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Telugu (; , ) is a Dravidian language spoken by
Telugu people Telugu people ( te, తెలుగువారు, Teluguvāru), or Telugus, or Telugu vaaru, are the largest of the four major Dravidian ethnolinguistic groups in terms of population. Telugus are native to the Indian states of Andhra Prades ...
predominantly living in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and
Telangana Telangana (; , ) is a state in India situated on the south-central stretch of the Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau. It is the eleventh-largest state and the twelfth-most populated state in India with a geographical area of and 35, ...
, where it is also the official language. It is the most widely spoken member of the Dravidian language family and one of the twenty-two scheduled languages of the Republic of India. It is one of the few languages that has primary official status in more than one Indian state, alongside Hindi and
Bengali Bengali or Bengalee, or Bengalese may refer to: *something of, from, or related to Bengal, a large region in South Asia * Bengalis, an ethnic and linguistic group of the region * Bengali language, the language they speak ** Bengali alphabet, the ...
. Telugu is one of six languages designated as a
classical language A classical language is any language with an independent literary tradition and a large and ancient body of written literature. Classical languages are typically dead languages, or show a high degree of diglossia, as the spoken varieties of the ...
(of India) by the Government of India. Telugu is also a linguistic minority in the states of Karnataka,
Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu (; , TN) is a state in southern India. It is the tenth largest Indian state by area and the sixth largest by population. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu is the home of the Tamil people, whose Tamil language ...
, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh,
Orissa Odisha (English: , ), formerly Orissa ( the official name until 2011), is an Indian state located in Eastern India. It is the 8th largest state by area, and the 11th largest by population. The state has the third largest population of Sch ...
,
West Bengal West Bengal (, Bengali: ''Poshchim Bongo'', , abbr. WB) is a state in the eastern portion of India. It is situated along the Bay of Bengal, along with a population of over 91 million inhabitants within an area of . West Bengal is the fo ...
, and the union territories of Puducherry and
Andaman and Nicobar Islands The Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a union territory of India consisting of 572 islands, of which 37 are inhabited, at the junction of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. The territory is about north of Aceh in Indonesia and separated f ...
. It is also spoken by members of the Telugu diaspora spread across countries like
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territorie ...
, Australia,
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotland, Wales and North ...
, Canada, New Zealand in the Anglosphere; Myanmar, Malaysia,
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by of coastline that stretch along the Atlantic Ocean, South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the ...
, Mauritius; and the Arabian Gulf countries of UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia etc. With nearly 81 million native speakers as per the 2011 census, Telugu is the fourth most spoken language in India and 15th in the world in the
Ethnologue ''Ethnologue: Languages of the World'' (stylized as ''Ethnoloɠue'') is an annual reference publication in print and online that provides statistics and other information on the living languages of the world. It is the world's most comprehensi ...
list of
languages by number of native speakers This article ranks human languages by their number of native speakers. However, all such rankings should be used with caution, because it is not possible to devise a coherent set of linguistic criteria for distinguishing languages in a dialect ...
. It is also the fastest-growing language in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territorie ...
, where there is a large Telugu-speaking community. It is also a protected language in
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by of coastline that stretch along the Atlantic Ocean, South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the ...
and is offered as an optional third language in schools in the KwaZulu-Natal province. Roughly 10,000 pre-colonial inscriptions exist in the Telugu language.


Etymology

Speakers of Telugu refer to it as simply ''Telugu'' or ''Telugoo''. Older forms of the name include ''Teluṅgu'' and ''Tenuṅgu''. ''Tenugu'' is derived from the Proto-Dravidian word ''*ten'' ("south") to mean "the people who lived in the south/southern direction" (relative to Sanskrit and
Prakrit The Prakrits (; sa, prākṛta; psu, 𑀧𑀸𑀉𑀤, ; pka, ) are a group of vernacular Middle Indo-Aryan languages that were used in the Indian subcontinent from around the 3rd century BCE to the 8th century CE. The term Prakrit is usu ...
-speaking peoples). The name ''Telugu'', then, is a result of an "n" to "l" alternation established in Telugu. Another view holds that Atharvana Acharya in the 13th century wrote a grammar of Telugu, calling it the ''Trilinga Śabdānusāsana (or Trilinga Grammar)''. Appa Kavi in the 17th century explicitly wrote that ''Telugu'' was derived from ''Trilinga''. Scholar Charles P. Brown made a comment that it was a "strange notion" since the predecessors of Appa Kavi had no knowledge of such a derivation. George Abraham Grierson and other linguists doubt this derivation, holding rather that ''Telugu'' was the older term and ''Trilinga'' must be the later Sanskritisation of it. If so the derivation itself must have been quite ancient because ''Triglyphum'', ''Trilingum'' and ''Modogalingam'' are attested in ancient Greek sources, the last of which can be interpreted as a Telugu rendition of "''Trilinga''".


History

According to linguist Bhadriraju Krishnamurti, Telugu, as a Dravidian language, descends from Proto-Dravidian, a
proto-language In the tree model of historical linguistics, a proto-language is a postulated ancestral language from which a number of attested languages are believed to have descended by evolution, forming a language family. Proto-languages are usually unattes ...
. Linguistic reconstruction suggests that Proto-Dravidian was spoken around the third millennium BCE. According to the Russian linguist Mikhail S. Andronov, Telugu split from the Proto-Dravidian language between 1500 and 1000 BCE.


Earliest records

Prakrit The Prakrits (; sa, prākṛta; psu, 𑀧𑀸𑀉𑀤, ; pka, ) are a group of vernacular Middle Indo-Aryan languages that were used in the Indian subcontinent from around the 3rd century BCE to the 8th century CE. The term Prakrit is usu ...
Inscriptions with some Telugu words dating back to between 400 BCE and 100 BCE have been discovered in Bhattiprolu in the
Guntur district Guntur district is one of the twenty six districts in the Coastal Andhra region of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The administrative seat of the district is located at Guntur, the largest city of the district in terms of area and with a p ...
of
Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh (, abbr. AP) is a state in the south-eastern coastal region of India. It is the seventh-largest state by area covering an area of and tenth-most populous state with 49,386,799 inhabitants. It is bordered by Telangana to the ...
. The English translation of an inscription reads, "gift of the slab by venerable Midikilayakha".The Hindu News: Telugu is 2,400 years old, says ASI
"The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has joined the Andhra Pradesh Official Languages Commission to say that early forms of the Telugu language and its script indeed existed 2,400 years ago"
"The Bhattiprolu stone Buddhist casket in proto Telugu belongs to BCE 300, the Erragudi Asokan Rock Edict in Proto Telugu belongs to 257 BCE (DC Sarkar’s
Ashoka Ashoka (, ; also ''Asoka''; 304 – 232 BCE), popularly known as Ashoka the Great, was the third emperor of the Maurya Empire of Indian subcontinent during to 232 BCE. His empire covered a large part of the Indian subcontinent, s ...
n Studies, Calcutta 1979 pages 7–8), the Ghantasala Brahmin inscription and the pillar inscription of Vijaya Satakarni, Vijayapuri, and Nagarjuna Konda belong to First Century CE. Further, Tummalagudem inscription of Vishnukundinas belongs to 5th Century CE. (Epigraphia Andhrika, Vol.ii pages 9 to 14.)" One of the first words in the Telugu language, "Nagabu", was found in a Sanskrit inscription of the 1st century BCE at
Amaravathi Amaravati () is the capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is located on the banks of the river Krishna in Guntur district. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone at a ceremonial event in Uddan ...
(not to be confused with the newly planned city of
Amaravati Amaravati () is the capital of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is located on the banks of the river Krishna in Guntur district. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone at a ceremonial event in Udda ...
). Telugu words were also found in the Dharmasila inscription of Emperor Ashoka. A number of Telugu words were found in the Sanskrit and Prakrit inscriptions of the
Satavahana dynasty The Satavahanas (''Sādavāhana'' or ''Sātavāhana'', IAST: ), also referred to as the Andhras in the Puranas, were an ancient Indian dynasty based in the Deccan region. Most modern scholars believe that the Satavahana rule began in the late ...
s,
Vishnukundina dynasty The Vishnukundina dynasty (IAST: Viṣṇukundina) was an Indian dynasty based in Deccan, which ruled modern Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and parts of South India during the 5th and 6th centuries, carving land out from the Vakataka Empire ...
, and Andhra Ikshvaku. According to Telugu lore, its grammar has a prehistoric past. The Sage
Kanva Kanva ( Sanskrit: कण्व '), also called Karnesh, was an ancient Hindu rishi of the '' Treta Yuga'', to whom some of the hymns of the ''Rig Veda'' are ascribed. He was one of the Angirasas. He has been called a son of Ghora, but this lin ...
was said to be the language's first grammarian. A. Rajeswara Sarma discussed the historicity and content of Kanva's grammar. He cited twenty grammatical aphorisms ascribed to Kanva, and concluded that Kanva wrote an ancient Telugu Grammar which was lost. The coin legends of the Satavahanas, in all areas and all periods, used a
Prakrit The Prakrits (; sa, prākṛta; psu, 𑀧𑀸𑀉𑀤, ; pka, ) are a group of vernacular Middle Indo-Aryan languages that were used in the Indian subcontinent from around the 3rd century BCE to the 8th century CE. The term Prakrit is usu ...
dialect without exception. Some reverse coin legends are in Tamil, and Telugu languages.


