33,000,000 (2001 census). Total users in all countries: 34,451,800.
Karnataka state: Dakshina Kannada, Kodagu, and Mysore districts; Kerala and Lakshadweep states; Puducherry state: Mahe; Tamil Nadu state: Colimbatore, The Nilgiris, and Tirunelveli districts.
2 (Provincial). Statutory provincial language in Kerala State; union territories Lakshadweep and Puducherry (1950, Constitution, Schedule VIII).
Malabar, Nagari-Malayalam, Malayalam, South Kerala, Central Kerala, North Kerala, Kayavar, Namboodiri, Moplah (Mapilla), Pulaya, Nasrani, Nayar, Kasargod. Caste and communal dialects: Namboodiri, Nayar, Moplah, Pulaya, Nasrani. Mapilla is among the most divergent dialects, differing considerably from literary Malayalam.
SOV; postpositions; noun head final; gender (masculine/feminine/neuter); case-marking (7 cases); tense; 37 consonants, 11 vowels, 4 diphthongs; non-tonal; light stress on first syllable; inclusive/exclusive pronouns.
Cochin Jews in Kerala speak Malayalam. Used as L2 by Allar [all], Aranadan [aaf], Attapady Kurumba [pkr], Irula [iru], Jennu Kurumba [xuj], Kadar [kej], Kalanadi [wkl], Kanikkaran [kev], Kodava [kfa], Kudiya [kfg], Kunduvadi [wku], Kurichiya [kfh], Mala Malasar [ima], Malapandaram [mjp], Malasar [ymr], Malavedan [mjr], Mannan [mjv], Muduga [udg], Mullu Kurumba [kpb], Muthuvan [muv], Paliyan [pcf], Paniya [pcg], Ravula [yea], Thachanadan [thn], Urali [url].
Hindu, Christian, Jewish, Muslim.