Malayalam

Malayalam (/ˌmæləˈjɑːləm/;[5] മലയാളം, Malayāḷam ? [maləjaːɭəm]) is a Dravidian language spoken in the Indian state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry (Mahé) by the Malayali people, and it is one of 22 scheduled languages of India. Malayalam has official language status in the state of Kerala and in the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry (Mahé)[6][7][8] and is spoken by 38 million people worldwide. Malayalam is also spoken by linguistic minorities in the neighbouring states; with significant number of speakers in the Nilgiris, Kanyakumari, and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu, and Kodagu and Dakshina Kannada districts of Karnataka. Due to Malayali expatriates in the Persian Gulf, the language is also widely spoken in Gulf countries.

The origin of Malayalam remains a matter of dispute among scholars. One view holds that Malayalam and modern Tamil are offshoots of Middle Tamil and separated from it sometime after the c. 7th century. A second view argues for the development of the two languages out of "Proto-Dravidian" or "Proto-Tamil-Malayalam" in the prehistoric era.[9][10] Designated a "Classical Language in India" in 2013,[11] it developed into the current form mainly by the influence of the poet Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan in the 16th century. The oldest documents written purely in Malayalam and still surviving are the Vazhappalli Copper plates from 832 and Tharisapalli Copper plates from 849.

The earliest script used to write Malayalam was the Vatteluttu alphabet, and later the Kolezhuttu, which derived from it.[12] The current Malayalam script is based on the Vatteluttu script, which was extended with Grantha script letters to adopt Indo-Aryan loanwords.[13][14] The oldest literary work in Malayalam, distinct from the Tamil tradition, is dated from between the 9th and 11th centuries.[9] The first travelogue in any Indian language is the Malayalam Varthamanappusthakam, written by Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar in 1785.[15][16]

Malayalam
മലയാളം
Pronunciation[maləjaːɭəm]
Native toIndia
RegionKerala
EthnicityMalayali
Native speakers
35 million (2011 census)[1]
Dialects
Malayalam script (Brahmic)
Malayalam Braille
Vatteluttu alphabet (historical)
Kolezhuthu (historical)
Malayanma (historical)
Grantha (historical)
Arabi Malayalam (historical/rarely used now)
Syriac script (historical)
Official status
Official language in
 India
Regulated byKerala Sahitya Akademi, Government of Kerala
Language codes
ISO 639-1ml
ISO 639-2mal
ISO 639-3mal
Glottologmala1464[4]
Linguasphere49-EBE-ba
Idioma malayalam
Malayalam-speaking area

Etymology

The word Malayalam originated from the words mala, meaning "mountain", and alam, meaning "region" or "-ship" (as in "township"); Malayalam thus translates directly as "the mountain region." The term originally referred to the land of the Chera dynasty Tamil dynasty, and only later became the name of its language.[17] The language Malayalam is alternatively called Alealum, Malayalani, Malayali, Malean, Maliyad, and Mallealle.[18]

The earliest extant literary works in the regional language of present-day Kerala probably date back to as early as the 12th century. However, the named identity of this language appears to have come into existence only around the 16th century, when it was known as "Malayayma" or "Malayanma"; the words were also used to refer to the script and the region. The word "Malayalam" was coined in the later period, and the local people referred to their language as both "Tamil" and "Malayalam" until the colonial period.[19]

Evolution

The generally held view is that Malayalam was the western coastal dialect of Tamil[20] and separated from Tamil sometime between the 9th and 13th centuries.[21] Some scholars however believe that both Tamil and Malayalam developed during the prehistoric period from a common ancestor, 'Proto-Tamil-Dravidian', and that the notion of Malayalam being a 'daughter' of Tamil is misplaced.[9] This is based on the fact that Malayalam and several Dravidian languages on the western coast have common features which are not found even in the oldest historical forms of Tamil.[22]

Robert Caldwell, in his 1856 book "A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Family of Languages", opined that Malayalam branched from Classical Tamil and over time gained a large amount of Sanskrit vocabulary and lost the personal terminations of verbs.[17] As the language of scholarship and administration, Old-Tamil, which was written in Tamil-Brahmi and the Vatteluttu alphabet later, greatly influenced the early development of Malayalam. The Malayalam script began to diverge from the Tamil-Brahmi script in the 8th and 9th centuries. And by the end of the 13th century a written form of the language emerged which was unique from the Tamil-Brahmi script that was used to write Tamil.[23]

 
 
 
 
Proto-Dravidian
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proto-South-Dravidian
 
Proto-South-Central Dravidian
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proto-Tamil-Kannada
 
 
 
Proto-Telugu
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proto-Tamil-Toda
 
Proto-Kannada
 
Proto-Telugu
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proto-Tamil-Kodagu
 
Kannada
 
Telugu
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proto-Tamil-Malayalam
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Proto-Tamil
 
Malayalam
 
 
 
 
 
Tamil
This tree diagram depicts the genealogy of the primary Dravidian languages spoken
in South India.

Malayalam is similar to some Sri Lankan Tamil dialects, and the two are often mistaken by native Indian Tamil speakers.[24][25]

Malayalam-Tamil

The Portuguese called the Kerala variant of Malayalam-Tamil Lingua Malabar Tamul. It was also called Malabar Thamozhi. The first book to be printed in Lingua Malabar Tamul was Cartilha in 1554, which used Portuguese letters to write the Malabar Thamozhi.

DOCTRINA CHRISTAM IMAGE
Thamburan Vanakkam, printed at 1558 used Tamil script.

Ravikutty Pilla Por, written in the 17th century, is the shining example of Malayanma literature. Ananthapuri Varnanam, written in the 1800s, was among the last of these Malayalam-Tamil books. Itty Achudan, the famed Ayurvedic physician, used Malayanma and Kolezhuttu to write Hortus Malabaricus in 1678 (which was translated into Latin). In the 17th century, the Malayanma script was extensively used by the Catholics of Kerala. Samkshepa Vedartham, in Malayanma, was printed in Rome in 1772. The Ramban Bible, written in Malayanma, was translated from Syriac by Fr. Phillipose and published in 1811. After this period, the British banned Malayanma and most of the books written in Malayanma disappeared. The British never supported or translated Malayanma books into Grantha Malayalam, which they chose to promote in the 19th century. Iravikutti Pilla Por, Vadakkan Pattu, Thacholi Pattu, Kannassa Ramayanam, Ramacharitham Ananthapuri Varnanam are a few of the Malayanma books which have survived. Malayanma, the indigenous Dravidian tongue, and its great literary tradition were lost in history.

History

In the 12th century, Kerala was invaded by the Tulu Bana Kings, with an army from Ahichatra on the Indo-Nepalese border. Keralolpathi mentions a Tulu invader called Banapperumal who was the brother of Tulu king Kavi Raja Singhan (Kavi Alupendra 1110-1170) of the Alupa dynasty, who invaded Kerala with a Large Nair army led by Pada Mala Nair. Banapperumal established his capital at Valapattanam near Kannur. Banapperumal's son was Udayavarman Kolathiri, the first of the Kolathiri dynasty, which was the result of the Tulu invasion. The Tamil Chera dynasty of the Villavar Tamils shifted to Kollam following this attack. Kerala was under the Pandyan Dynasty who encouraged Tamil writing.

After the defeat of the Pandyan Dynasty in 1310 by Malik Kafur of the Delhi Sultanate, all the Tamil dynasties were replaced by Tulu Samantha dynasties under the overlordship of the Kolathiri Kingdom. The Kolathiris and other matriarchal Tulu dynasties of Kerala ruled with the help of an army drawn from Ahichatra on the Indo-Neplaese border. The establishment of Tulu-Nepalese rule over Kerala led to the sanskritization of Malayalam-Tamil and to loanwords from Tulu, Kannada, Nepalese and Hindi coming into Malayalam. The Tigalari script, which was used to write the Tulu language in Karnataka, was beginning to be used to write the sanskritized Malayalam called Grantha Malayalam. It was used by the ruling Tulu-Nepalese elite of Kerala after 1314. Though Grantha Malayalam books appeared in the 16th century, Malayalam-Tamil or Malayanma continued to be the vernacular language of Kerala until the 19th century. Two versions of Grantha Malayalam existed in that era. Grantha Bhasa (Sanskrit language) with few Malayalam words and Grantha Malayalam which had more Malayalam words and fewer Sanskrit words. The domination of Tulu-Nepalese rulers over Kerala gradually changed the local Malayalam-Tamil by mixing it with Sanskrit, Hindi and Nepalese loanwords.

