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titleThe Language and Literature

 



The language used by the Malabar Muslims,like any other community in Kerala is Malayalam. Although in is true that the early Muslims were not sufficiently educated in the modern sense, they were not illiterates. Their inventive genius created a new system of alphabet following the arabic alphabets and started the  transliteration of Malayalam. They named it "Arabi Malayalam". Almost all Muslims, men and women, read and wrote this Arabi Malayalam. Even today Arabi Malayalam is alive. Transliteration of Malay language in Jawi is a similar development.

A tribute to the creative genius of the Malabar Muslims, their literature has made immortal contribution to enrich Malayalam literature as a whole. In the early stages, the language employed was an admixture of words from Malayalam, Sanskrit, Tamil, Arabic, Persian and a few other Indian languages.  Malayalam literature has produced some Malabar Muslim authors of international reputation. Their works have been translated into a number of foreign languages.

The dialect used by majority of the Muslims are that of the Northern Kerala. In Malaysia it has evolved even further with the admixture of local languages.

Written Arabi-Malayalam is still being taught in some Madrasahs especially in Johor. Written Malayalam on the other hand is rarely being taught formally although it was a medium of instruction in some school until the 1960s. Spoken Malayalam  has survived thus far but with some definite local flavor!!


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