatives, but the speech organs
are substantially less tense during the articulation of a spirant. Rather than friction, a resonant sound
is produced at the place of articulation.
173
In IPA it is a post alveolar but according to Rajapaksha (1993: 8) it is a palatal fricative in
Sinhala.
109

//
/s/ /s/
//
Karunatillake (2001: 116) states that all lexemes showing the graphemes and
occur in loanwords from Sanskrit. Karunatillake (ibid) further states,
There are examples from the contemporary and later literature attesting a
dental pronunciation of the sounds represented by both of these symbols and
there is no structural evidence attesting a phonemic status for these symbols for
Sinhala. The distributional impact of the loanwords containing the segments
was the increase of the frequency of /s/ in Sinhala.
Karunatillake (1989: 99) provides the following sole example for one rare
instance where the // is articulated in Sinhala.
Spirants - // = /s/: /o:k/ fine
Records of orthographic evidence (13c. CE) from the Sinhala texts cited by
Karunatillake (2001: 116)
175
establish that there was not only coalescence but also an
orthographic free variation of the three graphemes s, and in OS.
1. // written as <s>
Skt. veta written as <sveta > white (Pansiya Panas Jataka Pota: 70)
2. // written as <s>
Skt. akara- written as <aksara> letters (Yoga Rathnakaraya : 159)
3. /s/ written as <>
Skt. /da:si/ written as /da:i/ 'servant girl' (Dharma Pradeepikava: 310)

174
The usage of Karunatillake (2001) , s, for palatal, dental, retroflex spirants respectively are
retained instead of IPA /, s, / in all citations from Karunatillake (ibid) in this section. Other
notations < > for lexicon etc. too are retained faithfully.
175
My highlighting.
110
Thus according to Karunatillake (2001) not only grapheme to phoneme
conversion paradigms between SS and WS but also the free variation of s, and in
WS originated during the development of OIA to OS. But literature bears evidence
that scholars recording these usages at a later date considered the free variation of the
fricatives as mistakes.
7.3.1.2 Mistakes` in the use of s, and (Gunasekara, 1891: 61)
Documenting the existence oI mistakes` in the Sinhala linguistic community oI
the 19c. CE, Gunasekara (1891: 46) states that all words written with the grapheme
for the sound // are Sanskrit borrowings`. The Iollowing examples are extracts Irom
Gunasekara`s list oI mistakes`.
(a) Substitution of or for s Gunasekara ,1891: 61-66
176
Correct orthography Wrong orthography Signification
and pronunciation with s` and pronunciation
with or
atiis
177
/ati:s:r/ atiish
178
/ati::r/ dysentery
aasan
179
/:sn/ aashan
180
/:n/ seat
sak
181
/sk/ shak
182
/k/ doubt
(b) Substitution of s for or :
Correct pronunciation Wrong pronunciation Signification
with or with /s/
dashT
183
/d a/ (63) dasT
184
/d as/ bitten (by a snake)
176
The Sinhala words are transliterated and their pronunciation added by this author. The Sinhala
words for examples in (a) and (b) as given in (Gunasekara, 1891) are footnoted while the
highlighting is mine.
177

178

179

180

181

182

183

111
ashv
185
/a/ (62) asv
186
/as/ horse
dushT
187
/ (63) dusT
188
s/ wicked
Thus evidence obtained from records of Gunasekara (1891) given above illustrate
that the user of Sinhala as far back as in the 19c. CE has been familiar with the
practice of substituting and for s and s for and in orthographic representations
and free varying their phonemic equivalents during pronunciation.
7.3.1.3 Modern linguists in support of coalescence of the two sibilants //, // with
the dental sibilant /s/ in SS
Though Gunasekara (1891) records the correct vs. wrong orthography and
pronunciation in Sinhala, Disanayaka (1991: 13) discussing Standard Spoken
Sinhala, states that there are two broad variations in style: formal and colloquial.
According to Disanayaka (ibid: 117) Spoken Sinhala as used by educated speakers
in formal style, contain many words in which the palatal fricative sounds occur. In
writing such words, either the palatal fricative letter equivalent of // or the retroflex
letter denoting the sound // is used, depending on the conventions followed in
writing such words in Sanskrit`. But within the inIormal spoken variety oI Sinhala,
Disanayaka (ibid)
189
identifies the following usages where the letter sh emerges as /s/
instead of the //.
Word and transliteration Colloquial SS Signification
(Disanayaka, 1991:118) (Disanayaka, 1991:13)

daksh
191
/ ak/ / aks/ clever

184

185

186

187
188

189
My transliteration of Sinhala orthographic representations in Disanayaka (1991). My
highlighting.
190
In my experience most Sinhala speakers would retreat further and pronounce the words as
/dass/, /lass/ and /rassa:/ respectively
112
laksh
192
/lak/ /laks/ ten thousand
rakshaav
193
/raka:/ /raksa:/ job
Furthermore Disanayaka (1991: 115) records that the lexical item shrii lanka
/ri:lanka:/ has the palatal fricative sound //.
Sinhala word Signification in English Transcription of Signification
shrii lanka /ri:lanka:/ Sri lanka /sri:lanka:/
Agreement comes from Rajapaksha (1993: 40) who states that majority Sinhala
pronunciation of the word shrii lankav
194
/ri:lanka:/ is /sri:lanka:/.
Thus this study identifies the following pronunciation and orthographic practices in
the contemporary user of Sinhala.
(a) The lack of phonemic status for the // and // in CSS where the diglossic
nature of the language authenticates the letters and in Sanskrit orthographic
representations being pronounced as /s/.
(b) The indiscriminate practice of free variation between the letters s, and in
Sinhala orthography.
The above linguistic paradigms in Sinhala influence the S/OVSLE bilinguals in
their English speech discourse. Additionally a high frequency of occurrence of the
former practice (b above) is evidenced in Sinhala print media from which examples
are compiled below.
7.3.2 Current practices in loanword usage in Sinhala print media: Free variation
of graphemes s, and
The free variation of the graphemes for //, // and /s/ in orthography has been
recorded in the history of the evolution of Sinhala. The following examples illustrate
that this practice has currency in contemperory Sinhala print media too.

