The language of the Maldivians is Dhivehi, a language which is placed in the Indro-Indian group of languages.
Dhivehi with its roots in Sanskrit and according to some researchers Elu, an ancient form of Sinhala, (spoken in Sri Lanka), is strongly influenced by the major languages of the region. The language has been influenced heavily from Arabic since the advent of the Islam in 1153 and English in more recent times, especially since the introduction of English as a medium of education in the early 1960s.
Given the wide dispersion of islands it is not surprising that the vocabulary and pronunciation vary from atoll to atoll, with the difference being more significant in the dialects spoken in the southernmost atolls.
The Maldivian script known as thaana was invented during the 16th century soon after the country was liberated from Portuguese rule. Unlike former scripts thaana is written from right to left. This was devised to accommodate Arabic words that are frequently used in Dhivehi. There are 24 letters in the thaana alphabet.