Sri Lankan Culture

Naming

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  • For Sinhalese people, the name is comprised of three parts. The first name is the patronymic name of the father, ancestor or 'house' and often has the suffix ‘-ge’ (pronounced ‘gay’) at the end of the name. The second name is the personal name and the third name is the surname. An example of this naming structure is ‘Kaluhandhilage Hemachandra SILVA’.
  • Women change their surname to that of their husband’s at marriage but keep their patronymic name. Sinhalese people living in Australia often omit their patronymic name.
  • Many Sri Lankans adopt an English name when they come to Australia mainly due to the perception that their Sri Lankan name may be too long and difficult for others to pronounce.
  • Tamils generally have no family name. Their first name will be their father’s personal name, followed by their own name (e.g. Alagaratnam Rasiah).
  • Women will generally adopt their husband’s personal name upon marriage in place of the father’s personal name.
Sri Lanka
  • Population
    22.235 million
    [July 2016 est.]
  • Languages
    Sinhala (official) (74%)
    Tamil (official) (18%)
    Other (8%)
    Note: English, spoken competently by about 10% of the population, is commonly used in government and is referred to as the link language in the constitution.
    [2012 census]
  • Religions
    Buddhism (70.2%)
    Hinduism (12.6%)
    Islam (9.7%)
    Catholic Christianity (6.1%)
    Other (1.8%)
    [2012 census]
  • Ethnicities
    Sinhalese (74.9%)
    Sri Lankan Tamil (11.2%)
    Sri Lankan Moors (9.2%)
    Indian Tamil (4.2%)
    Other (0.5%)
    [2012 census]
  • Cultural Dimensions
    Power Distance 80
    Individualism 35
    Masculinity 10
    Uncertainty Avoidance 45
    Long Term Orientation 45
    Indugence -
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  • Australians with Sri Lankan Ancestry
    138,268
    Including Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamil and Sri Lankan (ndf)
    [2016 census]
Sri Lankans in Australia
  • Population
    109,849
    [2016 census]
    This figure refers to the number of Australian residents that were born in Sri Lanka.
  • Average Age
    41
  • Gender
    Male (51.1%)
    Female (48.9%)
  • Religion
    Buddhism (38.1%)
    Catholic Christianity (23.4%)
    Hinduism (17.8%)
    Anglican Christianity (5.7%)
    Other (2.7%)
  • Ancestry
    Sri Lankan (50.9%)
    Sinhalese (18.4%)
    Tamil (9%)
    English (4.3%)
    Other (17.4%)
  • Language Spoken at Home
    Sinhalese (47.4%)
    English (26.7%)
    Tamil (23%)
    Other (1.7%)
    Of those who speak a language other than English at home, 91.9% speak English fluently.
  • Diaspora
    Victoria (50.9%)
    New South Wales (27.4%)
    Queensland (8.9%)
    Western Australia (6.2%)
  • Arrival
    Prior to 2001 (53.5%)
    2001-2006 (17.3.%)
    2007-2011 (25.8%)
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