According to the 1681 census, eleven languages specified in
the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution are spoken as mother tongue. Of
these Malayalam is predominant and the mother tongue of the local
people except those in Minicoy who speak the Mahl language. Bengali, Gujrati,
Hindi, Kannada, Oriya, Tamil, Telegu, Konkoni, Urdu and English are also
spoken by the migrants who are employed in the Union Territory.
The script that is in use in Islands other than Minicoy is the modern
Malayalam script Grandha. The oldest script that was current in the islands
was vattezhuthu. With the advent of Islam the Arabic script became popular
among the people, especially for the study of Koran.
Mahl is the language spoken by the people of Minicoy. It is the
language of Maldives also and has a script of its own written from right
to left as in the case of Arabic. The alphabet of the language has 24 letters
which exactly sound like the letters of the Arabic alphabet, though the method
of writing is different. To the ancient local alphabet of Maldives, they have
added certain diacritical marks adopted from Arabic language to make the