Malayalam is a Southern Dravidian language spoken mainly in the 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 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.
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.
Learn how to pronounce Malayalam letters:
ق ,غ ,ع ,ظ ,ط ,ض ,ص ,ز ,ذ ,خ ,ح are only used in Arabic loanwords.
Some information provided by Michael Peter Füstumum
man̠uṣyarellāvaruṁ tulyāvakāśaṅṅaḷōṭuṁ antassōṭuṁ svātantryattōṭuṅkūṭi jan̠icciṭṭuḷḷavarāṇŭ. an̠yōn̠yaṁ bhrātr̥bhāvattōṭe perumāṟuvān̠āṇŭ man̠uṣyan̠ŭ vivēkabuddhiyuṁ man̠asākṣiyuṁ siddhamāyirikkunnatŭ.
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)
Online Malayalam lessons
Online Malayalam dictionaries
The Bible in Malayalam (Unicode)
Online Malayalam transliterator
Badaga, Brahui, Dhundari, Gondi, Irula, Jatapu, Kannada, Kodava, Kolam, Konda, Koya, Kurukh, Malayalam, Malto, Mukha Dora, Ravula, Sankethi, Savara, Sunuwar, Suriyani Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Toda, Tulu, Yerukula
Ahom, Aima, Arleng, Badagu, Badlit, Balinese, Balti-A, Balti-B, Batak, Baybayin, Bengali, Bhaiksuki, Bhujimol, Bilang-bilang, Bima, Blackfoot, Brahmi, Buhid, Burmese, Carrier, Chakma, Cham, Cree, Dehong Dai, Devanagari, Dham Lipi, Dhankari / Sirmauri, Ditema, Dives Akuru, Dogra, Ethiopic, Evēla Akuru, Fraser, Gond, Goykanadi, Grantha, Gujarati, Gunjala Gondi, Gupta, Gurmukhi, Halbi Lipi, Hanifi, Hanuno'o, Hočąk, Ibalnan, Inuktitut, Jaunsari Takri, Javanese, Kaithi, Kadamba, Kamarupi, Kannada, Kawi, Kerinci, Kharosthi, Khema, Khe Prih, Khmer, Khojki, Khudabadi, Kirat Rai, Kōchi, Kulitan, Kurukh Banna, Lampung, Lanna, Lao, Lepcha, Limbu, Lontara/Makasar, Lota Ende, Magar Akkha, Mahajani, Malayalam, Manpuri, Meroïtic, Masarm Gondi, Modi, Mon, Mongolian Horizontal Square Script, Multani, Nandinagari, Newa, New Tai Lue, Ojibwe, Odia, Pahawh Hmong, Pallava, Phags-pa, Purva Licchavi, Qiang / Rma, Ranjana, Rejang (Kaganga), Sasak, Savara, Satera Jontal, Shan, Sharda, Siddham, Sinhala, Sorang Sompeng, Sourashtra, Soyombo, Sukhothai, Sundanese, Syloti Nagri, Tagbanwa, Takri, Tamil, Tanchangya (Ka-Pat), Tani, Thaana, Telugu, Thai, Tibetan, Tigalari, Tikamuli, Tocharian, Tolong Siki, Vatteluttu, Warang Citi
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