Vegam Vegam Malayalam

Lesson #6

In Kerala, it's quite common to go to the market to buy groceries, because different people sell their different wares (all food), making it easier to get everything you need to eat. You're most likely to find lots of agricultural foods during the holiday of Onam, which is around the end of August, because Onam is the Malayalee harvest festival, more or less...(actually, there's a reason why Onam IS the harvest festival, but that's another story...) 

In the next few parts of Vegam Vegam Malayalam, you will learn how to buy various items at the local market. There will be a little conversation at the beginning to help you remember these words.

At the Market

Maria is at the market and, like most Malayalees, she is mainly looking for rice and some vegetables. Then again, she decides it wouldn't hurt if she just bought some nice sweet bread (this was decades ago, when bread was sweeter than it is now in South India!) as well as some flour for various South Indian dishes...

Listen to her conversation with the vendor!

: A d?

maria: ariykku vilayethraa?

Maria: How much does raw rice cost?

AX: A K .

kaTakkaaran: oru chaakkin(u) muunnuurr(u) ruupaa.

Vendor: Rs. 300 (three hundred rupees) per sack.

: ! xX ޢ.

ma: athu kuuTuthalallE! irunuutianpathu ruupaa tharaam.

M: That's expensive! I'll pay Rs. 250.

: . xY â.

ka: pOraa. irunuutiyeNpath(u) ruupaa vENam.

V: That isn't enough. I need Rs. 280.

: xJF ?

ma: irunuutiyarrupaththanjch rupaa pOraayO?

M: Isn't Rs. 265 enough?

: , A xJF .

ka: Sari, oru chaakin(u) irunuutiyarrupaththanjch ruupaa.

V: OK, Rs. 265 per sack.

: , A οAޢ. K â.

ma: Sari, oru chaakk mETikkaam. pinne maavum vENam.

M: OK, I'll buy one sack. Then I also need flour.

: A JF .

ka: kilOykk irupaththanjch ruupaa.

V: Twenty-five rupees per kilogram.

: I A W ޢ.

ma: raNT kilOykk naalpath(u) ruupaa tharaam.

M: I'll pay fourty rupees for two kilograms.

: I. X .

ka: vENTa. anpath(u) ruupaa.

V: No. Fifty rupees.

: Nߺ. I A X ޢ.

ma: sammathichchu. raNT kilOykk anpath(u) ruupaa tharaam.

M: Agreed. I'll pay fifty rupees for two kilograms.

So, Maria just bought some rice and flour...what about the vegetables and bread? Well, she'll probably buy the vegetables from another vendor at the market. As for the bread, she is most likely to look for that in a bakery! (Note: there are also special stores which sell rice and flour in Kerala.)



ruupaa                                               (Indian) rupee              Listen!

paisa                                                  (Indian) paisa                                       Listen!

Again, one Indian rupee is worth a hundred paise (plural of paisa; same as the singular in Malayalam).

vilayethraa?                                How much does it cost?         d? Listen!

Literally, this means: "What is the price?"

ari                                                        (raw) rice               Listen!

You do remember that rice is essential for any good meal in Kerala, don't you? So, don't forget to buy some rice if you want to eat Malayalee food...or just if you like rice! Personally, I always loved rice so much that I would actually sneak into the kitchen and eat it raw AND unwashed!

ariykk vilayethraa?              How much does raw rice cost?  A d? Listen!

Notice how the ending -ykku in this case was added to ari so that we could say "What is the price for rice?" From now on, this ending will be almost always shown within the name of the commodity itself; e.g.: ari(ykku). Observe the next example as well:

roTTi(ykk)                                                bread                             G(A) Listen!

Bread in Kerala is not exactly like bread in many other areas; in fact, the very idea of bread was introduced by the Portuguese. It's a bit sweeter, and normally Malayalees eat it as an accompaniment with soups rather than as a common staple. The staple, of course, is rice!

maav(u)                                                  flour                                                    Listen!

maavin(u) vilayethraa?            How much does flour cost?             d? Listen!

arippoTi(ykk)                                  rice flour                                    M޿(A) Listen!

poTi literally means "powder" or "dust." The main use for rice flour is for making appam, a Southern Indian (and Sri Lankan) delicacy which will probably be discussed later.

Weights and Measures

kilO(ykk)                                            (per) kilogram                    (A) Listen!

ara (kilO)                                         half (of a kilogram)         () Listen!

Ah, yes, of course! Make sure to do your measurements according to the metric system in India! All other metric measures are exactly as in English, only with an Indian accent!

chaakk (chaakkin(u))                             (per) bag/"sack"        A (A) Listen!

oru chaakk ari                               a bag/sack of (raw) rice     A   Listen!

maavinte                                             of flour               a Listen!

arippoTiyuTe                                     of rice flour         M޿ Listen!


Don't forget these useful phrases for bargaining from last time! Bargaining for small items is rather common in Asia.

Sari.                                                        OK.                    . Listen!

sammathichchu.                                    Agreed.               Nߺ. Listen!

...ruupaa tharaam.                     I'll give you...rupees.           ... ޢ. Listen!

...ruupaa pOraayO?                   Isn't...rupees enough?      ... ? Listen!

athu kuuTuthalalle!                        That's expensive!        ! Listen!

vENTaa (saarrE).                                 No (sir).                         I (). Listen!

ath(u) pOraa.                                   That isn't enough.                         . Listen!

...vENam.                                           I want/need...                                               ...â. Listen!

A little more bargaining vocabulary:

...mETikkaam.                                    I'll buy...                  ...οAޢ. Listen!

pinne ...(y)um vENam.             Then I also want/need...    K ...() â. Listen!

My deepest regrets for throwing so much vocabulary all at once! I hope the conversation helps memorize it all to some degree...

Next time, we'll meet a few customers buying some delicious tropical fruits!