Tamil and Malayalam have a very old relationship. Both are languages of southern states of India Tamil Nadu (Madras) and Kerala. Malayalam and Tamil Scripts look similar (some 15-20 letters or so) but are actually very different. Malayalam is a mix of Ancient & Coarse Tamil, Regional and Sanskrit.
Tamil is a Dravidian language with origins in the south of the Godavari and is one of the longest surviving classical languages in the world. Not only is it the official language of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry it enjoys the same official status in Singapore and Srilanka. Tamil is also widely spoken in Phillipines, Mauritius, Africa, France, Canada courtesy the Tamil speaking immigrants who migrated to these countries long back.
Malayalam also referred to as Kairali owes its lineage to both Tamil and Sanskrit. This Dravidian language is the official language of Kerala and Union Territories of Lakshadweep and Pondicherry. Large numbers of Malayalee(s) have settled in rest of India and abroad especially the Gulf countries. Malayalam has been influenced by Portuguese, Arabic and Hebrew as a result of colonisation.
Being old classical languages Tamil and Malayalam have influenced many languages including everyday English. English has borrowed directly or ultimately from many Dravidian languages including Tamil and Malayalam. If you find these south Indian languages quite a tongue twister you would be surprised by the number of English words used in daily conversation which actually owe their roots to Tamil/Malayalam. The list can run into hundreds so we’l keep it short and cite the commonest and least disputed words below.
40 awesome words from Tamil and Malayalam that we didn’t know about
|No||English Word||Transliteration||Meaning in Tamil|
|4||Betel||Vetelai||Plant leafy vine|
|Confectionery made from sugar|
|8||Coir||Kayiru||Rope / fibre from coconut husk|
|10||Coolie||Cooli||Labourer / hire|
|11||Cot||Kattil||Portable bed / bestead|
|15||Curry||Kari||Spicy flavoured dishes/gravy|
|18||Jaggery||Sakkarai||Coarse brown sugar from sugarcane and palm|
|19||Kabaddi||Kai pidi||Holding Hands|
|21||Mongoose||Mangus||Small carnivorous snkae killing mammal|
|23||Mung||Mungu||Type of bean|
|24||Pagoda||Pagavadi||Buddhist religious building|
|27||Patchouli||Pachchai Ilai||Green Leaf|
|30||Sambal||Sambal||Chilli based sauce|
|32||Teak||Tekku||Tropical hardwood tree|
|33||Vetiver||Vettiver||Tropical Indian grass|
|No||English Word||Transliteration||Meaning in Malayalam|
|38||Jaggery||Sharkara||Coarse brown sugar from sugarcane and palm|
|40||Teak||Tekka||Tropical hardwood tree|
There’s a lot of Tamil and Malayalam in all our candies, mangoes and jackfruits. The beauty of the unifying nature of diverse languages is epitomised in these awesome words. Would you like to add some more to our kitty? We would be happy to hear from you!