Introduction to the Malayalam language

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Have you ever wondered about the grammar and structure of the fastest spoken language in the world? If so, our intense and advanced introduction to Malayalam language is for you.

The University of Glasgow’s Malayalam summer course aims at providing the basics of Malayalam grammar for researchers interested in any field of study related to the rich cultural, textual, and linguistic heritage of the West Coast of South India. You might be struggling with performance manuals, palm leaf manuscripts, historical documents, or speech samples that form the database of your research on Temple Theatre, premodern knowledge systems, Indian Ocean history, or tribes of the Western Ghats. We are here to help you in acquiring the analytic tools for approaching your database and developing your research accordingly.

You will be required to memorize the Malayalam alphabet beforehand. Tutorials will be sent 2-3 weeks before the starting date of the course.

Who is the course aimed at?

The course targets dedicated undergraduate students and graduate students as well as researchers and scholars specializing in South Asian languages and history, anthropology, linguistics, and religious studies. By the end of the course, students and researchers will be equipped with a thorough albeit basic knowledge of Malayalam grammar to further pursue their research concerns. The study is based on a grammar textbook with drills, examples from Malayalam literature and speech samples collected during years long of fieldwork in Kerala.

Our Malayalam course is offered as a complement to South Asian language and history courses, with or without Malayalam classes on campus. We will not dedicate time to practice spoken Malayalam, which requires gradual and long-term practice, preferably undertaken while engaging with native speakers in the field. You will be able to proceed to more advanced studies on Malayalam language and linguistics, literature and history in any university that offers programs and courses to non-Native speakers.

Entry requirements

Entry requirements

It is recommended that you have a background in

  • 1 classical language 
  • or a South Asian language 
  • or modern spoken South Asian or South East Asia language

You must have

  • GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent)

If your first language is not English, you must meet our minimum proficiency level:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training) overall score of 6.0, with no sub test less than 5.5
  • we also accept equivalent scores in other recognised qualifications such as ibTOEFL, CAE, CPE and more
  • visit eligibility

This is a guide, for further information email rio-internationalsummerschools

Course lecturer and materials

The lecturer and author of the textbook *, Dr Ophira Gamliel, has conducted fieldwork and research on Malayalam for many years. She has published several articles related to Jewish Malayalam and to the premodern history of West Asian trade communities. She also edited two videos of Temple Theatre performance with English subtitles .

* The text book will be published this year in Otto Harassowitz Verlag, and it is the first book of its kind to present a comprehensive grammar of Malayalam language, with references to regional and dialectical variations, and including three chapters on Old Malayalam.