Post-Ikshvaku period

The period from 4th century CE to 1022 CE corresponds to the second phase of Telugu history, after the Andhra Ikshvaku period. This is evidenced by the first inscription that is entirely in Telugu, dated 575 CE, which was found in the
Rayalaseema Rayalaseema () is a geographic region in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It comprises eight south western districts of the State namely, Kurnool, Nandyal, Anantapur, Sri Sathya Sai, YSR, Annamayya, Tirupati and Chittoor districts ...
region and is attributed to the Renati Cholas, who broke with the prevailing custom of using Sanskrit and began writing royal proclamations in the local language. During the next fifty years, Telugu inscriptions appeared in Anantapuram and other neighbouring regions. The Madras Museum plates of Balliya-Choda dated to the mid-ninth century CE are the earliest copper plate grants in the Telugu language. Certain exploration and excavation missions conducted by the Archaeological Department in and around the Keesaragutta temple have brought to light, a number of brick temples, cells and other structures encompassed by brick prakaram along with coins, beads, stucco figures, garbhapatra, pottery, and Brahmi label inscriptions datable to 4th and 5th centuries CE. On top of one of the rock-cut caves, an early Telugu label inscription reading as 'Thulachuvanru' can be noticed. On the basis of
palaeography Palaeography ( UK) or paleography ( US; ultimately from grc-gre, , ''palaiós'', "old", and , ''gráphein'', "to write") is the study of historic writing systems and the deciphering and dating of historical manuscripts, including the analysi ...
, the inscription is dated around the 4th to 5th centuries CE. Telugu was more influenced by Sanskrit and Prakrit during this period, which corresponded to the advent of Telugu literature. Telugu literature was initially found in inscriptions and poetry in the courts of the rulers, and later in written works such as
Nannayya Nannaya ''Bhattaraka'' (sometimes spelled Nannayya or Nannaiah; ca. 11th century) was a Telugu poet and the author of the first '' Andhra Mahabharatam'', a Telugu retelling of the Sanskrit-language ''Mahabharata''. This work, which is rendere ...
's ''Mahabharatam'' (1022 CE). During the time of Nannayya, the literary language diverged from the popular language. It was also a period of phonetic changes in the spoken language.


Middle Ages

The third phase is marked by further stylization and sophistication of the literary languages. During this period the split of the Telugu from
Kannada alphabet The Kannada script (IAST: ''Kannaḍa lipi''; obsolete: Kanarese or Canarese script in English) is an abugida of the Brahmic family, used to write Kannada, one of the Dravidian languages of South India especially in the state of Karnataka. K ...
s took place.
Tikkana Tikkana (or Tikkana Somayaji) (1205–1288) was a 13th century Telugu poet. Born into a Telugu-speaking Niyogi Brahmin family during the golden age of the Kakatiya dynasty, he was the second poet of the "Trinity of Poets ( Kavi Trayam)" that ...
wrote his works in this script.


Vijayanagara Empire

The
Vijayanagara Empire The Vijayanagara Empire, also called the Karnata Kingdom, was a Hinduism, Hindu empire based in the region of South India, which consisted the modern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa and some parts of Telangana an ...
gained dominance from 1336 to the late 17th century, reaching its peak during the rule of Krishnadevaraya in the 16th century, when Telugu literature experienced what is considered its Golden Age.


Delhi Sultanate and Mughal influence

A distinct dialect developed in present-day
Telangana Telangana (; , ) is a state in India situated on the south-central stretch of the Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau. It is the eleventh-largest state and the twelfth-most populated state in India with a geographical area of and 35, ...
region, due to Persian/
Arabic Arabic (, ' ; , ' or ) is a Semitic language spoken primarily across the Arab world.Semitic languages: an international handbook / edited by Stefan Weninger; in collaboration with Geoffrey Khan, Michael P. Streck, Janet C. E.Watson; Walte ...
influence: the
Delhi Sultanate The Delhi Sultanate was an Islamic empire based in Delhi that stretched over large parts of the Indian subcontinent for 320 years (1206–1526).
of the
Tughlaq dynasty The Tughlaq dynasty ( fa, ), also referred to as Tughluq or Tughluk dynasty, was a Muslim dynasty of Indo- Turkic origin which ruled over the Delhi sultanate in medieval India. Its reign started in 1320 in Delhi when Ghazi Malik assumed th ...
was established earlier in the northern
Deccan Plateau The large Deccan Plateau in southern India is located between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, and is loosely defined as the peninsular region between these ranges that is south of the Narmada river. To the north, it is bounded by the ...
during the 14th century. In the latter half of the 17th century, the
Mughal Empire The Mughal Empire was an early-modern empire that controlled much of South Asia between the 16th and 19th centuries. Quote: "Although the first two Timurid emperors and many of their noblemen were recent migrants to the subcontinent, the ...
extended further south, culminating in the establishment of the
Hyderabad State Hyderabad State () was a princely state located in the south-central Deccan region of India with its capital at the city of Hyderabad. It is now divided into the present-day state of Telangana, the Kalyana-Karnataka region of Karnataka, an ...
by the dynasty of the
Nizam of Hyderabad The Nizams were the rulers of Hyderabad from the 18th through the 20th century. Nizam of Hyderabad (Niẓām ul-Mulk, also known as Asaf Jah) was the title of the monarch of the Hyderabad State ( divided between the state of Telangana, Ma ...
in 1724. This heralded an era of Persian influence on the Telugu language, especially Hyderabad State. The effect is also evident in the prose of the early 19th century, as in the '' kaifiyats''. In the princely
Hyderabad State Hyderabad State () was a princely state located in the south-central Deccan region of India with its capital at the city of Hyderabad. It is now divided into the present-day state of Telangana, the Kalyana-Karnataka region of Karnataka, an ...
, the Andhra Mahasabha was started in 1921 with the main intention of promoting Telugu language, literature, its books and historical research led by Madapati Hanumantha Rao (the founder of the Andhra Mahasabha), Komarraju Venkata Lakshmana Rao (Founder of Library Movement in Hyderabad State), Suravaram Pratapareddy and others.


