Malayalam

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Malayalam Language)
Jump to: navigation, search
Malayalam
മലയാളം Malayāḷam
Malayalamname.svg
Malayalam in Malayalam script
Native to India
Region Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mahe, Puducherry
Ethnicity Malayali
Native speakers
38 million  (2007)[1]
Malayalam alphabet (Brahmic)
Malayalam Braille
Official status
Official language in
 Indian states: Kerala (State),[2] Lakshadweep (Territory), Puducherry (Territory)
Regulated by Academy for Malayalam literature, Government of Kerala
Language codes
ISO 639-1 ml
ISO 639-2 mal
ISO 639-3 mal
Glottolog mala1464[3]
{{{mapalt}}}
Malayalam-speaking area

Malayalam /mæləˈjɑːləm/[4] (മലയാളം, Malayāḷam ?, Malayalam pronunciation: ​[mɐləjaːɭəm]), also known as Kairali (കൈരളി, Kairaḷi ?), is a language spoken in India, predominantly in the state of Kerala. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and was designated a Classical Language in India in 2013.[5] Malayalam has the official language status in the state of Kerala and in the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry. It belongs to the Dravidian family of languages, and is spoken by approximately 33 million people according to the 2011 census. Malayalam is also spoken in the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka; with more popularity in the Nilgiris, Kanyakumari and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu, and the Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu districts of Karnataka.[6][7][8]

Originating from a branch of the proto-Dravidian language, Malayalam emerged as an independent language by the 9th century.[9] An alternative theory proposes a split in even more ancient times.[10] Through the ages, Malayalam incorporated many loanwords from Sanskrit, which altered the number of letters in the Malayalam script.[11]

Before Malayalam came into being, Old Tamil was used in literature and courts of Tamilakam, which included present day Kerala state. Silappatikaram of the Sangam period, one of the major Tamil epics, was written by Chera prince Ilango Adigal from Cochin. Modern Malayalam still preserves many words from the ancient Tamil vocabulary, which have been lost or replaced in modern Tamil. The earliest script used to write Malayalam was the Vatteluttu script, and later the Kolezhuttu, which derived from it.[12] The oldest literary works in Malayalam, distinct from the Tamil tradition, are the Paattus, folk songs, dated from between the 9th and 11th centuries.[10] Later, Sanskrit influence became apparent with Ramacharitam, the Malayalam version of Ramayana. Grantha script letters were adopted to write Sanskrit loanwords, which resulted in the modern Malayalam script.[13] Many medieval texts were written in a very liberal mixture of Sanskrit with early Malayalam, known as Manipravalam.[14] The first travelogue in any Indian language is in Malayalam, titled as Varthamanappusthakam written by Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar in 1785.[15][16]

Etymology[edit]

The word Malayalam probably originated from the Malayalam/Tamil words mala meaning hill, and elam meaning region.[17] Malayalam thus translates as "hill region" and used to refer to the land itself (Chera Kingdom), and only later became the name of the language.[18] The language Malayalam is alternatively called Alealum, Malayalani, Malayali, Malean, Maliyad, and Mallealle.[19]

The word Malayalam originally meant only for the name of the region. "Malayanma" or "Malayayma" (meaning the language of the nation Malayalam) represented the language. With the emergence of modern Malayalam language, the name of the language started to be known by the name of the region. Hence now, the word "Malayanma" is considered by some to represent the olden Malayalam language. The language got the name Malayalam during the mid 19th century.[20]

Evolution[edit]

Malayalam is an offshoot of the Proto-Tamil-Malayalam branch of the Proto-Dravidian language. Together with Telugu,Tamil, Toda, Kannada and Tulu, Malayalam belongs to the southern group of Dravidian languages. But the greatest influence on the language is from Sanskrit. Basically, 85%[citation needed] of Malayalam words come from Sanskrit and only a few from Tamil. Many European languages have also influenced Malayalam. By the end of the 1200s, a written form of the language emerged which was definitely different from those three languages.[21]

 
 
 
 
Proto-Dravidian
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proto-South-Dravidian
 
Proto-South-Central Dravidian
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proto-Tamil-Kannada
 
 
 
Proto-Telugu
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proto-Tamil-Toda
 
Proto-Kannada
 
Proto-Telugu
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proto-Tamil-Kodagu
 
Kannada
 
Telugu
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proto-Tamil-Malayalam
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proto-Tamil
 
Malayalam
 
 
 
 
 
Tamil
This tree diagram depicts the genealogy of the primary Dravidian languages spoken
in South India.

The earliest known poem in Malayalam, Ramacharitam, dated to the 1100s A.D., was completed before the introduction of the Sanskrit alphabet. It shows the same phase of the language as in Jewish and Nasrani Sasanas (dated to mid‑700's A.D.).[18] But the period of the earliest available literary document cannot be the sole criterion used to determine the antiquity of a language. In its early literature, Malayalam has songs, Pattu, for various subjects and occasions, such as harvesting, love songs, heroes, gods, etc. A form of writing called Campu emerged from the 1300s onwards. It mixed poetry with prose and used a vocabulary strongly influenced by Sanskrit, with themes from epics and Puranas.[21]

In the 1500s and 1600s, Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan was the first to utilize Grantha-Malayalam script. Ezhuthachan, regarded as the father of the modern Malayalam language, undertook an elaborate translation of the ancient Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata into Malayalam. His Adhyatma Ramayana and Mahabharata are still read with religious reverence by the Malayalam-speaking Hindu community. Kunchan Nambiar, the founder of Tullal, was a prolific literary figure of the 1700s.

The British printed a Malabar English Dictionary by Graham Shaw in 1779, which was still in the form of a Tamil-English dictionary.[22]

The Syrian Christians of Kerala started to learn the Tulu-Grantha Bhasha of Nambudiris under the British tutelage. Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar wrote the first Malayalam travelogue, called Varthamanappusthakam, in 1789.

The first printed book in Kerala was Doctrina Christam, written by Henrique Henriques in Lingua Malabar Tamul. It was transliterated and translated into Malayalam, and printed by the Portuguese in 1578.[23][24]

In 1821 the Church Mission Society (CMS) at Kottayam started printing books in Malayalam when Benjamin Bailey, an Anglican priest, made the first Malayalam types. In addition, he contributed to standardising the prose.[25]

Dr. Hermann Gundert, (1814 – 1893), a German missionary and scholar from Stuttgart, Germany, played a distinguished rôle in the development of Malayalam literature. His major works are Keralolpathi (1843), Pazhancholmala (1845), Malayalabhaasha Vyakaranam (1851), Paathamala (1860), the first Malayalam school text book, Kerala pazhama (1868), the first Malayalam dictionary (1872), Malayalarajyam (1879), a geography of Kerala, Rajya Samacharam (1847 June), the first Malayalam news paper,[26] Paschimodayam (1879), a magazine.[27] He also translated The Holy Bible into Malayalam.[28] For around 20 years, he lived in Thalassery.[29] He learned the language from well established local teachers, including Ooracheri Gurukkanmar from Chokli, a village near Thalassery, and consulted them for his works.

