Malayalam (മലയാളം) മലയാളം

Malayalam is a Southern Dravidian language spoken mainly in the Indian state of Kerala in southern India, and also in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Lakshadweep, Puducherry and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. In 2011 there were about 35.5 million speakers of Malayalam in India.

There are speakers of Malayalam in a number of other countries, including: UAE (1 million), Sri Lanka (732,000), Malaysia (344,000), Oman (212,000), USA (146,000), Qatar (71,600) and Australia (53,200).

Malayalam at a glance

  • Native name: മലയാളം (malayāḷam) [mʌlʌjaːɭʌm])
  • Linguistic affliation: Dravidian, Southern Dravidian, Tamil-Kannada, Tamil-Kodagu, Tamil-Malayalam
  • Number of speakers: c. 38 million
  • Spoken in: India,
  • First written: 4th century AD
  • Writing system: Malayalam and Arabic scripts (current), Grantha, Vatteluttu and several other scripts (past)
  • Status: statutory provincial language in Kerala, Lakshadweep and Mahé, Puducherry in India

Malayalam is also known as Alealum, Malayalani, Malayali, Malean, Maliyad, Mallealle or Mopla. The name Malayalam means "mountain region", and comes from mala (mountain) and alam (region). Original the name referred to the land of the Chera dynasty (2nd century BC - 3rd century AD), which corresponds to modern Kerala and Tamil Nadu, and was later used to refer to the language.

Written Malayalam

Malayalam was first written with the Vatteluttu alphabet (വട്ടെഴുത്ത് Vaṭṭeḻuttŭ), which means 'round writing' and developed from the Brahmi script. The oldest known writing in Malayalam is known as the Edakal-5 inscription, is in the Vatteluttu alphabet, and dates from late 4th century or the early 5th century AD [more details].

A version of the Grantha alphabet originally used in the Chola kingdom was brought to the southwest of India in the 8th or 9th century and was adapted to write the Malayalam and Tulu languages. By the early 13th century it is thought that a systemised Malayalam alphabet had emerged. Some changes were made to the alphabet over the following centuries, and by the middle of the 19th century the Malayalam alphabet had attained its current form.

As a result of the difficulties of printing Malayalam, a simplified or reformed version of the script was introduced during the 1970s and 1980s. The main change involved writing consonants and diacritics separately rather than as complex characters. These changes are not applied consistently so the modern script is often a mixture of traditional and simplified letters.

Malayalam is also regularly written with a version of the Arabic script by Muslims in Singapore and Malaysia, and occasionally by Muslims in Kerala. Christians in Kerala used to write Malayalam with the Syriac script and use a variety of Malayalam known as Suriyani Malayalam in their liturgy.

Notable features

Malayalam alphabet (മലയാളലിപി)

Vowels (സ്വരങ്ങൾ svaram)

Malayalam vowels

Learn how to write and pronounce Malayalam vowels:

Vowel diacritics with ka

Malayalam vowel diacritics ka

Consonants (വ്യഞ്ജനങ്ങൾ vyanjanam)

Malayalam consonants

Notes

Learn how to write and pronounce Malayalam consonants:

A selection of conjunct consonants

Malayalam conjunct consonants

Numerals (അക്കങ്ങൾ akkan̄n̄alla)

Malayalam numerals

Arabic script for Malayalam

Arabic script for Malayalam

ق ,غ ,ع ,ظ ,ط ,ض ,ص ,ز ,ذ ,خ ,ح are only used in Arabic loanwords.

Download alphabet charts for Malayalam (Excel)

Some information provided by Michael Peter Füstumum

Sample text

Transliteration

Manuṣyarellāvarum tulyāvakāśan̄n̄aḷōṭum antassōṭum svātantryattōtumkūṭi janiccavarāṇ. Anyōnyam bhrātrubāvattoṭe perumāṛuvānāṇa manuṣyannu vivēkabuddhiyum manaṣṣākṣiyum siddhamāyirikkunnat.

A recording of this text by Vijay Prabhu

Translation

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Sample videos in Malayalam

Information about Malayalam | Suriyani Malayalam | Phrases | Numbers | Tower of Babel | Learning materials

Links

Information Malayalam
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malayalam
http://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/usr/vipin/www/mal.html
http://www.malayalamresourcecentre.org

Online Malayalam lessons
http://www.learn-malayalam.com
http://websitefor.info/learn/malayalam/
http://www.entemalayalam.org
http://www.kpmalayalam.com
http://malayalamteacher.com
http://polymath.org/malayalam.php

Malayalam phrases
http://www.jaimalayalam.com/vegam_vegam_malayalam.htm
http://www.languageshome.com/English-Malayalam.htm

Online Malayalam dictionaries
http://www.prokerala.com/general/dictionary/
http://www.mashithantu.com/dictionary/
http://www.dictionary.tamilcube.com/malayalam-dictionary.aspx
http://malayalam.changathi.com/Dictionary.aspx
http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/gundert/
http://www.shabdkosh.com/ml/
http://olam.in

Malayalam fonts
http://www.wazu.jp/gallery/Fonts_Malayalam.html
http://www.prokerala.com/downloads/fonts.php
https://sites.google.com/site/fontpacksite/malayalam-fonts
https://sites.google.com/site/cibu/
http://www.horomatching.com/KattaFont.aspx
https://smc.org.in/fonts/

The Bible in Malayalam (Unicode)
http://216.156.35.218/Default.asp

Online Malayalam news
http://www.mathrubhumi.com
http://www.malayalamanorama.com
http://tvnew.in/

Online Malayalam transliterator
http://www.writeka.com

Dravidian languages

Badaga, Brahui, Dhundari, Gondi, Irula, Jatapu, Kannada, Kodava, Kolam, Konda, Koya, Kurukh, Malayalam, Mukha Dora, Ravula, Sankethi, Savara, Sunuwar, Suriyani Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Toda, Tulu, Yerukula

Syllabic alphabets / abugidas

Ahom, Badaga, Balinese, Batak, Baybayin (Tagalog), Bengali, Bilang-bilang, Bima, Blackfoot, Brahmi, Buhid, Burmese, Carrier, Chakma, Cham, Cree, Dehong Dai, Devanagari, Ditema, Dives Akuru, Dogra, Ethiopic, Evēla Akuru, Fraser, Gond, Goykanadi, Grantha, Gujarati, Gunjala Gondi, Gupta, Gurmukhi, Hanifi, Hanuno'o, Ibalnan, Inuktitut, Javanese, Jenticha, Kaithi, Kadamba, Kannada, Kawi, Kerinci, Kharosthi, Khema, Khe Phri, Khmer, Khojki, Kulitan, Lampung, Lanna, Lao, Lepcha, Limbu, Lontara/Makasar, Lota Ende, Magar Akkha, Malayalam, Manpuri, Meroïtic, Masarm Gondi, Modi, Mon, Mongolian Horizontal Square Script, Nandinagari, Newa, Ojibwe, Odia, Pahawh Hmong, Pallava, Phags-pa, Ranjana, Redjang, Sasak, Satera Jontal, Shan, Sharda, Siddham, Sindhi, Sinhala, Sorang Sompeng, Sourashtra, Soyombo, Sundanese, Syloti Nagri, Tagbanwa, Takri, Tamil, Thaana, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, Tigalari (Tulu), Tikamuli, Tocharian, Tolong Siki, Varang Kshiti


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