Lesson #11

A a G ޵ޢ!

namukkiniyum ente viiTTin(u) pOkaam!

Let's Go to My House Now!

This is the third lesson in the Malayalam language. In this lesson, you will learn a new noun case and a verb tense that goes along with it!

You may view this lesson in three ways:

1. With Malayalam script, phonetics, and English translation (on this page),

2. with Malayalam script and English translation, or

3. with Malayalam script and English translation for everything except the Dialogue.


آâ /sambhaashaNam/ Dialogue

Mohan and his driver, Ibrahim, have helped Sam, Charlotte, and Vasudevan by carrying their luggage to Mohan's car. The airport is a crowded place, not a part of Thiruvananthapuram where Mohan wants to spend too much time! In fact, he and Ibrahim are about to take their guests to Mohan's house in Ayur.

Click here to listen to the conversation!

X: . A a GW ޵ޢ! dߢ ̷ A.

mOhan: Sari. namukkiniyum ente viiTTi' p'aam! ibraahim bEg eTukk.

dߢ: .

ibraahim: Sari saarrE.

(Charlotte talks with Vasudevan and Mohan about Ayur while Sam helps Ibrahim put the luggage into the car and talks to him.)

Vx: W A LC ?

shaarlat: aayuuril namukk enthengkilum kaaNaamO?

X (sneering): B, K .

vaasudEvan: athengnganaa, aayuurilonnum illallO.

: f B BZA {J ޺ ܢ ޢ.

mO: pakshe ingngnane ningngaLkk kEraLaththiloru kochchu sthhalam kaaNaam.

: . Aޢ B Aޢ!

vaa: ath Sariyaa. namukkellaam angngane rasiykkaam!

(Sam, trying to help Ibrahim, is about to put a bag into the trunk.)

: , X {ޢ.

i: saaramilla saarrE, njaan ith cheythOLaam.

ޢ: dߢ WK K?

saam: ibraahim aayuurilninnaaNO vannath?

: .

i: uvv.

ޢ: ?

saam: musLiimaaNO?

: . M dcߵ{?

i: uvv. saayippum madaamayum kristhyaanikaLallE?

ޢ: . W ޿ BZ I?

saam: athe. aayuuril oruvaaT musLiingngnaL uNTO?

: . f ޿ dcߵ{ wA{ I.

i: illa saarrE. pakshe oruvaaT kristhyaanikaLum hindukkaLum uNT.


English Translation

Mohan: OK. Let's go to my house now! Ibrahim, get the bags.

Ibrahim: Yes, sir.

(Charlotte talks with Vasudevan and Mohan about Ayur while Sam helps Ibrahim put the luggage into the car and talks to him.)

Charlotte: Can we see anything in Ayur?

Vasudevan (sneering): How can you ("how is that")? There's nothing in Ayur!

M: But this way, you can see a small town ("place") in Kerala. 

V: That's true. We'll all have fun that way!

(Sam, trying to help Ibrahim, is about to put a bag into the trunk.)

I: It's all right, sir, I'll do this.

Sam: Are you from Ayur, Ibrahim?

I: Yeah.

S: Are you a Muslim?

I: Yeah. Aren't you and Madam ("White man and White woman") Christians?

S: Yes. Are there a lot of Muslims in Ayur?

I: No, sir. But there are a lot of Christians and Hindus.


Sari                                                             (see Note #1)                                                        .  Listen!

namukk                                                       we (see Notes #2-3)                                           A  Listen!

iniyum                                             And/so now (referring to future)                                     Listen!

viiT                                                                house/home                                                          Listen!

ente viiTTi(l)                                          to (literally "in") my house                             a GW Listen!

p'aam!                                                 let's go! we can/shall go!                                       ޵ޢ! Listen!

bEg (from the English word)                                 bag                                                            ̷ Listen!

eTukk!                                                                  take!                                                      A! Listen!

saar                                                                    sir                                                               V Listen!

aayuuril                                                            in Ayur                                                    W Listen!

enthengkilum                                            something/anything                                      LC Listen!

kaaNaamO?                                             Will (can) we see?                                         ? Listen!

