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Malayalam, a Dravidian language with about 35 million speakers. It is 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 is the language of Kerala, the southern most state in India. Over 35,000,000 people speak this language. Malayalam, one of the Dravidian languages in India, has its own alphabet and grammar. It originally developed from Tamil and uses many Tamil words. It also has adapted many words from Sanskrit, other India languages and English. Malayalam is extraordinarily rich in every genre of literature. Every year numerous books and publications are produced in Malayalam. In Kerala alone 170 daily papers, 235 weekly and 560 monthly periodicals are published in Malayalam. The most circulated daily paper in India is in Malyalam. This language is presently taught in many Universities outside Kerala including some in the United States.
Malayalam Language also spelled MALAYALAM, language of the Dravidian family, spoken in southwestern India; it is the official language of the state of Kerala. Malayalam has three important regional dialects and a number of smaller ones. There is also some difference in dialect along caste lines and a distinction, called diglossia, between the formal, literary language and the colloquial tongue. Both the literary and colloquial languages use many words borrowed from Sanskrit. Closely related to Tamil, Malayalam differs from it in such aspects as the absence of personal endings on verbs.
Like the Dravidian languages generally, Malayalam has a series of retroflex consonants (e.g., t, d, n; sounds pronounced with the tongue tip curled back against the roof of the mouth), and it indicates such grammatical categories as tense, number, person, and case with suffixes. Malayalam has a written tradition dating from the late 9th century, and the earliest literary work dates from the early 13th century. The language uses a script called Koleluttu (Rod script), which is derived from the Tamil writing system. The Tamil Grantha script also is used.
The history of Malayalam literature dates to the 13th century. Indigenous ballads and folk songs belong to the earliest times. Later literature was long influenced by Sanskrit, the language of scholarship, and by Tamil, the language of administration. All the branches of literature known in the West are cultivated today.
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.
Thunchath Ramanujan Ezhuthassan, is considered as the father of malayalam literature. Thunchan Parambu is highly venerated and it's sand is believed to be sacred. The sand is used in 'Vidyarambham', especially on ,'Vijaya Dashmi' day. Malayalis, (those who speak Malayalam) males and females alike - are almost totally literate, constitute 4 percent of the population of India and 96 percent of the population of Kerala. In terms of the number of speakers Malayalam ranks eighth among the fifteen major languages of India. The word /malayALam/ originally meant mountainous country) (/mala/- mountain + /aLam/-place). Tamil is its neighbour on the south and east and Kannada on the north and east. Malayalam belongs to the southern group of Dravidian languages like Tamil, Kota, Kodagu and Kannada .
Its affinity to Tamil is the most striking. Tamil - Malayalam, the common stock of Tamil and Malayalam apparently disintegrated over a period of fourth to fifth centuries, resulting in the emergence of Malayalam as a language distinct from Tamil. As the language of scholarship and administration Tamil greatly influenced the early development of Malayalam. Later irresistable inroads by the Brahmins made into the cultural life of Kerala accelerated the assimilation of many Indo-Aryan features into Malayalam at different levels.