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Page Content

  1. About the Sinhala Script
  2. Browser and Font Recommendations
  3. Setup for Keyboarding
  4. Web Development
    1. Language Code: si (Sinhala)
  5. Sinhala Unicode Chart (New Page)

About the Script

Sinhala (Sri Lanka) is a syllabic alphabet in that it consists of consonants with vowel signs.

Although Unicode includes Sinhala, support from major software vendors has not caught up yet. Therefore many Sinhala sites may offer custom fonts or be written in the Latin alphabet.

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Browser and Font Recommendations

Test Sites

If you have your browser configured correctly, the Web sites above should display the correct characters. If you have difficulties, see list below for font and browser configuration instructions.

Fonts by Platform

Open Type Third Party Fonts

Read pages for instructions on whether it is Windows compliant or Linux compliant.

See also

Recommended Browsers


Macintosh OS X - in systems before OS X 10.7 Lion, some Sinhala vowel signs will be improperly displayed, even with the correct font installed.

Manually Switch Encoding

If you see Roman character gibberish instead of a South Asian script, you will need to manually switch from Western encoding view to the Unicode encoding under the View menu of your browser.


Setup for Keyboarding

Basic Setup

In order to integrate foreign scripts into your computer, you must set up "keyboard" or input utilities in your operating system. These utilities will allow you to switch between typing English and other languages in word processors and Web tools. This process will also make sure the correct fonts are installed and available on your operating system.

See instructions for Setting up Keyboards for details.

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Web Development

Sinhala Encoding and Language Tags

These are the codes which allow browsers and screen readers to process data as the appropriate language. All letters in codes are lower case.

Using Encoding and Language Codes

Computers process text by assuming a certain encoding or a system of matching electronic data with visual text characters. Whenever you develop a Web site you need to make sure the proper encoding is specified in the header tags; otherwise the browser may default to U.S. settings and not display the text properly.

To declare an encoding, insert or inspect the following meta-tag at the top of your HTML file, then replace "???" with one of the encoding codes listed above. If you are not sure, use utf-8 as the encoding.

Generic Encoding Template

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=??? ">

Declare Unicode

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8 ">


The final close slash must be included after the final quote mark in the encoding header tag if you are using XHTML

Declare Unicode in XHTML

<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" />

No Encoding Declared

If no encoding is declared, then the browser uses the default setting, which in the U.S. is typically Latin-1. Some display errors may occur.

Language Tags

Language tags are also suggested so that search engines and screen readers parse the language of a page. These are metadata tags which indicate the language of a page, not devices to trigger translation. Visit the Language Tag page to view information on where to insert it.

Unicode Chart with HTML Entity Codes

Unless a keyboard which supports Unicode is installed, you must use the Unicode chart for Sinhala and enter HTML entity codes.

PDF and Image Files

In some cases, your best options may be to use PDF files or image files. See the Web Development Tips section for more details.

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Script Basics

Computer Setup

Unicode Fonts

Read pages for instructions on whether it is Windows compliant or Linux compliant.
Note on OS X: These fonts can be installed on a Mac, but vowel marks may not display correctly.

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Last Modified: Tuesday, 30-Jun-2015 15:54:30 EDT