Not to be confused with Malay.
The Malayalees come from Kerala in South India. Among the Indians in Singapore, the Tamils are the most populous and the Malayalees come in second.
Malayalam is a Dravidian language, just like Tamil. They may have a common ancestor language.
Introductions to the culture
Malayalees in Singapore, a video by applied linguist Dr Anitha Devi Pillai, is a great introduction to the Malayalees in Singapore.
- You can also visit the Singapore Malayalee Association youtube channel. There’s some videos on Kerala cuisine.
- There’s a festival called “Onam” that’s celebrated in Kerala. It is also very big in Singapore, even though it’s not an official public holiday in Singapore. People take days off to celebrate it! Here’s a book by the aforementioned Dr Anitha Devi Pillai on Onam, and here’s a video by the Singapore Malayalee Association on Onam!
I found one book that seem promising and that could help bring you up to an intermediate level in Malayalam.
- Malayalam: A University Course and Reference Grammar (Vols 1 & 2), by Rodney F. Moag. This book is available for free as it is on the Open Textbook Library.
- You could look at An Intensive Course in Malayalam by B. Syamala Kumari. It’s an old book, but it is still material to work with. I’d use this like a reader.
- The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Asian Studies, has a website of resources on the Malayalam language for English speakers. Rodney F. Moag, the author of “Malayalam: A University Course and Reference Grammar”, started this course.
- A great channel to start with is Learn Malayalam with EliKutty, who is a native speaker of English learning Malayalam. There’s a nice FAQ-answering video that acts like an introduction.