Role of Missionaries

Johann Ernst Hanxleden was a German missionary who was the first ever European to write the grammar book for Grantha Malayalam called Grantha Bhasayuide Vyakaranam in the 1700s. The discovery that Sanskrit was related to German made the German missionaries promote Sanskrit and Grantha Malayalam at the expense of Malayalam-Tamil. In 1819, Benjamin Bailey (missionary) created the first Malayalam (Grantha Malayalam) types. Bailey published the first Malayalam (Grantha Malayalam) Bible in Tigalari script, with the help of Chandu Menon from Ottappalam, who had converted to Christianity and bore the name Joseph Fenn, and Yakob Ramavarman in CMS Kottayam. (In that era Christians were using the Malayalam-Tamil language, hence they did not participate in the printing of the first Malayalam Bible.) The British promoted Grantha Malayalam under the name New Malayanma. In 1848, Hermann Gundert published the first ever Malayalam newspaper called Rajyasamacharam from Thalassery. German and Dutch missionaries played a major role in the promotion of Grantha Malayalam in Kerala, leading to its adoption by Christians by the mid 19th century.

Dialects

Variations in intonation patterns, vocabulary, and distribution of grammatical and phonological elements are observable along the parameters of region, religion, community, occupation, social stratum, style and register.

Dialects of Malayalam are distinguishable at regional and social levels,[26] including occupational and also communal differences. The salient features of many varieties of tribal speech (e.g., the speech of Muthuvans, Malayarayas, Malai Ulladas, Kanikkars, Kadars, Paliyars, Kurumas, and Vedas) and those of the various dialects Namboothiris, Nairs, Ezhavas, Syrian Christians (Nasrani), Latin Christians, Muslims, fishermen and many of the occupational terms common to different sections of Malayalees have been identified.[27]

According to the Dravidian Encyclopedia, the regional dialects of Malayalam can be divided into thirteen dialect areas.[28] They are as follows:

South Travancore Central Travancore West Vempanad
North Travancore Kochi-Thrissur South Malabar
South Eastern Palghat North Western Palghat Central Malabar
Wayanad North Malabar Kasaragod
Lakshadweep

According to Ethnologue, the dialects are:[18] Malabar, Nagari-Malayalam, South Kerala, Central Kerala, North Kerala, Kayavar, Namboodiri, Nair, Moplah (Mapilla), Pulaya, Nasrani, and Kasargod. The community dialects are: Namboodiri, Nair, Moplah (Mapilla), Pulaya, and Nasrani.[18] Whereas both the Namboothiri and Nair dialects have a common nature, the Mapilla dialect is among the most divergent of dialects, differing considerably from literary Malayalam.[18]

As regards the geographical dialects of Malayalam, surveys conducted so far by the Department of Linguistics, University of Kerala restricted the focus of attention during a given study on one specific caste so as to avoid mixing up of more than one variable such as communal and geographical factors. Thus for examples, the survey of the Ezhava dialect of Malayalam, results of which have been published by the Department in 1974, has brought to light the existence of twelve major dialect areas for Malayalam, although the isoglosses are found to crisscross in many instances. Sub-dialect regions, which could be marked off, were found to be thirty. This number is reported to tally approximately with the number of principalities that existed during the pre-British period in Kerala. In a few instances at least, as in the case of Venad, Karappuram, Nileswaram and Kumbala, the known boundaries of old principalities are found to coincide with those of certain dialects or sub-dialects that retain their individuality even today. This seems to reveal the significance of political divisions in Kerala in bringing about dialect difference.

Divergence among dialects of Malayalam embrace almost all aspects of language such as phonetics, phonology, grammar and vocabulary. Differences between any two given dialects can be quantified in terms of the presence or absence of specific units at each level of the language. To cite a single example of language variation along the geographical parameter, it may be noted that there are as many as seventy seven different expressions employed by the Ezhavas and spread over various geographical points just to refer to a single item, namely, the flower bunch of coconut. 'Kola' is the expression attested in most of the panchayats in the Palakkad, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram districts of Kerala, whereas 'kolachil' occurs most predominantly in Kannur and Kochi and 'klannil' in Alappuzha and Kollam. 'Kozhinnul' and 'kulannilu' are the forms most common in Trissur Idukki and Kottayam respectively. In addition to these forms most widely spread among the areas specified above, there are dozens of other forms such as 'kotumpu' (Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram), 'katirpu' (Kottayam), krali (Pathanamthitta), pattachi, gnannil (Kollam), 'pochata' (Palakkad) etc. referring to the same item.

It may be noted at this point that labels such as "Brahmin Dialect" and "Syrian Caste Dialect" refer to overall patterns constituted by the sub-dialects spoken by the subcastes or sub-groups of each such caste. The most outstanding features of the major communal dialects of Malayalam are summarized below:

  • Lexical items with phonological features reminiscent of Sanskrit (e.g., viddhi, meaning "fool"), bhosku ("lie"), musku ("impudence"), dustu ("impurity"), and eebhyan and sumbhan (both meaning "good-for-nothing fellow") abound in this dialect.
  • The dialect of the educated stratum among the Nairs resembles the Brahmin dialect in many respects. The amount of Sanskrit influence, however, is found to be steadily decreasing as one descends along the parameter of education.
  • One of the striking features differentiating the Nair dialect from the Ezhava dialect is the phonetic quality of the word-final: an enunciative vowel unusually transcribed as "U". In the Nair dialect it is a mid-central unrounded vowel whereas in the Ezhava dialect it is often heard as a lower high back unrounded vowel.
  • The Syrian Christian dialect of Malayalam is quite close to the Nair dialect, especially in phonology. The speech of the educated section among Syrian Christians and that of those who are close to the church are peculiar in having a number of assimilated as well as unassimilated loan words from English and Syriac. The few loan words which have found their way into the Christian dialect are assimilated in many cases through the process of de-aspiration.
  • The Latin Christian dialect of Malayalam is close to the fishermen dialect. It is also influenced by Latin, Portuguese and English.
  • The Muslim dialect shows maximum divergence from the literary Standard Dialect of Malayalam. It is very much influenced by Arabic and Urdu rather than by Sanskrit or by English. The retroflex continuant zha of the literary dialect is realised in the Muslim dialect as the palatal ya.
  • Tamil spoken in the Kanyakumari district has many Malayalam words.

External influences and loanwords

Malayalam has incorporated many elements from other languages over the years, the most notable of these being Sanskrit and later, English.[29] According to Sooranad Kunjan Pillai who compiled the authoritative Malayalam lexicon, the other principal languages whose vocabulary was incorporated over the ages were Pali, Prakrit, Urdu, Hindi, Chinese, Arabic, Syriac, Dutch, and Portuguese.[30]

Many medieval liturgical texts were written in an admixture of Sanskrit and early Malayalam, called Manipravalam.[31] The influence of Sanskrit was very prominent in formal Malayalam used in literature. Malayalam has a substantially high amount of Sanskrit loanwords but these are seldom used.[32] Loanwords and influences also from Hebrew, Syriac, and Ladino abound in the Jewish Malayalam dialects, as well as English, Portuguese, Syriac, and Greek in the Christian dialects, while Arabic and Persian elements predominate in the Muslim dialects. The Muslim dialect known as Mappila Malayalam is used in the Malabar region of Kerala. Another Muslim dialect called Beary bashe is used in the extreme northern part of Kerala and the southern part of Karnataka.

For a comprehensive list of loan words, see Loan words in Malayalam.

Geographic distribution and population

Malayalam is a language spoken by the native people of southwestern India (from Talapady to Kanyakumari).According to the Indian census of 2011, there were 32,299,239 speakers of Malayalam in Kerala, making up 93.2% of the total number of Malayalam speakers in India, and 96.74% of the total population of the state. There were a further 701,673 (2.1% of the total number) in Karnataka, 957,705 (2.7%) in Tamil Nadu, and 406,358 (1.2%) in Maharashtra. The number of Malayalam speakers in Lakshadweep is 51,100, which is only 0.15% of the total number, but is as much as about 84% of the population of Lakshadweep. In all, Malayalis made up 3.22% of the total Indian population in 2011. Of the total 34,713,130 Malayalam speakers in India in 2011, 33,015,420 spoke the standard dialects, 19,643 spoke the Yerava dialect and 31,329 spoke non-standard regional variations like Eranadan.[33] As per the 1991 census data, 28.85% of all Malayalam speakers in India spoke a second language and 19.64% of the total knew three or more languages.

Large numbers of Malayalis have settled in Chennai (Madras), Bangalore, Mangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai (Bombay), Navi Mumbai , Pune, Mysore and Delhi. A large number of Malayalis have also emigrated to the Middle East, the United States, and Europe. There were 179,860 speakers of Malayalam in the United States, according to the 2000 census, with the highest concentrations in Bergen County, New Jersey and Rockland County, New York.[34] There are 172,000 of Malayalam speakers in Malaysia. There were 7,093 Malayalam speakers in Australia in 2006.[35] The 2001 Canadian census reported 7,070 people who listed Malayalam as their mother tongue, mainly in Toronto. The 2006 New Zealand census reported 2,139 speakers.[36] 134 Malayalam speaking households were reported in 1956 in Fiji. There is also a considerable Malayali population in the Persian Gulf regions, especially in Dubai and Doha.