Colonial period

The 16th-century Venetian explorer
Niccolò de' Conti Niccolò is an Italian male given name, derived from the Greek Nikolaos meaning "Victor of people" or "People's champion". There are several male variations of the name: Nicolò, Niccolò, Nicolas, and Nicola. The female equivalent is Nicole. The ...
, who visited the
Vijayanagara Empire The Vijayanagara Empire, also called the Karnata Kingdom, was a Hinduism, Hindu empire based in the region of South India, which consisted the modern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa and some parts of Telangana an ...
, found that the words in the Telugu language end with vowels, just like those in Italian, and hence referred to it as "The Italian of the East"; a saying that has been widely repeated. In the late 19th and the early 20th centuries, the influence of the English language was seen, and modern communication/printing press arose as an effect of British rule, especially in the areas that were part of the
Madras Presidency The Madras Presidency, or the Presidency of Fort St. George, also known as Madras Province, was an Presidencies and provinces of British India, administrative subdivision (presidency) of British India. At its greatest extent, the presidency in ...
. Literature from this time had a mix of classical and modern traditions and included works by such scholars as Gidugu Venkata Ramamoorty, Kandukuri Veeresalingam,
Gurazada Apparao Gurajada Venkata Apparao (21 September 1862 – 30 November 1915) was an Indian playwright, dramatist, poet, and writer known for his works in Telugu theatre. Rao wrote the play '' Kanyasulkam'' in 1892, which is considered as the greatest play ...
, Gidugu Sitapati and Panuganti Lakshminarasimha Rao. Since the 1930s, what was considered an "elite" literary form of the Telugu language has now spread to the common people with the introduction of
mass media Mass media refers to a diverse array of media technologies that reach a large audience via mass communication. The technologies through which this communication takes place include a variety of outlets. Broadcast media transmit informatio ...
like movies, television, radio and newspapers. This form of the language is also taught in schools and colleges as a standard.


Post-independence period

* Telugu is one of the 22
languages with official status in India There is no national language in India. However, article 343(1) of the Indian constitution specifically mentions that, "The official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script. The form of numerals to be used for the official pu ...
* The Andhra Pradesh Official Language Act, 1966, declares Telugu the official language of the state that is currently divided into Andhra Pradesh and Telangana * Telugu also has official language status in the
Yanam district Yanam district is one of the four districts of the Union Territory of Puducherry in India. Geography Yanam district occupies an area of , It is located south of Kakinada port on the north bank of Godavari river, slightly inland. It is bor ...
of the union territory of Puducherry * Telugu Language Day is celebrated every year on 29 August, the birthday of Telugu poet Gidugu Venkata Ramamurthy. * The fourth World Telugu Conference was organised in Tirupati in the last week of December 2012. Issues related to Telugu language policy were deliberated at length. * Telugu is the 4th most spoken Indian language in India after Hindi,
Bengali Bengali or Bengalee, or Bengalese may refer to: *something of, from, or related to Bengal, a large region in South Asia * Bengalis, an ethnic and linguistic group of the region * Bengali language, the language they speak ** Bengali alphabet, the ...
and Marathi. * The American Community Survey has said that data for 2016 which were released in September 2017 showed Telugu is the third most widely spoken Indian language in the US. Hindi tops the list followed by Gujarati, as of the 2010 census.


Geographic distribution

Telugu is natively spoken in the states of
Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh (, abbr. AP) is a state in the south-eastern coastal region of India. It is the seventh-largest state by area covering an area of and tenth-most populous state with 49,386,799 inhabitants. It is bordered by Telangana to the ...
and
Telangana Telangana (; , ) is a state in India situated on the south-central stretch of the Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau. It is the eleventh-largest state and the twelfth-most populated state in India with a geographical area of and 35, ...
and Yanam district of Puducherry. Telugu speakers are also found in the neighboring states of
Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu (; , TN) is a state in southern India. It is the tenth largest Indian state by area and the sixth largest by population. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu is the home of the Tamil people, whose Tamil language ...
, Karnataka, Maharashtra,
Odisha Odisha (English: , ), formerly Orissa ( the official name until 2011), is an Indian state located in Eastern India. It is the 8th largest state by area, and the 11th largest by population. The state has the third largest population of Sch ...
, Chhattisgarh, some parts of
Jharkhand Jharkhand (; ; ) is a state in eastern India. The state shares its border with the states of West Bengal to the east, Chhattisgarh to the west, Uttar Pradesh to the northwest, Bihar to the north and Odisha to the south. It has an area of . It i ...
and the Kharagpur region of
West Bengal West Bengal (, Bengali: ''Poshchim Bongo'', , abbr. WB) is a state in the eastern portion of India. It is situated along the Bay of Bengal, along with a population of over 91 million inhabitants within an area of . West Bengal is the fo ...
in India. Many Telugu immigrants are also found in the states of Gujarat, Goa,
Bihar Bihar (; ) is a state in eastern India. It is the 2nd largest state by population in 2019, 12th largest by area of , and 14th largest by GDP in 2021. Bihar borders Uttar Pradesh to its west, Nepal to the north, the northern part of West Ben ...
,
Kashmir Kashmir () is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal Range. Today, the term encompass ...
,
Uttar Pradesh Uttar Pradesh (; , 'Northern Province') is a state in northern India. With over 200 million inhabitants, it is the most populated state in India as well as the most populous country subdivision in the world. It was established in 1950 ...
,
Punjab Punjab (; Punjabi: پنجاب ; ਪੰਜਾਬ ; ; also romanised as ''Panjāb'' or ''Panj-Āb'') is a geopolitical, cultural, and historical region in South Asia, specifically in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, comprising ...
,
Haryana Haryana (; ) is an Indian state located in the northern part of the country. It was carved out of the former state of East Punjab on 1 Nov 1966 on a linguistic basis. It is ranked 21st in terms of area, with less than 1.4% () of India's land ar ...
and
Rajasthan Rajasthan (; lit. 'Land of Kings') is a state in northern India. It covers or 10.4 per cent of India's total geographical area. It is the largest Indian state by area and the seventh largest by population. It is on India's northwestern si ...
. At 7.2% of the population, Telugu is the fourth-most-spoken language in the Indian subcontinent after Hindi,
Bengali Bengali or Bengalee, or Bengalese may refer to: *something of, from, or related to Bengal, a large region in South Asia * Bengalis, an ethnic and linguistic group of the region * Bengali language, the language they speak ** Bengali alphabet, the ...
and Marathi. In Karnataka, 7.0% of the population speak Telugu, and 5.6% in
Tamil Nadu Tamil Nadu (; , TN) is a state in southern India. It is the tenth largest Indian state by area and the sixth largest by population. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu is the home of the Tamil people, whose Tamil language ...
. There are more than 1,000,000 Telugu Americans in the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 states, a federal district, five major unincorporated territorie ...
, with the highest concentration in
Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa continent, also known as ...
New Jersey New Jersey is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic States, Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States, Northeastern regions of the United States. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York (state), New York; on the ea ...
, also known as ''Little Andhra''. As of 2018, Telugu is the fastest-growing language in the United States, with the number of Telugu speakers in the United States increasing by 86% between 2010 and 2017. Minority Telugus are also found in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands. With an area of , Australia is the largest country b ...
, New Zealand, Bahrain,
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world's second-largest country by tot ...
,
Fiji Fiji ( , ,; fj, Viti, ; Fiji Hindi: फ़िजी, ''Fijī''), officially the Republic of Fiji, is an island country in Melanesia, part of Oceania in the South Pacific Ocean. It lies about north-northeast of New Zealand. Fiji consist ...
,
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia. The federal constitutional monarchy consists of thirteen states and three federal territories, separated by the South China Sea into two regions: Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo's East Malay ...
,
Sri Lanka Sri Lanka (, ; si, ශ්‍රී ලංකා, Śrī Laṅkā, translit-std=ISO (); ta, இலங்கை, Ilaṅkai, translit-std=ISO ()), formerly known as Ceylon and officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an ...
,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign island country and city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...
, Mauritius,
Myanmar Myanmar, ; UK pronunciations: US pronunciations incl. . Note: Wikipedia's IPA conventions require indicating /r/ even in British English although only some British English speakers pronounce r at the end of syllables. As John Wells explai ...
,
Europe Europe is a large peninsula conventionally considered a continent in its own right because of its great physical size and the weight of its history and traditions. Europe is also considered a subcontinent of Eurasia and it is located entire ...
(
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and its territory largely coincides with the Italy (geographical region) ...
, the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotland, Wales and North ...
),
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by of coastline that stretch along the Atlantic Ocean, South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the ...
,
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the Caribbean. Consisting of the main islands Trinidad and Tobago, and numerous much smaller islands, it is situated south of ...
, and the
United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE; ar, اَلْإِمَارَات الْعَرَبِيَة الْمُتَحِدَة ), or simply the Emirates ( ar, الِْإمَارَات ), is a country in Western Asia ( The Middle East). It is located at t ...
.