191

192

193

194
113
a) Free variation of s, in a Sanskrit word in the thathsama wordstock of Sinhala
Evidence for the indiscriminate use of the graphemes s, and in modern
orthographic usage comes from Iridaa Divayina Sangrahaya dated 30.03.2008. The
occurrence of the word vilaashy
195
/vila:j/ one instance) and vilaasy
196
/vila:sj/
(twice) within the same article keTikathaav short story) indicates that modern
publications provide evidence and authenticate such indiscriminate usages as
orthographic free variation between s and even within one article.
b) Free variation of s, in a English loanwords in the thadbhawa wordstock of
Sinhala
With colonization a plethora of English loanwords which required the phonemic
emergence of // entered the thadbhawa wordstock of Sinhala. The familiar diglossic
practice of pronouncing graphemes denoting and as /s/ and free variation of , s
and in orthography are, this study states, transferred to the assimilation and
pronunciation of English loanwords with the phonemes /s/ and //. The grapheme to
phoneme conversion rules of the phonological grammar and the markedness
constraints of Sinhala are thus considered as difficult to suppress when English
loanwords are assimilated to the vernacular.
Some examples for other usages are given below.
1. Substitution of Sinhala grapheme s for // in English loanwords
English Loanword with // WS assimilation with s /s/
Brush /br/ bras
197
/bras/ (Divayina: 13.07.2012: IV)
Pressure /pre/ presr
198
/presr/ (Divayina: 05.09.2012: 15)
2. Orthographic overuse of or for /s/ in English loanwords
English Loanword with /s/ Sinhala assimilation with /
Licence /laisns/ laishan
199
/lain/ (Divayina, 01.05.2008: 3)
195
Signification: way (something looks or behaves)
196

197

198

114
Briefcase /bri:fkeis/ brifkeesh
200
/bri:fke:/ (Iridaa Divayina Sangrahay,
21.02.2010: 11)
Sunshine
201
/snain/ shanshayin
202
/najin/ (Divayina: 07.08.2012: 15)
Boxing /bks bokshin
203
/bokin/ (Divayina: 28.08.2012: 06)
Seychelles /seilz/ shiishels
204
/i:els/ (ibid)
-do- (Divayina: 05.09.2012: 01)
Christy /krst/
205
krishTi
206
/krii/ (Divayina 05.01.2012: 21)
Troposphere /trpsf/ Troposhfiy
207
/ropofij/ (Divayina, 17.11.2010: III)
Yeast /ji:st/ iishT
208
/i:/ (Divayina, 31.01.2014: 08)
Evidence is provided below for the final example through the extract from the paper.
Figure 15: Substitution oI // Ior /s/ in Sinhala print media
Source: Divayina, 31.01.2014: 08; http://www.divaina.com/2014/01/31/feature01.html
The highlighted word in the above is the Sinhala assimilation for the English word
Yeast /ji:st/. If the word is transliterated faithfully to Sinhala it would be denoted as

199

200

201
The name oI an elders` home in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka.
202

203

204

205
This in a Sri Lankan name presumably abbreviated from Christopher /kristf OALD).
206

207

208

115
. Thus in the above extract substitutes // for /s/ orthographically and the
grapheme to phoneme conversion results in the overuse of // resulting in the
emergence of /i:/. Also note the deletion of the word onset /j/.
Two further instances where WS orthographically records as the grapheme s in
print media are given below. These bear evidence for an interlocutor functioning in
Sinhala discourse embedding the English word seat /si:t/ (in a bus) in a
predominantly Sinhala utterance and the emerging pronunciation is /i:t/ (sheet a
different lexical item).
i. eyaa issraha shiiT
209
- ekee giyaa
/eja: issrha i:- eke: gija:/
that person front seat went
[That person went in the front seat]
ii. mam passe shiiT- ekee giyaa
/mam passe i: - eke: gija:/
I back seat went
[I went in the back seat]
Source: Divayina; September 23, 2009: 13
In both instances the usage shiit /i:t/ was for a seat /si:t/ in a bus. If the grapheme
to phoneme conversion is direct the reader pronunciation will emerge as /i:t/. If
transferred to English discourse this confusion of /s/ and // identifies users of OVSLE
in the speaker and the recorder of the direct speech.It is suggested that the origin of
the above linguistic practices have emerged in the average native user of Sinhala,
who unable to identify the correct orthographic norms of use for the Sinhala
graphemes s, and without consulting a grammarian; either ignores the correct
usages or accepts them as viable alternatives in orthography. The diglossic currency
of /s/ emerging for and in orthography is due to the markedness constraints of
CSS. The confusion in this area transfers into the pronunciation patterns of the user
of OVSLE as free variation between // and /s/ or over use of //. This is aided by
Sinhala print media where a high frequency of occurrence of English loanwords with
markedness-based repair strategies is evidenced.
209

116
Conversely the SSLE user makes a clear differentiation between the two
phonemes. Crawford (2007: 43) states that competent bilinguals utilize their higher
knowledge of the L2 phonology and lexicon, instead of relying solely on the L1
phonology and lexicon in perceiving and producing a loanword`.
Thus the S/OVSLE practice of free variation between /s/ and // and over use of //
in English discourse are identified as the transference of an existing linguistic
behaviour in Sinhala to SLE pronunciation. According to Kandiah (1965: 149),
What in practice Sinhalese learner (oI SLE) is doing then is eIIecting a complete
reorientation of the system oI English Ior his use`. The following evidence from
literature indicates that the overuse and free variation of /s/ and // has been
transferred to the pronunciation of words in OVSLE speech discourse.
Source Word OVSLE pronunciation
Gunesekara (2005: 126) cell /l/
Kandiah (1965: 161) seat /i:/
This influence of Sinhala identified in the S/OVSLE bilinguals defines them as
users of a dialect different from SSLE thus resulting in dialectal variation in SLE
pronunciation.
7.4 Insertion of the lax front close vowel // before consonant clusters with word
onset /s/.
The retreat to the unmarked in word-initial bi/tri consonantal clusters with word
onset /s/ is evidenced in the S/OVSLE bilinguals while the S/SSLE bilinguals remain
faithful to the markedness ranking of SBE and retain the SBE pronunciation for these
clusters. One causal factor for this is identified as the non volitional transfer of a
familiar diglossic practice in Sinhala which had restructured the syllable margins of
loanwords from other languages such as Sanskrit to form its own legal syllables. In
the evolution of Sinhala this retreat to the unmarked in the assimilation of Sanskrit
words was first recognized as mistakes by linguists but evolved as diglossic practices
at a later stage. Discussing syllable assimilation in English lexical items theory is
scaffolded through the Sonority Sequencing Principle.
7.4.1 Sonority Sequencing Principle and word onset clusters
Yavas (2005: 131) states,
One of the governing principles of syllable structure is sonority. The principle
involves a sound and the degree of opening of the vocal tract during its
117
articulation. To be specific, the more open the vocal tract is for a sound, the
higher its sonority will be.
Clements (1990) and Yavas, (2005, 2006) postulate that sonority is vital to the
structure of a syllable and the Sonority Sequencing Principle (SSP) is a universal
disposition for onsets to exhibit a sonority rise from peripheral segments towards the
nucleus but decrease in sonority towards the word final coda position. The following
is an adaptation of the sonority profile by Carlisle (2001: 4).
Figure 16: Sonority profile of a syllable
Nucleus
vowels
Onset glides glides Coda
liquids liquids
nasals nasals
fricatives fricatives
stops stops
Flow of sonority
Carlisle (ibid) further states,
Universally preferred complex onsets are constructed by selecting a segment
lower in the sonority scale and following it with one higher on the scale. For
example complex onsets consisting of a stop followed by a liquid and a glide
adhere to the Sonority Sequencing Principle. Complex codas are formed by
selecting a segment higher in the scale and following it with one lower on the
scale.
The Phonetically grounded sonority scale of Parker (2002: 236) cited in (Pons,
2010) adds further criteria to this profile.
low vowels > mid vowels > high vowels > // > glides > laterals & // >
flaps > trills > nasals > /h/ > voiced fricatives > voiced stops > voiceless
fricatives > voiceless stops & affricates
Parker (ibid: 295) concludes that sonority is a scalar phonological Ieature which
classifies all speech sounds into an autonomous hierarchy. It is thus a theoretical
primitive oI Universal Grammar`. But according to Clements (1990) violation of
universality of Sonority Sequencing Principle can occur as a sonority plateau as in
118
sphere /sfi/or a reversal sonority profile (spin /spin/) and as illustrated both forms
occur in English. Furthermore Carlisle (2001: 5) states that preference for a CV
syllable is an absolute substantive universal. Based on the above theory this study
examines the syllabification papradigms of Sinhala.

