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|A bilingual Malayalam and English sign board||
|Region||Kerala, Lakshadweep, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Mahé, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Persian Gulf.|
33,015,420 in India (2001),
1,847,902 in other countries (2007):
• 773,624 in UAE
• 447,440 in Saudi Arabia
• 134,728 in Kuwait
• 134,019 in Oman
• 105,655 in USA
• 94,310 in Qatar
• 58,146 in Bahrain
• 26,237 in UK
• 15,600 in other Europe
• 11,346 in Canada
• 10,636 in Malaysia
• 7,800 in Singapore
|Malayalam is written in a non-Latin script. Malayalam text used in this article is transliterated into the Latin script according to the ISO 15919 standard.|
Malayalam (മലയാളം malayāḷam, pronounced [mɐləjaːɭɐm]( listen)) is one of the four major Dravidian languages of southern India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India with official language status in the state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Mahé. It is spoken by 35.9 million people. Malayalam is also spoken in the Nilgiris district, Kanyakumari district and Coimbatore of Tamil Nadu, Dakshina Kannada, Banglore and Kodagu districts of Karnataka. Overseas it is also used by a large population of Indian expatriates living around the globe in the Persian Gulf, United States, Singapore, Australia, and Europe.
Malayalam was derived from ancient Tamil in the 6th century, of which Modern Tamil was also derived. An alternative theory proposes a split in more ancient times. Nevertheless, around eighty percentage of Malayalam words are taken from Sanskrit.Before Malayalam came into being, Old Tamil was used in literature and courts of a region called Tamilakam, a famous example being Silappatikaram. While Dravidian Tamil used to be the ruling language of the Chera Dynasty Ai and Pandyan kingdoms. Sanskrit/Prakrit derived Buddhist Pali Language and the Jain Kalpasutra were know to Keralites from 500 BC. The Grantha Bhasha or Sanskrit mixed Tamil which was written in Grantha Script (Arya Ezhuthu) was used by Aryan Brahmins residing in Tamil areas..The Dravidian component of Malayalam-Tamil has words similar to ancient Sangam Literature. During the Later Chera dynasty the inscriptions included some lines from Grantha Bhasha in Grantha Script along with Malayalam-Tamil written in Vattezhuttu. A form of Grantha Bhasha, a Sanskrit mixed Tamil closely resembling laterday Malayalam was used to write books by Brahmins from Tulunadu residing in Kerala in the second Millenium. The oldest literature works in Malayalam, distinct from the Tamil tradition, is dated certainly to the 11th century, perhaps to the 9th century. . For cultural purposes Malayalam and Sanskrit formed a language known as Manipravalam, where both languages were used in an alternating style. Malayalam is the only among the major Dravidian languages without diglossia. This means, that the Malayalam which is spoken doesn't differ from the written variant, while the Kannada and Tamil languages use a classical type for the latter.
The word "Malayalam" is spelled as a palindrome in English. However, it is not a palindrome in its own script, for three reasons: the third a is long and should properly be transliterated aa or ā (an a with a macron) while the other a’s are short; the two l consonants represent different sounds, the first l being dental ([l̪], Malayalam ല, Roman l) (although the consonant chart below lists that sound as [alveolar]) and the second retroflex ([ɭ], Malayalam ള, Roman ḷ); and the final m is written as an anusvara, which denotes the same phoneme /m/ as in the initial m in this case, but the two m’s are spelled differently (the first m is a normal ma മ with an inherent vowel a, while the last m ം is a pure consonant).
The mixture of Aryan and Naga languages,the Sanskrit and Prakrit with the Dravidian Tamil produced the Grantha Bhasha. The Aryan Naga migration to Karnataka, from Ahichatram in Uttarpradesh occurred during the rule of Kadamba king Mayuravarma in 345 AD.Tulunadu had Tulu script a derivative of Grantha script used by Tulu Brahmins from 8th century.After the Malik Kafur s invasion in 1310 most of the Patriarchal Tamil dynasties of Kerala were replaced by Matriarchal dynasties who had surnames closely resembling that of Bunt (community) of Tulunadu.Tulu Lipi with some modifications appeared in Kerala as Malayalam Script after 1310.Tulu-Malayalam Script gradually replaced the archaic Tamil Script and Vatteluttu. When Portuguese arrived in 1498 the Malayalam-Tamul, an archaic Tamil script was used to print books by Portuguese..Doctrina Christam written by Henrique in Lingua Malabar Tamul with transliteration and translation in Malayalam(Grantha Bhasha)and printed by Portuguese from Cochin in 1556 was the first Malayalam printed book in Kerala.Flos Sanctorum written by Henrique in Malayalam Tamul in 1578.In the 17th century Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan was the first to substitute the Tamil Vatteluttu with Grantha Script#Tulu-Malayalam Script. With the discovery that Sanskrit belonged to the group of Indo-European languages prompted the Christian missionaries with German roots to support Sanskrit rich Grantha Bhasha in the 1700s.Johann Ernst Hanxleden wrote Poems,Grammar books in Sanskrit.
