Malayalam(redirected from Malayalam language)
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Malayalam(mä'ləyä`ləm), Dravidian language of India. See Dravidian languagesDravidian languages
, family of about 23 languages that appears to be unrelated to any other known language family. The Dravidian languages are spoken by more than 200 million people, living chiefly in S and central India and N Sri Lanka.
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the language of the Malayalis, spoken in Kerala in southwestern India by more than 20 million people (1970, estimate). Malayalam belongs to the southern group of Dravidian languages and is closely related to Tamil. It lacks the category of gender and does not distinguish the categories of person and number in the finite (personal) forms of the verb. A writing system dates from the late ninth and early tenth centuries. The first important work is the poem Ramacaritam (Biography of Rama, 13th century), and the first Malayalam grammar is the Sanskrit treatise Lilatilakam (14th century). There were two literary dialects in early classical Malayalam: the Sanskritized Manipravalam and the Tamilized Misra-bhasa. In the 16th century the differences between the two dialects disappeared and a uniform literary language developed in the works of T. Ezuttacchan. Modern spoken Malayalam, comprising 12 regional dialects and a number of caste dialects, differs from the literary language.
REFERENCESMalaialam-russkii slovar’: Sprilozheniem kratkogo ocherka grammatiki iazyka malaialam. Moscow, 1971.
Sekhar, A. C. Evolution of Malayalam. Poona, 1953.
Andrewskutty, A. P. Intensive Course of Malayalam. Trivandrum, 1972.
M. S. ANDRONOV