7.4.2 Syllabification of Sinhala
Chandralal (2010: 40) states that indigenous Sinhala words do not have consonant
clusters with the exception of prenasalized stops. Only the lexical forms of the
tathsama word stock have consonant clusters. The tadbhawa forms are distinguished
from tathsama forms because they are integrated into the native language by
necessary alterations of the CV-CV types. He further states (ibid: 34) that to the
native tongue, elaborate clusters in loanwords are not palatable. Thus simple
alternations with CV-CV structures are used. Discussing syllables in Sinhala
Weerasinghe et al (2005) identify four legal syllable structures for words belonging
to the nispanna category which are of local origin: V, VC, CV and CVC while
Karunatillake (1989: 101) restricts the syllabic structures CCV, CCVC, CVCC to
loanwords.
7.4.3 Emergence of Sanskrit words in WS and SS pronunciation
The high occurrence of Sanskrit words bearing complex onset syllables with the
initial consonant s in WS makes the Sinhala users retreat to an unmarked syllable
margin during pronunciation. As seen in the Sanskrit words given below WS (a) has
complex word onset clusters. During pronunciation Sinhala inserts /i/ at word onset
(b) and changes the onset syllabic structure of the words as follows:
Figure 17: The foot structure of Sanskrit words and alterations in Sinhala pronunciation
(a) WS (b) SS Signification
1. stuuti /su:i/ /isu:i/ thanks



O N O N O N O N O N

s u: i i s u: i
CCV-CV VC-CV-CV
119

2. sthir /s
h
ir/ /isir firm, fixed



O N O N O N O N O N

s
h
i r i s i r
CCV-CV VC-CV-CV
Thus the Sinhala speaker has assimilated the Sanskrit CCV structures in WS by
retreating to the simple VC onset in SS which is permissible in Sinhala and generates
less expense of effort.
7.4.4 Assimilation of Sanskrit words to Sinhala: Mistakes evolving as diglossic
variation
More than a century ago, recording a correct vs. wrong dichotomy in usage,
Gunasekara (1891) compiles a list oI mistakes` in the orthographic and phonological
practices within the Sinhala linguistic community. It has to be noted that all of the
cited examples are Sanskrit words. His list oI mistakes` (ibid: 62) includes the
following.
Insertion of the lax front close vowel /i/ at word initial position by the user of
Sinhala as a correct/wrong dichotomy (Gunasekara, 1891)
Correct orthography Wrong pronunciation Signification
and pronunciation
strii
210
/sri:/ istrii
211
/isiri:/ wife, woman
sthan
212
/s isthan
213
/is place
stuuti
214
/su:/ istuuti
215
/su:/ thanks
210

211

212

213

120
sthira
216
/sr/ istira
217
/sr/ firm, fixed
sprsha
218
/spr/ isprsa
219
/sprs/ touch, feeling
The correct` versions oI these lexical items possess the word initial bi-
consonantal clusters /s/ /s/ and /sp/ and Gunasekara classifies the insertion of the
initial /i/ as wrong pronunciation and orthography`. Though Gunasekara (1891) lists
the Iirst example given above as wrong pronunciation and orthography` during that
era, a later linguist Rajaspaksha (1993: 44) records this practice as a feature of
diglossic variation.
Orthography Pronunciation Signification
strii
220
(p. 44) /isri:/ woman
The above example bears evidence that the familiar pronunciation practice of the
Sinhala speaker, inserting the lax front close vowel /i/ before the initial bi-consonantal
cluster /s/ in pronunciation of Sanskrit words in Sinhala, has gained linguistic
recognition and is no longer categorized as a mistake`.
Evidence for the absence of these initial consonant clusters in SS is found in
records oI Sinhala word phonology` by Karunatillake (1998: 89). Karunatillake does
not list the consonant clusters sk-, skr-, sp-, spr- and st- as word initial clusters used
in colloquial Sinhala spoken around Colombo and its northern suburbs. This
evidences that the SS pronunciation consists of an initial /i/ inserted before the cluster
moving it to a medial position.
7.4.5 Portuguese contact setting and loanwords in tadbhawa wordstock
A remarkable evolutionary procedure can be traced in the sinhala word iskoole
(school). Rajapksha (1993: 42) records the Sinhala lexical item iskoole /isko:le/
which is a colloquial SS semantic equivalent for the more formal words paasal