History[edit]

Language[edit]

Cover page of Nasranikal okkekkum ariyendunna samkshepavedartham which is the first book to be printed in Malayalam in 1772.

Malayalam is spoken mostly in the state of Kerala and adjoining areas. As "Mala" (Chera) means "mountain", the word "Malayaalam" obviously refers to either people or the language of the mountainous region. Rama-charitam, which was composed in the 14th century, may be said to have inaugurated Malayalam literature[30] just as Naniah's Mahabharatam did for Telugu. The fact is that dialectical and local peculiarities had already developed and stamped themselves in local songs and ballads. But these linguistic variations were at last gathered together and made to give a coloring to a sustained literary work, the Rama-charitam,[31] thereby giving the new language a justification and a new lease on life.

Malayalam as a distinct language arose due to Political and Geographical isolation, the impact of Christianity and Islam, and the arrival of the Namboodiri Brahmins a little over a thousand years ago, all created conditions favorable to the development of the local dialect Malayalam. The Namboodiri grafted a good deal of Sanskrit onto the local dialect and influenced its physiognomy. Popular and religious songs were composed first.

Thunchathu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan

The Malayalam language, with the introduction of a new type of devotional literature, underwent a metamorphosis, both in form and content, and it is generally held that modernity in Malayalam language and literature commenced at this period. This change was brought about by Thunchathu Ezhuthachan (16th century) who is known as the father of modern Malayalam. Till this time Malayalam indicated two different courses of development depending on its relationship with either Sanskrit or Tamil.

The earliest literary work in Malayalam now available is a prose commentary on Chanakya's Arthasastra, ascribed to the 13th century. The poetical works called Vaisikatantram are also believed to belong to the early 14th century. These works come under a special category known as Manipravalam, literally the combination of two languages, the language of Kerala and Sanskrit. A grammar and rhetoric in this hybrid style was written sometime in the 14th century in Sanskrit and the work, called the Lilatilakam,[32] is the main source of information for a student of literary and linguistic history.

According to this book, the Manipravalam and Pattu styles of literary compositions were in vogue during this period. "Pattu" means "song" and more or less represents the pure Malayalam school of poetry. From the definition of the Pattu style given in the Lilatilakam, it can be surmised that the language of Kerala during this period was more or less in line with Tamil, but this has misled many people to believe incorrectly %[citation needed] that Malayalam was itself Tamil during this period and before. But this isn't true %[citation needed] . Malayalam is an independent language and is completely different from Tamil, except it has a few words such as pattu borrowed from Tamil.

The literary tradition consisted of three early Manipravalam Champus,[33] a few Sandesa Kavyas and innumerable amorous compositions on the courtesans of Kerala, which throb with literary beauty and poetical fancies, combined with a relishing touch of realism about them with regard to the then social conditions. Many prose works in the form of commentaries upon Puranic episodes form the bulk of the classical works in Malayalam.

The Pattu (a sutra devoted to define this pattern is termed a pattu) school also has major works like the Ramacharitam (12th century), and the Bhagavad Gita (14th century) by a set of poets belonging to one family called the Kannassas. Some of them like Ramacharitam have a close resemblance to the Tamil language during this period. This is to be attributed to the influence of Tamil works on native poets belonging to areas that lie close to the Tamil country.

It was during the 16th and 17th centuries that later Champu kavyas were written. Their specialty was that they contained both Sanskritic and indigenous elements of poetry to an equal degree, and in that manner were unique.

Unnayi Variyar, whose "Nalacharitam Attakkatha" is popular even today, was the most prominent poet of the 18th century among not only the Kathakali writers, but also among the classical poets of Kerala. He is often referred to as the Kalidasa of Kerala. Although Kathakali is a dance drama and its literary form should more or less be modeled after the drama, there is nothing more in common between an Attakkatha and Sanskrit drama.

That is to say, the principles of dramaturgy to be observed in writing a particular type of Sanskrit drama are completely ignored by an author of Attakkatha. Delineation of a particular rasa is an inevitable feature with Sanskrit drama, whereas in an Attakkatha all the predominant rasas are given full treatment, and consequently the theme of an Attakkatha often loses its integrity and artistic unity when viewed as a literary work.

Any Attakkatha fulfills its objective if it affords a variety of scenes depicting different types of characters, and each scene would have its own hero with the rasa associated with that character. When that hero is portrayed he is given utmost importance, to the utter neglect of the main sentiment (rasa) of the theme in general. However, the purpose of Attakkatha is not to present a theme with a well-knit emotional plot as its central point, but to present all approved types of characters already set to suit the technique of the art of Kathakali.

The major literary output of the century was in the form of local plays composed for the art of kathakali, the dance dramas of Kerala also known as Attakkatha. It seems the Gitagovinda of Jayadeva provided a model for this type of literary composition. The verses in Sanskrit narrate the story and the dialogue is composed in imitation of songs in the Gitagovinda, set to music in appropriate ragas in the classical Karnataka style.

Besides the Raja of Kottarakkara and Unnayi Variyar referred to above, nearly a hundred plays were composed during this century by poets belonging to all categories and subscribing to all standards, such as Irayimman Thampi and Ashvati Raja, to mention just two.

Devotional literature in Malayalam found its heyday during the early phase of this period. Ezhuthachan referred to above gave emphasis to the Bhakti cult. The Jnanappana by Poonthanam Nambudiri is a unique work in the branch of philosophical poetry. Written in simple language, it is a sincere approach to the advaita philosophy of Vedanta.

It was during this period that Christian missionaries made their contribution to Malayalam by compiling dictionaries in the language, translating the Bible into simple prose and translating verses on Biblical themes. Due to these foreigners, a revolution in prose writing was effected, freeing it completely from the bondage of the pedantic Sanskrit style. Books on astronomy, astrology, mathematics and medicine were written by scholars in Sanskrit.

It took nearly two centuries for a salutary blending of the scholarly Sanskrit and popular styles to bring Malayalam prose to its present form, enriched in its vocabulary by Sanskrit but at the same time flexible, pliable and effective as to popular parlance.

