Universal Declaration of Human Rights

PDF version for the language Malayalam *
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Source: United Nations Department of Public Information, NY


Native Name

Total Speakers
34,014,000 (1994)

Usage By Country
Official Language: Kerala/India

Malayalam, with the stress on the third syllable, is spoken on the Malabar (western) coast of extreme southern India, chiefly in the state of Kerala, and also in the Laccadives. It is one of the Dravidian languages (southern group) and is most closely related to Tamil. There are about 35 million speakers. Speakers of Malayalam (which originally meant "mountainous country") are called Malayalis, and constitute 4% of the population of India. Over a period of 4 or 5 centuries, from the 9th century on, the common stock of Tamil and Malayalam apparently disintegrated giving rise to two distinct languages. The alphabet, which dates from the 8th or 9th century, also developed out of the script called "Grantha". The English words "teak", "copra", and "atoll" all come from Malayalam.

Received 5/25/1998
Posted 11/16/1998
Checked 11/16/1998