Legal status

Telugu is the official language of the Indian states of
Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh (, abbr. AP) is a state in the south-eastern coastal region of India. It is the seventh-largest state by area covering an area of and tenth-most populous state with 49,386,799 inhabitants. It is bordered by Telangana to the ...
and
Telangana Telangana (; , ) is a state in India situated on the south-central stretch of the Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau. It is the eleventh-largest state and the twelfth-most populated state in India with a geographical area of and 35, ...
. It is one of the 22 languages under schedule 8 of the constitution of India. It is one of the official languages of the union territories of Puducherry. Telugu is a protected language in
South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the Southern Africa, southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded to the south by of coastline that stretch along the Atlantic Ocean, South Atlantic and Indian Oceans; to the ...
. According to the
Constitution of South Africa The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the Republic of South Africa. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, it sets out the rights and duties of its citizens, and defines the structure of the Gov ...
, the Pan South African Language Board must promote and ensure respect for Telugu along with other languages. The Government of South Africa announced that Telugu will be re-included as the official subject in the South African schools after it was removed from the curriculum in state schools. In addition, with the creation in October 2004 of a legal status for classical languages by the Government of India and following a political campaign supported by several Tamil associations, on 8 August 2008, Telugu was also given the classical language status due to several campaigns.


Epigraphical records

According to the famous Japanese historian Noboru Karashima who served as the president of the Epigraphical Society of India in 1985, there are approximately 10,000 inscriptions which exist in the Telugu language as of the year 1996 making it one of the most densely inscribed languages. Telugu inscriptions are found in all the districts of
Andhra Pradesh Andhra Pradesh (, abbr. AP) is a state in the south-eastern coastal region of India. It is the seventh-largest state by area covering an area of and tenth-most populous state with 49,386,799 inhabitants. It is bordered by Telangana to the ...
and Telangana. They are also found in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, and Chhattisgarh. According to recent estimates by ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) the number of inscriptions in the Telugu language goes up to 14,000. Adilabad, Nizamabad, Hyderabad, Anantapur, and Chittoor produced no more than a handful of Telugu inscriptions in the Kakatiya era between 1175 CE and 1324 CE.


Geographical influence


Telugu region boundaries

Andhra is characterised as having its own mother tongue, and its territory has been equated with the extent of the Telugu language. The equivalence between the Telugu linguistic sphere and the geographical boundaries of Andhra is also brought out in an eleventh-century description of Andhra boundaries. Andhra, according to this text, was bounded in north by Mahendra mountain in the modern Ganjam district in
Odisha Odisha (English: , ), formerly Orissa ( the official name until 2011), is an Indian state located in Eastern India. It is the 8th largest state by area, and the 11th largest by population. The state has the third largest population of Sch ...
and to the south by Srikalahasteeswara temple in
Chittoor district Chittoor district () is one of the eight districts in the Rayalaseema region of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The district headquarters is located at Chittoor. It has a population of 4,170,468 according to 2011 census of India. It lies in ...
. However,
Andhra Andhra Pradesh (, abbr. AP) is a state in the south-eastern coastal region of India. It is the seventh-largest state by area covering an area of and tenth-most populous state with 49,386,799 inhabitants. It is bordered by Telangana to the ...
extended westwards as far as
Srisailam Srisailam is a census town in Nandyal district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is the mandal headquarters of Srisailam mandal in Atmakur revenue division. It is located about from the district headquarters Nandyal, from Kurnool, a ...
in
Kurnool district Kurnool district is one of the eight districts in the Rayalaseema region of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is located in the North western part of the state and is bounded by Jogulamba Gadwal district of Telangana in the north, Raic ...
, about halfway across the modern state. According to other sources in the early sixteenth century, the northern boundary is Simhachalam and the southern limit is
Tirumala Tirumala is a spiritual town in Tirupati district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the suburbs of the Tirupati urban agglomeration. The town is a part of Tirupati Urban Development Authority and located in Tirupati (ru ...
of the Telugu Nation.


Telugu place names

Telugu place names are present all around Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Common suffixes are -''ooru, -pudi, -pedu, -peta, -patnam, -wada,'' -''gallu, -cherla, -seema, -gudem, -palle, -palem'' and -''palli''. Examples that use this nomenclature are
Nellore Nellore is a city located on the banks of Penna River, in Nellore district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It serves as the headquarters of the district, as well as Nellore mandal and Nellore revenue division. It is the fourth most pop ...
, Tadepalligudem, Guntur, Chintalapudi, Yerpedu, Narasaraopeta, Sattenapalle, Visakapatnam,
Vizianagaram Vizianagaram is a city and the headquarters of Vizianagaram district in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It is central Eastern Ghats, about west of the Bay of Bengal and north-northeast of Visakhapatnam. The city has a population of 228, ...
, Ananthagiri, Vijayawada, Vuyyuru, Macherla, Poranki, Ramagundam,
Warangal Warangal () is a city in the Indian state of Telangana and the district headquarters of Warangal district. It is the second largest city in Telangana with a population of 704,570 per 2011 Census of India, and spreading over an . Warangal se ...
, Mancherial, Peddapalli, Siddipet, Banswada, and Miryalaguda.


