Malayalam in Malayalam script
|Native to||Primarily in the Indian state of Kerala|
|Region||Kerala, Lakshadweep, Mahé (Puducherry)|
|Native speakers||38 million (2007)|
|Writing system||Malayalam alphabet (Brahmic)
|Official language in||Indian states:Kerala (State),Lakshadweep (Territory), Puducherry (Territory)|
|Regulated by||Academy for Malayalam literature, Government of Kerala|
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.
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