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Virtual Vinodh

Malayalam Print E-mail
Friday, 13 November 2009 12:10

Nativization Conventions

The following Nativization conventions are automatically applied when Malayalam is the Target Script.


  • Chillus are formed automatically, based on the conventions of the Malayalam script. (e.g) धर्म - ധർമ , भगवन् - ഭഗവൻ
  • The pure consonant 'm'  when occuring as the final syllable, it is changed into Anusvara (e.g) सत्यम् - സത്യം
  • Anusvara is converted into the corresponding Nasal letters when it occurs before ca, cha ja, ka, ta, tha, ṭa, ṭha, ḍa, ḍha, da, dha, pa 
  • Nasal letters are converted into Anusvara when they occcur before kha, ga, gha, jha, pha, ba, bha 

    Features of Malayalam Script

    Chillu Characters

    Chillu Characters are a unique feature to Malayalam Script. 


    In Malayalam, the Virama (Chandrakala) serves two purpose, as an Inherent Vowel Killer, and to denote half-u (Samvrutokaram). Hence, to avoid confusion, certain consonants have special forms called "Chillu" do denote the pure consonant.  Modern Malayalam uses 5 chillu forms for ന, ണ, ല, ള, ര . Historically, other consonants also had chillu forms., but they are not in current usage. [The Converter uses  ʼ character is used to distinguish chillus from their Virama forms in other scripts during transliteration. The distinction is necessary to preserve the semantics ]


    മനുഷ്യന്  - manuṣyanŭ  (Transcription) (Meaning: To the Man)

    മനുഷ്യന്‍  - manuṣyan  (Transcription) (Meaning: Man)


    Additionally, Half-u vowel can also be represent as combination of <vowel sign u> and <virama>, which does not lead to any confusion. In fact, Ancient Tamil used this method to represent the half-u. In Modern Tamil <vowel sign u> represents both u and half-u 


    തേക്കു് -  tēkkŭ as opposed to തേക്ക് (tēkk).


    However, this is practice is not widely spread, & the ambiguous way of representing the half-u is more popular.

    Vowel Sign Au

    Malayalam has two forms for Vowel Sign Au.  The Ancient form, which has vowel markers on both side of the Consonant  കൌ <<kau>>. This is encoded in Unicode as U+0D4C (Malaylam Vowel Sign Au), however this is an archaic and obsolete method. The Modern form has only one vowel marker, to the right side of the consonant കൗ <<kau>>. This is encoded as U+0D57 (Malayalam Au Length Mark).

    Classical Malayalam Orthography

    The Original Malayalam script was a very complex script with ligating vowel signs and used conjuncts extensively. The script was scrambled in the 80's by the Kerala Govt. , to fit the mechanical typewriter. The usage of old script has not completely done away with, it is still used occasionally. To use Classical Orthography, use fonts such as Racana or e - Malayalam OTC. Classical Orthography has more conjuncts, ligated Vowel Sign U/UU, and ligated Vowel sign vocalic R, and also uses the Repha. There are currently two fonts for the Classical Script, e-Malayalam OTC and the Rachana Font. But only the e-Malayalam OTC has support for the Repha.



    Malayalam Traditional Orthography using e-Malayalam OTC


    Transliteration of Malayalam Script

    Malayalam script is unique, in the sense it inherits both Dravidian and Indo-Aryan Characteristics into its script. In uses Dravidian-style spelling when writing native words, grammatical and endings (Such as using /k/ for both /k/, /g/ similar to that of Tamil) , and Indo-Aryan based spelling (such as using distinct /k/ /kh/ /g/ /gh/ letters) for its Loan Words. Thus, formal knowledge of Malayalam [or at least Tamil] is inevitable to read/transcribe the Malayalam Script according to its native phonetics.

    One needs to perform Intelligent Transcription of Malayalam must consider all these factors, to perform the Transcription accordingly.

(Also See: Tamil Transcription).


    Malayalam Font

    Display Issues with Chillus

    Previously, Chillus were encoded in Unicode by combiningg the Virama forms of the consonants with the Zero Width Joiner (ZWJ). Due to various issues,  Separate codepoints were allocated for the Chillu Characters. - ൺ ൻ ർ ൽ ൾ ൿ - These are known as "Atomic Chillus". Their use not is not widespread, and most of the old Unicode fonts don't support  Atomic Chillus. Code2000, e - Malayalam OT are a few fonts which support Atomic Chillus. They are also supported in Kartika on Windows Vista/7.

    Sample Sanskrit Text

    अनिरोधम् अनुत्पादम् अनुच्छेदम् अशाश्वतम् ।   

    अनेकार्थम् अनानार्थम् अनागमम् अनिर्गमम् ॥     

    यः प्रतीत्यसमुत्पादं प्रपञ्चोपशमं शिवम् ।    

    देशयामास संबुद्धस्तं वन्दे वदतां वरम् ॥   


    Default Conversion

    അനിരോധം അനുത്പാദം അനുച്ഛേദം അശാശ്വതം |   

    അനേകാർഥം അനാനാർഥം അനാഗമം അനിർഗമം ||     

    യഃ പ്രതീത്യസമുത്പാദം പ്രപഞ്ചോപശമം ശിവം |    

    ദേശയാമാസ സംബുദ്ധസ്തം വന്ദേ വദതാം വരം ||   


    Source Preserved

    അനിരോധമ് അനുത്പാദമ് അനുച്ഛേദമ് അശാശ്വതമ് |   

    അനേകാർഥമ് അനാനാർഥമ് അനാഗമമ് അനിർഗമമ് ||     

    യഃ പ്രതീത്യസമുത്പാദം പ്രപഞ്ചോപശമം ശിവമ് |    

    ദേശയാമാസ സംബുദ്ധസ്തം വന്ദേ വദതാം വരമ് ||   


Conversion Options


Disable Chillus

Formation of Chillus is disabled in the converted text.

Archaic Au

Instead of the Modern Au sign, the Archaic sign is used. (e.g) കൌ

Traditional Orthography

This displays the text using the Traditional Malayalam orthography (as discussed above). The Indolipi package font  e-Malayalam OTC must be installed to render the Traditional text properly.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 26 May 2011 22:56 )
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