- Paperback: 140 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 22, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 151465136X
- ISBN-13: 978-1514651360
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 9.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Learn Basic Malayalam In Six Weeks: With Daily Worksheets & Answer Key
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From the Author
This is the book a level 2 learner of Malayalam may use.
The same authors have made two more books available for two other levels.
Malayalam Alphabet: Practice Workbook is level 1, and
Speak Malayalam in Ten Weeks is level 3.
About the Author
Lissy John is an educator and a writer. She has had her higher studies in Language, Linguistics, and Literature.
John D. Kunnathu is an educator and an author of several books. He has had his higher studies in Language, Linguistics, Literature, Instructional Technology, and in Religious Studies.
After being educators in Africa and in the US for over twenty-five years, both are now settled in Kerala.
Top customer reviews
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About a quarter of the book is dedicated to learning the Malayalam alphabet, but you're better off using the Wikipedia article on it. The authors don't provide IPA pronunciations that could help linguists, and even worse, they don't provide clear and concise explanations of pronunciation that could help normal people, or if they do, they provide it several lessons after being introduced to a letter. They also use a transliteration system that will only confuse most learners.
For example, in the first lesson we're introduced to ത, transliterated as "tha", and ട, transliterated as "ta". Apparently this is the system used by the government of Kerala, but it's a horrible and confusing system, and it shouldn't be used in a language learning book. If you have some experience with linguistics or with other Indian languages, you would probably assume that "th" represents an aspirated stop. If you're just the average English speaker, you'll probably assume it sounds like the th in "thing". Both are wrong. "th" in this system represents a dental stop, while "t" represents a retroflex stop, and as far as I can tell this isn't explained anywhere. Instead, we're told that the letter ട sounds like the "t" in English "hotel" (it doesn't), and we're given no explanation at all for how ത/tha is pronounced.
The next section of the book is just a long list of Malayalam words along with their English translation. This is probably the most useful part of the book, but you won't be able to pronounce most of these words if you've only been using this book, and Google Translate Malayalam is good enough to get you most or all of these Malayalam words if you put in the English equivalent (I checked). So again, a free online resource is better than this book.
I gave up on the book at the beginning of the section that deals with grammar. The authors simply don't know how to teach a language, and the confusion from the earlier chapters on the alphabet just got worse. In lesson 27, we're told that "words can have various noun forms" and then given 7 forms without any explanation as to what each form means, or what its grammatical function is. It looks like there might be more substantive sections on grammar later on, but from my experience with the earlier sections of the book, I don't think I could trust it to give me a proper understanding of Malayalam grammar.
I can't recommend this book to anyone. You're better off using Wikipedia articles for pronunciation, spelling, and grammar, and Google Translate as a source of vocabulary for your own flashcards.
Worthiness: I think it's a very good book and it explains very well what Malayalam language is and how it can be learn. I was amazed by learning that Malayalam is easier than it might seems, the authors explain very well the difference between English and Malayalam languages, giving you the taste that it can be easily learn and actually that it's easier to learn it than English language (I'm Spanish and Italian speaker then English is my third language)