Malayalam alphabet reintroduced in textbooks

Law-and-Policy Schools

The Malayalam alphabet has been reintroduced into school textbooks in Kerala after about a decade, Onmanorama reported.

According to the report, students of Class 2 have received the second volume of Malayalam textbooks which has one page on standardised set of Malayalam letters. It has also been reported that Class 1 students will find the same in the third volume of their textbooks which they will receive after the Christmas vacation.

When the syllabus was revised in 2013, the Aksharamala (alphabet) was removed from the syllabus. This was followed by widespread demand from various cultural and literary figures to reintroduce the same into the syllabus. As a result, education minister V Sivankutty took the initiative to reintroduce the same this year.

The alphabet was recommended y the Official Language Committee and designed by the State Council of Education and Research (SCERT) on the background of the Kerala map.

The script revision as per the Official Languages Committeee will be implemented in textbooks only from next academic year, the report reads. The script is said to reintroduce cursive alphabet (kootakshara lipi). The main differences suggested by an expert panerl, as reported by Onmanorama, are the The panel has suggested to avoid, as much as possible, the diatric moon sign (chandrakala/ചന്ദ്രക്കല) for joining ligatures. Additionally, the committee also suggested employing the same orthography for both writing and printing, besides including the Malayalam alphabet in textbooks. The committee’s recommendation for reverting to the old script structure is majorly on two sub-symbols and ligatures.

Malayalam had about 500 scripts before the 1971 committee revised the orthography. The panel simplified the orthography, bringing down the scripts to 90. The new recommendations intend to further cut it down to 65.

However, computed fonts should be revised to support the recommended orthography, though the typing structure will remain the same. The committee pointed out that several existing fonts use the old Malayalam orthography.


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