As regards literature, the leading figures were Irayimman Thampi and Vidwan Koithampuran, both poets of the royal court. Their works abound in a beautiful and happy blending of music and poetry. The former is surely the most musical poet of Kerala and his beautiful lullaby commencing with the line Omana Thinkalkitavo has earned him an everlasting name. But the prime reason why he is held in such high esteem in Malayalam is the contribution he has made to Kathakali literature by his three works, namely the Dakshayagam, the Kichakavadham and the Uttara-svayamvaram. The latter's Kathakali work Ravana Vijayam has made him immortal in literature.

Impact of English education[edit]

The progress of literature in the Travancore, Cochin and Malabar areas during this period was influenced by the advancement of English education in these regions.[34] The educational activities of the missionaries belonging to the Basel Mission deserve special mention. It was under their auspices that Dr Hermann Gundert,[35] a German missionary of exceptional linguistic talents, produced by his own personal effort the Malayalam–English Dictionary, which even today remains an authoritative work.[36][37] A priest George Mathan,[38] a.k.a. Geevarghese Kathanar, wrote the first authoritative grammar book in Malayalam titled "Malayanmayude Vyakaranam".[39] Kerala Panineeyam by A. R. Raja Raja Varma is considered to be an authentic reference point for Malayalam grammar. Thanks to the efforts of kings like Swathi Thirunal and the assistance given by him to the Church Mission and London Mission Societies, a number of schools were started.

Prose literature[edit]

The establishment of the Madras University in 1857 marks an important event in the cultural history of Kerala. It is from here that a generation of scholars well versed in Western literature and with the capacity to enrich their own language by adopting Western literary trends came into being. Prose was the first branch to receive an impetus by its contact with English. Though there was no shortage of prose in Malayalam, it was not along Western lines. It was left to the farsighted policy of the Maharaja of Travancore (1861 to 1880) to start a scheme for the preparation of textbooks for use by schools in the state. Kerala Varma V, a scholar in Sanskrit, Malayalam and English was appointed Chairman of the Committee formed to prepare textbooks. He wrote several books suited for various standards.

The growth of journalism, too, helped in the development of prose. Initiated by missionaries for the purpose of religious propaganda, journalism was taken up by local scholars who started newspapers and journals for literary and political activities.

Short stories[edit]

Vengayil Kunhiraman Nayanar (1861–1914) from Thalassery was the author of first Malayalam short story, Vasanavikriti.

Novels[edit]

With his work Kundalatha in 1887, Appu Nedungadi marks the origin of prose fiction in Malayalam. Other talented writers were Chandu Menon, the author of Indulekha, a great social novel, in 1889 and another called Sarada. Also there was C V Raman Pillai, who wrote the historical novel Marthandavarma in 1890 as well as works like Dharmaraja,[40] and Ramaraja Bahadur.[41]

Drama and poetry[edit]

Shakuntala writes to Dushyanta. Painting by Raja Ravi Varma. The poetry was translated by Kerala Varma as Abhijnanasakuntalam

In poetry there were two main trends, one represented by "Venmani Nampoodiris"(Venmani Poets)[42] and the other by Kerala Varma. The latter's poetry was modeled on the old Manipravalam style abounding in Sanskrit words and terms, but it had a charm of its own when adapted to express new ideas in that masterly way characteristic of himself. His translation of Kalidasa's Abhijnanasakuntalam in 1882 marks an important event in the history of Malayalam drama and poetry. Also Kerala Varma's Mayura-sandesam[43] is a Sandesakavya (messenger poem) written after the manner of Kalidasa's Meghadutam. Though it cannot be compared with the original, it was still one of the most popularly acclaimed poems in Malayalam.

One of the notable features of the early decades of the 20th century was the great interest taken by writers in translating works from Sanskrit and English into Malayalam. Kalidasa's Meghaduta and Kumarasambhava by A. R. Raja Raja Varma and the Raghuvamsa by K. N. Menon must be mentioned. One of the most successful of the later translators was C. S. Subramaniam Potti who set a good model by his translation of the Durgeshanandini of Bankim Chandra from an English version of it.

1905 to 1947[edit]

Novels[edit]

The early decades of the 20th century saw the beginning of a period of rapid development of all branches of Malayalam literature. A good number of authors familiar with the latest trends in English literature came forward to contribute to the enrichment of their mother tongue. Their efforts were directed more to the development of prose than poetry.

It is interesting to note that a number of Bengali novels were translated during this period. C. S. S. Potti, mentioned above, also brought out the Lake of Palms of R. C. Dutt under the title Thala Pushkarani, Kapalakundala by V. K. Thampi and Visha Vruksham by T. C. Kalyani Amma were also translations of novels by Bankim Chandra Chatterji.

Among the original novels written at that time only a few are worth mentioning, such as Bhootha Rayar by Appan Thampuran, Keraleswaran by Raman Nambeesan and Cheraman Perumal by K. K. Menon. Although a large number of social novels were produced during this period, only a few are remembered, such as Snehalatha by Kannan Menon, Hemalatha by T. K. Velu Pillai and Kambola-balika by N. K. Krishna Pillai. But by far the most inspiring work of that time was Aphante Makal by M. B. Namboodiri, who directed his literary talents towards the abolition of old worn-out customs and manners which had for years been the bane of the community.

Short stories came into being later. With the advent of E. V. Krishna Pillai, certain marks of novelty became noticeable in the short story. His Keleesoudham proved his capacity to write with considerable emotional appeal.

Social dramas[edit]

C. V. Raman Pillai was a pioneer in prose dramas. He had a particular knack for writing dramas in a lighter vein. His Kurupillakalari of 1909 marks the appearance of the first original Malayalam prose drama. It is a satirical drama intended to ridicule the Malayali official classes who started imitating Western fashion and etiquette. There were other authors, less well-known, who wrote in this vein.[citation needed]

Poetry – the Romantic impact[edit]

Kumaran Asan's celebrated poem, Veena Poovu (The Fallen Flower) depicts in a symbolic manner the tragedy of human life in a moving and thought-provoking manner. Vallathol's Bandhanasthanaya Aniruddhan, which demonstrates an exceptionally brilliant power of imagination and deep emotional faculties, depicts a situation from the Puranic story of Usha and Aniruddha. Ulloor S. Parameshwara Iyer was another veteran who joined the new school. He wrote a series of poems like Oru Mazhathulli in which he excelled as a romantic poet.

The three more or less contemporary poets Kumaran Asan, Vallathol Narayana Menon and Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer, known as Adhunika Kavithrayam (modern Malayalam triumvirate poets) considerably enriched Malayalam poetry.[44] Some of their works reflect social and political movements of that time. Asan wrote about untouchability in Kerala; Ullor's writings reflect his deep devotion and admiration for the great moral and spiritual values, which he believed were the real assets of ancient social life of India. They were known as the trio of Malayalam poetry. After them there were others like K. K. Nair and K. M. Panikkar who contributed to the growth of poetry.