...engnganaa?                                                  How is...?                                                ...B? Listen!

athengnganaa?                                     How is that (possible)?                                    B? Listen!

onnum illa.                                                  There's nothing.                                             K . Listen!

pakshe                                                            but                                                                f Listen!

ingngane                                                       this way                                                        B Listen!

kEraLaththil                                                in Kerala                                                   {JW Listen!

oru                                                                    a                                                                    Listen!

kochchu                                                        small                                                                ޺ Listen!

sthhalam                                                      place                                                                ܢ Listen!

kaaNaam                                              we will/shall/can see                                                 ޢ Listen!

angngane                                                    that way                                                            B Listen!

rasiykkaam                                         we shall/will/can have fun                                          Listen!

saaramilla.                                                  It's OK.                                                            . Listen!

cheythOLaam                                            I'll do                                                             Listen!

uvv.                               Yeah. (All-purpose & very Malayalee way of saying "yes")                . Listen!

musLiim                                                    Muslim                                                                Listen!

saayipp                                                     White man                                                            M Listen!

madaama                                                White woman                                                        Listen!

saayippum madaamayum    you and your wife ("the White man and woman") M Listen!

kristhyaani(kaL)                                    Christian(s)                                                dc(Z) Listen!

oruvaaT                                                    a lot of                                                                    ޿ Listen!

musLiingngaL                                        Muslims                                                                BZ Listen!

uNTO?                                            is/are there? (in this context)                                            I? Listen!

illa.                                                        No (there aren't).                                                        .  Listen!

hindu(kkaL)                                                Hindu(s)                                                      w(AZ) Listen!


GU /arriyaanaayiTTuLLathu/ What There Is To Know

Chauffeurs and drivers are more commonly seen in India than in the West. Most middle- and high-class Indians have a driver, mainly because it is too dangerous to drive on the crowded Indian roads without very good driving skills (you should be able to drive very fast using standard shift and still not hurt anyone or damage property) and lots of experience.

Ibrahim is one of the few Malayalee Muslims from southern Kerala. Muslims in southern Kerala tend to be rather poor and not very common. In Northern and Central Kerala, however, there are many more Muslims who are middle or high class. These Muslims are known as "Moplas," from the Malayalam word maapLa or maappiLa meaning "Muslim" in the North and "Christian" in the South. 

maapla can also mean "husband" among Christians in the South and Muslims in the North. For example, a Christian from Southern Kerala (Travancore) might introduce his wife by saying a c, but his wife might say of her husband: a M{.

In the conversation, Sam helps Ibrahim with the luggage. Most middle-class (and possibly high-class) Malayalees might not consider this to be socially acceptable. However, those who are being helped will most likely see this as a sign of generosity on your part (even if you screw things up!), and talking with ordinary people is always a good way to practice speaking a language. ("Ordinary people" in Kerala also tend to know pretty interesting things as well!)


c޵â /vyaakaraNam/ Grammar


This Malayalam word sounds somewhat like the English word "sure" and has a similar meaning. It basically means the same thing as the English expression "Righto!" but can have a more polite tone as well. (It would mean the same thing as "right," except that it does not refer to direction; it means either "correct" or "OK"). 

2. NZ vs. BZ

In the last lesson, you learned that the word "BZ" is one word that means "we."

In this lesson, you learned another form of the word "NZ," which also means "we."

What's the difference?!?!

Well, the difference all lies in whether the word "we" involves the person you're talking to or not!

NZ means "we" when you're including the person you're talking to. For example, let's say that Vasudevan and Mohan are talking to each other, and Vasudevan suddenly (for whatever reason!!!) says to Mohan:

NZ {ߵ{.

(Which, of course, means "We are Malayalees.")

