Malayalam is the language of the state of Kerala, in southern India. It is one of the 22 official languages of India, spoken by around 30 million people. A native speaker of Malayalam is called a “Malayalee” (or sometimes a “Keraleeyan” or “Keralite”). Malayalam is also spoken in the Lakshadweep Islands of India. It belongs to the family of Dravidian languages. Both the language and its writing system are closely related to Tamil. Malayalam has a script of its own.