Phonology

Spoken Malayalam

For the consonants and vowels, the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) symbol is given, followed by the Malayalam character and the ISO 15919 transliteration.[37]

Vowels

Malayalam
The first letter in Malayalam
  Short Long
Front Central Back Front Central Back
Close /i/ i /ɨ̆/ * ŭ /u/ u /iː/ ī   /uː/ ū
Mid /e/ e /ə/ * a /o/ o /eː/ ē   /oː/ ō
Open   /a/ a     /aː/ ā  
  • */ɨ̆/ is the saṁvr̥tōkāram, an epenthentic vowel in Malayalam. Therefore, it has no independent vowel letter (because it never occurs at the beginning of words) but, when it comes after a consonant, there are various ways of representing it. In medieval times, it was just represented with the symbol for /u/, but later on it was just completely omitted (that is, written as an inherent vowel). In modern times, it is written in two different ways – the Northern style, in which a chandrakkala is used, and the Southern or Travancore style, in which the diacritic for a /u/ is attached to the preceding consonant and a chandrakkala is written above.
  • */a/ (phonetically central: [ä]) and /ə/ are both represented as basic or "default" vowels in the Abugida script (although /ə/ never occurs word-initially and therefore does not make use of the letter ), but they are distinct vowels.

Malayalam has also borrowed the Sanskrit diphthongs of /äu/ (represented in Malayalam as , au) and /ai/ (represented in Malayalam as , ai), although these mostly occur only in Sanskrit loanwords. Traditionally (as in Sanskrit), four vocalic consonants (usually pronounced in Malayalam as consonants followed by the saṁvr̥tōkāram, which is not officially a vowel, and not as actual vocalic consonants) have been classified as vowels: vocalic r (, /rɨ̆/, r̥), long vocalic r (, /rɨː/, r̥̄), vocalic l (, /lɨ̆/, l̥) and long vocalic l (, /lɨː/, l̥̄). Except for the first, the other three have been omitted from the current script used in Kerala as there are no words in current Malayalam that use them.

Consonants

Labial Dental Alveolar Retroflex Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m ⟨m⟩ ⟨n⟩ n ⟨ṉ⟩ ɳ ⟨ṇ⟩ ɲ ⟨ñ⟩ ŋ ⟨ṅ⟩
Stop plain p ⟨p⟩ b ⟨b⟩ ⟨t⟩ ⟨d⟩ t * ⟨ṯ⟩ ʈ ⟨ṭ⟩ ɖ ⟨ḍ⟩ t͡ʃ ⟨c⟩ d͡ʒ ⟨j⟩ k ⟨k⟩ ɡ ⟨g⟩
aspirated ⟨ph⟩ ⟨bh⟩ t̪ʰ ⟨th⟩ d̪ʱ ⟨dh⟩ ʈʰ ⟨ṭh⟩ ɖʱ ⟨ḍh⟩ t͡ʃʰ ⟨ch⟩ d͡ʒʱ ⟨jh⟩ ⟨kh⟩ ɡʱ ⟨gh⟩
Fricative f * ⟨f⟩ s ⟨s⟩ ʂ ⟨ṣ⟩ ɕ ⟨ś⟩ h ⟨h⟩
Approximant central ʋ ⟨v⟩ ɻ ⟨ḻ⟩ j ⟨y⟩
lateral l ⟨l⟩ ɭ ⟨ḷ⟩
Rhotic ɾ ⟨r⟩ r ⟨ṟ⟩
  • The unaspirated alveolar plosive stop once had a separate character but it has become obsolete, as the sound only occurs in geminate form (when geminated it is written with a below another ) or immediately following other consonants (in these cases, or ററ are usually written in small size underneath the first consonant). The archaic letter can be found in the ⟨ṯ⟩ row here [3].
  • The alveolar nasal also had a separate character that is now obsolete (it can be seen in the ⟨ṉ⟩ row here [4]) and the sound is now almost always represented by the symbol that was originally used only for the dental nasal. However, both sounds are extensively used in current colloquial and official Malayalam, and although they were allophones in Old Malayalam, they now occasionally contrast in gemination – for example, eṉṉāl ("by me", first person singular pronoun in the instrumental case) and ennāl ("if that is so", elided from the original entāl), which are both written ennāl.
  • The letter ഫ represents both /pʰ/, a phoneme occurring in Sanskrit loanwords, and /f/, which is mostly found in comparatively recent borrowings from European languages.
  • The voiceless unaspirated plosives,the voiced unaspirated plosives, the nasals and the laterals can be geminated.[37]
  • The retroflex lateral is clearly retroflex, but may be more of a flap [] (= [ɺ̢ ]) than an approximant [ɭ]. The approximant /ɻ/ has both rhotic and lateral qualities, and is indeterminate between an approximant and a fricative, but is laminal post-alveolar rather than a true retroflex. The articulation changes part-way through, perhaps explaining why it behaves as both a rhotic and a lateral, both an approximant and a fricative, but the nature of the change is not understood.[38]

Number system and other symbols

Praslesham Corresponds to Devanagari avagraha, used when a Sanskrit phrase containing an avagraha is written in Malayalam script. The symbol indicates the elision of the word-initial vowel a after a word that ends in ā, ē, or ō, and is transliterated as an apostrophe ('), or sometimes as a colon + an apostrophe (:').
(Malayalam: പ്രശ്ലേഷം, praślēṣam ?)
Malayalam date mark Used in an abbreviation of a date.
Danda Archaic punctuation marks.
Double danda

Malayalam numbers and fractions are written as follows. These are archaic and no longer commonly used. Note that there is a confusion about the glyph of Malayalam digit zero. The correct form is oval-shaped, but occasionally the glyph for ​14 () is erroneously shown as the glyph for 0.

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 100 1000 14 12 34
൦

Grammar

Malayalam has a canonical word order of SOV (subject–object–verb) as do other Dravidian languages.[39] A rare OSV word order occurs in interrogative clauses when the interrogative word is the subject.[40] Both adjectives and possessive adjectives precede the nouns they modify. Malayalam has 6[41] or 7[42] grammatical cases. Verbs are conjugated for tense, mood and aspect, but not for person, gender or number except in archaic or poetic language.

Nouns

The declensional paradigms for some common nouns and pronouns are given below. As Malayalam is an agglutinative language, it is difficult to delineate the cases strictly and determine how many there are, although seven or eight is the generally accepted number. Alveolar plosives and nasals (although the modern Malayalam script does not distinguish the latter from the dental nasal) are underlined for clarity, following the convention of the National Library at Kolkata romanization.

Personal pronouns

Vocative forms are given in parentheses after the nominative, as the only pronominal vocatives that are used are the third person ones, which only occur in compounds.

Singular Plural
Case First person Second person Third person (masculine) Third person (feminine) First person (exclusive) First person (inclusive) Second person Third Person
Nominative ñjaāṉ avaṉ (voc. avaṉē) avaḷ (voc. avaḷē) ñaṅṅaḷ nām/nammaḷ niṅṅaḷ avar (voc. avarē)
Accusative eṉṉe niṉṉe avaṉe avaḷe ñaṅṅaḷe namme niṅṅaḷe avare
Genitive eṉṯe (also eṉ, eṉṉuṭe) niṉṯe (also niṉ, niṉṉuṭe) avaṉṯe (also avaṉuṭe) avaḷuṭe ñaṅṅaḷuṭe (also ñaṅṅuṭe) nammuṭe niṅṅaḷuṭe avaruṭe
Dative eṉikku niṉakku avaṉu avaḷkku ñaṅṅaḷkku namukku niṅṅaḷkku avaṟkku
Instrumental eṉṉāl niṉṉāl avaṉāl avaḷāl ñaṅṅaḷāl (also ñaṅṅāl) nammāl niṅṅaḷāl (also niṅṅāl) avarāl
Locative eṉṉil (also eṅkal) niṉṉil (also niṅkal) avaṉil (also avaṅkal) avaḷil (also avaḷkal) ñaṅṅaḷil nammil niṅṅaḷil avaril (also avaṟkal)
Sociative eṉṉōṭu niṉṉōṭu avaṉōṭu avaḷōṭu ñaṅṅaḷōṭu nammōṭu niṅṅaḷōṭu avarōṭu

Other nouns

The following are examples of some of the most common declension patterns.