This means that Vasudevan is saying, "I am a Malayalee, and so are you (as well as some other people, perhaps)!"

But BZ means "we" when the person you're talking to is NOT included in the "we." So, if Vasudevan was talking about himself and Mohan and said to Sam:

BZ {ߵ{.

Then that would mean "Mohan and I are Malayalees; you are NOT!"

3. The Dative Case (gߵ ͵)- Part 1 

In this lesson, the dative case is used differently from the way it is used in English. In Malayalam, it may be used in the same way as in English, but there are many other uses for it as well.

Here, it is used before what is known (to Malayalam grammarians!) as the permissive tense, which is apparently unique to Malayalam. Any verb in the permissive tense can be easily identified by the ending -ޢ (or, in a question, -? (This tense is explained further in the next section.) 

For example, in the conversation, Mohan says:

A a GW ޵ޢ!

The word A is the dative case form of the word NZ. It changes to this form because of the verb ޵ޢ, which is in the permissive tense.

The way to form the dative case is generally by adding -()A or -() at the end of a word.

Which ending do you put when? It depends on what letter the word ends in in the usual (nominative) case:

If the word normally ends in the letter X, then in the dative case, that letter becomes .

But if the word ends in any other letter, the ending is simply added:

If the word ends in either -V or -Z, then A is added to the end (in the dative).

If the word ends in any other (silent) consonant, then - is added.

If the word ends in a vowel, then -A is added.

There are a few exceptions to these rules...and all of them are pronouns! You will learn more about this later.

A isn't one of the exceptions, even though it's the dative of the word NZ. It's simply a shortened version of "NZA," which is not very commonly used in Malayalam anymore.

4. The Permissive Tense (ϵ)

Although there are tenses with this same name in languages other than Malayalam (especially Hebrew), they do not serve the same function as the Malayalam version does.

In Malayalam, the permissive tense indicates that you can or plan to do something. It can also be used just like the first person plural form of the present tense in imperative mood.


Let me put that last sentence into simpler words. (You better, you're thinking, or I'm gonna leave your site and give up your stupid lessons, goddamn it!!

What I meant to say is: it can be used in Malayalam the same way a "'we' command" ("Let's...!") is used in English.

So, that's why "Let's go!" is A ޵ޢ!

Again: you can use the permissive tense in that way, OR you can use it to show that you can or plan to do something.

Of course, you can also use it to mean that you WILL do something...but only if you also mean that you PLAN to do it!


Literally, this word means "did will-be-good" (). In other words, when Ibrahim said:

X {ޢ.

The literal meaning of what he said was essentially: "If I do this, it will be good." ("I this did-will-be-good.") 

This construction is used when you're trying to say, "I'll be happy to do this" or "I don't mind doing this."

6. Spelling and Pronounciation Notes

1. The word ޵ޢ is techincally written & pronounced /pOkaam/, but most Malayalees tend to slur it and say something that sounds more like p'aam or pwaam.

2. The word ̷ is pronounced exactly like the English word "bag."

3. The sound A makes the - sound more like the American/British "a" as in "cat" (rather than "a" in "father").

7. M

The word M means "White man." It comes directly from the Hindi word sahib, which also means "sir" and is therefore a polite way of saying "White man." In Malayalam, however, it can also have a more derogatory use, just like the term "White guy" in English.

Similarly, the word means "White woman." It probably came from the French madame (Malayalees write the English "madam" in a different way!).

8. The suffix -O

You might have noticed that means almost exactly the same thing as ޢ. Perhaps you also recall this similarity between the words and

The only differences between these slight variations is that one is used when asking a question and the other is used when stating something, commanding someone to do something, etc.

The reason why these two different forms exist is because of this formerly unwritten rule:

When asking a yes-or-no question in Malayalam, the sound /O/ must always be attached to the end of the main verb.


! Now you can go to the Practice Corner (once it's done, anyway!).