Malayalam is the official language of Kerala and is enumerated as a national language in the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Modern Malayalam has 38 consonant and 11 vowel phonemes. Together these represent the maximal number of distinctive segments available across dialects and registers. The enunciative vowel only occurs word finally. The ten remaining vowels, five short and five long, reflect native Dravidian phonology in which vowel length is phonemic. The canonic syllable structure of Malayalam, at first approximation is which the vocalic nucleus may be short or long. The onset can have up to three consonants while the coda permits just one. The three basic kinds of consonant clusters are: geminates, non-aspirated + aspirated stops, and nasal + plosives. The syllabic structure of Dravidian-sourced words is simpler. In the distinction between syllable-timed and stress-timed languages, Malayalam clearly falls into the first group.