What Countries Speak Malayalam? Learn 5+ Interesting Facts Today!

what countries speak Malayalam

Are you eager to dive into the beautiful world of language learning? If you’re just starting out, you might be curious about what countries speak Malayalam. Malayalam, a fascinating language spoken predominantly in the southern Indian state of Kerala, has its own unique charm.

But did you know that it’s not confined to Kerala’s borders? In this blog post, we’re going to explore the countries where Malayalam is spoken, its variations, its relation to different ethnic groups, and how it all came to be.

What Countries Speak Malayalam Language?

While Malayalam is primarily spoken in India, there are pockets of Malayalam-speaking communities in various countries around the world. These communities have formed due to migration and the Indian diaspora. Here are a few countries where you might find Malayalam speakers.

CountryMalayalam Speakers
India (Kerala)Over 34 million
United Arab EmiratesSignificant expatriate community
Saudi ArabiaMalayalam-speaking expats
United StatesIndian community in several states
QatarExpatriate population
OmanMalayalam-speaking workforce
KuwaitIndian diaspora presence
what countries speak Malayalam

Variations Of Malayalam Within India

Malayalam isn’t a monolithic language even within India. You’ll find various dialects and variations as you move across different regions. Some of the prominent variations include:

  • Malabar Malayalam: Spoken in northern Kerala, it has influences from Arabic and Urdu due to historical trade and cultural interactions.
  • Central Kerala Malayalam: Considered the standard dialect, it’s close to the literary form of the language.
  • Travancore Malayalam: Spoken in the southern part of the state, it has influences from Tamil and Sanskrit.

Ethnic Groups And Malayalam Languages Spoken

Malayalam isn’t limited to just one ethnic group. It’s the language that ties together a diverse range of communities in Kerala. While the majority of Malayalam speakers are Malayalis, the Dravidian languages are also spoken by various other ethnic groups in the region, including:

  • Tamils: Especially in the regions near the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, where Tamil and Malayalam have intermingled over centuries, Indian language mixes.
  • Tuluvas: In the northern parts of Kerala, where Tulu and Malayalam have influenced each other.
what countries speak Malayalam

The Spread Of Malayalam: A Brief History

The history of Malayalam‘s spread is a fascinating journey. The language has evolved over centuries, drawing influences from Sanskrit, Tamil, and other languages. It was shaped by the interactions between different cultures and communities. From its roots in other Dravidian languages, Malayalam gradually developed its own unique script and vocabulary.

The spice trade in ancient times played a significant role in spreading Malayalam beyond south Kerala borders. Trade routes connected Kerala with foreign lands, fostering linguistic exchanges. Additionally, migration and labor movements brought Malayalam speakers to different parts of the world, leading to the growth of the language in unexpected places! Modern Malayalam literature shows the literary language spoken in Malayalam.

Malayalam Vocabulary For Beginners

As you embark on your Malayalam language learning journey, here are a few basic words and phrases to get you started:

  • Hello – Namaskaram
  • Thank you – Nanni
  • Goodbye – Poyi varu (informal) / Poyi varuka (formal)
  • Yes – Athe
  • No – Illa
what countries speak Malayalam

5 Intriguing Fun Facts About the Malayalam Language

Let’s look at some interesting trivia about the Malayalam language.

#1 Palindromic Uniqueness

Malayalam boasts an extraordinary linguistic quirk – the word Malayalam is a palindrome when written in the Latin script. It means you can read it forwards and backwards and it still sounds the same. Talk about wordplay magic!

#2 Malayalam Script Evolution

The script used to write Malayalam, known as “Kolezhuthu,” has an evolutionary tale. Originally derived from the ancient Grantha script, it has transformed over time into the modern Malayalam script. This journey through history is literally written in the curves and lines of the script.

#3 Unconventional Number System

Malayalam has its own unique number system that’s quite distinct from the Arabic numerals we commonly use. It’s based on a combination of words and numerals, making numbers a bit of an adventure to grasp for newcomers. For instance, the number 126 is expressed as “രണ്ടായിരത്തി ആറു പതിമൂന്ന്” (raṇḍāyiratti āṟu patimūnnu).

#4 Sanskrit Influence

Malayalam has been significantly influenced by Sanskrit, another ancient language. Around 40% of its vocabulary is derived from Sanskrit words. This linguistic fusion creates a mesmerizing blend of indigenous and Sanskrit elements in everyday speech.

#5 Gender-Neutral Language

Malayalam is surprisingly ahead of the curve when it comes to gender inclusivity in language. Unlike many languages that assign gender to nouns, Malayalam treats most nouns as gender-neutral. This progressive aspect of the language is a reflection of the inclusive ethos of the culture.

So, as you embark on your journey to learn Malayalam, keep these quirky and captivating facts in mind. The language’s palindromes, script evolution, distinct number system, Sanskrit infusion, and gender neutrality all contribute to its rich and fascinating linguistic landscape. Happy exploring!

what countries speak Malayalam

To Conclude

Whether you’re sipping tea in a Kerala tea shop or conversing with the Malayalam-speaking diaspora in another country, Malayalam opens doors to connection and understanding. As a beginner, embrace the unique sounds, explore the regional flavors, and unravel the rich history that the Malayalam language offers. Happy learning!

Learn Malayalam With Ling

Want to learn more Malayalam but don’t know where to find resources on this niche language? Download the free Ling today from the App Store and Play Store

It is a highly researched language-learning app for a fun and personalized experience. With Ling, you’ll smash your language goals with a little hard work and practice. Aside from Malayalam, there are over 60+ foreign languages to learn on Ling. Download it today!

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