214

215

216

217

218

219

220

121
/pa:sl/, viduhal /vid uhal/ mainly used in WS. All three words carry the
transliteration school. The degree of usage of iskoole is indicated by its inclusion by
Rajapaksha (1993: 42) as an example for a word medial consonant cluster sk- in SS.
According to Hettiarachchi, (1965) the word iskoole has its origins in Portuguese.
Hettiarachchi (ibid) states that by the 17c. CE, a multitude of Portuguese words had
gained stability not only in SS but also in WS. As an indication of degree of usage of
the language he states that until 1808 the church masses were conducted in
Portuguese. The integration of some Portuguese loanwords with the word initial /is-/
to Sinhala is given below:
Portuguese word
221
WS assimilation
222
SS pronunciation Signification
escola /isko:la/ iskoole /isko:le/ school
Strijkijzer /istikjze/ istirikk-y
223
/istirikk-j/ iron
Stal /ista:l/ istaal-y /ista:l-j stall/stable
Stoep /isto:pi/ istooppu-v /isto:ppu-/ verandah
Note the complete faithfulness to the word initial /is/ in the Portuguese
pronunciation which illustrates the parity in the syllabification rules
224
of the two
languages in the markedness of word initial consonant clusters beginning with /s/.
The Madura English-Sinhala Online Dictionary records the words below
signifying that they are loanwords assimilated into the thadbhawa wordstock of
Sinhala with the signification school, iron, stable and verandah respectively.
221
The word and pronunciation obtained from Google translate. (Retrieved on November 10, 2012
from http://translate.google.com/#ta/pt/%E0%AE%B8%E0%AF%8D%E0%AE%95%E0%AF%82%E0%A
E%B2%E0%AF%8D).
222
The four Sinhala words are respectively,

223
-y is a case marking suffix in Sinhala. Here it is combined with a Portuguese word to indicate
the singular definite.
224
Word initial consonant clusters with /s/ are not allowed in Portuguese and speakers of the
language tend to insert a vowel sound beIore the /s/, pronouncing sports` as isports/esports`, and
study` as istudy/estudy`. http://confidentvoice.com/pronouncing-consonant-clusters.html
122
The above are iskoolay /isko:l-y/; istirikk-y /isirikk-j/; istaal-y /isa:l-j;
istooppu-v /iso:ppu-/ respectively.
Thus when the assimilation paradigms of Sanskrit and Portuguese are compared it
is evidenced that Sinhala retained the unmarked word initial consonant clusters with
/is-/ of Portuguese in WS and SS. On the other hand during grapheme to phoneme
conversion it nativized the pronunciation of Sanskrit word initial consonant clusters
with s to the unmarked onset /is-/ in Sinhala.
Wasala and Gamage (2005: 476) state that words which belong to tadbhawa
categories do not completely adhere to the syllabification rules imposed in the
language from which the word is originated. Syllabification of such words will
naturally be altered according to the ease of pronunciation to the existing syllable
structures in Sinhala. It is argued that this retreat to the unmarked onset syllables in
Sinhala during grapheme to phoneme conversion is nonvolitionally and nonelectively
transferred to the English lexical pronunciation by the S/OVSLE bilingual during
loanword assimilation from English.
7.4.6 BE contact setting and English loanwords in tadbhawa wordstock
According to De Lacy`s (2006a; b) Theory on Reservation one vowel Irom a
language`s inventory is consistently used by speakers to nativize ill-formed
consonant clusters in contact languages. Thus the practice of inserting the lax front
close vowel /i/ before the initial consonantal clusters commencing with s in Sanskrit
gained further currency after the colonial encounter with English. The English
syllable hierarchy contains the following among others: CCVC, CCCVCC. Thus a
number of loanwords borrowed into Sinhala from English contained the initial
consonant clusters such as sk-, skr-, sp-, spr- and st-. When the user of Sinhala
encountered these lexical items the assimilation process translated the initial bi/tri
consonantal clusters into medial positions.
Proof comes from Karunatillake (1989) who records the words isTeesm and
iskriin in his compilation Sinhala word phonology. They are but English loanwords
which have undergone an onset syllable assimilation process when they were
borrowed from English into the SS word stock as illustrated below.

