About 96% of the people of the District speak Malayalam as their mothertongue. Only 2.5% of the people speak Tamil as their mothertongue. A negligible percentage of the population of Kodungallur and Mukundapuram taluks speak Konkani.
As in the case of all other languages, there is some difference between the colloquial languages and the written dialect in Malayalam also. Though there is difference in the dialects spoken by the various sections and classes of the society , the fundamental unity of the Malayalam languages is not affected in any way.The dialects spoken by the more primitive of the hill tribes differ considerably from Malayalam, but they hardly deserve to be regarded as separate languages.
Rice is the staple food of the people. The Nair, Ezhavas and such other castes are not generally vegetarians, though some individual members may avoid non-vegetarians.But Rice is the first choice for everyone. There is no great difference in the dietary habits of the Christians and Muslims. The routine dietary in a family consists of breakfast, lunch, tiffin and supper. Kanji or Rice gruel with some vegetable curry and pickles formed the main breakfast until very recently in almost all families, but it has now been replaced by tea, coffee or other beverages taken along with dishes like Dosai , Idli, Poori,Chappathi and Uppuma.
The lunch is always substantial ,the most important items of the menu being cooked rice of Choru, special curries and butter milk.Parboiled rice is used here instead of Kaccha or raw is that in all culinary preparations coconut oil is freely used instead of gingli or mustard oil used in other parts of India . The tiffin in the afternoon consists of a cup of tea or coffee and some sweet or delicacy. The supper which is taken after sunset consists either of Kanji or similar items as for lunch.When there was acute scarcity of rice in the wake of the Second World war, Wheat was used as a substitute for rice. Preparations of wheat such as Poori , Chappathi and Uppuma are becoming popular . Owing to the poor cattle wealth of the District, milk is used only by richer sections of the community. Pickles of mango, cherunaranga (lime fruit), nellikka (the fruit of phyllanthus emblica), etc., are popular. The condiments generally used are turmeric, pepper, ginger, cardamom, cloves, spices, chilli , mustard , onion, garlic etc. Hydrogenated oils like Vanaspathi are seldom used.