Under the guidance of A. Balakrishna Pillai, a progressive school of authors appeared in almost all branches of literature, such as the novel, the short story, the drama, and criticism.

Post-independence period[edit]

Malayalam is one of the 22 official languages of India. The Kerala Official Language (Legislation) Act, 1969, declares Malayalam the official language of Kerala.[45][46] Malayalam in Malayalam script was introduced as the official language of Lakshadweep during the British Raj. Malayalam has official language status in the district of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep.[47] Malayalam serves as a link language on the islands including the Mahl-dominated Minicoy Island. Malayalam also has official language status in the Mahe District of the Union Territory of Puducherry.

Dialects[edit]

Dialects of Malayalam are distinguishable at regional and social levels,[48] including occupational and also communal differences. The salient features of many varieties of tribal speech (e.g., the speech of Muthuvans, Malayarayas, Malai Ulladas, Kanikkars, Kadars, Paliyars, Kurumas, and Vedas) and those of the various dialects of Dalits (a.k.a. "Harijans"), Brahmins, Nairs, Ezhavas, Syrian Christians (Nasrani), Latin Christians, Muslims, fishermen and many of the occupational terms common to different sections of Malayalees have been identified.[49]

It may be noted at this point that labels such as "Brahmin Dialect" and "Harijan Dialect" refer to overall patterns constituted by the sub-dialects spoken by the subcastes or sub-groups of each such caste. The most outstanding features of the major communal dialects of Malayalam are summarized below:

Lexical items with phonological features reminiscent of Sanskrit (e.g., viddhi, meaning "fool"), bhosku ("lie"), musku ("impudence"), dustu ("impurity"), and eebhyan and sumbhan (both meaning "good-for-nothing fellow") abound in this dialect.

The dialect of the educated stratum among the Nairs resembles the Brahmin dialect in many respects. The amount of Sanskrit influence, however, is found to be steadily decreasing as one descends along the parameter of education.

One of the striking features differentiating the Nair dialect from the Ezhava dialect is the phonetic quality of the word-final: an enunciative vowel unusually transcribed as "U". In the Nair dialect it is a mid-central unrounded vowel whereas in the Ezhava dialect it is often heard as a lower high back unrounded vowel.

The Harijan dialect comprises overall features of many sub-dialects such as the Pulaya dialect and the Paraya dialect. It is devoid of "S", "Y" and aspiration. The lack of complex consonant clusters is another characteristic feature of the Harijan dialect. Pronominal terminations appended to finite verbal forms are preserved by certain varieties of Harijan speech.

The Syrian Christian dialect of Malayalam is quite close to the Nair dialect, especially in phonology. The speech of the educated section among Syrian Christians and that of those who are close to the church are peculiar in having a number of assimilated as well as unassimilated loan words from English and Syriac. The few loan words which have found their way into the Christian dialect are assimilated in many cases through the process of de-aspiration.

The Latin Christian dialect of Malayalam is close to fishermen dialect. It is also influenced by Latin, Portuguese and English.

The Muslim dialect shows maximum divergence from the literary Standard Dialect of Malayalam. It is very much influenced by Arabic and Urdu rather than by Sanskrit or by English. The retroflex continuant 'ZHA' of the Literary Dialect is realized in the Muslim dialect as the palatal 'YA'.

As regards the geographical dialects of Malayalam, surveys conducted so far by the Department of Linguistics, University of Kerala restricted the focus of attention during a given study on one specific caste so as to avoid mixing up of more than one variable such as communal and geographical factors. Thus for examples, the survey of the Ezhava dialect of Malayalam, results of which have been published by the Department in 1974, has brought to light the existence of twelve major dialect areas for Malayalam, although the isoglosses are found to crisscross in many instances. They are following:

  1. South Travancore
  2. Central Travancore
  3. North Travancore
  4. West Vempanad
  5. Kochi
  6. South Malabar
  7. South Eastern Palghat
  8. North Western
  9. Central Malabar
  10. Wayanad
  11. North Malabar
  12. The Peak Dialect

Sub-dialect regions, which could be marked off, were found to be thirty. This number is reported to tally approximately with the number of principalities that existed during the pre-British period in Kerala. In a few instances at least, as in the case of Venad, Karappuram, Nileswaram and Kumbala, the known boundaries of old principalities are found to coincide with those of certain dialects or sub-dialects that retain their individuality even today. This seems to reveal the significance of political divisions in Kerala in bringing about dialect difference.

Divergence among dialects of Malayalam embrace almost all aspects of language such as phonetics, phonology, grammar and vocabulary. Differences between any two given dialects can be quantified in terms of the presence or absence of specific units at each level of the language. To cite a single example of language variation along the geographical parameter, it may be noted that there are as many as seventy seven different expressions employed by the Ezhavas and spread over various geographical points just to refer to a single item, namely, the flower bunch of coconut. 'Kola' is the expression attested in most of the panchayats in the Palakkad, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram districts of Kerala, whereas 'kolachil' occurs most predominantly in Kannur and Kochi and 'klannil' in Alappuzha and Kollam. 'Kozhinnul' and 'kulannilu' are the forms most common in Trissur and Kottayam respectively. In addition to these forms most widely spread among the areas specified above, there are dozens of other forms such as 'kotumpu' (Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram), 'katirpu' (Kottayam), krali (Pathanamthitta), pattachi, gnannil (Kollam), 'pochata' (Palakkad) etc. referring to the same item.

Geographic distribution and population[edit]

According to the Indian census of 2011, there were 32,299,239 speakers of Malayalam in Kerala, making up 93.2% of the total number of Malayalam speakers in India, and 96.74% of the total population of the state. There were a further 701,673 (2.1% of the total number) in Karnataka, 557,705 (1.7%) in Tamil Nadu, and 406,358 (1.2%) in Maharashtra. The number of Malayalam speakers in Lakshadweep is 51,100, which is only 0.15% of the total number, but is as much as about 84% of the population of Lakshadweep. In all, Malayalis made up 3.22% of the total Indian population in 2011. Of the total 34,713,130 Malayalam speakers in India in 2011, 33,015,420 spoke the standard dialects, 19,643 spoke the Yerava dialect and 31,329 spoke non-standard regional variations like Eranadan.[50] As per the 1991 census data, 28.85% of all Malayalam speakers in India spoke a second language and 19.64% of the total knew three or more languages.