Word (translated) "Tree" "Elephant" "Human" "Dog"
Case Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
Nominative maram maraṅgaḷ āṉa āṉakaḷ maṉuṣyaṉ maṉuṣyar paṭṭi paṭṭikaḷ
Vocative maramē maraṅgaḷē āṉē āṉakaḷē maṉuṣyā maṉuṣyarē paṭṭī paṭṭikaḷē
Accusative maratte maraṅgaḷe āṉaye āṉakaḷe maṉuṣyaṉe maṉuṣyare paṭṭiye paṭṭikaḷe
Genitive marathiṉṯe maraṅgaḷuṭe āṉayuṭe āṉakaḷuṭe maṉuṣyaṉṯe maṉuṣyaruṭe paṭṭiyuṭe paṭṭikaḷuṭe
Dative marathinu maraṅgaḷkku āṉaykku āṉakaḷkku maṉuṣyaṉu maṉuṣyaṟkku paṭṭiykku paṭṭikaḷkku
Instrumental marathāl maraṅgaḷāl āaṉayāl āaṉakaḷāl maṉuṣyaṉāl maṉuṣyarāl paṭṭiyāl paṭṭikaḷāl
Locative marathil maraṅgaḷil āṉayil āṉakaḷil maṉuṣyaṉil maṉuṣyaril paṭṭiyil paṭṭikaḷil
Sociative marathōṭu maraṅgaḷōṭu āṉayōṭu āṉakaḷōṭu maṉuṣyaṉōṭu maṉuṣyarōṭu paṭṭiyōṭu paṭṭikaḷōṭu

Words adopted from Sanskrit

When words are adopted from Sanskrit, their endings are usually changed to conform to Malayalam norms:

Nouns

  • Masculine Sanskrit nouns with a word stem ending in a short /a/ take the ending /an/ in the nominative singular. For example, Kr̥ṣṇa → Kr̥ṣṇan. The final /n/ is dropped before masculine surnames, honorifics, or titles ending in /an/ and beginning with a consonant other than /n/ – e.g., "Krishna Menon", "Krishna Kaniyaan" etc., but "Krishnan Ezhutthachan". Surnames ending with /ar/ or /aḷ/ (where these are plural forms of "an" denoting respect) are treated similarly – "Krishna Pothuval", "Krishna Chakyar", but "Krishnan Nair", "Krishnan Nambiar", as are Sanskrit surnames such "Varma(n)", "Sharma(n)", or "Gupta(n)" (rare) – e.g., "Krishna Varma", "Krishna Sharman". If a name is a compound, only the last element undergoes this transformation – e.g., "Kr̥ṣṇa" + "dēva" = "Kr̥ṣṇadēvan", not "Kr̥ṣṇandēvan".
  • Feminine words ending in a long /ā/ or /ī/ are changed to end in a short /a/ or /i/, for example "Sītā" → "Sīta" and "Lakṣmī" → "Lakṣmi". However, the long vowel still appears in compound words, such as "Sītādēvi" or" Lakṣmīdēvi". The long ī is generally reserved for the vocative forms of these names, although in Sanskrit the vocative actually takes a short /i/. There are also a small number of nominative /ī/ endings that have not been shortened – a prominent example being the word "strī" for "woman".
  • Nouns that have a stem in /-an/ and which end with a long /ā/ in the masculine nominative singular have /vŭ/ added to them, for example "Brahmā" (stem "Brahman") → "Brahmāvŭ". When the same nouns are declined in the neuter and take a short /a/ ending in Sanskrit, Malayalam adds an additional /m/, e.g. "Brahma" (neuter nominative singular of "Brahman") becomes "Brahmam". This is again omitted when forming compounds.
  • Words whose roots end in /-an/ but whose nominative singular ending is /-a-/ (for example, the Sanskrit root of "karma" is actually "karman") are also changed. The original root is ignored and "karma" (the form in Malayalam being "karmam" because it ends in a short /a/) is taken as the basic form of the noun when declining.[43] However, this does not apply to all consonant stems, as "unchangeable" stems such as "manas" ("mind") and "suhr̥t" ("friend") are identical to the Malayalam nominative singular forms (although the regularly derived "manam" sometimes occurs as an alternative to "manas").
  • Sanskrit words describing things or animals rather than people with a stem in short /a/ end with an /m/ in Malayalam. For example,"Rāmāyaṇa" → "Rāmāyaṇam". In most cases, this is actually the same as the Sanskrit accusative case ending, which is also /m/ (or, allophonically, anusvara due to the requirements of the sandhi word-combining rules) in the neuter nominative. However, "things and animals" and "people" are not always differentiated based on whether or not they are sentient beings; for example, "Narasimha" becomes "Narasiṃham" and not "Narasiṃhan", whereas "Ananta" becomes "Anantan" even though both are sentient. This does not strictly correspond to the Sanskrit neuter gender, as both "Narasiṃha" and "Ananta" are masculine nouns in the original Sanskrit.
  • Nouns with short vowel stems other than /a/, such as "Viṣṇu", "Prajāpati" etc. are declined with the Sanskrit stem acting as the Malayalam nominative singular (the Sanskrit nominative singular is formed by adding a visarga, e.g., as in "Viṣṇuḥ")
  • The original Sanskrit vocative is often used in formal or poetic Malayalam, e.g. "Harē" (for "Hari") or "Prabhō" (for "Prabhu" – "Lord"). This is restricted to certain contexts – mainly when addressing deities or other exalted individuals, so a normal man named Hari would usually be addressed using a Malayalam vocative such as "Harī". The Sanskrit genitive is also occasionally found in Malayalam poetry, especially the personal pronouns "mama" ("my" or "mine") and "tava" ("thy" or "thine"). Other cases are less common and generally restricted to the realm of Maṇipravāḷam.
  • Along with these tatsama borrowings, there are also many tadbhava words in common use. These were incorporated via borrowing before the separation of Malayalam and Tamil. As the language did not then accommodate Sanskrit phonology as it now does, words were changed to conform to the Old Tamil phonological system, for example "Kr̥ṣṇa" → "Kaṇṇan".[44] Most of his works are oriented on the basic Malayalam family and cultures and many of them were path-breaking in the history of Malayalam literature.

Writing system

Malayalam Script (Aksharamala) letters - word colud
Malayalam Script (Aksharamala) letters
Malpublicinfoboard
A public notice board written using Malayalam script. The Malayalam language possesses official recognition in the state of Kerala, and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry

Historically, several scripts were used to write Malayalam. Among these were the Vatteluttu, Kolezhuthu and Malayanma scripts. But it was the Grantha script, another Southern Brahmi variation, which gave rise to the modern Malayalam script. It is syllabic in the sense that the sequence of graphic elements means that syllables have to be read as units, though in this system the elements representing individual vowels and consonants are for the most part readily identifiable. In the 1960s Malayalam dispensed with many special letters representing less frequent conjunct consonants and combinations of the vowel /u/ with different consonants.

Malayalam script consists of a total of 578 characters. The script contains 52 letters including 16 vowels and 36 consonants, which forms 576 syllabic characters, and contains two additional diacritic characters named anusvāra and visarga.[45][46] The earlier style of writing has been superseded by a new style as of 1981. This new script reduces the different letters for typesetting from 900 to fewer than 90. This was mainly done to include Malayalam in the keyboards of typewriters and computers.

In 1999 a group named "Rachana Akshara Vedi" produced a set of free fonts containing the entire character repertoire of more than 900 glyphs. This was announced and released along with a text editor in the same year at Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala. In 2004, the fonts were released under the GNU GPL license by Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation at the Cochin University of Science and Technology in Kochi, Kerala.

Malayalam has been written in other scripts like Roman, Syriac[47][48][49] and Arabic. Suriyani Malayalam was used by Saint Thomas Christians (also known as Nasranis) until the 19th century.[47][48][49] Arabic scripts particularly were taught in madrasahs in Kerala and the Lakshadweep Islands.[50][51]

Literature

Kerala Sahitya Akademy
Kerala Sahitya Akademy at Thrissur

The earliest Malayalam inscription discovered until now is the Edakal-5 inscription (ca. late 4th century - early 5th century).[52] The early literature of Malayalam comprised three types of composition: Malayalam Nada, Tamil Nada and Sanskrit Nada.

  • Classical songs known as Nadan Pattu
  • Manipravalam of the Sanskrit tradition, which permitted a generous interspersing of Sanskrit with Malayalam. Niranam poets[53] Manipravalam Madhava Panikkar, Sankara Panikkar and Rama Panikkar wrote Manipravalam poetry in the 14th century.
  • The folk song rich in native elements

Malayalam poetry to the late 20th century betrays varying degrees of the fusion of the three different strands. The oldest examples of Pattu and Manipravalam, respectively, are Ramacharitam and Vaishikatantram, both from the 12th century.[54]

The earliest extant prose work in the language is a commentary in simple Malayalam, Bhashakautalyam (12th century) on Chanakya's Arthashastra. Adhyatmaramayanam by Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan (known as the father of the Malayalam language) who was born in Tirur, one of the most important works in Malayalam literature. Unnunili Sandesam written in the 14th century is amongst the oldest literary works in Malayalam language.[55]

By the end of the 18th century some of the Christian missionaries from Kerala started writing in Malayalam but mostly travelogues, dictionaries and religious books. Varthamanappusthakam (1778), written by Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar[56] is considered to be the first travelogue in an Indian language.

