Lesson #8

Welcome again, learners of Malayalam...for our LAST LESSON ON CONJUGATED LETTERS!!! Today, we're just going to learn three more conjugated letters, then three final signs in the Practice Corner. Once you're through with that, you're VIRTUALLY DONE with learning how to read and write Malayalam!!! Aren't you so relieved now??? After all those LONG days, months, years, learning letter after letter after letter, memorizing more than 100 symbols! THIS is one reason why I say Malayalam is one of the most difficult languages to learn...and, believe me, you have every reason to celebrate!

So, why don't we finish off what are practically the last letters you will ever need to learn in Malayalam once and for all? First, the rarest of the lot:

y /thna/- Listen! There's only one word in the Malayalam language that I always remember having this symbol. This word is y /pathni/, which is a very poetic word coming from Sanskrit meaning "wife." Listen! I swear, the only reason why I remember this is that this is also the common Hindi word for "wife"...and one of the first words I learned in Hindi!

Now for a few more commonplace symbols that you're more likely to actually see...!

v /thma/- Listen! Though there may be several words with this symbol, the only one I can think of immediately is this one solitary and simple, yet complex, word; it is a word that is important to both aspects of religion and India's political history. This word is v /aathmaavu/, from its Sanskrit equivalent atma (AS IN Mahatma!). Listen! Can you tell what it means? If you are Indian (i.e. born in India and being sufficiently educated there that you learned in school about Mahatma Gandhi), I'm 100% certain that you should know what it means! OK, I'll just tell you anyway. It means "soul." (Mahatma means "Great Soul.")

r /lsa/- Listen! This is a very particular letter that always confused me until practically today! It LOOKS like a combination of /tha/ and , but it's actually a combination of W /l/ and in Malayalam! Most words using this letter are probably from Sanskrit, but other Indian languages pronounce such words with a /thsa/ sound rather than the /lsa/ sound! One common word with this letter (there may be similar words found in other Indian languages) is r /malsaram/, which means "competition." Listen!

Hold on...can you guess what p, q, u are? These letters are pronounced /Nma/, /lbha/, and /gma/. Like some letters you've learned lately, they're not very common, but here is a word with one of these letters:

/albhutham/ (written & colloquial, i.e. used in both written & spoken Malayalam) means "(extreme?) surprise/exclamation/interjection." Unfortunately, I can't find any words with u! Oh, well...Listen to the letters and the word!

p /veNma/ is a somewhat poetic word for "whiteness" (how often do you use it in casual conversation???). Listen!

Oh, and finally, one more letter you'll see for the most part only in poetry:

/jnja/- This is such a weird letter. One of those few ever-so-fancy words that use this letter is Ȣ /jnjaanam/, which means "knowledge." Listen!

That's almost ALL the letters you'll ever need to know anymore...besides what you'll see in the Practice Corner! There's only three more symbols you absolutely MUST know; I assure you, THESE symbols, you'll probably see EVERYWHERE! So, learn these last 3 symbols and have fun learning Malayalam!