Malayalam? What is it? Is it Malay?
Malayalam is a language spoken in Kerala, India. Special note to
non-Indians - It is not a dialect of 'Indian'. There is no language
called 'Indian'. We have 22 official languages and all are different
- just like Spanish, French and Italian are different. A Malayalam
speaker does not normally understand Hindi or Bengali (unless he has
learnt it as a second language).
Malayalam belongs to the Dravidian Language family with 36 million
speakers. Malayalam is midway between Tamil and Sanskrit. This is an
interesting fact as Tamil is a Dravidian language and Sanskrit is
Indo-European. Portuguese, Persian and Arabic have made minor
contributions to Malayalam vocabulary.
OK sounds interesting, but why should I learn Malayalam?
This question falls in the subset of another with a broader scope -
why should I learn a foreign language? For me learning a foreign
language is to establish warmer interpersonal relationships with
people of foreign culture. The same holds true with Malayalam too.
Malayalees are welcoming and tolerant. We tend to give you a better
place in our hearts if you speak our language ! Ah..but don't worry,
you are always welcome to Kerala even if you don't speak it!
Is Malayalam very hard?
That quite depends on what level of proficiency you want to reach.
I have seen Malayalam grammar books teaching the Malayalam
equivalent of Shakespearean English. Come on! No one speaks English
like that. I will teach you Malayalam the way a native speaker
speaks not as if you picked your vocabulary and style from
literature. On these pages, I do not have anything written in
Malayalam script. I do not believe it's worth the time you spend. I
have devised a Romanization scheme for Malayalam to represent every
possible sound. All examples are in Roman script. Imagine learning
to speak Chinese after having learnt the script. Doesn't make sense
right? - You just want to speak it. If you still want to learn
Malayalam script, I have them on the alphabets page.
Who are you?
My name is Alex Mathew (Chandy Mathai in Malayalam/Malayalam-Hebrew).
I did my B.Tech at NIT Calicut, India
and M.S. at the University of Rochester, NY, both in
Electrical Engineering. I have a strong interest in Linguistics.
I enjoy writing grammar. If you have
questions, comments or wish to contribute please contact me on