Malayalam (?????? malaya? am, pronounced [m? l? ja??? m]( listen)), is one of the four major Dravidian languages of southern India. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India with official language status in the state of Kerala and the union territories of Lakshadweep and Mahe. It is spoken by 35. 9 million people.  Malayalam is also spoken in the Nilgiris district, Kanyakumari district and Coimbatore of Tamil Nadu, Dakshina Kannada, Bangalore and Kodagu districts of Karnataka. 1] Overseas it is also used by a large population of Indian expatriates living around the globe in the Middle East, United States, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, and Europe. Malayalam originated from ancient Tamil in the 6th century, of which Modern Tamil was also derived.  An alternative theory proposes a split in more ancient times.  But, Malayalam was heavily Sanskritised through the ages and today, over eighty percent words of modern Malayalam are from pure Sanskrit. 9] Before Malayalam came into being, Old Tamil was used in literature and courts of a region called Tamilakam, a famous example being Silappatikaram. While Dravidian Tamil used to be the ruling language of the Chera Dynasty Ai and Pandyan kingdoms. Sanskrit/Prakrit derived Buddhist Pali Language and the Jain Kalpasutra were know to Keralites from 500 BC. The Grantha Bhasha or Sanskrit mixed Tamil which was written in Grantha Script (Arya Ezhuthu) was used by Brahmins residing in Tamil areas.  The Dravidian component of Malayalam-Tamil has words similar to ancient Sangam Literature.
During the Later Chera dynasty the inscriptions included some lines from Grantha Bhasha in Grantha Script along with Malayalam-Tamil written in Vattezhuttu. A form of Grantha Bhasha, a Sanskrit mixed Tamil closely resembling the later Malayalam was used to write books by Brahmins from Tulunadu residing in Kerala in the second Millennium.  The oldest literature works in Malayalam, distinct from the Tamil tradition, is dated certainly to the 11th century, perhaps to the 9th century.  . For cultural purposes Malayalam and Sanskrit formed a language known as Manipravalam, where both languages were used in an alternating style.
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Malayalam is the only among the major Dravidian languages without diglossia. This means, that the Malayalam which is spoken doesn’t differ from the written variant, while the Kannada and Tamil languages use a classical type for the latter. The word “Malayalam” is spelled as a palindrome in English. However, it is not a palindrome in its own script, for three reasons: the third a is long and should properly be transliterated aa or a (an a with a macron) while the other a’s are short; the two l consonants represent different sounds, the first l being dental ([l? , Malayalam ? , Roman l) (although the consonant chart below lists that sound as [alveolar]) and the second retroflex ([? ], Malayalam ? , Roman ? ); and the final m is written as an anusvara, which denotes the same phoneme /m/ as in the initial m in this case, but the two m’s are spelled differently (the first m is a normal ma ? with an inherent vowel a, while the last m ? is a pure consonant). Contents [hide] Evolution The mixture of Aryan and Naga languages,the Sanskrit and Prakrit with the Dravidian Tamil produced the Grantha Bhasha.
The Aryan Naga migration to Karnataka, from Ahichatram in Uttarpradesh occurred during the rule of Kadamba king Mayuravarma in 345 AD. Tulunadu had Tulu script a derivative of Grantha script used by Tulu Brahmins from 8th century. After the Malik Kafur s invasion in 1310 most of the Patriarchal Tamil dynasties of Kerala were replaced by Matriarchal dynasties who had surnames closely resembling that of Bunt (community) of Tulunadu. Tulu Lipi with some modifications appeared in Kerala as Malayalam Script after 1310.
Tulu-Malayalam Script gradually replaced the archaic Tamil Script and Vatteluttu. When Portuguese arrived in 1498 the Malayalam-Tamul, an archaic Tamil script was used to print books by Portuguese. . Doctrina Christam written by Henrique in Lingua Malabar Tamul with transliteration and translation in Malayalam(Grantha Bhasha)and printed by Portuguese from Cochin in 1556 was the first Malayalam printed book in Kerala. Flos Sanctorum written by Henrique in Malayalam Tamul in 1578.
In the 17th century Thunchaththu Ramanujan Ezhuthachan was the first to substitute the Tamil Vatteluttu with Grantha Script#Tulu-Malayalam script. With the discovery that Sanskrit belonged to the group of Indo-European languages prompted the Christian missionaries with German roots to support Sanskrit rich Grantha Bhasha in the 1700s. Johann Ernst Hanxleden wrote Poems, Grammar books in Sanskrit. CMS(Church Mission Society) at Kottayam started printing books in Malayalam when Benjamin Bailey a Anglican priest in 1821 made the first Malayalam types.
Benjamin Bailey, an essayist, standardised Malayalam prose.  . Hermann Gundert from Stuttgart in Germany started the first Malayalam newspaper, Rajya Samacharam in 1847 at Thalassery printed at Basel Mission.  The language belongs to the family of Dravidian languages. Robert Caldwell, in his book A Comparative Grammar of the Dravidian or South-Indian Languages states that Malayalam branched from classical Tamil that over time gained a large amount of Sanskrit vocabulary and lost the personal terminations of verbs. 
Together with Tamil, Toda, Kannada and Tulu, Malayalam belongs to the southern group of Dravidian languages. Some believe Proto-Tamil, the common stock of ancient Tamil and Malayalam, apparently diverged over a period of four or five centuries from the ninth century on, resulting in the emergence of Malayalam as a language distinct from Proto-Tamil. As the language of scholarship and administration, Proto-Tamil which was written in Tamil-Brahmi script and Vatteluttu later, greatly influenced the early development of Malayalam.
Later the irresistible inroads the Namboothiris made into the cultural life of Kerala, the Namboothiri-Nair dominated social and political setup, the trade relationships with Arabs, and the invasion of Kerala by the Portuguese, establishing vassal states accelerated the assimilation of many Roman, Semitic and Indo-Aryan features into Malayalam at different levels spoken by religious communities like Muslims, Christians, Jews and Jainas. T. K.
Krishna Menon, in his book A Primer of Malayalam Literature describes four distinct epochs concerning the evolution of the language: Karintamil (3100 BCE – 100 BCE): Malayalam from this period is represented by the works of Kulashekara Alvar and Pakkanar. There is a strong Tamil element, and Sanskrit has not yet made an influence on the language. Kulasekhara Alwar who wrote Perumal Thirumozhi, a Tamil Alwar saint, founder of the Later Chera Dynasty lived at 800 AD. 25] Old Malayalam (100 BCE – 325 CE): Malayalam seems to have been influenced by Sanskrit as there are numerous Sanskrit words in the language. There are personal terminations for verbs that were conjugated according to gender and number. Tamil Sangams produced Tamil Sangam literature in the same era. Tamil-Brahmiscript was used to write inscriptions in that era. Middle Malayalam (325 CE – 1425 CE): Malayalam from this time period is represented by works such as Ramacharitram. Traces of the adjuncts of verbs have disappeared by this period.
The Jains also seemed to have encouraged the study of the language. Kulasekhara Alwar wrote Perumal Thirumozhi in Tamil while writing Mukundamala in Sanskrit.  Modern Malayalam (1425 CE onwards): Malayalam seems to have established itself as a language separate from classical Tamil and Sanskrit by this point in time. This period can be divided into two categories: from 1425 CE to 1795 CE, and from 1795 CE, onwards. 1795 CE is the year the British gained complete control over Kerala.