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It is a language spoken in India predominantly in the state of Kerala. Malayalam is also spoken in the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka; the Nilgiris, Kanyakumari and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu, and the Dakshina Kannada, Mangalore and Kodagu districts of Karnataka.  Also in Bahrain, Fiji, Israel, Malaysia, Qatar, Singapore, UAE and the UK.


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Malayalam evolved either from a western dialect of Tamil or from the branch of Proto-Dravidian from which modern Tamil also evolved. The earliest record of the language is an inscription dated to approximately 830 ce. An early and extensive influx of Sanskrit words influenced the Malayalam script. Known as Koleluttu (“Rod Script”), it is derived from the Grantha script, which in turn is derived from Brahmi. Koleluttu has letters to represent the entire corpus of sounds from both Dravidian and Sanskrit.


Writing style 

Malayalam is also regularly written with a version of the Arabic script by Muslims in Singapore and Malaysia, and occasionally by Muslims in Kerala.



Malayalam has three important regional dialects and a number of smaller ones. There is some difference in dialect along social, particularly caste, lines. As a result of these factors, the Malayalam language has developed diglossia, a distinction between the formal, literary language and colloquial forms of speech.


Number of speakers

It has about 38 million speakers in the world.


Regulatory  body

Academy for Malayalam literature, Government of Kerala.    



One of the fastest growing  languages of the world.  Malayalis (speakers of Malayalam), and 96 percent of the population of Kerala are literate, constitute 4 percent of the population of India.


Language family


o   Dravidian

o   Southern

o   Tamil–Kannada

o   Tamil–Kodagu

o   Tamil–Malayalam

o   Malayalam languages

o   Malayalam





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