Lesson 5

Conjugated letters! Not again!!!

It's true! All of the "conjugated letters" you learned so far were only double letters (except for "ksha")! But, unfortunately, there are some more to go!

But, to start with, since you seem so distressed (or did I just make that up?), we're going to start with three letters you may have already seen but that I have not OFFICIALLY taught! Isn't that great? Aren't you so HAPPY???...Oh, you figured out that you have to go through another 65 letters? (Just kidding!)  :)

Do these letters look familiar? They are a, L, O!

These letters are used a WHOLE BUNCH in Malayalam! It's certainly worth knowing!!!

The first letter is: a /nta/. Listen! Of course, it's pronounced more like the "nda" in "panda!"

Actually, the symbol a is used ONLY to indicate possession (and WITH the )! Listen!

That means it's used for the words "my, your, his," etc. (But of course, that's not it!)

It's used instead of the English "apostrophe s." What I mean is, let's say you're sitting on a bench where you find lots of small pieces of hair.

Now, you know that that hair belongs to your friend Balti, because he just got a haircut a few seconds ago! Frustrated as you are, you write in your (imaginary?) diary about it. How would you express that this stupid hair is getting on your nerves???

You'd probably write something like, "Balti's hair is getting on my nerves!"

But in Malayalam, instead of that 's, you use the suffix -a.

I think you get it, right? Sorry I took so long explaining; I was trying to be really creative with my example, rather than using something ordinary like "John's book." (And, by the way, Balti is not really a name; it means a kind of Pakistani cooking bucket!)

Anyway, let's get this lesson over with:

Our second letter is L /ntha/ as in L /niinthuka/ "to swim." Isn't it easy? Just a combination of and , where is pronounced like . Listen!

And finally, our last letter is O /mba/ as in O /thumba/. Listen! It's actually an irregular combination /mpa/ but, of course, it's always pronounced like the "mb" as in "lamb" with an "uh" sound at the end (mba as in "lamba!") 

And now...to the Practice Corner!