Explore the Language Spoken in Maldives: A Comprehensive Guide

 In Holidays, Maldives, Travel

Languages of Maldives: A Complete Guide

languages-of-maldives-a-complete-guide
Source: Holidify

Situated in the serene blue waters of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is famous for its breathtaking islands, lavish resorts, and lively marine life. Beyond its visual aesthetics, a Maldives tour offers an enchanting world where it possesses a rich cultural fabric, precisely woven with its distinctive linguistic heritage. Exploring the languages of Maldives provides an intriguing insight into the country’s history, culture, and identity.

Origin Of Dhivehi: Maldives National Language

origin-of-dhivehi
Source: Maldives Virtual Tour

Dhivehi Language in Maldives holds a prominent place in the language spoken in Maldives, serving as both the official and national language. It is deeply rooted in daily life, functioning as the main medium of communication in government affairs and social exchanges. Dhivehi unites the diverse island communities, playing a crucial role in maintaining social unity and cultural identity.

Originating from the Indo-Aryan language family, Dhivehi, the official language of Maldives has developed over centuries, shaped by influences from various languages through the Maldives’ extensive trade connections. Written in the distinctive Thaana script, Dhivehi is utilized in all official matters, educational systems, and daily conversations, bringing together the diverse island populations. Its importance is honoured through traditional literature, music, and storytelling, implanting Dhivehi deeply into the Maldivian way of life. 

Evolution of Dhivehi: Language Spoken in Maldives

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Dhivehi language in Maldives belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages, sharing linguistic roots with Sinhala, the language of Sri Lanka. Its evolution is a testament to the historical connections of Maldives with South Asia, the Middle East, and even East Africa. Over centuries, Dhivehi has absorbed influences from Arabic, Persian, Portuguese, and English, reflecting the dynamic trade routes of Maldives and its colonial history. 

Additionally, the language has developed unique articulation and grammatical features, distinguishing it from its linguistic relatives. This continuous adaptation and enrichment have made Dhivehi a living container of the Maldives’ diverse cultural interactions.

Characteristics of Dhivehi

characteristics-of-dhivehi
Source: Maaldif Online - جزر المالديف‎

The Dhivehi language in Maldives is written in the Thaana script, a unique writing system that reads from right to left, similar to Arabic. The origins of Thaana are intriguing; it is believed to have been derived from Arabic numerals and local symbols. This script is a critical aspect of Maldivian identity, symbolizing the nation’s rich cultural heritage.

Dhivehi is not a monolith; it features several dialects spoken across the atolls. The Malé dialect is considered the standard form, used in official contexts and media. However, each atoll has its variations, contributing to the linguistic diversity within the country.

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Popular Languages of Maldives

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The current tourism industry in Maldives has made English the most popular foreign language. It is the primary medium of instruction in schools and is extensively used in the tourism and hospitality sectors. Visitors will find that most Maldivians, especially in urban areas and resort islands, are proficient in English, making communication easy for international travellers.

Arabic, due to its religious significance in Islam, is also a prominent language in Maldives. Many Maldivians learn Arabic for religious purposes, as it is the language of the Quran. Moreover, the Maldivian education system incorporates Arabic studies, ensuring a degree of fluency among the populace.

Languages In Maldives: Beyond Dhivehi

languages-in-maldives-beyond-dhivehi
Source: SunOnline International

In the Maldives, people speak Hindi and Urdu because many South Asian workers live there. The country is close to India and Pakistan, so these languages are used in business and social interactions.

Sinhalese, the language of Sri Lanka, is also spoken in the Maldives. This is because Sri Lanka is nearby, and many Sri Lankan workers are in the Maldives, making Sinhalese an important language there too.

List Of Languages Of Maldives

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Source: TeachingEnglish

While Dhivehi stands as the official and most widely spoken among the languages of Maldives, the linguistic sphere of the islands is enriched by the presence of several other languages. Here is a comprehensive list of languages spoken in Maldives:

 

  • Dhivehi: The national and official language of Maldives, Dhivehi is spoken by almost the entire population. It serves as the primary means of communication in government, education, and daily life.

 

  • English:  English is widely used, particularly in education, business, and tourism. It is the main medium of instruction in schools and is commonly spoken in the tourism industry, making it an essential language for international communication.

 

  • Arabic: Arabic holds a significant place due to its religious importance in Islam. Many Maldivians learn Arabic for religious purposes, as it is the language of the Quran. It is also taught in schools and religious institutions.

 

  • Hindi and Urdu: With a substantial emigrant community from South Asia, Hindi and Urdu are commonly understood and spoken, especially among the Indian and Pakistani populations. These languages facilitate communication within the community and in various business sectors.

 

  • Sinhalese: Given the close geographical proximity and cultural ties with Sri Lanka, Sinhalese is spoken by the Sri Lankan community in the Maldives. It is particularly widespread in areas with a higher concentration of Sri Lankan emigrants.

 

  • Other Languages: Due to the Maldives’ status as a global tourism hotspot, other languages such as French, German, Italian, and Chinese can also be heard, primarily in tourist areas. Visitors and immigrants working in the tourism industry often speak these languages.

Suggested Read: Top 30 Places To Visit In Male Maldives

The Role of Language in Maldivian Society

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Languages of Maldives are more than just a medium of communication; it is a crucial component of society and their cultural identity. The Dhivehi, being the Maldives national language, in particular, is a symbol of national pride and unity. It is celebrated through literature, music, and core traditions, which play an integral role in preserving Maldivian heritage.

In contemporary Maldives, the government and educational institutions are keen on promoting Dhivehi while also encouraging multilingualism. This approach ensures that Maldivians can engage with the global community while maintaining their linguistic roots.

Conclusion

Languages in the Maldives reflect their richness in history and culture. Dhivehi is the main language, but English and other foreign languages are common too. Whether you’re a tourist, a language lover, or just curious about different cultures, knowing the languages spoken in the Maldives adds depth to your experience. As you travel around the islands, you’ll hear Dhivehi and other languages blending together, telling the story of a nation bound by its islands and its words.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many official languages does the Maldives have?

The official languages of Maldives are Dhivehi and English. Dhivehi is the national language of Maldives, while English is commonly used.

Is Hindi spoken in Maldives?

Hindi is occasionally spoken as one of the languages spoken in Maldives because of South Asian immigrants.

What are the major languages of Maldives?

 The major languages of Maldives are Dhivehi and English.

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