Department of Cultural Affairs, Government of Kerala

Malayalam Alphabets

Unlike English, in the Malayalam language, the letters and script are related to each other. Different grammar books state different opinions on the number of letters in Malayalam.  

It is quite difficult to say the exact number of letters in Malayalam. Letters are the smallest aspect of pronunciation. The syllable is the smallest aspect of language. But if someone wants to know how many letters are there in English, they are referring to the syllable. Precisely, in English there are 26 syllables and 26 scripts to denote them. In Malayalam, however, the difference is not between syllables and scripts. Letter and script are adapted to enrich the language.

The reason for this is the admixture of syllable and in Malayalam. Grammar texts joint to script reform as the basic reason. While A. R. Raja Raja Varma and Sheshagiri Prabhu claims there are 53 letters, Hermann Gundert claims that there are 49 letters and George Mathan claims there are 48 letters in Malayalam. 

As per Kerala Paanineeyam the alphabets are arranged as follows:


ദീര്‍ഘസ്വരങ്ങള്‍       ഔ



ഖരം       അതിഖരം   മൃദു    ഘോഷം    അനുനാസികം





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


യ       ര    ല    വ 



ഊഷ്മാവ്    ശ    ഷ        സ  



ഘോഷി       ഹ 






ദ്രാവിഡമധ്യമം    ള    ഴ     













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