Early period

Travancore Rupee - Reverse
Malayalam letters on old Travancore Rupee coin

The earliest known poem in Malayalam, Ramacharitam, dated to the 12th to 14th century, was completed before the introduction of the Sanskrit alphabet. It shows the same phase of the language as in Jewish and Nasrani Sasanas (dated to mid‑8th century).[17] But the period of the earliest available literary document cannot be the sole criterion used to determine the antiquity of a language. In its early literature, Malayalam has songs, Pattu, for various subjects and occasions, such as harvesting, love songs, heroes, gods, etc. A form of writing called Campu emerged from the 14th century onwards. It mixed poetry with prose and used a vocabulary strongly influenced by Sanskrit, with themes from epics and Puranas.[23]

Samkshepavedartham 1772.pdf
Cover page of Nasranikal okkekkum ariyendunna samkshepavedartham which is the first book to be printed in Malayalam in 1772.

Rama-charitam, which was composed in the 14th century A.D., may be said to have inaugurated Malayalam literature just as Naniah's Mahabharatam did for Telugu. The fact is that dialectical and local peculiarities had already developed and stamped themselves in local songs and ballads. But these linguistic variations were at last gathered together and made to give a coloring to a sustained literary work, the Rama-charitam, thereby giving the new language a justification and a new lease on life.

The Malayalam language, with the introduction of a new type of devotional literature, underwent a metamorphosis, both in form and content, and it is generally held that modernity in Malayalam language and literature commenced at this period. This change was brought about by Thunchathu Ezhuthachan (16th century) who is known as the father of modern Malayalam. Till this time Malayalam indicated two different courses of development depending on its relationship with either Sanskrit or Tamil.

The earliest literary work in Malayalam now available is a prose commentary on Chanakya's Arthashastra, ascribed to the 13th century. The poetical works called Vaisikatantram are also believed to belong to the early 14th century. These works come under a special category known as Manipravalam, literally the combination of two languages, the language of Kerala and Sanskrit. A grammar and rhetoric in this hybrid style was written sometime in the 14th century in Sanskrit and the work, called the Lilatikalam, is the main source of information for a student of literary and linguistic history.

According to this book, the Manipravalam and Pattu styles of literary compositions were in vogue during this period. "Pattu" means "song" and more or less represents the pure Malayalam school of poetry. From the definition of the Pattu style given in the Lilatikalam, it can be surmised that the language of Kerala during this period was more or less in line with Tamil, but this has misled many people to believe incorrectly that Malayalam was itself Tamil during this period and before.

The latest research shows that Malayalam as a separate spoken language in Kerala began showing independent lines of development from its parental tongue Proto-Tamil-Malayalam (which is not modern Tamil), preserving the features of the earliest Dravidian tongue, which only in due course gave birth to the literary form of Tamil, namely Sen Tamil and Malayalam, the spoken form of which is prevalent in Kerala. However, till the 13th century there is no hard evidence to show that the language of Kerala had a literary tradition except in folk songs.

The literary tradition consisted of three early Manipravalam Champus, a few Sandesa Kavyas and innumerable amorous compositions on the courtesans of Kerala, which throb with literary beauty and poetical fancies, combined with a relishing touch of realism about them with regard to the then social conditions. Many prose works in the form of commentaries upon Puranic episodes form the bulk of the classical works in Malayalam.

The Pattu (a sutra devoted to define this pattern is termed a pattu) school also has major works like the Ramacharitam (12th century), and the Bhagavad Gita (14th century) by a set of poets belonging to one family called the Kannassas. Some of them like Ramacharitam have a close resemblance to the Tamil language during this period. This is to be attributed to the influence of Tamil works on native poets belonging to areas that lie close to the Tamil country.

It was during the 16th and 17th centuries that later Champu kavyas were written. Their specialty was that they contained both Sanskritic and indigenous elements of poetry to an equal degree, and in that manner were unique.

Unnayi Varyar, whose Nalacharitan Attakkatha is popular even today, was the most prominent poet of the 18th century among not only the Kathakali writers, but also among the classical poets of Kerala. He is often referred to as the Kalidasa of Kerala. Although Kathakali is a dance drama and its literary form should more or less be modeled after the drama, there is nothing more in common between an Attakkatha and Sanskrit drama.

That is to say, the principles of dramaturgy to be observed in writing a particular type of Sanskrit drama are completely ignored by an author of Attakkatha. Delineation of a particular rasa is an inevitable feature with Sanskrit drama, whereas in an Attakkatha all the predominant rasas are given full treatment, and consequently the theme of an Attakkatha often loses its integrity and artistic unity when viewed as a literary work.

Any Attakkatha fulfills its objective if it affords a variety of scenes depicting different types of characters, and each scene would have its own hero with the rasa associated with that character. When that hero is portrayed he is given utmost importance, to the utter neglect of the main sentiment (rasa) of the theme in general. However, the purpose of Attakkatha is not to present a theme with a well-knit emotional plot as its central point, but to present all approved types of characters already set to suit the technique of the art of Kathakali.

The major literary output of the century was in the form of local plays composed for the art of kathakali, the dance dramas of Kerala also known as Attakkatha. It seems the Gitagovinda of Jayadeva provided a model for this type of literary composition. The verses in Sanskrit narrate the story and the dialogue is composed in imitation of songs in the Gitagovinda, set to music in appropriate ragas in the classical Karnataka style.

Besides the Raja of Kottarakkara and Unnayi Varyar referred to above, nearly a hundred plays were composed during this century by poets belonging to all categories and subscribing to all standards, such as Irayimman Tampi and Ashvati Raja, to mention just two.

Devotional literature in Malayalam found its heyday during the early phase of this period. Ezhuthachan referred to above gave emphasis to the Bhakti cult. The Jnanappana by Puntanam Nambudiri is a unique work in the branch of philosophical poetry. Written in simple language, it is a sincere approach to the advaita philosophy of Vedanta.

It took nearly two centuries for a salutary blending of the scholarly Sanskrit and popular styles to bring Malayalam prose to its present form, enriched in its vocabulary by Sanskrit but at the same time flexible, pliable and effective as to popular parlance.

As regards literature, the leading figures were Irayimman Thampi and Vidwan Koithampuran, both poets of the royal court. Their works abound in a beautiful and happy blending of music and poetry. The former is surely the most musical poet of Kerala and his beautiful lullaby commencing with the line Omana Thinkalkidavo has earned him an everlasting name. But the prime reason why he is held in such high esteem in Malayalam is the contribution he has made to Kathakali literature by his three works, namely the Dakshayagam, the Kichakavadham and the Uttara-svayamvaram. The latter's Kathakali work Ravana Vijayam has made him immortal in literature.

Impact of European scholars

The first printed book in Kerala was Doctrina Christam, written by Henrique Henriques in Lingua Malabar Tamul. It was transliterated and translated into Malayalam, and printed by the Portuguese in 1578.[57][58] In the 16th and 17th centuries, Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan was the first to substitute Grantha-Malayalam script for the Tamil Vatteluttu alphabet. Ezhuthachan, regarded as the father of the modern Malayalam language, undertook an elaborate translation of the ancient Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata into Malayalam. His Adhyatma Ramayana and Mahabharata are still read with religious reverence by the Malayalam-speaking Hindu community. Kunchan Nambiar, the founder of Tullal, was a prolific literary figure of the 18th century.

The British printed Malabar English Dictionary by Graham Shaw in 1779 was still in the form of a Tamil-English Dictionary.[59] The Syrian Christians of Kerala started to learn the Tulu-Grantha Bhasha of Nambudiris under the British Tutelage. Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar wrote the first Malayalam travelogue called Varthamanappusthakam in 1789.

The educational activities of the missionaries belonging to the Basel Mission deserve special mention. Hermann Gundert, (1814 – 1893), a German missionary and scholar of exceptional linguistic talents, played a distinguishable role in the development of Malayalam literature. His major works are Keralolpathi (1843), Pazhancholmala (1845), Malayalabhaasha Vyakaranam (1851), Paathamala (1860) the first Malayalam school text book, Kerala pazhama (1868), the first Malayalam dictionary (1872), Malayalarajyam (1879) - Geography of Kerala, Rajya Samacharam (1847 June) the first Malayalam news paper, Paschimodayam (1879) - Magazine.[60] He lived in Thalassery for around 20 years. He learned the language from well established local teachers Ooracheri Gurukkanmar from Chokli, a village near Thalassery and consulted them in works. He also translated the Bible into Malayalam.[61][62]

In 1821, the Church Mission Society (CMS) at Kottayam in association with the Syriac Orthodox Church started a seminary at Kottayam in 1819 and started printing books in Malayalam when Benjamin Bailey, an Anglican priest, made the first Malayalam types. In addition, he contributed to standardizing the prose.[63] Hermann Gundert from Stuttgart, Germany, started the first Malayalam newspaper, Rajya Samacaram in 1847 at Talasseri. It was printed at Basel Mission.[64] Malayalam and Sanskrit were increasingly studied by Christians of Kottayam and Pathanamthitta. By the end of the 19th century Malayalam replaced Syriac as language of Liturgy in the Syrian Christian churches.

