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മലയാളം malayāḷam
മലയാണ്മ malayāṇma
Word Malayalam.svg
Malayalam in Malayalam script
Native to Primarily in the Indian state of Kerala
Region Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mahé (Puducherry)
Ethnicity Malayali
Native speakers 38 million  (2007)[1]
Language family
Writing system Malayalam alphabet (Brahmic)
Malayalam Braille
Official status
Official language in  Indian states:Kerala (State),[2]Lakshadweep (Territory), Puducherry (Territory)
Regulated by Academy for Malayalam literature, Government of Kerala
Language codes
ISO 639-1 ml
ISO 639-2 mal
ISO 639-3 mal
Malayalam-speaking area

Malayalam is a language. Most people that speak Malayalam live in Kerala, in India. A speaker of Malayalam is called a Malayali. Sometimes the language, and its speaker, are called as Malabari.

Malayalam (/malayALam/) is the main language of the South Indian state of Kerala and also of the Lakshadweep Islands (Laccadives) of the west coast of India.

Malayalis (speakers of Malayalam), who - males and females alike - are almost totally literate, constitute 4 percent of the population of India and 96 percent of the population of Kerala (29.01 million in 1991).

In terms of the number of speakers, Malayalam ranks eighth among the 18 major languages of India.

Malyalam language has 52 phonemes. A few of the phonemes are unique for Malayalam.

The word /malayALam/ originally meant mountainous country (/mala/- mountain + /aLam/-place). Tamil Nadu is its neighbour on the south and east and Karnataka on the north and east.


  1. Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
  2. "Official languages", UNESCO,, retrieved 2007-05-10