Dialects

There are six major dialects in Modern Telugu: * Northern Telangana : The old districts of Telangana: comprising Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar and Warangal * Southern Telangana : The old districts of Telangana comprising Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, major parts of Ranga Reddy. Slang here is a blend of Northern Telangana and Rayalaseema. * Southern AP : The old four districts of Rayalaseema together with Nellore and Prakasham. * South-Central AP : The old districts of AP comprising Guntur and Krishna. Parts of Khammam of TS. * East-Central AP : The old Godavari districts. * Eastern AP : The old Vishakapatnam, Vijayanagaram and Srikakulam districts. Colloquially,
Telangana Telangana (; , ) is a state in India situated on the south-central stretch of the Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau. It is the eleventh-largest state and the twelfth-most populated state in India with a geographical area of and 35, ...
,
Rayalaseema Rayalaseema () is a geographic region in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It comprises eight south western districts of the State namely, Kurnool, Nandyal, Anantapur, Sri Sathya Sai, YSR, Annamayya, Tirupati and Chittoor districts ...
and Coastal Andhra dialects are considered the three Telugu dialects and regions. Waddar, Chenchu, and Manna-Dora are all closely related to Telugu. Other dialects of Telugu are Berad, Dasari, Dommara, Golari, Kamathi, Komtao, Konda-Reddi, Salewari, Vadaga, Srikakula, Vishakhapatnam, East Godavari, Rayalaseema, Nellore, Guntur, Vadari and Yanadi.


Phonology

The Roman transliteration used for transcribing the Telugu script is the National Library at Kolkata romanisation. Telugu words generally end in vowels. In Old Telugu, this was absolute; in the modern language ''m, n, y, w'' may end a word. Atypically for a Dravidian language, voiced consonants were distinctive even in the oldest recorded form of the language. Sanskrit loans have introduced aspirated and murmured consonants as well. Telugu does not have contrastive stress, and speakers vary on where they perceive stress. Most place it on the penultimate or final syllable, depending on word and vowel length.


Consonants

The table below lists the consonantal phonemes of Telugu,Krishnamurti (1998), "Telugu". In Steever (ed.), ''The Dravidian Languages''. Routledge. pp. 202–240, 260 along with the symbols used in the transliteration of the Telugu script used here. * The aspirated and breathy-voiced consonants occur mostly in Sanskrit and Prakrit loanwords, additionally /tʰ/ is used to substitute /θ/ in English loans, the only aspirate which occurs natively is /dʱ/ which occurs only in a few compound numbers e.g. /pɐddʱenimidi/ "18" likely a result of the proto Dravidian laryngeal */H/ there is also an unaspirated /pɐddenimidi/ version which is used more commonly. All of the fricatives except for native also only occurs in loanwords. * Perso-Arabic phonemes like /q, x, ɣ, z/ are substituted with /k, kʰ, ɡ, d͡ʒ/ similar to Hindi. * /t͡s, d͡z/ occurs only in native words and doesn't have aspirated/breathy forms. Native words with /t͡ʃ, d͡ʒ/ before non front vowels became /t͡s, d͡z/, the change became phonemized after loaning words with /t͡ʃ, d͡ʒ/ from other languages. Intervocalically /d͡z/ can become e.g. ɐːzu, d͡zoːli, ɡudd͡zu * /ʋ/ can be rounded to a ̞ʷaround rounded vowels. * The common Proto Dravidian approximant */ɻ/ merged with /ɖ/ in Telugu while it was preserved as /ɽ/ in the other Southern II branch languages. * Many of the old /ɳ/ and /ɭ/ merged with /n/ and /l/. The Telangana dialect might completely merge /ɳ/ and /ɭ/ with /n/ and /l/. Most consonants contrast in length in word-medial position, meaning that there are long (geminated) and short phonetic renderings of the sounds. A few examples of words that contrast by length of word-medial consonants: * /ɡɐdi/ ''gadi'' (room) – /ɡɐdːi/ ''gaddi'' (throne)' * /ɐʈu/ ''aṭu'' (that side) – /ɐʈːu/ ''aṭṭu'' (pancake) * /moɡɐ/ ''moga'' (male) – /moɡːɐ/ ''mogga'' (bud) * /nɐmɐkɐmu/ ''namakamu'' (a vedic hymn) – /nɐmːɐkɐmu/ ''nammakamu'' (belief) * /kɐnu/ ''kanu'' (to give birth to) – /kɐnːu/ ''kannu'' (eye) * /kɐlɐ/ ''kala'' (dream) – /kɐlːɐ/ ''kalla'' (falsehood) * /mɐɾi/ ''mari'' (again) – /mɐɾːi/ ''marri'' (banyan tree) All retroflex consonants occur in intervocalic position and when adjacent to a retroflex consonant, for instance. /ʋɐːɳiː/ ''vāṇī'' 'tippet', /kɐʈɳɐm/ ''kaṭṇam'' 'dowry', /pɐɳɖu/ ''paṇḍu'' 'fruit'; /kɐɭɐ/ ''kaḷa'' 'art', /bɐːɭʈi/ ''bāḷṭi'' 'bucket' (from Portuguese ''balde'' 'bucket'). With the exception of /ɳ/ and /ɭ/, all occur word-initial in a few words, such as /ʈɐkːu/ ''ṭakku'' 'pretence', /ʈhiːʋi/ ''ṭhīvi'' 'grandeur', /ɖipːɐ/ ''ḍippā'' 'half of a spherical object', /ɖɦoːkɐː/ ''ḍhōkā'' 'danger', and /ʂoːku/ ''ṣōku'' 'fashionable appearance'. The approximant /j/ occurs in word-initial position only in borrowed words, such as. /jɐnɡu/ ''yangu'', from English 'young', /jɐʃɐsːu/ ''yaśassu'' from Sanskrit ''yaśas'' /jɑʃɑs/ 'fame'.


Vowels

Vowels in Telugu contrast in length; there are short and long versions of all vowels except for /æ/, which only occurs as long. Long vowels can occur in any position within the word, but native Telugu words do not end in a long vowel. Short vowels occur in all positions of a word, with the exception of /o/, which does not occur word-finally. The vowels of Telugu are illustrated below, along with the Telugu script and romanization.


Allophones

In most dialects, the vowel only occurs in loan words. In the Guntur dialect, is a frequent allophone of in certain verbs in the past tense. Telugu has two diphthongs: ఐ ''ai'' and ఔ ''au''. Roots alter according to whether the first vowel is tense or lax. Also, if the second vowel is open (i.e., or ), then the first vowel is more open and centralized (e.g., 'goat', as opposed to 'nail'). Telugu words also have vowels in inflectional suffixes that are harmonized with the vowels of the preceding syllable.


Grammar

The traditional study of Telugu Grammar is known as ''vyākaraṇam'' (వ్యాకరణం). The first treatise on Telugu grammar, the ''Āndhra Śabda Cinṭāmaṇi'', was written in Sanskrit by
Nannayya Nannaya ''Bhattaraka'' (sometimes spelled Nannayya or Nannaiah; ca. 11th century) was a Telugu poet and the author of the first '' Andhra Mahabharatam'', a Telugu retelling of the Sanskrit-language ''Mahabharata''. This work, which is rendere ...
, considered the first Telugu poet and translator, in the 12th century CE. This grammar followed patterns described in grammatical treatises such as ''
Aṣṭādhyāyī The (Devanagari अष्टाध्यायी) is a grammar that describes a form of an early Indo-Aryan language: Sanskrit. Authored by Sanskrit philologist and scholar Pāṇini and dated to around 500 BCE, it describes the language as cu ...
'' and ''Vālmīkivyākaranam'', but unlike
Pāṇini , era = ;;6th–5th century BCE , region = Indian philosophy , main_interests = Grammar, linguistics , notable_works = ' ( Classical Sanskrit) , influenced= , notable_ideas= Descriptive linguistics (Devanag ...
, Nannayya divided his work into five chapters, covering ''samjnā'', '' sandhi'', ''ajanta'', '' halanta'' and ''kriya''. Every Telugu grammatical rule is derived from
Pāṇini , era = ;;6th–5th century BCE , region = Indian philosophy , main_interests = Grammar, linguistics , notable_works = ' ( Classical Sanskrit) , influenced= , notable_ideas= Descriptive linguistics (Devanag ...
an concepts. In the 19th century, Chinnaya Suri wrote a condensed work on Telugu grammar called ''Bāla Vyākaraṇam'', borrowing concepts and ideas from Nannayya's grammar.


