Understanding the grammar and syntax of the Malayalam language

Malayalam, one of the 22 scheduled languages of India has over 38 million speakers worldwide and is the fifth most spoken language in India.

Grammar and syntax are essential components of any language, and Malayalam is no exception. Malayalam grammar is characterized by its complex inflectional system, extensive use of compound words, and distinct sentence structure.

In Malayalam, nouns are inflected for case, number, and gender. There are six cases in Malayalam: nominative, accusative, dative, genitive, ablative, and locative. The singular and plural forms of nouns are distinguished, and nouns are also inflected for gender, which can be masculine, feminine, or neuter.


Verbs in Malayalam are inflected for tense, mood, aspect, and person. There are three tenses in Malayalam: past, present, and future. The indicative mood is used to make statements, while the imperative mood is used to give commands. The subjunctive mood is used to express doubt or uncertainty.

Malayalam also has a complex system of aspects, which refers to the way in which an action is viewed in relation to time. There are three aspects in Malayalam: simple, continuous, and perfect. The simple aspect refers to actions that are completed, while the continuous aspect refers to actions that are ongoing. The perfect aspect refers to actions that have been completed in the past and continue to have an impact on the present.


One of the distinctive features of Malayalam is its extensive use of compound words. These are words that are formed by combining two or more words to create a new word. For example, the Malayalam word for 'school' is 'vidyalayam,' which is formed from the words 'vidya' (meaning knowledge) and 'alayam' (meaning house). This compound word formation allows for a great deal of flexibility and creativity in the Malayalam language.

Malayalam also has a unique sentence structure. Unlike English, which typically follows a subject-verb-object structure, Malayalam follows a subject-object-verb structure. For example, in English, one might say, "I am eating an apple." In Malayalam, the same sentence would be structured as "I apple am eating." This sentence structure can take some getting used to for English speakers, but it is an essential component of the Malayalam language.


In addition to its unique grammar and syntax, Malayalam also has a rich literary tradition. Malayalam literature includes poetry, drama, and prose, and dates back to the 9th century AD. The earliest known literary work in Malayalam is Ramacharitam, a version of the Ramayana epic written in the 13th century. Other notable works include the Thunchaththu Ezhuthachan's Adhyathmaramayanam and the 20th-century novel Chemmeen by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai.

In conclusion, Malayalam is a complex and fascinating language with a rich history and literary tradition. Its unique grammar and syntax, extensive use of compound words, and distinct sentence structure make it a challenging but rewarding language to learn. With its growing importance in India and the world, Malayalam is a valuable language to know for anyone interested in South Asian culture and communication.


Akshharam, the online Malayalam language learning school offers online Malayalam language writing classes and online Malayalam language reading classes. With these classes, we intend to give proper training of the Malayalam grammar structure so your kids can speak the language correctly and confidently.