Large numbers of Malayalis have settled in Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai (Bombay), Pune and Chennai (Madras). A large number of Malayalis have also emigrated to the Middle East, the United States, and Europe. There were 179,860 speakers of Malayalam in the United States, according to the 2000 census, with the highest concentrations in Bergen County, New Jersey and Rockland County, New York. There were 7,093 Malayalam speakers in Australia in 2006.[51] The 2001 Canadian census reported 7,070 people who listed Malayalam as their mother tongue. The 2006 New Zealand census reported 2,139 speakers.[52] 134 Malayalam speaking households were reported in 1956 in Fiji. There is also a considerable Malayali population in the Persian Gulf regions, especially in Dubai.

Development of literature[edit]

Main article: Malayalam literature

The earliest written record resembling Malayalam is the Vazhappalli inscription (ca. 830 CE).[53] The early literature of Malayalam comprised three types of composition: Malayalam Nada, Tamil Nada and Sanskrit Nada.

  • Classical songs known as Nadan Pattu
  • Manipravalam of the Sanskrit tradition, which permitted a generous interspersing of Sanskrit with Malayalam. Niranam poets[54] Manipravalam Madhava Panikkar, Sankara Panikkar and Rama Panikkar wrote Manipravalam poetry in the 14th century.
  • The folk song rich in native elements

Malayalam poetry to the late 20th century betrays varying degrees of the fusion of the three different strands. The oldest examples of Pattu and Manipravalam, respectively, are Ramacaritam and Vaishikatantram, both from the 12th century.[31]

The earliest extant prose work in the language is a commentary in simple Malayalam, Bhashakautalyam (12th century) on Chanakya's Arthasastra. Adhyatmaramayanam by Tuncattu Ramanujan Ezhuttaccan (known as the father of the Malayalam language) who was born in Tirur, one of the most important works in Malayalam literature. Unnunili Sandesam[55] written in the 14th century is amongst the oldest literary works in Malayalam language.

By the end of the 18th century some of the Christian missionaries from Kerala started writing in Malayalam but mostly travelogues, dictionaries and religious books. Varthamanappusthakam (1778), written by Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar[56] is considered to be the first travelogue in an Indian language. Church Mission Society in association with the Syriac Orthodox Church started a seminary at Kottayam in 1819 and also started a press which printed Malayalam books in the 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 Syrian Christian churches.

Phonology[edit]

[57] For the consonants and vowels, the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) symbol is given, followed by the Malayalam character and the ISO 15919 transliteration.

Vowels[edit]

The first letter in Malayalam
  Short Long
Front Central Back Front Central Back
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  
  • */ɨ̆/ is the saṁvr̥tōkāram, an epenthentic vowel in Malayalam. Therefore, it has no independent vowel letter (because it never occurs at the beginning of words) but, when it comes after a consonant, there are various ways of representing it. In medieval times, it was just represented with the symbol for /u/, but later on it was just completely omitted (that is, written as an inherent vowel). In modern times, it is written in two different ways – the Northern style, in which a chandrakkala is used, and the Southern or Travancore style, in which the diacritic for a /u/ is attached to the preceding consonant and a chandrakkala is written above.
  • */a/ (phonetically central: [ä]) and /ə/ are both represented as basic or "default" vowels in the Abugida script (although /ə/ never occurs word-initially and therefore does not make use of the letter അ), but they are distinct vowels.

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/, ), long vocalic r (ൠ, /rɨː/, r̥̄), vocalic l (ഌ, /lɨ̆/, ) 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.

Consonants[edit]

Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal mm n n ɳ ɲñ ŋ
Stop plain pp bb t d t * ʈ ɖ t͡ʃc d͡ʒj kk ɡg
aspirated ph bh t̪ʰth d̪ʱdh ʈʰṭh ɖʱḍh t͡ʃʰch d͡ʒʱjh kh ɡʱgh
Fricative f ഫ* f s ʂ ɕś hh
Approximant central ʋv ɻ jy
lateral ll ɭ
Rhotic ɾʲr r
  • The unaspirated alveolar plosive stop once had a separate character but it has become obsolete, as the sound only occurs in geminate form (when geminated it is written with a റ below another റ) or immediately following other consonants (in these cases, റ or ററ are usually written in small size underneath the first consonant). The archaic letter can be found in the row here.[58]
  • The alveolar nasal also had a separate character that is now obsolete (it can be seen in the row here[58]) and the sound is now almost always represented by the symbol that was originally used only for the dental nasal. However, both sounds are extensively used in current colloquial and official Malayalam, and although they were allophones in Old Malayalam, they now occasionally contrast in gemination – for example, eṉṉāl ("by me", first person singular pronoun in the instrumental case) and ennāl ("if that is so", elided from the original entāl), which are both written ennāl.
  • The letter ഫ represents both /pʰ/, a phoneme occurring in Sanskrit loanwords, and /f/, which is mostly found in comparatively recent borrowings from European languages.
  • The voiceless unaspirated plosives, the nasals and the laterals can be geminated.[57]

Number system and other symbols[edit]

Praslesham Corresponds to Devanagari avagraha, used when a Sanskrit phrase containing an avagraha is written in Malayalam script. The symbol indicates the elision of the word-initial vowel a after a word that ends in ā, ē, or ō, and is transliterated as an apostrophe ('), or sometimes as a colon + and apostrophe (:').
(Malayalamപ്രശ്ലേഷം, praślēṣam ?)
Malayalam date mark Used in an abbreviation of a date.
Danda Archaic punctuation marks.
Double danda

Malayalam numbers and fractions are written as follows. These are archaic and no longer commonly used. Note that there is a confusion about the glyph of Malayalam digit zero. The correct form is oval-shaped, but occasionally the glyph for ¼ () is erroneously shown as the glyph for 0.

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 100 1000 ¼ ½ ¾
൦

Grammar[edit]

Malayalam has a canonical word order of SOV (subject–object–verb) as do other Dravidian languages.[59] Both adjectives and possessive pronouns precede the nouns they modify. Malayalam has six[60] or seven[61] grammatical cases. Verbs are conjugated for tense, mood and aspect, but not for person, gender or number except in archaic or poetic language.

Nouns[edit]

The declensional paradigms for some common nouns and pronouns are given below. As Malayalam is an agglutinative language, it is difficult to delineate the cases strictly and determine how many there are, although seven or eight is the generally accepted number. Alveolar plosives and nasals (although the modern Malayalam script does not distinguish the latter from the dental nasal) are underlined for clarity, following the convention of the National Library at Kolkata romanization.

Personal pronouns[edit]

The first person singular has an irregular nominative form, ഞാൻ (ñān), while all other forms are based on the oblique form എൻ- (en-).

Vocative forms are given in parentheses after the nominative, as the only pronominal vocatives that are used are the third person ones, which only occur in compounds.

