The country’s primary language is Dhivehi. Interestingly enough, Dhivehi is a unique mixture of Arabic, English, Hindi, Sinhalese and Urdu. Hence it is similar to many of the languages spoken in North India, South East Asia, and Sri Lanka. Though there are a few dialects of Dhivehi spoken in the Maldives, formal Dhivehi is used in education and all government transactions.
Of course, since tourism is a major industry in the country, almost all popular international languages are such as English, German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese are widely spoken, especially at the hotels and resorts. Most travelers will easily find someone who can communicate with them fluently.
Dhivehi is the official language of the Maldives. It is spoken by the Maldives’ native population, which numbers roughly 340,000 people. Around 10,000 people in the Indian Lakshadweep Islands also speak Dhivehi.
Dhivehi is a distinct language with its own script, Thaana. Unlike the Latin alphabet used in English and many other languages, Thaana is written from right to left. The Thaana script is thought to have evolved from the Arabic script, which Arab traders introduced to the Maldives in the 12th century.
The first evidence of Maldivian literature dates back to the 12th century and is known as Lōmāfānu (copper-plate grants). Lōmāfānu is Maldivian’s oldest known written form.
With the influence of other languages such as Arabic, Hindi, Tamil, and English, the Maldivian language has evolved over time. As a result, Dhivehi contains a large number of loanwords from these languages.
Dhivehi has a subject-object-verb (SOV) sentence structure and is an Indo-Aryan language. It also contains a complicated verb conjugation system that takes into account tense, aspect, mood, person, and number.
Dhivehi is taught in all Maldives schools and is used in all official papers and proceedings. Dhivehi is extensively employed in mainstream media outlets such as television, radio, and newspapers.
While English is widely spoken in the Maldives, Dhivehi is still the primary language used at work, particularly in the construction industry. Many foreign workers from India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh learn Dhivehi due to the language barrier when communicating with colleagues and employers.
The Maldivian language, Dhivehi, is an integral aspect of Maldivian culture and identity. It reflects the Maldives’ unique history and traditions, and it remains a significant medium of communication for its people.