Malayalam /mæləˈjɑːləm/ (മലയാളം, Malayāḷam ?, Malayalam pronunciation: [mɐləjaːɭəm]) 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. Malayalam has 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 2001 census. Malayalam is also spoken in the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka; with more populace in the Nilgiris, Kanyakumari and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu, and the Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu districts of Karnataka.
Malayalam most likely originated from Middle Tamil (Sen-Tamil) in the 6th century. An alternative theory proposes a split in even more ancient times. Through the ages, Malayalam incorporated many loanwords from Sanskrit, which altered the number of letters in the Malayalam script. Malayalam with minimal Sanskrit loanwords is Thani Malayalam.
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. The oldest literary works in Malayalam, distinct from the Tamil tradition, are the Paattus, folk songs, dated from between the 9th and 11th centuries. 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. Many medieval texts were written in a very liberal mixture of Sanskrit with early Malayalam, known as Manipravalam. The first travelogue in any Indian language is in Malayalam, titled as Varthamanappusthakam written by Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar in 1785.
Online Malayalam Lessons
Online Malayalam Dictionaries
The Bible in Malayalam (Unicode)
Online Malayalam News
Online Malayalam transliterator