Singular and plural third person pronouns are made from demonstratives and comes in two forms---proximal (ഇ- i-; e.g. proximal they is ഇവർ ivar, literally "these persons") and distal (അ- a-; e.g. distal they is അവർ avar, literally "those persons"). Only the distal forms are given in the table below. The distal forms are used to translate "he", "she", and "they" when context does not dictate otherwise.

Singular Plural
Case Suffix First person Second person Third person (masculine) Third person (feminine) First person (exclusive) First person (inclusive) Second person Third Person
Nominative N/A ഞാൻ
ñān
നീ
അവൻ
avan
(voc. അവനേ
avanē)
അവൾ
avaḷ
(voc. അവളേ
avaḷē)
ഞങ്ങൾ
ñaṅṅaḷ
നാം
nām
(also നമ്മൾ
nammaḷ)
നിങ്ങൾ
niṅṅaḷ
അവർ
avar
(voc. അവരേ
avarē)
Accusative -എ
-e
എന്നെ
enne
നിന്നെ
ninne
അവനെ
avane
അവളെ
avaḷe
ഞങ്ങളെ
ñaṅṅaḷe
നമ്മെ
namme
നിങ്ങളെ
niṅṅaḷe
അവരെ
avare
Genitive -ന്റെ
-nte (-uṭe)
എന്റെ
ente (also എൻ
en, എന്നുടെ
ennuṭe)
നിന്റെ
ninte
(also നിൻ
nin, നിന്നുടെ
ninnuṭe)
അവന്റെ
avante
(also അവനുടെ
avanuṭe)
അവളുടെ
avaḷuṭe
ഞങ്ങളുടെ
ñaṅṅaḷuṭe
(also ഞങ്ങടെ
ñaṅṅuṭe)
നമ്മുടെ
nammuṭe
നിങ്ങളുടെ
niṅṅaḷuṭe
അവരുടെ
avaruṭe
Dative -ക്ക്
-kku
എനിക്ക്
enikku
നിനക്ക്
ninakku
അവന്
avanu
അവൾക്ക്
avaḷkku
ഞങ്ങൾക്ക്
ñaṅṅaḷkku
നമുക്ക്
namukku
നിങ്ങൾക്ക്
niṅṅaḷkku
അവർക്ക്
avarkku
Instrumental -ആൽ
-āl
എന്നാൽ
ennāl
നിന്നാൽ
ninnāl
അവനാൽ
avanāl
അവളാൽ
avaḷāl
ഞങ്ങളാൽ
ñaṅṅaḷāl
(also ഞങ്ങാൽ
ñaṅṅāl)
നമ്മാൽ
nammāl
നിങ്ങളാൽ
niṅṅaḷāl
(also നിങ്ങാൽ
niṅṅāl)
അവരാൽ
avarāl
Locative -ഇൽ
-il
(-കൾ
-kal)
എന്നിൽ
ennil
(also എങ്കൽ
eṅkal)
നിന്നിൽ
ninnil
(also നിങ്കൽ
niṅkal)
അവനിൽ
avanil
(also അവങ്കൽ
avaṅkal)
അവളിൽ
avaḷil
(also അവൾകൽ
avaḷkal)
ഞങ്ങളിൽ
ñaṅṅaḷil
നമ്മിൽ
nammil
നിങ്ങളിൽ
niṅṅaḷil
അവരിൽ
avaril
(also അവർകൾ
avarkal)
Sociative -ഓട്
-ōṭu
എന്നോട്
ennōṭu
നിന്നോട്
ninnōṭu
അവനോട്
avanōṭu
അവളോട്
avaḷōṭu
ഞങ്ങളോട്
ñaṅṅaḷōṭu
നമ്മോട്
nammōṭu
നിങ്ങളോട്
niṅṅaḷōṭu
അവരോട്
avarōṭu

Other nouns[edit]

The following are examples of some of the most common declension patterns.

Word Tree Elephant Human Dog
Case Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative maram maraṅgaḷ āna ānakaḷ manuṣyan manuṣyar paṭṭi paṭṭikaḷ
Vocative maramē maraṅgaḷē ānē ānakaḷē manuṣyā manuṣyarē paṭṭī paṭṭikaḷē
Accusative maratte maraṅgaḷe ānaye ānakaḷe manuṣyane manuṣyare paṭṭiye paṭṭikaḷe
Genitive marathinte maraṅgaḷuṭe ānayuṭe ānakaḷuṭe manuṣyante manuṣyaruṭe paṭṭiyuṭe paṭṭikaḷuṭe
Dative marathinu maraṅgaḷkku ānaykku ānakaḷkku manuṣyanu manuṣyarkku paṭṭiykku paṭṭikaḷkku
Instrumental marathāl maraṅgaḷāl ānayāl ānakaḷāl manuṣyanāl manuṣyarāl paṭṭiyāl paṭṭikaḷāl
Locative marathil maraṅgaḷil ānayil ānakaḷil manuṣyanil manuṣyaril paṭṭiyil paṭṭikaḷil
Sociative marathōṭu maraṅgaḷōṭu ānayōṭu ānakaḷōṭu manuṣyanōṭu manuṣyarōṭu paṭṭiyōṭu paṭṭikaḷōṭu

Words adopted from Sanskrit[edit]

When words are adopted from Sanskrit, their endings are usually changed to conform to Malayalam norms:

Nouns[edit]

