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Malayalam (Namboodiri Dialect)

  • Savithry Namboodiripad (a1) and Marc Garellek (a2)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.


Malayalam ( /m a l a j aːɭa m/; ISO 639) is a Dravidian language (Southern branch) spoken by over 33 million people in India, predominantly in Kerala (Lewis, Simmons & Fenning 2013). The language is diglossic, with the formal register used in written media and orally in formal settings. Colloquial Malayalam, for which there is no standard orthography, varies by region and social community (Asher & Kumari 1997). The speech illustrated below is representative of the variety spoken by the Namboodiri subcaste of Brahmins in and around Kochi, a city in central Kerala. The Namboodiri subcaste was traditionally a land-owning priestly class, and until relatively recently, the community was very insular. Consequently, the dialect differed from standard Malayalam as it is spoken today; this is discussed in some detail in U. Namboodiripad (1989, personal communication).



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Journal of the International Phonetic Association
  • ISSN: 0025-1003
  • EISSN: 1475-3502
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Namboodiripad sound files
Sound files zip. These audio files are licensed to the IPA by their authors and accompany the phonetic descriptions published in the Journal of the International Phonetic Association. The audio files may be downloaded for personal use but may not be incorporated in another product without the permission of Cambridge University Press

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