Morphosyntax

Relations between participants in an event are coded in Telugu words through
suffix In linguistics, a suffix is an affix which is placed after the stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns, adjectives, and verb endings, which form the conjugation of verbs. Suffixes can carry ...
ation; there are no prefixes or infixes in the language. There are six word classes in Telugu: nominals (proper nouns, pronouns), verbs (actions or events), modifiers (adjectives, quantifiers, numerals), adverbs (modify the way in which actions or events unfold), and clitics. Telugu nouns are inflected for
number A number is a mathematical object used to count, measure, and label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represented in language with number words. More universally, individual numbers c ...
(singular, plural), noun class (three classes traditionally termed ''masculine, feminine'', and ''neuter'') and
case Case or CASE may refer to: Containers * Case (goods), a package of related merchandise * Cartridge case or casing, a firearm cartridge component * Bookcase, a piece of furniture used to store books * Briefcase or attaché case, a narrow box to ...
(
nominative In grammar, the nominative case ( abbreviated ), subjective case, straight case or upright case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or (in Latin and formal variants of Eng ...
,
accusative The accusative case ( abbreviated ) of a noun is the grammatical case used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb. In the English language, the only words that occur in the accusative case are pronouns: 'me,' 'him,' 'her,' 'us,' and ‘th ...
,
genitive In grammar, the genitive case (abbreviated ) is the grammatical case that marks a word, usually a noun, as modifying another word, also usually a noun—thus indicating an attributive relationship of one noun to the other noun. A genitive can ...
,
dative In grammar, the dative case (abbreviated , or sometimes when it is a core argument) is a grammatical case used in some languages to indicate the recipient or beneficiary of an action, as in "Maria Jacobo potum dedit", Latin for "Maria gave Jacob ...
, vocative,
instrumental An instrumental is a recording normally without any vocals, although it might include some inarticulate vocals, such as shouted backup vocals in a big band setting. Through semantic widening, a broader sense of the word song may refer to inst ...
, and locative).


Word order

The basic word order in Telugu is subject-object-verb (SOV). The example above can also be interpreted as 'Ambedkar will go to school', depending on the context, but it does not affect the SOV order.


Noun classes (gender)

As with other Dravidian languages, gender in Telugu follows a semantic system, in the sense that it is mostly the meaning of the word which defines the noun class to which it belongs. There are three noun classes: masculine (human males, ''he-''gender), feminine (human females, ''she''-gender), and neuter (all non-humans, ''it-gender''). The gender of most nouns is encoded through agreement/indexation in pronominal suffixes rather than overtly on the noun. In terms of the verbal agreement system, genders in marking on the Telugu verb only occur in the third person. The Telugu gender system is different from Dravidian languages like Tamil given that the Telugu feminine shares indexation morphemes with the masculine plural (''-ru'') and with the neuter singular (''-di''). What characterizes the three-gender system is then the individual behavior of the singular-plural ''pairs'' of suffixes.


Pronouns

Telugu pronouns include personal pronouns (the persons speaking, the persons spoken to, or the persons or things spoken about); indefinite pronouns; relative pronouns (connecting parts of sentences); and reciprocal or reflexive pronouns (in which the object of a verb is acted on by the verb's subject).


Personal pronouns

In informal Telugu, personal pronouns distinguish masculine from non-masculine.


Demonstratives

There is a wide variety of demonstrative pronouns in Telugu, whose forms depend on both proximity to the speaker and the level of formality. The formal demonstratives may also be used as formal personal pronoun, that is, the polite forms for ''this woman'' or ''this man'' and ''that woman'' or ''that man'' can also simply mean ''she'' and ''he'' in more formal contexts''.'' In the singular, there are four levels of formality when speaking about males and females, although the most formal/polite form is the same for both human genders. In both singular and plural, Telugu distinguishes two levels of distance from speaker (like in English), basically ''this and that'', and ''these and those''. In the plural, there are no distinctions between formality levels, but once again masculine and feminine forms are the same, while the neuter demonstratives are different.


Case system

The nominative case (''karta''), the object of a verb (''karma''), and the verb are somewhat in a sequence in Telugu sentence construction. "''Vibhakti''" (case of a noun) and "''pratyāyamulu''" (an affix to roots and words forming derivatives and inflections) depict the ancient nature and progression of the language. The "''Vibhaktis''" of Telugu language " డు u ము u వు u లు u, etc., are different from those in Sanskrit and have been in use for a long time.


Lexicon

The lexicon of Telugu shows a pervasive influence of Sanskrit that goes back at least 1000 years; there is also evidence suggesting an earlier influence. It's estimated that 80% of Telugu's lexicon is derived from Sanskrit. Indologist David Shulman states that "Telugu must have swallowed Sanskrit whole, as it were, even before Nannaya." He further notes that "every Sanskrit word is potentially a Telugu word" and that Telugu speech and literary texts are Sanskritized to an "enormous degree". During the period 1000–1100 CE, Nannaya's re-writing of the ''Mahābhārata'' in Telugu (మహాభారతము) established the liberal borrowing of Sanskrit words. Telugu absorbed '' tatsamas'' from Sanskrit. The relexification of Dravidian languages by Indo-Iranian languages is not an uncommon occurrence. Likewise is the case of Brahui —a Dravidian language spoken in the Balochistan and upper
Sindh Sindh (; ; ur, , ; historically romanized as Sind) is one of the four provinces of Pakistan. Located in the southeastern region of the country, Sindh is the third-largest province of Pakistan by land area and the second-largest provinc ...
regions of
Pakistan Pakistan ( ur, ), officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan ( ur, , label=none), is a country in South Asia. It is the world's fifth-most populous country, with a population of almost 243 million people, and has the world's second-la ...
— with Indo-Iranian (incl. Perso-Arabic) vocabulary accounting for 40% of its lexicon. The vocabulary of Telugu, especially in
Telangana Telangana (; , ) is a state in India situated on the south-central stretch of the Indian peninsula on the high Deccan Plateau. It is the eleventh-largest state and the twelfth-most populated state in India with a geographical area of and 35, ...
, has a trove of Persian–Arabic borrowings, which have been modified to fit Telugu phonology. This was due to centuries of Turkic rule in these regions, such as the erstwhile kingdoms of
Golkonda Fort (Telugu: గోల్కొండ, romanized: ''Gōlkōnḍa'') is a historic fortress and ruined city located in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. It was originally called Mankal. The fort was originally built by Kakatiya ruler Pratāparu ...
and Hyderabad (e.g., కబురు, for
Urdu Urdu (;"Urdu"
'' diglossia In linguistics, diglossia () is a situation in which two dialects or languages are used (in fairly strict compartmentalization) by a single language community. In addition to the community's everyday or vernacular language variety (labeled ...
because the formal, standardised version of the language is either lexically Sanskrit or heavily influenced by Sanskrit, as taught in schools, and used by the government and Hindu religious institutions. However, everyday Telugu varies in such features depending upon region.


