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Some of the differences can be explained by the substrate influence of the parent stock of the Vedda language.Sinhalese has many words that are only found in Sinhalese, or shared between Sinhalese and Vedda and not etymologically derivable from Middle or Old Indo-Aryan.The oldest Sinhalese Prakrit inscriptions found are from the third to second century BCE following the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, According to the chronicle Mahavamsa, written in Pali, Prince Vijaya and his entourage merged with two exotic tribes of ancient India present in Lanka, the Yakkha and Naga peoples.In the following centuries, there was substantial immigration from Eastern India (Kalinga, Magadha) in the Eastern languages (e.g.The most important difference between the two varieties is the lack of inflected verb forms in the spoken language.The situation is analogous to one where Middle or even Old English would be the written language in Great Britain.
An example of an Eastern feature is the ending -e for masculine nominative singular (instead of Western -o) in Sinhalese Prakrit.
There are several cases of vocabulary doublets, e.g.
the words mässā ("fly") and mäkkā ("flea"), which both correspond to Sanskrit makṣikā but stem from two regionally different Prakrit words macchiā and makkhikā (as in Pali).
There are also high frequency words denoting body parts in Sinhala, such as olluva for head, kakula for leg, bella for neck and kalava for thighs, that are derived from pre-Sinhalese languages of Sri Lanka.
The author of the oldest Sinhalese grammar, Sidatsangarava, written in the 13th century CE, recognised a category of words that exclusively belonged to early Sinhala.