Get to Know the Basics of the Maldives Language

Nearly every country you visit has a unique language that the natives use. In Spain, they use Spanish. In France, they speak French – and the list goes on. The Maldives language is much the same. It’s unique to the Maldives and spoken by the natives.

While many of the locals also speak English quite well, it’s important to understand the basic words and the language just in case you need to use it. And it’s also showing respect to the locals to know a few words.

In this guide, we will share with you tips and tricks for the language of the Maldives. We will teach you some basic words and provide you with a general overview of the language and what to expect!

Check it out below.

A Guide to the Language of the Maldives

Language of Maldives

The Maldives country uses the Dhivehi language as its primary language. Dhivehi is a unique language that is not used in other parts of the world except for Maldivians. The Dhivehi language is said to be similar to Sinhalese, which is what is used in Sri Lanka. However, it’s not exactly the same.

Dhivehi combines attributes of an Indo-Aryan language. But that’s not all. Dhivehi builds on influences from the languages of the first settlers of the country. As an Indo-Aryan language, this includes aspects of Arabic, English, Portuguese, and Hindustani as well.

When it comes to writing Dhivehi, the symbols are Thaana alphabet symbols written from right to left, much like the Arabic language. If you speak a word that contains an “R”, this letter should be rolled if you can manage it.

Common Words and Phrases of the Dhivehi Language

You’re not going to learn to speak the official language of Maldives overnight. This Maldivian language can be complicated to learn. However, as the national language, it certainly won’t hurt to try to be familiar with the most common words and phrases.

If you’re heading to the Maldives, knowing these basic uses of the Maldivian language might just come in handy.

Take a look at these most common Maldives language words and phrases:

  • Assalaamu alaikum = Hello
  • Haalu Kihineh = How are you?
  • Adhes kohfa = Please or I beg you
  • Ran’galhu shukuriyaa = Thank you or fine, thank you
  • Aan = Yes
  • Noon = No
  • Kon nameh tha Kiyanee = What is your name?
  • Ingireysin vaahaka dhakkan ingeytha = Do you speak English?
  • Baajjaveri hendhuneh = Good morning
  • Baajjaveri reygande = Good night
  • Salaamai kurey = Help!
  • Baddhalu vee thi varah ufavejje = Nice to meet you
  • Aharenge namakee = My name is
  • Adhes kohfa = Please
  • Aaf kurey = Excuse me
  • Aafu kurey = I’m sorry

Notice that some of these terms are closely related in nature. Like Arabic, it can sometimes be challenging to discern the difference in words or phrases of the Maldivian language because of this.

There are many other phrases that you can utilize as well, but these will give you the basics of the national language to use on an as-needed basis. Remember that while this is the Maldivian language, the majority of people can also speak English. However, you may come across some who cannot. It’s also a great sign of respect to attempting to speak a few basic things as well.

Here is what a simple conversation or statement might look like using these phrases from the official language.

Assalaamu alaikum, haalu kihineh? Kon nameh tha kiyanee? Baddhalu vee thi varah ufavejje. Ingireysin vaahaka dhakkan ingeytha? Aharenge Namakee ____.

Hello, how are you? What is your name? Nice to meet you. Do you speak English? My name is ____.

You might also start your conversation with Baajjaveri hendhuneh (good morning) or baajjaveri reygande (good night) instead of hello (assalaamu alaikum). And, of course, you might answer their “how are you” (haalu kihineh) in the Indo Aryan language with a return ran’galhu shukuriyaa, which is Fine, thank you.

Should you be in a position in the Maldives where you need help, you can use the Indo-Aryan language to get that point across too, using Dhivehi terms like salaamai kurey to shout for help.

The Maldives official language of Divehi is certainly unique. Learn how to say hello in Maldivian language of Maldives and maybe try to memorize the sounds of some key terms of Dhivehi to be prepared for anything.

Other Language Spoken in Maldives

Local Maldives street

The Maldivians national language, both written and spoken, is Dhivehi. However, much of the population speaks English as well. In the schools, Maldivians learn the spoken and written forms of English, alongside Dhivehi, so the majority of the population is fluent in both.

There are Maldivians who did not attend or finish school, and this is the portion of the population that may not be familiar with English enough to have a conversation. They may understand a few terms, but they rely on their local national language for the majority of their communication.

English is the second most popular language on the Maldivian islands, which means if you speak English, then translation probably isn’t going to be an issue with most of the local people.

In addition to the top languages across the island, there are others that you might find here, like Arabic. It’s similar to Dhivehi and written from right to left, just like their local language. Much of the local language stemmed from Arabic, so this is reasonable. It’s also well-known because Islam is the primary religion of the islands.

In some areas, there are other languages that the Maldivian people are familiar with. This could include German and French in some cases, but these languages are not as well-known throughout the islands.

Get to Know Gestures and Manners of the Maldivian Culture

The languages of different countries aren’t always about the written terms or what everyone speaks. Sometimes these languages are also related to gestures as well as manners. In Maldivian culture, understanding gestures and manners is part of understanding the languages there.

These are closely related to Arabic in Maldives and tied to the Islam religious expectations as well. In Maldives, the local community primarily leaves the tourists to do their own thing. They are warm and welcoming but will not approach you in general.

They also expect you to show the people of Maldives respect, just as they show you. You can wave and greet, be friendly, and smile, and all of these are acceptable. In Maldives, be careful not to use inappropriate language or hand gestures, as these could be offensive to many.

The Maldives people remove their shoes at the threshold of a home. If you visit a Maldives home, be kind and leave your shoes at the door. This is a respectful gesture in Maldives.

Dining Etiquette

As you dine in Maldives, use proper table manners. Do not eat until all guests are at the table. As you leave, bid your company good night. Bonus points if you can say it in Dhivehi! You can also impress the dinner table with Maldivian people by using terms like adhes kohfa to say please and thank you.

Aaf kurey and aafu kurey, excuse me, and I’m sorry, respectively, could be used if you need to get someone’s attention or must move away from the table for a moment.

Providing respect to the Maldivian lifestyle is really primarily about basic manners.

Here are a few tips you can use at a Maldivian dinner to show respect:

  1. Don’t turn down things offered to you
  2. Leave a few small bites on your plate
  3. Allow all guests to be seated before you start eating
  4. If you invite guests, you pay the bill for those guests
  5. If eating with Maldivian people, avoid pork and alcohol while dining

General etiquette isn’t just about understanding some basic Maldivian Dhivehi words, but also about respecting their culture as a whole.

Dhivehi is the Primary Language of Maldives

Dhivehi is the Maldives language to be familiar with. The words are much like Arabic in many ways, and the symbols are even written right to the left like Arabic as well. The Dhivehi language has parts of Sri Lanka, Arabic, and other dialects all brought together into one. They speak Arabic, some in honor of their Islam religion.

You will hear quite a bit of English in Maldives as well. The most common place to hear languages besides English is in the capital of Malé.

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What is the Maldives Language?

The official spoken word of Maldives is called Dhivehi or Divehi. This is also their written language. These two terms mean the same thing, it’s just written differently by certain locations.

Is Maldives an English Speaking Country?

Yes, Maldives people from Malé to the islands can speak English in many places.

Is Hindi Spoken in Maldives?

It can be, but it is one of the least common languages used in the country.

What is Dhivehi or Divehi?

This is the name of the primary languages spoken throughout Maldives. It is a unique dialect of this country. It comes from parts of Sri Lanka, Arabic nature, and other dialects combined.

What is the Written Language of Maldives?

The written dialect is also Dhivehi generally, which is written from right to left and is made up of a symbol alphabet.

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