Malayalam Live DefinitionSource (Google.Com.Pk)
Malayalam (English pronunciation: /mæləˈjɑːləm/, malayāḷam ?, Malayalam pronunciation: [mɐləjaːɭəm]), is a language spoken in India, predominantly in the state of Kerala. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. Malayalam has official language status in the state of Kerala and in the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry. It belongs to the Dravidian family of languages, and is spoken approximately by 33 million people according to the 2001 census. Malayalam is also spoken in the Nilgiris, Kanyakumari and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu and the Dakshina Kannada, Mangalore and Kodagu districts of Karnataka.
Malayalam most likely originated from Middle Tamil (Sen-Tamil-Malayalam) in the 6th century. An alternative theory proposes a split in even more ancient times.Malayalam incorporated many elements from Sanskrit through the ages and today over eighty percent of the vocabulary of Malayalam in scholarly usage is from Sanskrit. Before Malayalam came into being, Tamil was used in literature and courts of a region called Tamilakam, including present day Kerala state, a famous example being Silappatikaram. Silappatikaram was written by Chera prince Ilango Adigal from Cochin, and is considered a classic in Sangam literature. Modern Malayalam still preserves many words from the ancient Tamil vocabulary of Sangam literature. The earliest script used to write Malayalam was the Vatteluttu script, and later the Kolezhuttu, which derived from it. As Malayalam began to freely borrow words as well as the rules of grammar from Sanskrit, Grantha script was adopted for writing and came to be known as Arya Ezhuttu. This developed into the modern Malayalam script. Many medieval liturgical texts were written in an admixture of Tamil and Sanskrit, called Manipravalam. The oldest literary work in Malayalam, distinct from the Tamil tradition, is dated from between the 9th and 11th centuries. The first travelogue in any Indian language is in Malayalam, titled as Varthamanapusthakam written by Paremmakkal Thoma Kathanar in 1785.
Due to its lineage deriving from both Tamil and Sanskrit, the Malayalam alphabet has the largest number of letters among the Indian languages. Malayalam script includes letters capable of representing all the sounds of Sanskrit and all Dravidian languages.
The word Malayalam probably originated from the Malayalam/Tamil words mala meaning hill, and elam meaning region. Malayalam thus translates as "hill region" and used to refer to the land itself (Chera Kingdom), and only later became the name of the language.The language Malayalam is alternatively called Alealum, Malayalani, Malayali, Malean, Maliyad, and Mallealle.
The word Malayalam originally meant only for the name of the region. "Malayanma" or "Malayayma" (meaning the language of the nation Malayalam) represented the language. With the emergence of modern Malayalam language, the name of the language started to be known by the name of the region. Hence now, the word "Malayanma" is considered by some to represent the olden Malayalam language. The language got the name Malayalam during the mid 19th century.
The origin of Malayalam, whether it was from a dialect of Tamil or an independent offshoot of the Proto Dravidian language, has been and continues to be an engaging pursuit among comparative historical linguists. Robert Caldwell, in his book A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South Indian Languages opines that Malayalam branched from Classical Tamil that over time gained a large amount of Sanskrit vocabulary and lost the personal terminations of verbs. Either way, it is generally agreed that by the end of 13th century a written form of the language emerged which was definitely different from Tamil.
This tree diagram depicts the genealogy of the primary Dravidian languages spoken
in South India.
The earliest known poem in Malayalam, Ramacharitam, dated to 12th century A.D., 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 A.D.). 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.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan was the first to substitute Grantha-Malayalam script for the Tamil Vattezhuttu. 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.
Tulu Grantha-Script] still was used only by Nambudiris. A Dutch German missionary called Arnos Paathiri alias Johann Ernst Hanxleden was the first European to write a Grammar book called Grantha Bhashayude Vyakaranam in 1699. The Nambudiri language in that era was not called Malayalam but Grantha Bhasha.
The British printed Malabar English Dictionary by Graham Shaw in 1779 was still Tamil-English Dictionary.
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 Varthamanapushthakam in 1789.
However the British under Lord Monroe and Macaulay between 1815–1820s started promoting the Nambudiri Malyalam written with Tulu-Grantha Script and with a predominance of Sanskrit words. in 1815 Kottayam Seminary. Church Mission Society was established to teach the Nasrani Christians the Nambudiri version of Malayalam. Benjamin Bailey (missionary) a British missionary made the first Malayalam types to print the Tulu-Grantha Alphabet in 1819. Hermann Gundert another German Missionary started the first News Paper in Malayalam in 1848 called Rajya Samacharam. The British support given to the Tulu-Grantha Malayalam of Nambudiris led to the destruction of all the earlier books of Kerala written in Lingua Malabar Tamul or Malayanma. British made no attempt to preserve the numerous Malayalam-Tamil books written in Thaliola, the Palm leaf books of Kerala and thereby destroying all the ancient Tamil and Malayalam-Tamil books of Kerala. The British missionaries actively Sanskritised Malayalam. The Sanskrit influence on Malayalam appear to be slowly decreasing. Visargam seem to have been deleted from Swaram(vowels). There is growing tendency to use Pacha Malayalam with lesser words containing aspirated alphabets in Vyanjanam (consonants).In many Malayalam movie songs, one may find only minimal aspirated consonants. Pacha Malayalam, like Tamil, is marked by its simplicity.
Together with Tamil, Toda, Kannada and Tulu, Malayalam belongs to the southern group of Dravidian languages. Some believe Proto-Tamil, the common stock of ancient Tamil and Malayalam, diverged over a period of four or five centuries from the 9th century on, resulting in the emergence of Malayalam as a language distinct from Proto-Tamil. As the language of scholarship and administration, Proto-Tamil, which was written in Tamil-Brahmi script and Vatteluttu later, greatly influenced the early development of Malayalam. 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.
In 1821 the Church Mission Society (CMS) at Kottayam started printing books in Malayalam when Benjamin Bailey, an Anglican priest, made the first Malayalam types. In addition, he contributed to standardizing the prose. Hermann Gundert from Stuttgart, Germany, started the first Malayalam newspaper, Rajya Samacaram in 1847 at Talasseri. It was printed at Basel Mission.