If you’ve found this page, it’s likely you’ve already tried to start learning Malayalam and are struggling to find good, reliable, and current resources to help you connect with the language. Despite having over 40 million speakers, you’ll find there aren’t as many resources to learn Malayalam as other languages. But don’t worry! Here is a guide to many websites, texts, and tools to help you gain an insight to your self study plan.
Whether you are looking for structured lesson, or want to immerse yourself in Malayalam media, here are some great points to start from.
Nowadays, you can learn Malayalam from the comfort of home, and there are many ways that you can engage with the language online, free, or within your own budget.
Should I learn to read Malayalam Script?
Malayalam Script can be intimidating, but my personal opinion is you should learn the script. It can help with pronunciation, as some sounds can simply not be conveyed in English or other language. Taking the script bit by bit and exposing yourself to simple texts can help you acquire an understanding. Thinl about popular languages like Mandarin and Japanese- If we have the patience to learn these different scripts, why not Malayalam?
Many coursebooks will have Manglish, but more will go straight into Malayalam, so it’s important to try to learn it in the beginning. Here are some ways you can brush up on your alphabet knowledge.
Big Caveat: If you are learning to write and read the alphabet through books, find online videos of alphabet pronunciations so that you can correctly hear the sounds- a lot of Malayalam transliteration simply isn’t accurate and can start the learner off on a bad foot by not having accurate sounds.
Malayalam Alphabet: Practice Workbook by Lissy J. Kunnathu and John D. Kunnathu
This workbook breaks down the direction of the alphabet and helps you get used to the shapes and combinations of letters. .
This one is much simpler in design, as it simply allows for tracing and then independent writing of letters.
Malayalam Letter Tracing: Learn to write Malayalam Aksharamala Alphabets by Mamma Margaret
This one is great for kids, but extremely basic
Classes and Language exchanges online
The best way to learn a language is to use it, so you need a teacher or a language partner to really help with your skills. Here are some options to mix things up in your Malayalam Practice.
italki is where I got my start. I worked personally with Yasir, Nitz, and Ciya, and they all have quite a number of positive reviews. There are even more tutors, but I cannot personally vouch for their quality as I’ve not worked with them.
Muthassi.in are a great resource for young learners and adults. They work locally and internationally, and have fantastic tutorials, activities, one-to-one, or group lessons.
Akshharam also has group and private lessons for mostly children.
You can also check out my discord server for more interactions and free lessons on Mondays.
Mango Languages Ling. and Memrise are each fun apps with Malayalam practice, recordings, and games- however I would always suggest using this as a supplement and not the only medium in which to study the language.
Malayalam Mission’s online course, is a fun course aimed at children but also great for beginners. There are beautiful animations and context setting videos. You can even earn a certificate for completing the 10 modules.
If you can read Malayalam, Malayalam Tutor is an excellent module based coursebook with an index full of conversational phrases based on topics. It is a great way to understand grammar and also improve vocabulary,
For an older but often cited source, Moag’s course in Malayalam is quite comprehensive, despite some errors and a bit of a disorganized chapter layout. I like that it includes diagrams to help with pronunciation.
Learn Basic Malayalam In Six Weeks: With Daily Worksheets & Answer Key is not my favorite, but it does help learners pick up the alphabet and guide them into reading. In addition, they have also created Speak Malayalam In 10 Weeks.
Kumari’s Intensive course in Malayalam is well loved by scholars and has a lot of examples and exercise. There is also an intensive course for intermediate learners.
Fluent in Malayalam is the original YouTube Channel for Malayalam vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. Her work is through English and Hindi medium.
In the future, I’ll post more on music, movies, books, and other media I personally have used and loved and will suggest for you to check out. Until then, check out these resources, and let me know if there is anything I missed!