CMS(Church Mission Society) at Kottayam started printing books in Malayalam when Benjamin Bailey a Anglican priest in 1821 made the first Malayalam types.Benjamin Bailey, an essayist, standardised Malayalam prose. .Hermann Gundert from Stuttgart in Germany started the first Malayalam newspaper, Rajya Samacharam in 1847 at Thalassery printed at Basel Mission.
The language belongs to the family of Dravidian languages. Robert Caldwell, in his book A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Languages states that Malayalam branched from classical Tamil that over time gained a large amount of Sanskrit vocabulary and lost the personal terminations of verbs.
Together with Tamil, Toda, Kannada and Tulu, Malayalam belongs to the southern group of Dravidian languages. Some believe Proto-Tamil, the common stock of ancient Tamil and Malayalam, apparently diverged over a period of four or five centuries from the ninth century on, resulting in the emergence of Malayalam as a language distinct from Proto-Tamil. As the language of scholarship and administration, Proto-Tamil which was written in Tamil-Brahmi script and Vatteluttu later, greatly influenced the early development of Malayalam. Later the irresistible inroads the Namboothiris made into the cultural life of Kerala, the Namboothiri-Nair dominated social and political setup, the trade relationships with Arabs, and the invasion of Kerala by the Portuguese, establishing vassal states accelerated the assimilation of many Roman, Semitic and Indo-Aryan features into Malayalam at different levels spoken by religious communities like Muslims, Christians, Jews and Jainas.
T.K. Krishna Menon, in his book A Primer of Malayalam Literature describes four distinct epochs concerning the evolution of the language:
The earliest written record resembling Malayalam is the Vazhappalli inscription (ca. 830 CE). The early literature of Malayalam comprised three types of composition: Malayalam Nada, Tamil Nada and Sanskrit Nada.
Malayalam poetry to the late twentieth century betrays varying degrees of the fusion of the three different strands. The oldest examples of Pattu and Manipravalam, respectively, are Ramacharitam and Vaishikatantram, both of the twelfth century.
The earliest extant prose work in the language is a commentary in simple Malayalam, Bhashakautaliyam (12th century) on Chanakya’s Arthasastra. Adhyathmaramayanam by Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan (known as the father of the Malayalam language) who was born in Tirur, one of the most important works in Malayalam literature.
By the end of 18th century some of the Christian missionaries from Kerala started writing in Malayalam but mostly travelogues, Dictionaries and Religious books. Varthamana Pusthakam (1778), written by Parammekkal Thoma Kathanar a travelogue. Church Mission Society which started a seminary at Kottayam in 1819 also started a press which printed Malayalam books in 19th century.Malayalam and Sanskrit were increasingly studied by Christians of Kottayam and pathanamthitta by the end of 19th century Malayalam replaced Syriac as language of Liturgy in the church.
For the consonants and vowels, the IPA is given, followed by the Malayalam character and the ISO 15919 transliteration.
|Close||/i/ ഇ i||/ɨ̆/ * ŭ||/u/ ഉ u||/iː/ ഈ ī||/uː/ ഊ ū|
|Mid||/e/ എ e||/ə/ * a||/o/ ഒ o||/eː/ ഏ ē||/oː/ ഓ ō|
|Open||/a/ അ a||/aː/ ആ ā|
Malayalam has also borrowed the Sanskrit diphthongs of /äu/ (represented in Malayalam as ഔ, au) and /ai/ (represented in Malayalam as ഐ, ai), although these mostly occur only in Sanskrit loanwords. Traditionally (as in Sanskrit), four vocalic consonants (usually pronounced in Malayalam as consonants followed by the saṁvr̥tōkāram, which is not officially a vowel, and not as actual vocalic consonants) have been classified as vowels: vocalic r (ഋ, /rɨ̆/, r̥), long vocalic r (ൠ, /rɨː/, r̥̄), vocalic l (ഌ, /lɨ̆/, l̥) and long vocalic l (ൡ, /lɨː/, l̥̄). Except for the first, the other three have been omitted from the current script used in Kerala as there are no words in current Malayalam that use them.
