Malayalam alphabets

Aksharamala – alphabets of malayalam language

Until around 18th century, malayalam used vattezhuthu as the script. Then two forms of scripts derived from vattezhuthu - kolezhuthu, which was used in Cochin and Malabar and malayanma, which was used in Travancore. The original script with over 900 glyphs was simpified during the 1970’s to ease printing and typesetting. But the modern script is a combination of both traditional and simplified malayalam scripts. In the present form malayalam has 53 characters, 37 consonants and 16 vowels.

അ ആ ഇ ഈ ഉ ഊ ഋ എ ഏ ഐ ഒ ഓ ഔ

ക ഖ ഗ ഘ ങ
ച ഛ ജ ഝ ഞ
ട ഠ ഡ ഢ ണ
ത ഥ ദ ധ ന
പ ഫ ബ ഭ മ

യ ര ല വ ശ
ഷ സ ഹ ള ഴ റ

് ഃ ഌ

൦ ൧ ൨ ൩ ൪ ൫ ൬ ൭ ൮ ൯

Dr. Mammen Chundamannil writes:

“It was in 1821 that Benjamin Bailey, a Jesuit priest, designed the first Malayalam metal types for the printing machine. From the basic 56 characters, he forged around 600 conjuncts in beautiful metal type. These letters were in use for hundreds of years in Malayalam script. Later Herman Gundert designed and added several conjuncts. And the Malayalam language came to possess about 900 unique and rich type characters. These two pioneers were also authorities on comparative linguistics of Indian languages. Thereby the design of Malayalam characters and types naturally encompassed pan Indian and local specificities.”

Related Links
Evolution of malayalam script
Origin of malayalam script and its transformations

Malayalam unicode information
Unicode information about malayalam

Alan's unicode page on malayalam
Alan's unicode page on malayalam

Unicode chart in pdf format
Unicode information about malayalam

Submitted by Raghavendra Bhat (not verified) on Mon, 2010-07-19 18:14.

The release of the Rachana fonts under the GNU GPL is a noteworthy achievement of the Rachana Akshara Vedhi. Tulu predates Malayalam as per records, the original script of Malayalam is derived from the Tulu Lipi. Many Malayalam words have originated from Tulu, records also show that Tulu predates Tamil/Kannada.

Submitted by A.Yeshuratnam (not verified) on Sat, 2012-09-01 21:28.

Benjamin Bailey was not a Jesuit priest but a British missionary of CMS.