Writing system

The Telugu script is an
abugida An abugida (, from Ge'ez: ), sometimes known as alphasyllabary, neosyllabary or pseudo-alphabet, is a segmental writing system in which consonant-vowel sequences are written as units; each unit is based on a consonant letter, and vowel nota ...
consisting of 60 symbols — 16 vowels, 3 vowel modifiers, and 41 consonants. Telugu has a complete set of letters that follow a system to express sounds. The script is derived from the Brahmi script like those of many other Indian languages. :te:దస్త్రం:Telugulipi evolution.jpg The Telugu script is written from left to right and consists of sequences of simple and/or complex characters. The script is syllabic in nature—the basic units of writing are syllables. Since the number of possible syllables is very large, syllables are composed of more basic units such as vowels ("''acchu''" or "''swaram''") and consonants ("''hallu''" or "''vyanjanam''"). Consonants in consonant clusters take shapes that are very different from the shapes they take elsewhere. Consonants are presumed pure consonants, that is, without any vowel sound in them. However, it is traditional to write and read consonants with an implied "a" vowel sound. When consonants combine with other vowel signs, the vowel part is indicated orthographically using signs known as vowel "''mātras''". The shapes of vowel "''mātras''" are also very different from the shapes of the corresponding vowels. Historically, a sentence used to end with either a single bar। ("''pūrna virāmam''") or a double bar॥ ("''dīrgha virāmam''"); in handwriting, Telugu words were not separated by spaces. However, in modern times, English punctuation (commas, semicolon, etc.) has virtually replaced the old method of punctuation. Telugu has full-zero (''" anusvāra"'' or ''"sunna"'' ) ( ం ), half-zero (''"arthanusvāra"'' or "'' candrabindu''" or ''"ara-sunna"'' ) (ఁ) and '' visarga'' ( ః ) to convey various shades of nasal sounds. aand a aand aare differentiated. Telugu has ''ĉ'' and ''ĵ'', which are not represented in Sanskrit. Their pronunciation is similar to the "s" sound in the word treasure (i.e., the postalveolar voiced fricative) and "z" sound in zebra, ''i.e.'', the alveolar voiced fricative, respectively.


Telugu Guṇintālu (తెలుగు గుణింతాలు)

These are some examples of combining a consonant with different vowels.
క కా కి కీ కు కూ కృ కౄ కె కే కై కొ కో కౌ క్ కం కః
ఖ ఖా ఖి ఖీ ఖు ఖూ ఖృ ఖౄ ఖె ఖే ఖై ఖొ ఖో ఖౌ ఖ్ ఖం ఖః


Number system

Telugu has ten digits employed with the
Hindu–Arabic numeral system The Hindu–Arabic numeral system or Indo-Arabic numeral system Audun HolmeGeometry: Our Cultural Heritage 2000 (also called the Hindu numeral system or Arabic numeral system) is a positional decimal numeral system, and is the most common syste ...
. However, in modern usage, the Arabic numerals have replaced them. Telugu is assigned
Unicode Unicode, formally The Unicode Standard,The formal version reference is is an information technology standard for the consistent encoding, representation, and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems. The standard, ...
codepoints: 0C00-0C7F (3072–3199).


Literature


The Pre-Nannayya Period (before 1020 CE)

In the earliest period Telugu literature existed in the form of inscriptions, precisely from 575 CE onward.


The Jain Literature Phase (850–1000 CE)

Prabandha Ratnavali (1918) & Pre-Nannayya Chandassu (Raja Raja Narendra Pattabhisekha Sanchika) by Veturi Prabhakara Sastry talk about the existence of Jain Telugu literature during 850-1000 CE. A verse from Telugu Jinendra Puranam by Adikavi Pampa, a couple of verses from Telugu Adi Puranam by Sarvadeva and Kavijanasrayam by Malliya Rechana were all authored by Jain poet's and are the examples for Jain contribution to Telugu Literature. Historically, Vemulawada was a Jain knowledge hub and played a significant role in patronizing Jain literature and poets. Excavations in the 1980s around Vemulawada revealed and affirmed the existence of Telugu Jain literature. Malliya Rechana is considered to be the first Telugu Author. P.V. Parabrahma Sastry, Nidadavolu Venkata Rao, P.V.P Sastry also pointed out that many Jain works could have been destroyed. Historical rivalry among Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism is well known.


The Age of the Puranas (1020–1400 CE)

This is the period of Kavi Trayam or Trinity of Poets. Nannayya, Tikkana and Yerrapragada (or Errana) are known as the Kavi Trayam.


Nannaya Bhattarakudu or Adi Kavi (1022–1063 CE)

Nannaya Bhattarakudu's (Telugu: నన్నయ) Andhra Mahabharatam, who lived around the 11th century, is commonly referred to as the first Telugu literary composition (aadi kaavyam). Although there is evidence of Telugu literature before Nannaya, he is given the epithet Aadi Kavi ("the first poet"). Nannaya Bhattu acknowledged the help extended to him by his friend Narayana Bhattu in his composition in fields like making choices of grammatical forms, metres, form of the book, etc. and compares it to that extended to Arjuna by God Sri Krishna in the Bharata war. Scholar and poet K. Ayyappa Paniker states that both Nannaya Bhattu and Narayana Bhattu were
Kannada Kannada (; ಕನ್ನಡ, ), originally romanised Canarese, is a Dravidian language spoken predominantly by the people of Karnataka in southwestern India, with minorities in all neighbouring states. It has around 47 million native s ...
origin scholars. Nannaya was the first to establish a formal grammar of written Telugu. This grammar followed the patterns which existed in grammatical treatises like Aṣṭādhyāyī and Vālmīkivyākaranam but unlike Pāṇini, Nannayya divided his work into five chapters, covering samjnā, sandhi, ajanta, halanta and kriya. 4Nannaya completed the first two chapters and a part of the third chapter of the Mahabharata epic, which is rendered in the Champu style.
Tikkana Somayaji Tikkana (or Tikkana Somayaji) (1205–1288) was a 13th century Telugu poet. Born into a Telugu-speaking Niyogi Brahmin family during the golden age of the Kakatiya dynasty, he was the second poet of the "Trinity of Poets ( Kavi Trayam)" that ...
(1205–1288 CE): Nannaya's Andhra Mahabharatam was almost completed by Tikanna Somayaji (Telugu: తిక్కన సోమయాజి) (1205–1288) who wrote chapters 4 to 18. Yerrapragada: (Telugu: ఎర్రాప్రగడ) who lived in the 14th century, finished the epic by completing the third chapter. He mimics Nannaya's style in the beginning, slowly changes tempo and finishes the chapter in the writing style of Tikkana. These three writers – Nannaya, Tikanna and Yerrapragada – are known as the Kavitraya ("three great poets") of Telugu. Other such translations like Marana's Markandeya Puranam, Ketana's ''Dasakumara Charita'', Yerrapragada's Harivamsam followed. Many scientific works, like Ganitasarasangrahamu by Pavuluri Mallana and Prakirnaganitamu by Eluganti Peddana, were written in the 12th century.