Thanks to the efforts of kings like Swathi Thirunal and to the assistance given by him to the Church Mission and London Mission Societies, a number of schools were started.

1850–1904

The establishment of the Madras University in 1857 marks an important event in the cultural history of Kerala. It is from here that a generation of scholars well versed in Western literature and with the capacity to enrich their own language by adopting Western literary trends came into being. Prose was the first branch to receive an impetus by its contact with English. Though there was no shortage of prose in Malayalam, it was not along Western lines. It was left to the farsighted policy of the Maharaja of Travancore (1861 to 1880) to start a scheme for the preparation of textbooks for use by schools in the state. Kerala Varma V, a scholar in Sanskrit, Malayalam and English was appointed Chairman of the Committee formed to prepare textbooks. He wrote several books suited for various standards.

The growth of journalism, too, helped in the development of prose. Initiated by missionaries for the purpose of religious propaganda, journalism was taken up by local scholars who started newspapers and journals for literary and political activities.

Vengayil Kunhiraman Nayanar, (1861-1914) from Thalassery was the author of first Malayalam short story, Vasanavikriti. After him innumerable world class literature works by was born in Malayalam.

With his work Kundalatha in 1887, Appu Nedungadi marks the origin of prose fiction in Malayalam. Other talented writers were Chandu Menon, the author of Indulekha, a great social novel, in 1889 and another called Sarada. Also there was C V Raman Pillai, who wrote the historical novel Marthandavarma in 1890 as well as works like Dharmaraja, and Ramaraja Bahadur.

Shakuntala RRV
Shakuntala writes to Dushyanta. Painting by Raja Ravi Varma. The poetry was translated by Kerala Varma as Abhijnanasakuntalam

In poetry there were two main trends, one represented by Venmani Nampoodiris(venmani Poets) and the other by Kerala Varma. The latter's poetry was modeled on the old Manipravalam style abounding in Sanskrit words and terms, but it had a charm of its own when adapted to express new ideas in that masterly way characteristic of himself. His translation of Kalidasa's Abhijnanasakuntalam in 1882 marks an important event in the history of Malayalam drama and poetry. Also Kerala Varma's Mayura-sandesam is a Sandesakavya (messenger poem) written after the manner of Kalidasa's Meghadutam. Though it cannot be compared with the original, it was still one of the most popularly acclaimed poems in Malayalam.

One of the notable features of the early decades of the 20th century was the great interest taken by writers in translating works from Sanskrit and English into Malayalam. Kalidasa's Meghaduta and Kumarasambhava by A. R. Raja Raja Varma and the Raghuvamsa by K. N. Menon must be mentioned. One of the most successful of the later translators was C. S. Subramaniam Potti who set a good model by his translation of the Durgesanandini of Bankim Chandra from an English version of it.

Twentieth century

The early decades of the 20th century saw the beginning of a period of rapid development of all branches of Malayalam literature. A good number of authors familiar with the latest trends in English literature came forward to contribute to the enrichment of their mother tongue. Their efforts were directed more to the development of prose than poetry.

Malayalam Wikipedia Mobile App
Malayalam language in mobile phone

Prose

Several Bengali novels were translated during this period. C. S. S. Potti, mentioned above, also brought out the Lake of Palms of R. C. Dutt under the title Thala Pushkarani, Kapalakundala by V. K. Thampi and Visha Vruksham by T. C. Kalyani Amma were also translations of novels by Bankimochandra Chatterji.

Among the original novels written at that time only a few are worth mentioning, such as Bhootha Rayar by Appan Thampuran, Keraleswaran by Raman Nambeesan and Cheraman Perumal by K. K. Menon. Although a large number of social novels were produced during this period, only a few are remembered, such as Snehalatha by Kannan Menon, Hemalatha by T. K. Velu Pillai and Kambola-balika by N. K. Krishna Pillai. But by far the most inspiring work of that time was Aphante Makal by M. B. Namboodiri, who directed his literary talents towards the abolition of old worn-out customs and manners which had for years been the bane of the community.

Short stories came into being. With the advent of E. V. Krishna Pillai, certain marks of novelty became noticeable in the short story. His Keleesoudham proved his capacity to write with considerable emotional appeal.

C. V. Raman Pillai was a pioneer in prose dramas. He had a particular knack for writing dramas in a lighter vein. His Kurupillakalari of 1909 marks the appearance of the first original Malayalam prose drama. It is a satirical drama intended to ridicule the Malayali official classes who started imitating Western fashion and etiquette. There were other authors, less well-known, who wrote in this vein.

Under the guidance of A. Balakrishna Pillai, a progressive school of authors appeared in almost all branches of literature, such as the novel, the short story, the drama, and criticism.

Poetry

Kumaran Asan's celebrated poem, Veena Poovu (The Fallen Flower) depicts in a symbolic manner the tragedy of human life in a moving and thought-provoking manner. Vallathol's Bandhanasthanaya Aniruddhan, which demonstrates an exceptionally brilliant power of imagination and deep emotional faculties, depicts a situation from the Puranic story of Usha and Aniruddha. Ulloor S. P. Iyer was another veteran who joined the new school. He wrote a series of poems like Oru Mazhathulli in which he excelled as a romantic poet.

The three more or less contemporary poets Kumaran Asan, Vallathol Narayana Menon and Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer considerably enriched Malayalam poetry. Some of their works reflect social and political movements of that time. Asan wrote about untouchability in Kerala; Ullor's writings reflect his deep devotion and admiration for the great moral and spiritual values, which he believed were the real assets of ancient social life of India. They were known as the trio of Malayalam poetry. After them there were others like K. K. Nair and K. M. Panikkar who contributed to the growth of poetry.

See also

Notes

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References

Further reading

  • Pillai, Anitha Devi (2010). Singaporean Malayalam. Saarbrücken: VDM. ISBN 978-3-639-21333-1.
  • Pillai, A.D. & Arumugam, P. (2017). From Kerala to Singapore: Voices of the Singapore Malayalee Community. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish International (Asia). Pte. Ltd. ISBN 9789814721837

External links

Dileep

Gopalakrishnan Padmanabhan, better known by his stage name Dileep, is an Indian film actor, producer and businessman, who predominantly works in the Malayalam film industry. He has acted in more than 150 films and has won four Kerala State Film Awards, a Filmfare Awards South and several other awards.

Beginning as an impressionist in stage shows, Dileep attained popularity after being cast on the television comedy series Comicola on Asianet and its successor Cinemala. Dileep with Nadirshah produced and performed in the audio cassette series named De Maveli Kombathu, a successful sketch comedy, which later turned into a television series on Asianet. He began his film career as an assistant director and worked under director Kamal in nine films, beginning with Vishnulokam in 1991, and made his acting debut with a minor role in Kamal's Ennodu Ishtam Koodamo (1992). He acted in a principal role in the 1994 film Manathe Kottaram taking the screen name Dileep. He established himself as a leading actor during the late 1990s, mostly doing comedic roles.

After the box office success of Meesa Madhavan (2002) he won the Filmfare Award for Best Actor – Malayalam. In the same year, he won the Kerala State Film Award - Special Jury Award for his performance in Kunjikoonan, and three years later, he received a Special Mention for his role in Chanthupottu (2005). In 2011, his role in Vellaripravinte Changathi won him his first Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor. Two of his films, Two Countries (2015) and Ramaleela (2017), grossed over ₹50 crore (₹500 million) and were ranked among the top ten highest-grossing Malayalam films.In 2003, Dileep ventured into film production and founded the company Graand Production, its debut production was C.I.D. Moosa. He won the Kerala State Film Award for Second Best Film for his production Kathavasheshan in 2004. In 2008, he produced Twenty:20 in order to raise funds for the Association of Malayalam Movie Artists (AMMA). The film starred almost all actors in the guild and became the highest-grossing Malayalam film up until then. He owns the multiplex theatre D Cinemaas in Chalakudy and the restaurant chain Dhe Puttu. Dileep married Manju Warrier in 1998 and was legally separated in 2015. In 2016, he married Kavya Madhavan.