123

English loanword Sinhala assimilation
WS SS
Station /stein/ isTeesm /ise:sm/ (Karunatillake, 1989: 91)
CCVCC VC-CV-CV-CV
Screen /skri:n/ iskriin /iskri:n/ (ibid: 92)
CCCVC VC-CCVC
As the following words are recorded in the Madura English-Sinhala Online
Dictionary too the currency of these words in the thadbhawa wordstock of Sinhala is
confirmed.
Thus during the process of assimilation of these English loanwords to the recipient
language Sinhala, the result was not a direct transfer of the loanword but an
integration of an equivalent lexical item with a different syllabic contour. The
distinctive characteristic of this new shape is the insertion of the lax front close vowel
/i/ before the initial consonantal cluster. This shows a marked linguistic interference
from the syllabification grammar of the recipient language Sinhala during
transference. Current Sinhala print media provides evidence for the insertion of the
lax front close vowel in English loanwords in WS.
7.4.7 English loanword assimilation paradigms with word initial /i/ insertion
fromSinhala print media:
English loanword Sinhala assimilation in WS
and transliteration
Scan /sk:n/ iskaan /isk:n/ (Divayina,18.06.2009: IV)
CCVC VC-CVC
124
Spare (wheel) /spe/ ispeaa /ispe/ (Divayina 06.03.2012:17)
CCVV VC-CVV
(Z) score /sk:/ iskoor /isko:r/ (Divayina,12.08.2012: 6)
CCV VC-CVC
Skirt /sk/ iskert /isk:/ -do-
CCVC VC-CVC
The initial CCV, CCCV structures in the English loanwords given above consist
of word onset bi-consonant clusters with an initial s which are illegal structures in
Sinhala. A distinction pertinent in the Sinhala system that an initial syllabic structure
should confirm to V, CV, VC or CVC structures was imposed on the pronunciation
of Sanskrit words in WS and this practice was transferred to English words which
consist of alien CCV or CCCVC structures. Thus during the process of assimilation
of English loanwords to WS the resultant change introduces an initial vowel /i/ which
bestows the loanwords an initial VC structure which is familiar to the user of Sinhala.
It is suggested that when the Sinhala WS structure of these loanwords in print
emerges in SS the OVSLE speech community gets familiar with the pronunciation
and this further influences the transfer when the target language is English.
7.4.8 Insertion of the lax front close vowel // evolving as a characteristic OVSLE
pronunciation
This study recognizes that a stronger influence of Sinhala markedness ranking
constraints and a more intense affinity to legal syllable structures of Sinhala makes
S/OVSLE speech community resist faithfulness to SBE and retreat to an unmarked
word onset syllable in Sinhala. In contrast the S/SSLE bilingual speech community,
more aware of the disparity in the phonological grammars in their two languages,
violates the markedness constraints of Sinhala and remains faithful SBE
pronunciation. This promotes accurate production of the word onset bi/tri clusters
with an initial s. Within the S/OVSLE bilinguals the following practices follow a
sociolinguistic trajectory as follows:
a) Historically the speaker of Sinhala carried out the diglossic practice of inserting
the lax front close vowel /i/ in grapheme to phoneme conversion of Sanskrit words
in WS with the initial consonantal clusters beginning with sk-, str-, sp-, and st-.
125
b) On the other hand during the Portuguese colonial contact many words with word
intitial /is-/ combination were borrowed to Sinhala. Portuguese like Sinhala
prohibits consonantal clusters beginning with sk-, str-, sp-, and st-. Thus these
borrowings retained their word intitial /is-/ combination though some other
nativizations emerged.
c) Then the nonvolitional and nonelective crosslinguistic transfer of the practice of
inserting the lax front close vowel /i/ in grapheme to phoneme conversion of
Sanskrit words is witnessed during the superstrate lexical loan assimilations from
English. For example words with initial clusters sk-, skr-, sp-, spr- and st- were
assimilated into the orthography of Sinhala with the insertion of an initial /i/.
During grapheme to phoneme conversion SS retained the assimilated contour.
d) The S/OVSLE bilingual strongly faithful to the syllabification rules of their
dominant language Sinhala and influenced by assimilated English loan phonology
used in Sinhala speech discourse nonvolitionally retains the nativized
pronunciation. Thus it is suggested that the syllabification rules and assimilated
loan phonology of Sinhala has a strong influence on the speech discourse of
OVSLE users.
Literature provides evidence that this retreat to the unmarked is transferred to the
pronunciation of the speakers of OVSLE.
Source Word OVSLE pronunciation
Fernando, C. (1976: 352) screw /skru:/
Gunesekera (2005: 126) scholarship /skolip/
school /sku:l/
225
Thus according to linguists Fernando, C. (1976: 352), Gunesekera (2005: 126) and
others, the S/OVSLE bilinguals reorganize the SBE syllabic structure by introducing
an initial /i/ for the unfamiliar consonantal clusters beginning with /s/. Thus for
225
Note the close similarity between the pronunciation of the Portuguese to Sinhala asimilation
/isko:le/ and the OVSLE pronunciation /isku:l/.
126
example they would use iskuruppu niyn /iskuruppu nijn/ during Sinhala discourse
and would transfer the familiar pronunciation to the English word screw driver and
produce /iskru: draiv/ when the target language is English
But the S/SSLE bilinguals do not betray interference from Sinhala as the
competence to select SBE faithfulness over markedness of syllabification rules of
Sinhala is brought into play. Thus they either retain the separate pronunciation
patterns within the two codes in their repertoire for these lexical items or habitually
extend the SBE pronunciation in SS discourse. For example, S/SSLE bilinguals
would use iskuruppu niyn in WS and /iskuruppu nijn/ in SS but retain the SBE
pronunciation /skru: draiv/ for the lexical item screw driver in English speech
discourse. On the other hand /skru: draiv/ would be used both in SS and SSLE
discourse depending on the individual.
Thus causal factors for the OVSLE speaker inserting the lax front close vowel /i/
before an initial consonantal cluster commencing with /s/ in English words are the
influence of the syllabification grammar of Sinhala and the interference of a familiar
practice during prior Sanskrit word assimilation paradigms in Sinhala and its
transference to the pronunciation of English words.
7.5 The word initial /z/ to /s/: OVSLE pronunciation
/z/ is a marked phoneme in the ranking of Sinhala and the consonant inventories
of Disanayaka (1991: 113), Geiger (1938: 39) and Wasala and Gamage (2005: 474)
do not record the sound /z/. Thus it could be argued that the OVSLE speaker due to
the markedness of the sound /z/ in Sinhala retreats to the familiar unmarked /s/ in all
positions of a word.
Furthermore in English /z/ is a grooved sibilant. The tongue tip forms a groove
with the alveolar ridge rather than lying flat against it. The Sinhala /s/ is a dental
fricative in which the sound is produced at the teeth ridge by the tip of the tongue
(Disanayaka 1991: 113). Thus the expense of effort in the articulation of /z/ is higher
than for /s/. Furthermore when /z/ occurs in English loanwords in WS graphemically
it is denoted by s. These characteristics of Sinhala influence the pronunciation of the
user of OVSLE. As a result they retreat to the voiceless /s/ in English speech
discourse violating an SSLE norm.
The use of the grapheme s in word initial position in Sinhala orthography in print
media when the loanword demands /z/ is denoted below.
127
SBE and SSLE Sinhala
zip /zp/ sip
226
/sp/ (Divayina, 21.01.2012:12)
zone /zo:n/ soon
227
/so:n/ (Divayina, 12.08.2012: 05)
zebra /zi:br/ siibra
228
/si:bra/ (Karunatilleka, 1992: 397)
Madura English-Sinhala Online Dictionary records the following words evidencing
their presence in thadbhawa wordstock of Sinhala.
In all words above the alien phoneme z is substituted with the unmarked s word
initialy. Also note that Zucchini /zuki:ni/ is written in Sinhala with a faithful
grapheme to phoneme conversion for the Sinhala letter for the English ch and
emerges as suchiini /suci:ni/. The transference of this retreat to the unmarked in
OVSLE bilinguals is recorded by Gunesekera (2005: 126) who highlights the use of
/s/ for word initial /z/ as in /su:/ for zoo /zu:/. But recall that the S/SSLE bilinguals do
not nativize the word initial z. They retain the phoneme word initially.
7.6 Vowel epenthesis: The influence of the inherent vowels of Sinhala consonants
on OVSLE pronunciation
The presence of the inherent vowels // and /a/ ( see 3.4) affects the grapheme to
phoneme conversion paradigms of Sinhala. This too is recognized as a causal factor
for the nativization of SBE pronunciation in OVSLE bilinguals.
226

227
was used in Sinhala for the word Zone in Free Trade Zone.
228

128
The practice of associating an inherent vowel to consonant graphemes in Sinhala,
this study argues, results in vowel epenthesis when English loanwords are
pronounced in Sinhala. The following English loan assimilations from Sinhala print
media illustrate that the emerging inherent vowel to the word mid consonant in each
word separates the word final consonant clusters in SS.
Chandralal (2010: 29) states that in Sinhala when only the consonant value is to be
indicated, a special symbol hal marker that functions as the inherent vowel remover
is added to the consonant. Note the presence of the hal marker in the word final
Sinhala grapheme for the consonant l
229
in each of the above words and the lack of it
in the word mid consonant grapheme. Thus the word final consonant does not have
an inherent vowel while the lack of an inherent vowel remover in the highlighted mid
consonant of each Sinhala word makes it emerge with the inherent vowel as seen in
highlighted areas of Sinhala pronunciation. Thus what is noted above is that
influenced by the phonological grammar of Sinhala the epenthetic inherent vowel //
is used to break the word final consonant clusters. Furthermore word final consonant
clusters are illegal in Sinhala.
Attention is requested to the /n/ /na/ assimilation in the final word novel. In this
instance the usual substitution of /o/ for // is not utilized by the user of Sinhala.
Instead as there is neither a grapheme nor dictrictics to denote the /o/ and in the
absence of the vowel remover the selection is between the two inherent vowels //
and /a/ in Sinhala. According to Disanayaka (1991) in first syllable of a word Sinhala
disallows the vowel //. Thus a phonological rule in Sinhala influences the
pronunciation /nal/.
The transference of these practices in Sinhala phonological grammar to OVSLE
user pronunciation is evidenced when Kandiah (1965: 163) states that vowels are
229

