Arabi Malayalam
Mappila Malayalam
عَرَبِ مَلَیَاۻَمٛ
Native toIndia
EthnicityMappila Muslims
Arabi Malayalam script
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Arabi Malayalam (also called Mappila Malayalam[1][2] and Moplah Malayalam) is the traditional Dravidian language[3] of the Mappila Muslim community. It is spoken by several thousand people, predominantly in the Malabar Coast of Kerala state, southern India. The form can be classified as a regional dialect in northern Kerala, or as a class or occupational dialect of the Mappila community. It can also be called a vernacular in general, or as a provincial patois, with the latter label being increasingly applicable in Colonial times. All the forms of the Malayalam language, including Mappila, are mutually intelligible.[4][5]

The Mappila form shows some lexical admixture from Arabic and Persian.[5][6]

The variety Arabi Malayalam is also used by lower caste non-Muslims in northern Kerala, Muslims in Dakshina Kannada, and different Mappila migrant communities in South East Asia.[7]

Writing system

Main article: Arabi Malayalam script

The Arabi Malayalam script is an Abjad. The script[8] is also known as Khatafunnani[9] or Ponnani script.[10][11] It is also used to write several minority languages such as Eranadan and Jesri.

Arabi Malayalam was made by writing Malayalam while using the Arabic script. The language of Malayalam was mainly used to spread the ideas and practices of Islam in Kerala. Creating Arabi Malayalam made it easier for the Arabs who migrated to Kerala to spread the religion without a language barrier getting in the way.[12]

Study center

The Malayalam University has been set up a centre for studies of Arabi Malayalam language at Tirur.[13][14]

See also


  1. ^ Kottaparamban, Musadhique (1 October 2019). "Sea, community and language: a study on the origin and development of Arabi- Malayalam language of mappila muslims of Malabar". Muallim Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities: 406–416. doi:10.33306/mjssh/31. ISSN 2590-3691.
  2. ^ Kuzhiyan, Muneer Aram. "Poetics of Piety Devoting and Self Fashioning in the Mappila Literary Culture of South India". The English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. hdl:10603/213506. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Kottaparamban, Musadhique (2 October 2019). "Sea, Community and Language: A Study on the Origin and Development of Arabi- Malayalam Language of Mappila Muslims of Malabar". Muallim Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities: 406–416. doi:10.33306/mjssh/31. ISSN 2590-3691.
  4. ^ Subramoniam, V. I. (1997). Dravidian Encyclopaedia. Vol. 3, Language and literature. Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala): International School of Dravidian Linguistics. pp. 508-09. [1]
  5. ^ a b "Mappila Malayalam-1". Archived from the original on 1 May 2009. Retrieved 3 July 2007.
  6. ^ Krishna Chaitanya. Kerala. India, the Land and the People. New Delhi: National Book Trust, India, 1994. [2]
  7. ^ Upadhyaya, U. Padmanabha. Coastal Karnataka: Studies in Folkloristic and Linguistic Traditions of Dakshina Kannada Region of the Western Coast of India. Udupi: Rashtrakavi Govind Pai Samshodhana Kendra, 1996. pp. 63-83.
  8. ^ Arafath, P. K. Yasser (July 2020). "Polyglossic Malabar: Arabi-Malayalam and the Muhiyuddinmala in the age of transition (1600s–1750s)". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 30 (3): 517–539. doi:10.1017/S1356186320000085. ISSN 1356-1863. S2CID 232345197.
  9. ^ Kunnath, Ammad (15 September 2015). "The rise and growth of Ponnani from 1498 AD To 1792 AD". Department of History. hdl:10603/49524. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ Panakkal, Abbas (2016). Islam in Malabar (1460-1600) : a socio-cultural study /. Kulliyyah Islamic Revealed Knowledge and Human Sciences, International Islamic University Malaysia. Archived from the original on 27 May 2021. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  11. ^ Kallen, hussain Randathani. "TRADE AND CULTURE: INDIAN OCEAN INTERACTION ON THE COAST OF MALABAR IN MEDIEVAL PERIOD". ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ "Arabi Malayalam". Sahapedia. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  13. ^ "New university centre for Arabi Malayalam". Deccan Chronicle. 15 October 2017. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  14. ^ (28 December 2015). "In Kerala, attempts to save Arabi Malayalam take final shape". Retrieved 20 October 2020.

Further reading