The newest third edition of  Sinhala-English dictionary authored by erudite personality Buddhadasa Hewage was launched recemtly.It ia massive book that consists of more than two thousand five hundred (2500) pages perhaps the largest dictionary ever published in Sri Lanka. It contains more than one hundred and fifty thousand (150,000) English words translated from about ninety-five (95,000) Sinhala words mostly uncommon words translated to precision with dead accuracy as an author publication. The dictionary is of high value to Sinhalese native language students as there are Sinhalese words similar first to seek the English words could be easily found via the alphabetical order The dictionary has been approved by the Ministry of Education as an essential library book. Appended below are some excerpts from an interview a media personnel had had with Buddhadasa Hewage on his historical Sinhala to English dictionary.

Buddhadasa Hewage had been a teacher in 1998 close to retirement, when the idea had struck him.He had been jotting down words in a notes book.He had acquired this habit from his father who had advised him then to jot down new words as he came across. Then of course he has had absolutely no intention of compiling a dictionary. Buddhadasa had been collecting new words particularly as his father used to inspect his note book as to find out how Buddhadasa  was complying to his request. This initially was to his self satisfaction. As time progressed Buddhadasa passion for writing been a  retired teacher and service advisor had published two short story books in English thereafter two English translations of his two fictions, also three short story books in Sinhala. The foundation while working on collecting English words had given the basic idea of compiling a dictionary Sinhala to English useful to many rather later in his life.

Buddhadasa had been a creative writer having written a few novels and short stories in both Sinhala and English vernaculars. Because of this bilingual writing all by his thinking, Buddhadasa had found many similarities in English and Sinhala words. Hence invariably he had written the words he came across in his note book. Moreover he had not found a comprehensive Sinhala -English dictionary to find the meanings of many words which had instigated him launch to compile this dictionary. This he has affirmed how steps were initiated to commence compiling this massive Sinhala-English dictionary. On this subject some may add that an English-Sinhala could be more useful to find the Sinhala meanings of English words. But if you are a native language of Sinhala one needs to the relevant English word. The Malalasekera English to Sinhala dictionary serves the purpose to them.In that case one has to have a good knowledge of the English vernacular. The idea to publish this dictionary Buddhadasa confesses for the Sinhala native folks to find English synonyms for Sinhala words not particularly to help the rich English speaking people who attend international colleges and so on.

This dictionary as added by Buddhdasa is a comprehensive in comparison of all previous dictionaries published. The Sinhala -English dictionaries concept was initially recommended by British rulers.Hence they needed a Sinhala-English dictionary urgently as soon as they took control of the country wanted to learn Sinhala language well. The efforts to compile such a dictionary could  not be succeeded though attempts were made.  The first Sinhala-English dictionary containing 628 pages was published as far back in year 1821.This was further edited  and republished in year 1830  containing 852 pages. The next landmark was in year 1853 by Father  Charles Carter spending twenty years in the country compiled his own dictionary in year 1902.It was once more edited and re printed in year 1924.This dictionary according to Buddhadasa was the most accepted Sinhala -English up to then. After father Charles Carter’s dictionary a few more had been published , the first among them was Mudliya Mendis Gunasekera’s Sinhala-English dictionary printed in year 1915.Thereafter in year 1948 another exclusive Sinhala-English dictionary was published as the Sinhala-English Dharma Samaya. The most recent as disclosed by Buddhadasa was in year 1994 by Somapala Jayawardhana and that of Somapala Dematapitiya which was published in year 1995.The latest Sinhala-English dictionary  was published by Buddhadasa Hewage.This dictionary was published as an author publication as if the manuscript was give to a publisher he would get only ten percent of the sale amounts,  as it is unjust for author’s toil and effort made. This dictionary is now has made three publications to date which is the third edition.Buddhadasa had donated many dictionaries free to university students who had hailed from rural areas.

Buddhadasa has lamented that the Oxford advanced learner’s dictionary , the Tamil version has been distributed in overseas countries but not the Sinhala-English dictionary of Buddhadasa.It is time the related authorities in Sri Lanka should follow suite. But as Sri Lanka does not comply to certain standards in dictionary compiling one cannot just publish a dictionary in foreign countries particularly as one has to present the manuscript to the related publishers authorized board to take permission from the editorial board. Also, one must follow a certain standard in regard to print paper, colour, lay out which is not found in Sri Lankan mythology. However, Buddhadasa hopes to add Tamil words which would mean that it would be the only dictionary with English Sinhalese and Tamil words ever published.

If any one is interested in Buddhadasa Hewage Sinhala-English dictionary he could be contacted on whatsapp 0716834510 or mail buddhadasahewage25@gmail.com


Sunil Thenabadu e mail sthenabadu@hotmail.com  whatsapp 0061444533242