  • Masculine Sanskrit nouns with a word stem ending in a short /a/ take the ending /an/ in the nominative singular. For example, Kr̥ṣṇaKr̥ṣṇan. The final /n/ is dropped before masculine surnames, honorifics, or titles ending in /an/ and beginning with a consonant other than /n/ – e.g., "Krishna Menon", "Krishna Kaniyaan" etc., but "Krishnan Ezhutthachan". Surnames ending with /ar/ or /aḷ/ (where these are plural forms of "an" denoting respect) are treated similarly – "Krishna Pothuval", "Krishna Chakyar", but "Krishnan Nair", "Krishnan Nambiar", as are Sanskrit surnames such "Varma(n)", "Sharma(n)", or "Gupta(n)" (rare) – e.g., "Krishna Varma", "Krishna Sharman". If a name is a compound, only the last element undergoes this transformation – e.g., "Kr̥ṣṇa" + "dēva" = "Kr̥ṣṇadēvan", not "Kr̥ṣṇandēvan".
  • Feminine words ending in a long /ā/ or /ī/ are changed to end in a short /a/ or /i/, for example "Sītā" → "Sīta" and "Lakṣmī" → "Lakṣmi". However, the long vowel still appears in compound words, such as "Sītādēvi" or" Lakṣmīdēvi". The long ī is generally reserved for the vocative forms of these names, although in Sanskrit the vocative actually takes a short /i/. There are also a small number of nominative /ī/ endings that have not been shortened – a prominent example being the word "strī" for "woman".
  • Nouns that have a stem in /-an/ and which end with a long /ā/ in the masculine nominative singular have /vŭ/ added to them, for example "Brahmā" (stem "Brahman") → "Brahmāvŭ". When the same nouns are declined in the neuter and take a short /a/ ending in Sanskrit, Malayalam adds an additional /m/, e.g. "Brahma" (neuter nominative singular of "Brahman") becomes "Brahmam". This is again omitted when forming compounds.
  • Words whose roots end in /-an/ but whose nominative singular ending is /-a-/ (for example, the Sanskrit root of "karma" is actually "karman") are also changed. The original root is ignored and "karma" (the form in Malayalam being "karmam" because it ends in a short /a/) is taken as the basic form of the noun when declining.[62] However, this does not apply to all consonant stems, as "unchangeable" stems such as "manas" ("mind") and "suhr̥t" ("friend") are identical to the Malayalam nominative singular forms (although the regularly derived "manam" sometimes occurs as an alternative to "manas").
  • Sanskrit words describing things or animals rather than people with a stem in short /a/ end with an /m/ in Malayalam. For example,"Rāmāyaṇa" → "Rāmāyaṇam". In most cases, this is actually the same as the Sanskrit accusative case ending, which is also /m/ (or, allophonically, anusvara due to the requirements of the sandhi word-combining rules) in the neuter nominative. However, "things and animals" and "people" are not always differentiated based on whether or not they are sentient beings; for example, "Narasimha" becomes "Narasiṃham" and not "Narasiṃhan", whereas "Ananta" becomes "Anantan" even though both are sentient. This does not strictly correspond to the Sanskrit neuter gender, as both "Narasiṃha" and "Ananta" are masculine nouns in the original Sanskrit.
  • Nouns with short vowel stems other than /a/, such as "Viṣṇu", "Prajāpati" etc. are declined with the Sanskrit stem acting as the Malayalam nominative singular (the Sanskrit nominative singular is formed by adding a visarga, e.g., as in "Viṣṇuḥ")
  • The original Sanskrit vocative is often used in formal or poetic Malayalam, e.g. "Harē" (for "Hari") or "Prabhō" (for "Prabhu" – "Lord"). This is restricted to certain contexts – mainly when addressing deities or other exalted individuals, so a normal man named Hari would usually be addressed using a Malayalam vocative such as "Harī". The Sanskrit genitive is also occasionally found in Malayalam poetry, especially the personal pronouns "mama" ("my" or "mine") and "tava" ("thy" or "thine"). Other cases are less common and generally restricted to the realm of Maṇipravāḷam.
  • Along with these tatsama borrowings, there are also many tadbhava words in common use. These were incorporated via borrowing before the separation of Malayalam and Tamil. As the language did not then accommodate Sanskrit phonology as it now does, words were changed to conform to the Old Tamil phonological system, for example "Kr̥ṣṇa" → "Kaṇṇan".[63] Most of his works are oriented on the basic Malayalam family and cultures and many of them were path-breaking in the history of Malayalam literature.

Writing system[edit]

A public notice board written using Malayalam script. The Malayalam language possesses official recognition in the state of Kerala, and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Mahe
A Malayalam translation of the Qurʾān in Arabi Malayalam script

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 script consists of a total of 578 characters. The script contains 52 letters including 16 vowels and 36 consonants, which forms 576 syllabic characters, and contains two additional diacritic characters named anusvāra and visarga.[64][65] The earlier style of writing was superseded by a new style in 1981. This new script reduces the different letters for typesetting from 900 to fewer than 90. This was mainly done to include Malayalam in the keyboards of typewriters and computers.

In 1999 a group named "Rachana Akshara Vedi" produced a set of free fonts containing the entire character repertoire of more than 900 glyphs. This was announced and released along with a text 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.

Malayalam has been written in other scripts like Roman, Syriac[66][67][68] and Arabic. Suriyani Malayalam was used by Saint Thomas Christians (also known as Nasranis) until the 19th century.[66][67][68] Arabic scripts particularly were taught in madrasahs in Kerala and the Lakshadweep Islands.[69][70]

External influences[edit]

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. The influence of Sanskrit was very prominent in formal Malayalam used in literature. Malayalam has a substantially high amount of Sanskrit loan words for which it pays interest but seldom used.[71] 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. The 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 and the southern part of Karnataka.

The regional dialects of Malayalam can be divided into thirteen dialect areas.[72] They are as follows:

South Travancore Central Travancore West Vempanad
North Travancore Kochi (Cochin) South Malabar
South Eastern Palghat North Western Palghat Central Malabar
Wayanad North Malabar Kasaragod
Lakshadweep

According to Ethnologue, the dialects are:[19]

Malabar, Nagari-Malayalam, South Kerala, Central Kerala, North Kerala, Kayavar, Namboodiri, Nair, Moplah (Mapilla), Pulaya, Nasrani, and Kasargod.

The community dialects are: Namboodiri, Nair, Moplah (Mapilla), Pulaya, and Nasrani.[19]

Whereas both the Namboothiri and Nair dialects have a common nature, the Mapilla dialect is among the most divergent of dialects, differing considerably from literary Malayalam.[19]

