Malayalam is a Dravidian language. Both the language and its writing system are closely related to Tamil, although Malayalam has a signficantly larger phoneme inventory.
The alphabet is classified into two categories: swarams (or vowels) and vyanjanams (or consonants).
If you don't have a proper Unicode font installed, the Malayalam characters in the following tables may not appear correctly.
Malayalam Vowels and Related Symbols
|അ||a||'a' as in about|
|ആ||aa||'a' as in art ||ാ|
|ഇ||i||'i' as in pit ||ി|
|ഈ||ii||'ee' as in wheel||ീ|
|ഉ||u||'u' as in put ||ു|
|ഊ||uu||'oo' as in soot ||ൂ|
|എ||e||'e' as in net ||െ|
|ഏ||E||'a' as in rate ||േ|
There is no distinction of case, i.e. no uppercase and lowercase
letters. Diacritics, or vowel signs, are used to associate a vowel to a consonant.
When no diacritic is used, the vowel sound 'a' is assumed. To specifically denote the
absence of a vowel, a chandrakkala ് (also called virama) is used.
In addition to these symbols, there are many more symbols to indicate combination
of the various consonants with each other.
Malayalam digits are written as follows:
Unicode range: 0x0D00 - 0x0D7F