English Alphabets in Malayalam Script – MTI Reduction Tips

Posted On: April 25, 2014

The grid below is a lesson in the book “Rapidex English Speaking Course” that demonstrates how to pronounce English letters though the Malayalam script. I am not an expert in Malayalam Linguistics, but from my limited understanding, I would guess this chart is written in a way to reduce the Mother Tongue Influence while spelling letters in Spoken English.

A few examples to point to this are:
L, M, N, S – When many Malayalees (Tamils, too) spell English words with these letters, they may say “yel,” “yem,” “yen,” and “yes.” This chart doesn’t spell the “y” before these letters, but a short “e” sound which would be typical of native speakers.

Some letters that are tricky:
American R to Malayalam ZHF, H, R – While the transliteration is good in that there is a short “e” sound before the letter, sometimes in spoken English, Malayalees may over stress the sound, especially with “H.” In the grid below the “ch” is written as a double “ch” to stress in that we need to say “ay – ch”. To some native speakers they may hear these letters as “e -ffaah”, “ay – ch chaaa” and “a -rrra”. (Also note the placement for the tongue for American R is closer to the “r” or “zh” sound in words like “mazha.” This “zh” is a special letter/sound found in Malayalam and Tamil.)

See a video tutorial comparing the American R to the Malayalam ZH.

Y – As Malayalam and many Indian languages utilize only one letter to represent the English v and w, some native speakers may hear Malayalees or Indians say this letter as “vie” and not “why.” If you can pronounce the English word “why” as a native speaker says it, you are able to pronounce the spelling of this letter correctly.  (For lessons on how to pronounce V and W clearly, click here.)

Z – This transliteration may say “zed” which works well for British spelling. For American spelling, we need to say “Zee” (as in Zee TV). The other thing to keep in mind is that Z needs to be a vibrated sound, where as s is not vibrated.

If you are a Malayalee reading this post, I’d be curious to know if this chart below is familiar to you. Especially if you learned English in a Malayalam medium school, were the transliterations of the letters the same or different? If it is possible to share different transliterations through Malayalam script or images, please try to insert them in the comments below or send them to me here.

Thank you for your help. Your help will help me to help others better!


English Alphabets in Malayalam Script - MTI Reduction Tips
Click on the photo to see a bigger size.


Take a look at this video tutorial of how to pronounce letters in an American accent. This will help you spell words or listen to spellings of words with American English speakers.


Related Posts:
Clear Speech Exercises and Tutorials

Original publishing date: April 2014, Updated April 2020



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