|Stop||Unaspirated||/p/ പ p||/b/ ബ b||/t̪/ ത t||/d̪/ ദ d||/t/ * t||/ʈ/ ട ṭ||/ɖ/ ഡ ḍ||/t͡ʃ/ ച c||/d͡ʒ/ ജ j||/k/ ക k||/ɡ/ ഗ g|
|Aspirated||/pʰ/ ഫ ph||/bʱ/ ഭ bh||/t̪ʰ/ ഥ th||/d̪ʱ/ ധ dh||/ʈʰ/ ഠ ṭh||/ɖʱ/ ഢ ḍh||/t͡ʃʰ/ ഛ ch||/d͡ʒʱ/ ഝ jh||/kʰ/ ഖ kh||/ɡʱ/ ഘ gh|
|Nasal||/m/ മ m||/n̪/ ന n||/n/ ന * n||/ɳ/ ണ ṇ||/ɲ/ ഞ ñ||/ŋ/ ങ ṅ|
|Approximant||/ʋ/ വ v||/ɻ/ ഴ l||/j/ യ y|
|Liquid||/r/ റ r|
|Fricative||/f/ ഫ* f||/s̪/ സ s||/ʂ/ ഷ ṣ||/ɕ/ ശ ś||/ɦ/ ഹ h|
|Tap||/ɾ/ ര r|
|Lateral approximant||/l/ ല l||/ɭ/ ള ḷ|
Historically, several scripts were used to write Malayalam. Among these scripts were Vattezhuthu, Kolezhuthu and Malayanma scripts. But it was the Grantha script, another Southern Brahmi variation, which gave rise to the modern Malayalam script. It is syllabic in the sense that the sequence of graphic elements means that syllables have to be read as units, though in this system the elements representing individual vowels and consonants are for the most part readily identifiable. In the 1960s Malayalam dispensed with many special letters representing less frequent conjunct consonants and combinations of the vowel /u/ with different consonants.
Malayalam language script consists of 53 letters including 16 vowels and 37 consonants. The earlier style of writing is now substituted with a new style from 1981. This new script reduces the different letters for typeset from 900 to fewer than 90. This was mainly done to include Malayalam in the keyboards of typewriters and computers.
In 1999 a group called Rachana Akshara Vedi, led by Chitrajakumar, and K.H. Hussein, produced a set of free fonts containing the entire character repertoire of more than 900 glyphs. This was announced and released along with an editor in the same year at Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. In 2004, the fonts were released under the GNU GPL license by Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation at the Cochin University of Science and Technology in Kochi, Kerala.
Variations in intonation patterns, vocabulary, and distribution of grammatical and phonological elements are observable along the parameters of region, religion, community, occupation, social stratum, style and register. Influence of Sanskrit is very prominent in formal Malayalam used in literature. Malayalam has a substantially high amount of Sanskrit loan words. Loan words and influences also from Hebrew, Syriac and Ladino abound in the Jewish Malayalam dialects, as well as English, Portuguese, Syriac and Greek in the Christian dialects, while Arabic and Persian elements predominate in the Muslim dialects. This Muslim dialect known as Mappila Malayalam is used in the Malabar region of Kerala. Another Muslim dialect called Beary bashe is used in the extreme northern part of Kerala.
The regional dialects of Malayalam can be divided into thirteen dialect areas. They are as follows:
|South Travancore||Central Travancore||West Vempanad|
|North Travancore||Kochi (Cochin)||South Malabar|
|South Eastern Palghat||North Western Palghat||Central Malabar|
When words are adopted from Sanskrit, their endings are usually changed to conform to Malayalam norms:
Malayalam also has been influenced by Portuguese, as is evident from the use of words like mesa for a small table, janala for window, varaanda for an open porch, and alamaara for cupboard.
For a comprehensive list of loan words, see Loan words in Malayalam.
Ezhuthachan is considered the father of Malayalam literature. He was born at Tirur in the Malabar area of Kerala, where there is now a monument to him. A.R. Rajarajavarma is the man who gave grammatical rules to Malayalam. His monument and burial place is at Mavelikkara in the Central Travancore area of Kerala.
Pillai.A.D (2010) Singaporean Malayalam: The Presence of a Hybrid Language. Saarbrucken:VDM Verlag
If speakers of the language commonly use a calendar other than the Gregorian, explain it here and list its months. See Hebrew phrasebook for an example.
Give some examples how to write clock times and dates if it differs from English.
Date-Month-Year July 5th 2006 would be 5 July 2006 or 5-7-06
get to _____? (_________ vare pokaan ethra roopa(money) aavum ? )
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Malayalam is the native language spoken by the people of Kerala, the southernmost state of India, bordered by Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
All Malayalam-speaking people are called Malayalis. Malayalam is one of the latest of the Dravidian languages to be developed, only 800 years ago. Malayalam evolved from another ancient south Indian language, Tamil, but borrows heavily from Sanskrit as well.
Malayalam has a very rich culture. Some of the greatest contributions have been made by Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan. The language uses 52 letters. Spoken language has many colloquial variations between the Southern and Northern versions.
The name 'Malayalam' has took a place in guinness book of world record as the longest name of a language which is a palindrome.
Malayalam (/malayALam/) is the principal language of the South Indian state of Kerala and also of the Lakshadweep Islands (Laccadives) of the west coast of India.
Malayalis (speakers of Malayalam), who - males and females alike - are almost totally literate, constitute 4 percent of the population of India and 96 percent of the population of Kerala (29.01 million in 1991).
In terms of the number of speakers, Malayalam ranks eighth among the 18 major languages of India.
Malyalam language has 52 phonemes. A few of the phonemes are unique for Malayalam.
The word /malayALam/ originally meant mountainous country (/mala/- mountain + /aLam/-place). Tamil Nadu is its neighbour on the south and east and Karnataka on the north and east.
Malayalam is the only Indian Language which is a palindrome.bjn:Bahasa Malayalam