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Malayalam is a Dravidian language with about 38 million speakers spoken mainly in the south west of India, particularly in Kerala, the Laccadive Islands and neighboring states, and also in Bahrain, Fiji, Israel, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore, UAE and the UK.

Malayalam was first written with the Vatteluttu alphabet (വട്ടെഴുത്ത് Vaṭṭeḻuttŭ), which means 'round writing' and developed from the Brahmi script. The oldest known written text in Malayalam is known as the Vazhappalli or Vazhappally inscription, is in the Vatteluttu alphabet and dates from about 830 AD.

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)

Vowel diacritics with ka

Consonants (വ്യഞ്ജനങ്ങൾ vyanjanam)

A chillu or chillaksharam represents pure consonants independently, without help of a virama. Unlike a consonant represented by an ordinary consonant letter, these consonants are never followed by an inherent vowel.

A selection of conjunct consonants

Notes

Numerals (അക്കങ്ങൾ akkan̄n̄alla)

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 video 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
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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
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The Bible in Malayalam (Unicode)
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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, Gondi, Irula, Jatapu, Kannada, Kodava, Kolam, Konda, Koya, Kurukh, Malayalam, Mukha Dora, Sankethi, Savara, Sunuwar, Suriyani Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Toda, Tulu, Yerukula

Syllabic alphabets / abugidas

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