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Malayalam Language

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Introduction of Malayalam Language

One of the 22 official languages of India, Malayalam language is principally used in the state Kerala, the intellectual centers of India and also the state with the highest literacy rate. The language is one of the Dravidian languages and has its roots to the 10th century. Considered as an offshoot of old Tamil, Malayalam remained in the shadows for a long time before gaining independent identity in the 10th century. Malayalam has drawn influence from both Indian and foreign languages, such as Tamil, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Pali, Hebrew, Hindi, Urdu, Arabic, Persian, Syriac, Portuguese, Dutch, French and English. Though it had a humble beginning, Malayalam, today, is rich in poetry, fiction, drama, biography, and literary criticism.



Malayalam, the official language of kerala, is one of the south dravidian language. It is believed that malayalam is derived from tamil (kodumthamizh), another south dravidian language, during the sangam period. But many words in malayalam are borrowed from Sanskrit, and this gives rise to a counter argument about the origin of the language.

The origin of Malayalam as a distinct language may be traced to the last quarter of 9th Century A.D. Malayalam first appeared in writing in the vazhappalli inscription which dates from about 830 AD. In the early thirteenth century the Malayalam script began to develop from a script known as vattezhuthu (round writing), a descendant of the Brahmi script. But malayalam as we know now is greatly simplified from 900 glyphs, which it originally had.



Apart from translations, original works with a flood of essays on historical and literary topics, dramas, novels and poems and literary journals featured during the 19th century. The first original novel in Malayalam was T. M. Appu Netunnatis Kundalata (1887). However, it was Chantu Menons Indulekha published in 1889 that gained immense popularity. Some of the later novelists were Vennayil Kunniraman Nayanar, Appan Tampuran, V. K. Kunnan Menon, Ambati Narayana Potuval and C. P. Achyuta Menon, who grounded the present day Malayalam prose style. Vaikkom Mohammad Bashir is one of the most loved literary figures of Kerala. Some poets of the modern school are Kumaran Ashan, G. Sankara Kurup, K. K. Raja, Channampuzha Krishna Pilla and N. Balamaniyamma.



The dialects of Malayalam language can be differentiated between social, regional, communal and occupational levels. Moreover it contains many salient attributes of tribal speech which are Malayarayas, Kadars, Vedas and Kurumas. All these significant features are dialects of Dalits, Nairs, Brahmins and Syrian Christians. Furthermore numerous Muslims, Christians and fishermen use different types of Malayaless language. This Malayalam language includes the sub dialects spoken by sub castes such as Harijan Dialect and Brahmin Dialect. Also it is searched that this Malayalam language has some common attributes, phonology and lexical items similar to Sanskrit words. The educated mass refers to Brahmin dialect of Malayalam language. All these dialects of Malayalam differ and vary with each other in terms of phonology, vocabulary or grammar. The Nair dialect is somewhat similar to Syrian Christian dialect whereas the fishermen dialect is also closely related to Latin Christian dialect. Additionally Standard Malayalam dialect has maximum divergence from Muslim dialect. This dialect is heavily influenced from Arabic and Persian words as well as from Sanskrit and English phrases too.

Approximately 30 sub dialects of Malayalam language are searched. These dialects are from British era in Kerala state and even today they retain their individuality. It is also investigated that all the dialects of Malayalam language differ from each other in terms of phonology, phonetics, vocabulary and grammar.


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