Dravidian languages

The Dravidian languages are a language family spoken mainly in Southern India and parts of Central and Eastern India, as well as in Sri Lanka with small pockets in southwestern Pakistan, southern Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan, and overseas in other countries such as Malaysia, Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore. The Dravidian languages with the most speakers are Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam. There are also small groups of Dravidian-speaking scheduled tribes, who live outside Dravidian-speaking areas, such as the Kurukh in Eastern India and Gondi in Central India. The Dravidian languages are spoken by more than 215 million people in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.Though some scholars have argued that the Dravidian languages may have been brought to India by migrations in the fourth or third millennium BCE or even earlier, the Dravidian languages cannot easily be connected to any other language family and they could well be indigenous to India.Epigraphically the Dravidian languages have been attested since the 2nd century BCE as Tamil-Brahmi script on the cave walls discovered in the Madurai and Tirunelveli districts of Tamil Nadu. Only two Dravidian languages are spoken exclusively outside the post-1947 state of India: Brahui in the Balochistan region of Pakistan and Afghanistan; and Dhangar, a dialect of Kurukh, in parts of Nepal and Bhutan. Dravidian place names along the Arabian Sea coasts and Dravidian grammatical influence such as clusivity in the Indo-Aryan languages, namely Marathi, Konkani, Gujarati, Marwari, and Sindhi, suggest that Dravidian languages were once spoken more widely across the Indian subcontinent.

Jagathy Sreekumar

Sreekumar P K, better known by his stage name Jagathy Sreekumar, and popularly as Jagathy, is an Indian film actor who has starred in over 1200 Malayalam films in a career spanning almost four decades. Hailed as one of the greatest comedians of all-time in Malayalam cinema, he is also known for his highly nuanced character roles. He is the son of acclaimed dramaturge and writer, the late Jagathy N. K. Achary.

Jagathy Sreekumar won five Kerala State Film Awards among numerous other awards for his roles in various films. He has also directed two films and written screenplays for two more. His stage name is derived from the neighborhood of Jagathy in Thiruvananthapuram from where he hails. He was an outspoken orator holding strong views, quite unlike his onscreen image and his speeches are still popular on Youtube 7 years after his hiatus from the silver-screen.

With 1,070-odd Malayalam films to his credit (as of 2005), he was reckoned as one of the most prolific actors in the industry, however Jagathy was involved in a vehicle accident in March 2012 and was hospitalized for over a year. He is still recovering from his injuries. His film career has been being on hold since the accident. It has been reported via various news outlets that Jagathi Sreekumar is back to acting through a Television Ad for a Thrissur based Water Theme Park

Keerthy Suresh

Keerthy Suresh (born 17 October 1992) is an Indian film actress who appears in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films.She is the daughter of producer Suresh Kumar and actress Menaka. Keerthy made her debut as a child actress in the early 2000s and returned to fill lead roles after completing an education in fashion design. She played her first lead role in the 2013 Malayalam film Geethaanjali.

List of Malayalam films of 2018

The tables list the Malayalam films released in theaters in the year 2018. Premiere shows and film festival screenings are not considered as releases for this list.

List of Malayalam films of 2019

The tables list the Malayalam films released in theaters in the year 2019. Premiere shows and film festival screenings are not considered as releases for this list.

List of highest-grossing Indian films

This is a ranking of the highest grossing Indian films which includes films from various languages based on the conservative global box office estimates as reported by reputable sources. There is no official tracking of domestic box office figures within India, and Indian sites publishing data are frequently pressured to increase their domestic box office estimates.Indian films have been screened in markets around the world since the early 20th century. As of 2003, there are markets in over 90 countries where films from India are screened. During the first decade of the 21st century, there was a steady rise in the ticket price, a tripling in the number of theaters and an increase in the number of prints of a film being released, which led to a large increase in the box office collections.The majority of highest-grossing Indian films are Bollywood (Hindi) films. As of 2014, Bollywood represents 43% of the net box office revenue in India, while Tamil and Telugu cinema represent 36%, and other regional industries constitute 21%. See List of highest-grossing films in India for domestic gross figures and List of highest-grossing Indian films in overseas markets for overseas gross figures.

Lists of Malayalam films

The Malayalam cinema industry has produced movies in the Malayalam language since 1928. The first Malayalam silent movie, Vigathakumaran, directed by J. C. Daniel, began shooting in 1928 and was released in 1930.

Lists of Malaysian films

This is an index for the list of films produced in Malaysia ordered by decade on separate pages. For an alphabetical listing of Malaysian films see Category:Malaysian films.

Malayalam calendar

Malayalam Calendar or Kollam Era is a solar and sidereal Hindu calendar used in Kerala and Tirunelveli district, Tamil Nadu in south India. The origin of the calendar has been dated as 825 CE.There are many theories regarding the origin of the era, but according to historian Noburu Karashima (2014), it commemorated the "foundation of Kollam" after the liberation of the region (known as Venadu) from the Pandya rule by Chera king at Kodungallur. The earliest record mentioning Kollam Era is a royal order by Sri Vallava Goda, the chieftain of Venadu, dated to c. 973 CE (Kollam Era 149). In the inscription the phrase "Kollam Tontri Andu" is employed.Another era referred to as "Kollam Azhinta Andu", counting from 1097 CE, was reckoned by the Pandyas for some time. It is tentatively calculated that the Pandya kings, under the sanction of their Chola overlords, captured the port of Kollam in 1097 CE.Kollam Era initially remained a local era in the port of Kollam alone and perhaps in the whole chiefdom of Venadu. Later it spread though out Kerala and came to be known as the Malayalam Era.

Malayalam cinema

Malayalam cinema is the Indian film industry based in the southern state of Kerala, dedicated to the production of motion pictures in the Malayalam language. It is also known by the sobriquet Mollywood in various print and online media (a portmanteau of Malayalam and Hollywood).Malayalam film industry is the fourth biggest film industry in India. The films produced here are known for their cinematography and story-driven realistic plots. Works such as Marana Simhasanam and Vanaprastham were screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.Marana Simhasanam garnered the coveted Caméra d'Or ("Golden Camera") for that year.In 1982, Elippathayam won the Sutherland Trophy at the London Film Festival, and Most Original Imaginative Film of 1982 by the British Film Institute. Rajiv Anchal's Guru (1997) and Salim Ahamed's Adaminte Makan Abu (2011) were Malayalam films sent by India as its official entries for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards. Adoor Gopalakrishnan has won the International Film Critics Prize (FIPRESCI) for his works such as Mukhamukham (1984), Anantaram (1987), Mathilukal (1989), Vidheyan (1993), Kathapurushan (1995), and Nizhalkkuthu (2002).Other films which achieved global acclaim include Chemmeen (1965), which received a Certificate of Merit at the Chicago International Film Festival, and a Gold Medal at the Cannes Film Festival for Best Cinematography. Piravi (1989) won at least 31 international honours, including the Caméra d'Or – Mention Spéciale at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival, and was screened at the Un Certain Regard. Swaham (1994) won the Bronze Rosa Camuna at the Bergamo Film Meeting in Italy.

The first 3D film produced in India, My Dear Kuttichathan (1984), was made in Malayalam. The first CinemaScope film produced in Malayalam was Thacholi Ambu (1978).During the early 1920s the Malayalam film industry was based in Thiruvananthapuram, although the film industry started to develop and flourish only by the late 1940s. Later the industry shifted to Chennai (formerly Madras), which then was the capital of the South Indian film industry. By the late 1980s, the Malayalam film industry returned and established itself in Kerala with the majority of locations, studios, production and post-production facilities being located in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. Several media sources describe Kochi as the hub of the film industry.

Malayalam script

Malayalam script (Malayāḷalipi; IPA: [mələjɑːɭə lɪpɪ] (listen) / Malayalam: മലയാളലിപി) is a Brahmic script used commonly to write the Malayalam language, which is the principal language of Kerala, India, spoken by 35 million people in the world. Malayalam script is also widely used for writing Sanskrit texts in Kerala. Like many other Indic scripts, it is an alphasyllabary (abugida), a writing system that is partially “alphabetic” and partially syllable-based. The modern Malayalam alphabet has 15 vowel letters, 36 consonant letters, and a few other symbols. The Malayalam script is a Vatteluttu alphabet extended with symbols from the Grantha alphabet to represent Indo-Aryan loanwords.

The script is also used to write several minority languages such as Paniya, Betta Kurumba, and Ravula. The Malayalam language itself was historically written in several different scripts.

Mammootty

Muhammad Kutty Paniparambil Ismail (born 7 September 1951), better known by his stage name Mammootty is an Indian film actor and producer who works in Malayalam cinema. In a career spanning four decades, he has appeared in over 400 films, predominantly in Malayalam language and also in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Hindi and English.Mammootty was a lawyer by profession. After establishing himself as a lead actor in the 1980s, his major breakthrough came with the commercial success of the 1987 film New Delhi. He has won three National Film Awards for Best Actor, seven Kerala State Film Awards and thirteen Filmfare Awards South. In 1998, the Government of India awarded him the Padma Shri for his contributions to the arts. He has also received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Kerala in January 2010 and from the University of Calicut in December 2010.Mammootty is the chairman of Malayalam Communications, which runs the Malayalam television channels Kairali TV, People TV and WE TV. He is also the goodwill ambassador of the Akshaya project, the first district-wide e-literacy project in India. He is the patron of the Pain and Palliative Care Society, a charitable organisation in Kerala formed with the aim of improving the quality of life among patients with advanced cancer. He has also been working with the Pain and Palliative Care Centre in Kozhikode, India.