For a comprehensive list of loan words, see Loan words in Malayalam.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
  2. ^ Official languages. UNESCO. Retrieved 10 May 2007{{inconsistent citations}} 
  3. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Malayalam". Glottolog 2.2. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  4. ^ Laurie Bauer, 2007, The Linguistics Student’s Handbook, Edinburgh
  5. ^ "‘Classical’ status for Malayalam". Thiruvananthapuram, India: The Hindu. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013. 
  6. ^ "Dakshina Kannada District: Dakshin Kannada also called South Canara - coastal district of Karnataka state". Karnatakavision.com. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  7. ^ "Kodagu-Kerala association is ancient". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 26 November 2008. 
  8. ^ "Virajpet Kannada Sahitya Sammelan on January 19". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 9 December 2008. 
  9. ^ Keith Brown and Sarah Ogilvie, ed. (6 April 2010). Concise Encyclopedia of Languages of the World. Elsevier. p. 297. ISBN 978-0-08-087775-4. 
  10. ^ a b Malayalam, R. E. Asher, T. C. Kumari, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-02242-8, 1997
  11. ^ Malayalam literary survey, Volume 27. Kēraḷa Sāhitya Akkādami. 2005. "It is roughly estimated that a stunning eighty five to ninety percentage of the vocabulary of the scholarly usage of the languages like Malayalam of the Dravidian stock is constituted by Sanskrit" 
  12. ^ "(C. Radhakrishnan) Grantha, Vattezhuthu, Kolezhuthu, Malayanma, Devanagiri, Brahmi and Tamil alphabets". C-radhakrishnan.info. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  13. ^ Venu Govindaraju, Srirangaraj Setlur (2009). Guide to OCR for Indic Scripts: Document Recognition and Retrieval - Advances in Pattern Recognition. Springer. p. 126. ISBN 1-84800-329-3. 
  14. ^ Manipravalam The Information & Public Relations Department, Government of Kerala.
  15. ^ Menon, A. Sreedhara (2008). The legacy of Kerala (1st DCB ed.). Kottayam, Kerala: D C Books. ISBN 9788126421572. 
  16. ^ Varthamanappusthakam
  17. ^ S. N. Sadasivan (2000). A social history of India. p. 296. ISBN 978-81-7648-170-0. 
  18. ^ a b Caldwell, Robert (1875). http://books.google.com/books?id=oG0IAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA18&dq=malayalam+language+origin#PPR3,M1 |chapterurl= missing title (help). A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Languages. London: Trübner & Co. p. 23. 
  19. ^ a b c d "Ethnologue report for language code: mal". Ethnologue.com. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  20. ^ A. R. Rajaraja Varma (2000) [First published 1896]. "Peedika". In Zacharia, Dr. Scaria. Kerala Panineeyam: Grammar of Malayalam (in Malayalam). Kottayam, Kerala, India: D C Books. p. 1. ISBN 81-7130-672-1. 
  21. ^ a b The Written Languages of the World: A Survey of the Degree and Modes of Use: India: Book 1 Constitutional Languages. Presses Université Laval. 1978. p. 307. ISBN 9782763771861. 
  22. ^ "Kerala / Kozhikode News: Copy of first book printed in Kerala released". The Hindu. 14 October 2005. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  23. ^ Copy of first book printed in Kerala released Publisher:The Hindu dated:Friday, 14 October 2005
  24. ^ "Flos Sanctorum in Tamil and Malaylam in 1578". Tidsskrift.dk. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  25. ^ "Banjamin Bailey", The Hindu, 5 February 2010
  26. ^ Started in 1847 at Talasseri. It was printed at Basel Mission. Rajya Samacaram, "1847 first Newspaper in Malayalam", Kerala Government
  27. ^ Rajyasamacharam | Kerala Press Academy. Pressacademy.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  28. ^ Herman Gundert | Kerala Press Academy. Pressacademy.org. Retrieved on 2013-07-28.
  29. ^ S. C. Bhatt and Gopal K. Bhargava (2006). Land and people of Indian states and union territories. p. 289. ISBN 9788178353708. "This Bungalow in Tellicherry ... was the residence of Dr. Herman Gundert. He lived here for 20 years" 
  30. ^ www.keralahistory.ac.in
  31. ^ a b History of Malayalam Literature
  32. ^ official website of INFORMATION AND PUBLIC RELATION DEPARTMENT
  33. ^ Manipravala champu Meaning/Definition of
  34. ^ Western Influence on Malayalam Language and Literature - K. M. George - Google Books
  35. ^ Herman Gundert | Kerala Press Academy
  36. ^ A Malayalam and English Dictionary : Hermann Gundert : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
  37. ^ German university gifts Malayalam the legacy of Herman Gundert - The Hindu
  38. ^ Rev. George Mathan, 1819-1870
  39. ^ http://www.reachinformation.com/define/George%20Mathan.aspx
  40. ^ Dharamaraja | By C V Ramanpillai | DC Books
  41. ^ DC Books-Online BookStore
  42. ^ The Venmani School
  43. ^ History of Malayalam Literature
  44. ^ http://www.keralainformation.com/kerala/about-kerala/kerala-art-culture/
  45. ^ Official Language (Legislative) Commission
  46. ^ P&ARD Official Languages
  47. ^ Languages in Lakshadweep
  48. ^ New Page 1
  49. ^ Technical Terminology
  50. ^ "Census Of India - Data on Language". Censusindia.gov.in. Retrieved 30 March 2012. 
  51. ^ http://www.immi.gov.au/media/publications/research/_pdf/poa-2008.pdf
  52. ^ Statistics New Zealand:Language spoken (total responses) for the 1996–2006 censuses (Table 16), stats.govt.nz
  53. ^ "Ancient inscription throws new light on Chera history". The Hindu. 11 February 2011. 
  54. ^ official website of INFORMATION AND PUBLIC RELATION DEPARTMENT
  55. ^ Unnuneeli Sandesam Meaning/Definition of
  56. ^ Syro Malabar Church ::Museum
  57. ^ a b http://www.owlnet.rice.edu/~hj3/pub/Malayalam.pdf
  58. ^ a b Indic transliteration: Main Table-3
  59. ^ "Wals.info". Wals.info. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  60. ^ Asher, R. E. and Kumari, T. C. (1997). Malayalam. Routledge Pub.: London.
  61. ^ http://www.jaimalayalam.com/papers/socialCaseMalayalam05.pdf
  62. ^ Varma, A.R. Rajaraja (2005). Keralapanineeyam. Kottayam: D C Books. p. 303. ISBN 81-7130-672-1. 
  63. ^ Varma, A.R. Rajaraja (2005). Keralapanineeyam. Kottayam: D C Books. pp. 301–302. ISBN 81-7130-672-1. 
  64. ^ Don M. de Z. Wickremasinghe, T.N. Menon (2004). Malayalam Self-Taught. Asian Educational Services. p. 7. ISBN 978-81-206-1903-6. 
  65. ^ "Language". kerala.gov.in. Archived from the original on 11 October 2007. Retrieved 28 May 2007. 
  66. ^ a b Suriyani Malayalam, Nasrani Foundation
  67. ^ a b A sacredlanguage is vanishing from State, The Hindu
  68. ^ a b Prayer from the Past, India Today
  69. ^ Gaṅgopādhyāẏa, Subrata (2004). Symbol, Script, and Writing: From Petrogram to Printing and Further. Sharada Pub. House. p. 158. 
  70. ^ "Education in Lakshadweep – Discovering the past chapters". 
  71. ^ "Dravidian languages." Encyclopædia Britannica. Ultimate Reference Suite. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2008.
  72. ^ Subramoniam, V. I. (1997). Dravidian encyclopaedia. vol. 3, Language and literature. Thiruvananthapuram: International School of Dravidian Linguistics. Cit-P-487. Dravidian Encyclopedia

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]