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Lingua

The mother tongue of all iyers is no doubt Tamil but the form of Tamil that a Kerala Iyer speaks is modified to a large extent by their constant interaction with Malayalam. Malayalam which has very large number of words owing allegiance to Sanskrit and which is endowed by the most phonetic alphabets among the Indian languages has influenced the way that a Kerala Iyer speaks and even recites Sanskrit Slokas.

The amount of mixture of Malayalam in spoken Tamil of Kerala Iyers varies from place to place. While the Tamil of Palakkad Gramams is corrupted to the extent of 20%, those in the interior of Kerala speak Tamil with a mixture of more than 80% Malayalam. It is said that people from Tamil Nadu can instantly point out a Palakkad Iyer, the moment he starts speaking. It is often said that a Palakkad Iyer prefixes most sentences with an 'Oh...'.

It is also notable that this new lingua has become a butt of joke in the Tamil cinemas. The most notable example of that would be Kamal haasan's role as a Cook from Palakkad in "Michael Madana.. ". In fact with the nasal twang added to the already soft Tamil, the Kerala Iyer lingua is really musical. 

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Cuisine

Traditionally, Iyers are vegetarians. Rice is the staple food. The dishes commonly eaten with rice are Sambhar, RasamSambhar, Rasam, Pitla, Moru koottan, Vattal Kozhambu, Poricha Kootu, Kootu Kari and on special occasions, different Payasams. Their style of cooking depended on the use of til oil or Groundnut oil and mainly consisted of the liberal use of Tur Dal. Rice powder was also used as thickening agent by them in most of their preparations. For pungency they added green chilies or dry red chilies.  The Kerala vegetarian Cuisine was that of the Namboodiris and their famous dishes were Kalan, Rasakalan, Olan, Eriseri, Pulungary Mulagoosiam, MolaguVellam, several Upperis and a host of prathamans. Their major stress has been on the liberal use of coconut, coconut oil and pepper. The Kerala Iyers modified their traditional dishes based on the knowledge gained in the Namboothiri houses. The result was a really divine cuisine, which was the mixture of both styles of cooking and balanced …

History

The term 'Iyer' is derived from 'Iyya' which means 'Sir' in Tamil and which might have beemight have been derived from 'Arya' of Sanskrit, which means a 'gentleman'. In the earliest known work dealing with grammar in Tamil - tholkappiyam (meaning old epic), the meaning of 'iyya' is given as 'a learned individual'. Iyers were initially confined to Tamil Nadu. Though the majority of them chose to stay in Tamil Nadu itself, some of them migrated to neighboring states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Over the years these migrants built up their own individual culture and established an identity of their own. In Kerala, they are commonly referred to as Pattars where as Iyers of Tamil Nadu call them Pal…

Get involved with KIT

Kerala Iyers Trust aims to catalyze socio-economic change in India by providing assistance in the spheres of education, health and welfare of underprivileged section of the society.The current focus area of the Organization is the needy among the Kerala Iyers.We urge you to involve yourself in the activities of the Trust and reach out to your brethren. Let us together do our duty to the society.We are looking for volunteers who are willing to be the representatives of Kerala Iyers Trust in their local areas.Learn more about KIT.