129
introduced to separate elements in a cluster` by learner English users. He provides the
following examples of pronunciation.
Word SBE pronunciation Learner English user pronunciation
Apple /pl/ /pl/
bottle /btl/ /b
Though the first practice above of introducing epenthetic vowel to split the word
final consonant cluster in the word apple is identified as a learner difficulty by
Kandiah (1965: 163) perceptive observation denotes that in contemporary usage this
practice extends to some S/SSLE bilinguals too. Similarly observation further
evidences that many users of SSLE pronounce Novel /nvl/ as /nal/ but bottle /btl/
emerging as /b is strictly a feature of OVSLE. Thus caution has to be summoned
in generalizing most vowel epenthesis practices including the following which do not
extend to S/SSLE bilinguals.
The following examples from Karunatilleka (1989) illustrate that other forms of
vowel epenthesis are familiar practices in English loan assimilation patterns to
Sinhala.
Word SBE pronunciation Sinhala word and
pronunciation
Plan /pl:n/ plaan /:n/ (Karunatilleka, 1989: 93)
CCVC CV-CVC
Curl /k:l/ kerel /kerel/ (ibid: 94)
CVC CV-CVC
Cutlet
230
/ktlt/ kaTlis /klis/ (Karunatilleka,1992: 375)
CVC-CVC CV-CV-CVC
License /laisns/ laisen /laisn/
231
(ibid)
CVCCC CV-CVC
What is noted is that the above four assimilations are accepted as belonging to the
thadbhawa wordstock of Sinhala by Karunatilleka (1989). Through perceptive
230
This is not a thick piece oI Iish or meat grilled or Iried` (OALD). In the Sri Lankan context it is
a mixture of fish/meat and other food like potato in a globular shape dipped in batter/egg white,
covered in bread crumbs and deep fried.
231
Note the word final consonant deletion too.
130
observation it could be suggested that of the four recorded assimilated loanwords
above even the monolinguals rarely use the first three emergences while the
pronunciation of License /laisns/ as /laisn/ can extend to the users of OVSLE and
bilinguals who adhere to norms of SSLE pronunciation.
7.7 Syllable omission and emergence of the unmarked syllable
Personal observation denoted that syllable omission is evidenced in a number of
English loanwords used with a high frequency in day to day discourse amongst
Sinhala speech populations. My personal experience is that many undergraduates in
local universities pronounce the two words below with the syllable omission in
Sinhala discourse.
Pronunciation
SBE S/OVSLE
Library /laib /laibri/
CVC-CV-CV CV-CCV
Identity (card) /aidentt /aieni/
V-CVC-CV-CV V-CVC-CV
The following is an example for the usage /ideni/ and /laibri/ in Sinhala speech
discourse by an undergraduate:
Mam laibri giyaa. iDenTi-y vTila.
/mam laibr aien v
I library went identity dropped
[(when) I went to the library. The identity (card) (has) dropped]
Though these omissions are uncertain practices it could be stated that transference
of these practices are not restricted to OVSLE users. Some educated SSLE users
232
232
My daughter, who is a user SSLE, during her undergraduate phase at a Sri Lankan university,
started the practice of pronouncing these two words (library and identity) with the stated syllable
omissions.She produced what I had categorized as an OVSLE usage in English speech discourse.
Much effort was used to move her away from this practice and adhere to the norms of SSLE, but in
my presence the hasty move to SSLE pronunciation of the two words was witnessed. The haste
evidences that at the university in Sinhala/English speech discourse she habitually used what I had
assumed to be an OVSLE loanword repair.
131
practice the syllabic omissions given above where the pronunciation remains SSLE in
matrix English contexts other than for these target words.
It was deemed that this area needed further investigation. Scanning current print
media evidence for syllable omission was ascertained. It was noted that to generate
uncomplicated syllabic structures the English loanwords undergo syllabic clipping as
evidenced in the following examples.
(a) Syllable omission
SBE SSLE Sinhala
1. Exercise /ekssaiz/ /ekssais/ eksais /eksais/ (Divayina, 06.01.2012: 6)
VC-CV-CVC CV-CVC
2. Temporary /temprr//emprr/
233
Tempri /empri/ (Divayina, 06.01.2012: 6)
CVC-CV-CV-CV CVC-CV-CV
The following example of the embedding of the loanword temporary in a Sinhala
matrix sentence comes fromDivayina (04.03.2012, miivith: 02).
adhi veegii margy-ee Tempri vaD kalaa
/ad
h
i ve:gi: ma:rgje: empri kla:/
Highway- genetive temporary work did
[(I) did temporary work at the highway]
Based on the above evidence syllable omission encroaching OVSLE user
pronunciation is a current strategy for less expence of effort in the enunciation of
multisyllabic English words.
Discussing the emergence of the unmarked syllable Kandiah (1965: 163)
recognizes one form as excluding one or more of the elements in a cluster. Cluster
simplification, he states, consist of some identified phonological practices among the
233
Speakers of SSLE frequently use the American English pronunciation /temprr/ in free
variation with the SBE equivalent /temprr/. If the pronunciation /temprr/ is the focus yet again
the repair should be under syllable omission.
132
speech community who are classified as users oI learner English`
234
. Kandiah (ibid)
states that learner difficulties with final consonant clusters are revealed in the
following manner.
