Malayalam is a official language in the state of Kerala (India) and in the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry. It is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. Malayalam is also spoken in the neighboring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka; with more populace in the Nilgiris, Kanyakumari and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu, and the Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu districts of Karnataka. Malayalam has a canonical word order of SOV (subject–object–verb) as do other Dravidian languages. Malayalam script consists of a total of 578 characters. The script contains 52 letters including 16 vowels and 36 consonants, which forms 576 syllabic characters.