A look at language: Malayalam

March 8, 2015


It interests me that language is so regimental to each state in India. I can’t think of many countries to have one official language per state, imagine if each county in the UK couldn’t understand each other. Apart from being a cool sounding palindrome, Malayalam is the language of Kerala. It is said with a short ‘a’ sound and rolls of the tongue once you get the hang of it.

Unlike Tamil Nadu I have managed to learn enough of the Keralan language to be laughed at in a good, understanding way. I thought I’d share some with you kind folks. All this will be phonetic as I have no idea how to spell these things!

A greeting like ‘namaste’ in Hindi is ‘namaskaran’. Again it’s a short ‘a’ sound. Although I can’t say it it’s interesting that in Malayalam, a general pleasant comment is: ‘Where are you going?’ The same as: ‘Have you eaten?’ in Chinese or: ‘How’s things?’ in English.

‘Kollaam’ is fine/good. Said with a soft and slightly longer ‘a’ than the city name. If you say it short and sharp then it means to kill so watch out for that.

‘Nalarujee’ is ‘this food is delicious’. Important for buttering up mothers in homestays, so that they give you an extra helping! Also ‘chechi’ is a suffix that means sister when placed at the end of a name however it is used as a friendly greeting on its own to older women.

‘Ettan’ is the male equivalent to ‘chechi’.