Word SSLE proununciation Learner proununciation
round /roun/ /roun/
/o:n/ /oon/
friends /frens/ /frens/
The above word final consonant deletion to simplify clusters is evidenced in
Sinhala print media as illustrated by the following extract.
Figure 18: Simplification of word final consonant clusters in Sinhala print media
Source: Divayina Irida Sangrahaya, July 13, 2014,Nimnaya: vi
http://www.divaina.com/2014/07/13/nimna04.html
The target word in the above extract is the assimilated loan contour for roast
(chicken) in English. As Sinhala discourages word final consonant clustures the final
t is deleted in the word.
Word Proununciation Sinhala assimilation
SBE SSLE
Roast /rs/ /ro:s/ roos /ro:s/
Tracing the linguistic trajectory what can be postulated is that a strong influence
of the syllabic grammar of Sinhala is witnessed in English loan assimilation
paradigms and a transfer of this loan phonology to English discourse identifies users
of OVSLE.
234
These populations deviate from SSLE pronunciation and in the typology of this book are users
of OVSLE.
133
7.8 The central vowel // substituted with //: a grey area
This is a grey area as though Gunesekera (2005) and Fernando (2006: 72)
recognize the substitution of the vowel // with // as a feature of SSLE
pronunciation some emerging contours under this category reflect usage of OVSLE.
Gunesekera (ibid: 127) claims that, 20 years ago, // being used in words such as
address was considered a characteristic oI OVSLE. She Iurther states that today, an
emerging trend of SSLE is the upward mobility of //` and sketches a totally non-
indigenous path` oI the inIluence oI American English.
Fernando (2006: 72) subdivides SSLE to Dialect 1 and Dialect 2. In her
classification she identifies the emergence of word initially such as in ability as a
defining pronunciation feature of Dialect 1 and states that it is an old fashioned,
super-standard, hyper-upper-crust dialect` and is the closest to SBE pronunciation`.
In Dialect 2 / is substituted with //. Fernando (ibid) clearly identifies words such
as ability emerging with word initial // or // as characteristics of SSLE. This study
compiles the following summary.
Table 23: Standard SLE dialects of the dialectal taxonomy in SLE (extracts from Fernando, 2006)
This study attempts to trace the origins to indigenous substrate influence of
difference in the markedness of // vs. and rules of phonological grammar in
Sinhala.
Dialect 2 Standard SLE dialects
Dialect 1 Dialect 2
Both dialects are used by powerful influential people who are gatekeepers of
prestigious spheres. (p. 72)
Can be considered as belonging to SSLE. Very acceptable in Sri Lanka. (p. 73)
Closest to SBE pronunciation. (p. 72)
Challenge from Dialect 2 is already
making Dialect 1 look an old
fashioned, super-standard, hyper-
upper-crust dialect. (p. 74)
ability pronounced as: /lt/ /blt/ (p. 72)
No complete consistency in the application of these rules.
Pronunciation is acceptable and unquestioned.
134
Comparing the expense of effort in the articulation of the two phones the vowel
// is pronounced with the bulk of the tongue in the front part of the mouth cavity.
The tongue is rather low in the mouth. The front of the tongue is slightly raised. The
lip position is neutral. The opening between the jaws is wide. This vowel may be
defined as front low-broad, unrounded, short and lax. The vowel // is central mid-
broad, unrounded, short and lax. Within the parameters of markedness low-front
vowels appear to be the most natural (unmarked) vowels (Sloate et al., 1978). Thus
// emerges as the less marked sound.
This study identifies not only a retreat to the unmarked but also a strong influence
of the rules in the phonological grammar of Sinhala in this area. Recall ( see 3.4)
that // is an inherent vowel in Sinhala and lacks a grapheme. Disanayaka (1991: 29)
postulates that,
The central vowel // differs from the other six vowels in Sinhala in terms of
the pattern of its distribution. Its difference is also reflected in the traditional
Sinhala alphabet, which does not contain a separate letter to symbolize this
vowel sound. In terms of distribution the vowel // does not occur at the
beginning of a syllable. This vowel sound occurs neither in the first syllable of
a word nor between two consonants of the same syllable. But all vowels
including // occur in the final position of a word.
Bandara et al (2009: 9) concur,
Sinhala writing system does not provide a separate symbol for //. In terms of
distribution, the vowel // does not occur at the beginning of a syllable.
Thus the rules pertaining to the usage the vowel //, states that,
Rule 1: In first syllable of a word (Disanayaka, 1991) and at the beginning of a
syllable (Bandara et al, 2009., Disanayaka, 1991) Sinhala disallows the vowel
//.
Rule 2: Sinhala disallows the vowel //, between two consonants of the same
syllable (Disanayaka, 1991)
When English loanwords were borrowed, the substrate influence of Sinhala made
the assimilations adhere to the above rules as exemplified below.
135
a) Abiding by Rule 1 the word onset a // in English loanwords is denoted by the
Sinhala grapheme for // in WS and SS retains the sound in pronunciation:
SBE AE
235
Sinhala
Address /dres/ /drs; drs/ aDDrs
236
(ek)
237
/rs/
Anaemia /ni:m/ /ni:mi/
238
aniimiyaa
239
(v) /ni:mja:/
Assistant /sstnt/ /sstnt/ assisTan
240
/sisn/
Advance /dv:ns/ /dv:ns/ advans
241
/:ns/
242

