Singlish speak

Have a conversation in Sri Lankan english
Have a conversation in Sri Lankan english
By Time Out editors |

The colloquial English in Sri Lanka or Singlish has its own quirky frills and trills.
Drawing words out of the blue to mean something completely different to what they actually do, some of these are quite at home on wagging tongues and are here to stay!


‘men’: Allusion/reference: a manner of addressing the other during conversation and not to men in general.

‘Aney’: Allusion/reference: to say please, or plead with the hopes of drawing sympathy.

‘No?’: Allusion/reference: not used in a negative context but used to emphasise one’s circumstance or predicament

‘Shape’: Allusion/reference: to mean ‘not to worry’ or ‘no problem’

Maara one/Maara ones: Allusion/reference: to say ‘fine person or people’ with sarcasm
Will you: Allusion/reference: casual way of demanding or requesting.

Often heard in friendly exchanges, here’s a typical conversation happily coloured with these quirky terms. It’s fun, try it out yourself! 

A: Are you still on the way?

B: Yes men, I got lost on the way no?

A: What men, how many times have you come this way?
B: I know aney, but I think I took a wrong turn somewhere.
A: I am not giving directions again!

B: Aney tell will you. You live in the jungle!

A: Ok give me two minutes.
I will call you back.

B: Sorry aney, hope I am not keeping everyone waiting!

A: No, no shape, we’ve all been snacking

B: Maara ones you all are. Won’t even wait for the chief guest

A: Ha ha of course. Anyway wait will you. I will call soon.

B: Ok bye.

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