Kerala whose mother tongue is Malayalam, is known as a
Malayali. The language is also widely spoken in Mahe,
Lakshdweep, South Canara and Kodagu.
Besides Tamil and Sanskrit, Pali is another language that
has great influence on the Malayalam language. Malayalam
began to develop its own unique character around the 10th
century. It has a rich modern literature. It has taken the
words from Sanskrit and used them with Malayali alterations
or additions. Present day Malayalam consists of 51 letters,
among which 16 are short/long vowels, and the remaining are
the consonants. Malayalam language has a script of its own.
In 1981, the script was modified to adapt Malayalam for the
keyboard. At present, there are 90 letters for the typeset.
The variations in the Malayali language can be found,
depending on the geography, community and social structure.
Malayalam used in the literature is predominantly influenced
Malayalam literature is very ancient. Since the 19th
century, Malayalam literature has been showing tremendous
growth. Original poetry, prose, novels, lyrics and play have
greatly flourished. Kumaran Asan, Vallathol Narayana Menon
and Ulloor S. Parameswara Iyer, are credited with giving
Malayalam poetry a more lyrical mode of expression.
Kundalata, written by T. M. Appu Netunnati in 1887, and
Indulekha, written by Chantu Menon in 1889, were among the
first novels written in this language. Other popular
novelists include Appan Tampuran, C. P. Achyuta Menon,
Ambati Narayana Potuval, Vennayil Kunniraman Nayanar and V.
K. Kunnan Menon. Vaikkom Mohammad Bashir is another very
popular name in the Malayalam literature. Some of the famous
Malayali poets are G. Sankara Kurup, N. Balamaniyamma,
Kumaran Asan, Vallathol Narayana Menon, Ulloor S.
Parameswara Iyer, K. K. Raja and Changampuzha Krishna Pillai.
In the second half of the 20th century, Jnanpith award
winners such as S. K. Pottekkatt, M. T. Vasudevan Nair and
G. Sankara Kurup have contributed towards making Malayalam
literature what it is today. The writers like O.V. Vijayan,
Arundhati Roy and M. Mukundan have given international
recognition to Kerala in the literary field. 'The God of
Small Things,' the semi-autobiographical novel of Arundhati
Roy, is a bestselling and critically acclaimed book.
The vocabulary of the Syriac Christians in Kerala is
influenced by Syriac, Portuguese, English and Latin. The
Muslim communities use Malayali with the additions from Urdu