Annex /neks/ /nks; nks/ aneks
243
/neks/
244
What is evidenced in the above examples is that adhering to Rule 1 Sinhala
disallows the vowel // in the initial position of the first syllable of a word during the
assimilation to the vernacular. Thus the Sinhala phonological rules influencing the
user of Dialect 2 of SSLE identified by Fernando (2006) can not be negated. Recall
that she considers Dialect 1 as the closest to SBE pronunciation which further affirms
the influence of Sinhala on Dialect 2.
But some words assimilated to the thadbhawa wordstock of Sinhala where the
vowel // is substituted with // when transferred to English discourse would
symptomize OVSLE pronunciation.
b) Abiding by Rule 2 // between two consonants of the final syllable is substituted
with // in the following words recorded in literature as belonging to the
thadbhawa wordstock of Sinhala.
235
All AE pronunciation are obtained Oxford Advanced American dictionary (2010).
http://oaadonline.oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com/dictionary/American+
236

237
Limited to denoting the place where someone lives/ where letters can be delivered. Rarely used
as a verb in Sinhala.
238
Spelled as anemia.
239

240
Note that the word final t /t/ is deleted in the Sinhala assimilation.
241

242
Cited in Karunatilleka (1992: 350)
243

244
Cited in Karunatilleka (1992: 350)
136
Word Loanword in Sinhala
Telegram /telgrm/ Teligraam
245
/ligr:m/ (Karunatilleka, 1992: xv)
Cigarette /sigrt/ sigraT
246
/sigr/ (ibid: 374)
More evidence is illustrated through the following extract where the word
Cigarette /sigrt/ is denoted as sigraT in print media. Grapheme to phoneme
conversion results in /sigr/ a common emergence in OVSLE and monolingual
pronunciation.
Figure 19: Substitution of the vowel // with // in cigarette
Source: Divayina (14.01.2012: 16) http://www.divaina.com/2012/01/14/provin01.html
Though adherence to Rule 1 denotes a deviation from SBE and an accepted
pronunciation contour in SSLE, the retention of the Sinhala loanword pronunciation
in the examples of Rule 2 in English speech discourse is considered OVSLE
pronunciation. This makes the substitution of the vowel // with // a grey area.
The discussion which follows will connect cause- effect dynamics of the influence
of Sinhala on Sri Lankan English bilingual pronunciation with the deviations from
SBE in SSLE and deviations from SSLE in OVSLE speech communities.
245
where denotes /gr:/.
246
where denotes /r/.
137
Chapter eight
8.0 Discussion
Many comprehensive studies done by linguists (Fernando, C. 1976; Fernando, F.
1985; Gunesekera, 2005, Pass, 1948) contain contrastive analyses which classify the
deviant usages of the speaker of English in Sri Lanka. These deviations are classified
as between (a) SBE and SSLE and (b) SSLE and OVSLE. The first resulted in
defining the norms of SSLE while the latter identified dialectal variation in SLE
pronunciation.
My premise in this book selected several core pronunciation deviations from both
(a) and (b) categories and endeavored to identify the substrate influence of Sinhala as
one, albeit a very strong, causal factor for the existence of such deviations. This
endeavor identified, through cause-effect analysis, a direct influence of Sinhala
phonological grammar in the norm stabilization processes of SSLE in the examining
of Research question I. Then a stronger interference from the language specific
markedness constraint rankings, loan assimilation paradigms in Sinhala and
transference of English loan phonology of Sinhala to OVSLE pronunciation were
identified as causal factors for deviations between SSLE and OVSLE speech
populations which were examined through Research questions II and III. Core areas
of deviation in pronunciation in (a) and (b) are summarized as follows.
.
(a) The influence of the phonological grammar of Sinhala resulting in the
violation of faithfulness to SBE and creating six core SSLE norm forming
nativizations which underwent analysis are recorded below. The retreat to the
unmarked for each nativization is identified.
1 2 3 4 5
SBE /ei/ // [p
h,
t
h
,k
h
] / // /z/
247
//

SSLE /e:/ /o:/ /p, / / / / /s/ //

Glide omission Deaspiration Fricative Devoicing
to stop
247
Substitution of /s/ for /z/ is restricted to the medial and the final positions in SSLE.
138
Evidence for the influence of Sinhala on the above norm forming pronunciation
characteristics in SSLE is documented through lexical examples obtained from
literature and current print media.
But the S/OVSLE bilinguals reveal deviations from SBE which are not shared by
SSLE users. These deviations signify a more extended and deeper influence and a
resulting faithfulness to the phonological grammar of Sinhala. The following areas
were shortlisted for analysis and this study compiled evidence through word tokens
with the target pronunciation deviations from SSLE. This provides documentation for
the asymmetry between SSLE and S/OVSLE bilingual pronunciation which highlight
the the differing intensities of the influence of the phonological grammar of Sinhala.
(b) Violation of several selected SSLE norms in S/OVSLE bilinguals
i. The cause-effect analysis identified that markedness in the alien
phones, less expense of effort and diglossic norms in Sinhala resulted
in the following emergences.
1 2 3 4
SSLE // // /f/ /z/
248

OVSLE /o/ /s/ /p/ /s/
Vowel rounding Less expence Fricative to Devoicing
and up stepping of effort: no plosive
sublingual cavity
in /s/
ii. Resyllabification of illegal syllables in Sinhala:
5 6
SSLE sCC- CCVC- CVCC

OVSLE s- CV-CVC CV-CVC
Word onset syllable Vowel epenthesis
simplification to separate complex syllables


248
Substitution of /s/ for /z/ in all positions.
139
7 8
249
SSLE VC-CV-CVC CVCC

OVSLE CV-CVC CVC //
Syllable Word final Restrictive rules
Omission consonant deletion on the usage of
Based on the above dichotomy the following conclusions are constructed:
1. The influence of the phonological grammar of Sinhala is one, albeit a very
strong, identified causal factor for both the norm formation in SSLE and non
adherence to several of these norms in S/OVSLE speech populations.
2. Crosslinguistic dynamics between the asymmetry/symmetry of the
markedness constraint rankings of the substrate Sinhala and superstrate
English result in facilitation or the inhibition of the superstrate phonological
grammar. A higher competence in the donor phonological grammar facilitates
faithful transference in S/SSLE bilinguals in most instances. But in identified
areas they remain faithful to the markedness constraints of their L1, Sinhala in
this instance, resulting in norm formation. Such individuals together identify
the S/SSLE speech community and their pronunciation has gained
endonormative stabilization and codification.
3. S/OVSLE speech populations influenced intensely by the phonological
grammar of Sinhala inhibit a multitude of source language SBE pronunciation
characteristics which the S/SSLE speech community had transferred faithfully.
This results the dichotomy of transfer versus inhibition of the source language
phonological grammar.
the dichotomy of transfer versus suppression of SBE phonological grammar by
S/SLE bilinguals due to the influence of the phonological grammar of Sinhala is a
causal factor for the emergence of dialectal variation in SLE pronunciation.
249
A grey area.
140
By systematically analyzing the strong, multi-pronged influence of the phonology
of the vernacular Sinhala on S/SLE bilingual pronunciation evidence was compiled to
indicate that the asymmetry in the substrate influence of Sinhala resulted in norm
adherence in S/SSLE and the deviation from SSLE norms in the S/OVSLE speech
community. Furthermore evidence was compiled to indicate that the transfer of
assimialted Sinhala loan phonology to English speech discourse and the rise of the
use of CSS which has a high frequency of occurrence of loan phonology in functional
domains too further influence the S/OVSLE speech community.
Most importantly it is recognized that literature on SLE generally does not grant
due recognition to the influence of tacit and explicit rules of the phonological
grammar of Tamil on the Tamil/Sri Lankan English bilingual pronunciation.
Documentary evidence for 10 pronunciation features unique to T/OVSLE bilinguals
was compiled by Widyalankara (2014) and she provides acoustic profiles for the
absence of these features in S/OVSLE bilingual case study participants during lexical
pronunciation. Empirical investigation
250
on the influence of the distinctive language
specific markedness constraints unique to the phonological grammar of Tamil on
T/OVSLE bilingual pronunciation and the branching out of the T/OVSLE from the
S/OVSLE bilingual speech communities in the area of pronunciation is a dire
requisite within the genre of Sri Lankan Englishes.
250
A forthcoming study by this author will address this lacuna.
141
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