Mohanlal

Mohanlal Viswanathan (born 21 May 1960), known mononymously as Mohanlal, is an Indian actor, producer and playback singer who predominantly works in Malayalam cinema. He has had a prolific career spanning four decades, during which he has acted in more than 300 films. In addition to Malayalam, he has also appeared in other regional Indian films.Mohanlal made his acting debut as a teenager in the Malayalam film Thiranottam in 1978, but the film was delayed in its release for 25 years due to censorship issues. His screen debut was in the 1980 romance film Manjil Virinja Pookkal, in which he played the villain. In the following years, he played antagonistic characters in several films and gradually rose to supporting roles. Towards the mid-1980s, he established himself as a leading actor and gained stardom after starring in a series of commercially successful films in 1986; the crime drama Rajavinte Makan, released in that year heightened his stardom. Mohanlal prefers to work in Malayalam films, but he has also appeared in some Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada films. Some of his best known non-Malayalam films include the Tamil political drama Iruvar (1997), the Hindi crime drama Company (2002) and the Telugu action film Janatha Garage (2016).Mohanlal has received five National Film Awards—two Best Actor, a Special Jury Mention and a Special Jury Award for acting, and an award for Best Feature Film (as producer), also nine Kerala State Film Awards, Filmfare Awards South and numerous other accolades. The Government of India honoured him with Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour in 2001 and Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honour in 2019, for his contributions to Indian cinema. In 2009, he became the first and only actor to be awarded the honorary rank of Lieutenant colonel in the Territorial Army of India. He received honorary doctorate from Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit in 2010 and from the University of Calicut in 2018.

Nayanthara

Nayanthara (Diana Mariam Kuriyan), is an Indian film actress who primarily appears in Tamil cinema. Nayanthara made her acting debut in the 2003 Malayalam film Manassinakkare with Jayaram. She made her debut in Tamil cinema with Ayya (2005) and Telugu with Lakshmi (2006). Both were successful. After this she had numerous commercially successful Tamil and Telugu films like Chandramukhi (2005), Dubai Seenu (2007), Tulasi (2007), Billa (2007), Yaaradi Nee Mohini (2008), Aadhavan (2009), Adhurs (2010), Simha (2010), Boss Engira Bhaskaran (2010), Sri Rama Rajyam (2011), Raja Rani (2013), Arrambam (2013), Thani Oruvan (2015), Maya (2015), Naanum Rowdy Dhaan (2015), Babu Bangaram (2016) and Iru Mugan (2016).

In 2010, she also made her Kannada film debut through the Kannada-Telugu bilingual film Super, her only appearance in a Kannada film to date. Her portrayal of Sita in Sri Rama Rajyam (2011) earned her the Filmfare Award for Best Telugu Actress and the Nandi Award for Best Actress. She won the Filmfare Award for Best Tamil Actress for her performance in Raja Rani (2013) ,Naanum Rowdy dhan (2015) and Aramm(2017). Kochi Times named her in its "List of 15 Most Desirable Women in 2014". In 2017, she was awarded the Filmfare Award for Best Malayalam Actress for her performance in Puthiya Niyamam (2016), marking her first Filmfare award in Malayalam. Nayanthara is the only female actor to have made it to the Forbes India Celebrity 100 2018 list from South India, with her total earning credited at ₹ 15.17 crores.

Nayanthara is part of several big budget movies. She is shooting for Ajith’s Viswasam and Chiranjeevi’s Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy. She has also signed Malayalam film Love Action Drama, in which she will share screen space with Nivin Pauly.

Nithya Menen

Nithya Menen (born 8 April 1988) is an Indian film actress and playback singer. She primarily works in South Indian films, where she has established herself as a leading actress. She is recipient of three Filmfare Awards for the Telugu films Gunde Jaari Gallanthayyinde, Malli Malli Idi Rani Roju and Mersal in Tamil.

After making her acting debut as a child in the 1998 English film The Monkey Who Knew Too Much, Nithya played her first leading role in Kannada film 7 O' Clock. She made her debut in Malayalam with Akasha Gopuram, Telugu with Ala modalaindi and Tamil with 180.

Prithviraj Sukumaran

Prithviraj Sukumaran (born 16 October 1982) is an Indian film actor, producer, playback singer, and director, who predominantly works in the Malayalam film industry. Additionally, he has also worked in Bollywood, Tamil, and Telugu film industries. In a career spanning over a decade, Prithviraj has acted in more than 100 films and has received several awards, including the National Film Awards, Kerala State Film Awards and Filmfare Awards South.The son of actors Sukumaran and Mallika, Prithviraj was first spotted by director Fazil. Fazil's screen test of Prithviraj prompted director Ranjith to cast him in the 2002 romantic-drama Nandanam, his acting debut was a commercial success. He continued to do starring roles and established himself as a successful leading actor in the following years. In 2006, he starred in the coming-of-age romance film Classmates, which became the highest-grossing Malayalam film ever. In the same year, he won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor for his performances in Vaasthavam, becoming the youngest recipient of the award at the age of 24. The 2009 action film Puthiya Mukham catapulted his stardom and also marked his debut as a playback singer. He won the Kerala State Film Award for Best Actor again in 2012 for the medical drama Ayalum Njanum Thammil and the biographical film Celluloid.From 2010 onward, he began co-producing films under the production house August Cinema, starting with the historical film Urumi starring himself. He co-produced and starred in the social drama Indian Rupee (2011), for which he received the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Malayalam and Kerala State Film Award for Best Film. In 2014, he won the Tamil Nadu State Film Award for Best Villain for his performance in Kaaviya Thalaivan. His period film Ennu Ninte Moideen (2015) and horror thriller Ezra (2017), both emerged as one of the top ten highest-grossing Malayalam films of all time. He ended his partnership with August Cinema in 2017 and launched an independent production house, Prithviraj Productions, debuting with the science fiction film 9 (2019). Prithviraj made his directorial debut with the blockbuster Lucifer (2019).

Priyadarshan

Priyadarshan (born Priyadarshan Soman Nair; 30 January 1952) is an Indian film director, producer, and screenwriter. In a career spanning over three decades, he has directed more than 95 films in various Indian languages, predominantly in Malayalam and Hindi, while also having done six films in Tamil and two in Telugu.

Priyadarshan began his career in Malayalam cinema in the early 1980s and was active throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Towards 2000s, he moved to Bollywood (Hindi cinema) and was active throughout the decade. He has done about 26 films in Hindi alone, the highest number of films done by any Bollywood director after David Dhawan. In 2013, he announced that Rangrezz would be his last Hindi film for a while and shifted focus to Malayalam cinema.Best known for his comedy films, Priyadrshan has also experimented with some action and thriller films. His collaborations with Mohanlal were highly popular in Malayalam cinema during the 1980s and 1990s, with most notable films being Poochakkoru Mookkuthi, Mazha Peyyunnu Maddalam Kottunnu, Thalavattam, Vellanakalude Nadu, Chithram, Vandanam, Kilukkam, Abhimanyu, Mithunam, Thenmavin Kombath, and Kala Pani. Other Malayalam actors he frequently collaborate are: Kuthiravattam Pappu, Jagathy Sreekumar, Innocent, Nedumudi Venu, Sreenivasan, Sukumari, Mukesh and Mammukoya.

Priyadarshan was one of the first directors in India to introduce rich color grading, clear sound and quality dubbing through his early Malayalam films. He is known for adapting stories from Malayalam films into Bollywood, from his own work as well as other films. Most notable such Bollywood films include Hera Pheri, Hungama, Hulchul, Garam Masala, Bhagam Bhag, Chup Chup Ke, Dhol, and Bhool Bhulaiyaa. His multiple collaborations in Hindi include Tabu, Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar, Akshaye Khanna, Manoj Joshi and Suniel Shetty. In 2007, his Tamil film Kanchivaram won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film. In 2012, the Government of India honoured him with Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian award for his contribution towards the arts. Priyadarshan has also directed many advertisement films. His most popular commercials are for Coca-Cola, American Express, Nokia, Parker Pens, Asian Paints, Kinley and Max New York Life Insurance.

Revathi

Asha Kelunni, known by her stage name Revathi, is an Indian film actress and film director, known for her works predominantly in Tamil and Malayalam cinema.

She has won several accolades, including the National Film Awards in three different categories, and Filmfare Awards South. Revathi is a trained Bharatanatyam dancer, having studied since the age of seven and performed her arangetram in Chennai in 1979.Apart from films, Revathi has been involved in a variety of social organisations, the most notable being the Banyan, Ability foundation, Tanker foundation and Vidyasagar, and has also served as a member of several film festivals including the Chennai International Film Festival and the International Film Festival of India.

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