275 a thousand Tamilised Sinhalese names of villages, fields and estates have been collected. As early as the beginning ofthe 1 century their significance was recognised. But the main difficulty of using the evidence ofthese names - a difficulty that sterna from the fact that early forms are not available - is that of establishing the date oftheir origin. Despite this, however, they help us to draw the irresistible conclusion that the Sirijialese were settled inJaffna before the Tamils. For how else could one explainthe occurrence of such a large number of Tamilised Sinhalese toponynis in that small area 2 If we are to learn from the experience of scholars who studied the place names in Britainandinthe Scandinavian countries, the survival of Sinhalese elements inthe local nomenclature of a region now occupied by Tamuls will indicate to us certain important points In the first place, just as inthe case of English place names where Celtic elements revdal earlier Celtic occupation, the occurrence of Sinhalese elements inthe place names ofJaffna shows that the area was originally occupied by Sinhalese speakers 1. S.Kumaracuvami, . cit., 2. Cf., The publications ofthe English Place-name Society. S
27 who were responsible for giving Sinhalese names for villages, fields and estates The Y a-vaipava-inlai, the Tamil chronicle ofJaffna, confirms this when it states that there were Sinhalese people inJaffna at the time ofthe first Tamil colonisation ofthe area Secondly, the survival of Sinhalese elements inthe local nomenclature indicates a slow and peaceful penetration of Tamils inthe area rather than a violent occupation. This is in contrast with the evidence ofthe place names inthe Northcentral Province, where Sinhalese names have been largely replaced by Tami]. naxnes The large percentage of Sinhalese element andthe occurrence of Sinhalese and Tsmil conipounde inthe places names ofJaffna point to a long survival ofthe Sinhalese population and an intimate intercourse between them andthe Tamila This is also,borne out by the retention of some territorial names, like Valikmam (Sixth. VUligama) and Marcci (Nracci-rata), which points to the retention ofthe ].. E.Ekwal]., 'The Celtic Element', in The Introduction to the Study of English Place-names, ed. A.Mawer and F.LStenton, I, pt. 1, Cambridge 192 4 , pp. 17 If 2. pp.9, 24. 3. See infra, p.3ç! 4. Cf., E.Ekwall, . cit., pp. 17,27,28 and 31.