Sinhala, also known as Sinhalese in English, also known locally as Helabasa, is the mother tongue of the Sinhalese people, who make up the largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka, numbering about 16 million. Sinhala is also spoken, as a second language by other ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, totalling about 3 million. It belongs to the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. Sinhala is one of the official and national languages of Sri Lanka, along with Tamil. Sinhala, along with Pali, played a major role in the development of Theravada Buddhist literature. Wikipedia