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Malayalam

Photo courtesy of Challiyil Eswaramangalath Pavithran Vipin

Quick Facts

 

Total Worldwide Speakers: 33,550,900

 

Language Family: Dravidian

 

Spoken in: India: Kerala, Laccadive Islands; Bahrain, Fiji, Israel, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore, UAE, United Kingdom

 

History:
 
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. 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.

 

Sources: The Ethnologue & Omniglot

Web-Based Resources

Web-Based Software

Mango Languages LogoMango Languages is available free to all Saint Michael's students, faculty, and staff in a number of languages. Each Mango lesson is focused on practical, common conversation skills and includes instruction on vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and culture.

For assistance with Mango, please see the Getting Started with Mango Languages guide.

 

Web-Based Links

 
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