Baddena Bhupala (1220–1280 CE)

Sumati Shatakam, which is a neeti ("moral"), is one of the most famous Telugu Shatakams. Shatakam is composed of more than a 100 padyalu (poems). According to many literary critics Sumati Shatakam was composed by Baddena Bhupaludu (Telugu: బద్దెన భూపాల) (CE 1220–1280). He was also known as Bhadra Bhupala. He was a Chola prince and a vassal under the Kakatiya empress Rani Rudrama Devi, and a pupil of Tikkana. If we assume that the Sumati Shatakam was indeed written by Baddena, it would rank as one of the earliest Shatakams in Telugu along with the Vrushadhipa Satakam of Palkuriki Somanatha and the Sarveswara Satakam of Yathavakkula Annamayya. The Sumatee Shatakam is also one of the earliest Telugu works to be translated into a European language, as C. P. Brown rendered it in English in the 1840s. Palkuriki Somanatha: Important among his Telugu language writings are the Basava Purana, Panditaradhya charitra, Malamadevipuranamu and Somanatha Stava–in dwipada metre ("couplets"); Anubhavasara, Chennamallu Sisamalu, Vrishadhipa Shataka and Cheturvedasara–in verses; Basavodharana in verses and ragale metre (rhymed couplets in blank verse); and the Basavaragada. Gona Budda Reddy: His Ranganatha Ramayanam was a pioneering work in the Telugu language on the theme of the Ramayana epic. Most scholars believe he wrote it between 1300 and 1310 A.D., possibly with help from his family. The work has become part of cultural life in Andhra Pradesh and is used in puppet shows. In the Telugu literature
Tikkana Tikkana (or Tikkana Somayaji) (1205–1288) was a 13th century Telugu poet. Born into a Telugu-speaking Niyogi Brahmin family during the golden age of the Kakatiya dynasty, he was the second poet of the "Trinity of Poets ( Kavi Trayam)" that ...
was given agraasana (top position) by many famous critics. Paravastu Chinnayya Soori (1807–1861) is a well-known Telugu writer who dedicated his entire life to the progress and promotion of Telugu language and literature. Sri Chinnayasoori wrote the ''Bala Vyakaranam'' in a new style after doing extensive research on Telugu grammar. Other well-known writings by Chinnayasoori are ''Neethichandrika'', ''Sootandhra Vyaakaranamu'', ''Andhra Dhatumoola'', and ''Neeti Sangrahamu''. Kandukuri Veeresalingam (1848–1919) is generally considered the father of modern Telugu literature. His novel ''Rajasekhara Charitamu'' was inspired by the Vicar of Wakefield. His work marked the beginning of a dynamic of socially conscious Telugu literature and its transition to the modern period, which is also part of the wider literary renaissance that took place in Indian culture during this period. Other prominent literary figures from this period are Gurajada Appa Rao, Viswanatha Satyanarayana, Gurram Jashuva, Rayaprolu Subba Rao,
Devulapalli Krishnasastri Devulapalli Krishnasastri (1 November 1897 – 24 February 1980) was a Telugu poet, playwright and translator known for his works in Telugu literature and Telugu cinema. He is known as ''Andhra Shelley''. In 1976, Krishnasastri was honoured wit ...
and
Srirangam Srinivasa Rao Srirangam Srinivasa Rao (30 April 1910 – 15 June 1983), popularly known as Sri Sri, was an Indian poet and lyricist who is known for his works in Telugu literature and films. Noted for his anthology '' Maha Prasthanam'', Sri Sri is a recipient ...
, popularly known as ''Mahakavi'' Sri Sri. Sri Sri was instrumental in popularising free verse in spoken Telugu (''vaaduka bhasha''), as opposed to the pure form of written Telugu used by several poets in his time. Devulapalli Krishnasastri is often referred to as the Shelley of Telugu literature because of his pioneering works in Telugu Romantic poetry. Viswanatha Satyanarayana won India's national literary honour, the
Jnanpith Award The Jnanpith Award is the oldest and the highest Indian literary award presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their "outstanding contribution towards literature". Instituted in 1961, the award is bestowed only on Indian w ...
for his magnum opus ''Ramayana Kalpavrukshamu''. C. Narayana Reddy won the
Jnanpith Award The Jnanpith Award is the oldest and the highest Indian literary award presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their "outstanding contribution towards literature". Instituted in 1961, the award is bestowed only on Indian w ...
in 1988 for his poetic work, ''Viswambara''. Ravuri Bharadhwaja won the 3rd
Jnanpith Award The Jnanpith Award is the oldest and the highest Indian literary award presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their "outstanding contribution towards literature". Instituted in 1961, the award is bestowed only on Indian w ...
for Telugu literature in 2013 for ''Paakudu Raallu'', a graphic account of life behind the screen in film industry. '' Kanyasulkam'', the first social play in Telugu by Gurajada Appa Rao, was followed by the progressive movement, the free verse movement and the Digambara style of Telugu verse. Other modern Telugu novelists include Unnava Lakshminarayana (''Maalapalli''), Bulusu Venkateswarulu (''Bharatiya Tatva Sastram''), Kodavatiganti Kutumba Rao and Buchi Babu.


Media


Telugu support on digital devices

Telugu input, display, and support were initially provided on the
Microsoft Windows Windows is a group of several proprietary graphical operating system families developed and marketed by Microsoft. Each family caters to a certain sector of the computing industry. For example, Windows NT for consumers, Windows Server for s ...
platform. Subsequently, various browsers, computer applications, operating systems, and user interfaces were localized in Telugu Language for Windows and
Linux Linux ( or ) is a family of free and open-source software, open-source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an kernel (operating system), operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991, by Linus Torvalds. Linu ...
platforms by vendors and
free and open-source software Free and open-source software (FOSS) is a term used to refer to groups of software consisting of both free software and open-source software where anyone is freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way, and the sou ...
volunteers. Telugu-capable smart phones were also introduced by vendors in 2013. On 15 February 2018,
Apple An apple is an edible fruit produced by an apple tree (''Malus domestica''). Apple trees are cultivated worldwide and are the most widely grown species in the genus ''Malus''. The tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, ' ...
devices were experiencing crashes of apps and device shutdowns when two particular characters from the Telugu language (specifically జ్ఞా) was rendered on the display. Reports show that this has affected iOS, MacOS, tvOS and watchOS. On 20 February, Apple announced that the bug was fixed with the iOS 11.2.6 update.


See also

*
Telugu grammar The first treatise on Telugu grammar ( te, వ్యాకరణం ''vyākaraṇam''), the ''Andhra Sabda Chintamani'' ( Telugu: ఆంధ్ర శబ్ద చింతామణి ''Āndhra śabda cintāmaṇi'') was written in Sanskrit by N ...
* Telugu Language Day *
Telugu people Telugu people ( te, తెలుగువారు, Teluguvāru), or Telugus, or Telugu vaaru, are the largest of the four major Dravidian ethnolinguistic groups in terms of population. Telugus are native to the Indian states of Andhra Prades ...
*
Telugu states Telugu states are the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana in southeastern India. An ethno-region of Telugu People, they as a collective are bordered by Maharashtra to the north, Karnataka to the west, Odisha, Chhattisgarh to the north ...
* Telugu years *
List of languages by number of native speakers in India India is home to several hundred languages. Most Indians speak a language belonging to the families of the Indo-Aryan branch of Indo-European (c. 77%), the Dravidian (c. 20.61%), the Austroasiatic ( Munda) (c. 1.2%), or the Sino-Tibetan (c. 0. ...
* List of Telugu-language television channels * States of India by Telugu speakers * Telugu language policy


References


Bibliography

* Albert Henry Arden, ''A Progressive Grammar of the Telugu Language'' (1873). * Charles Philip Brown, ''English–Telugu dictionary'' (1852; revised ed. 1903); * The Linguistic Legacy of Indo-Guyanes
The Linguistic Legacy of Indian-Guyanese
* Languages of Mauritiu

* Charles Philip Brown, ''A Grammar of the Telugu Language'' (1857) * P. Percival, ''Telugu–English dictionary: with the Telugu words printed in the Roman as well as in the Telugu Character'' (1862
Internet Archive edition
* Gwynn, J. P. L. (John Peter Lucius). ''A Telugu–English Dictionary'' Delhi; New York: Oxford University Press (1991
online edition
). * Uwe Gustafsson, ''An Adiwasi Oriya–Telugu–English dictionary'', Central Institute of Indian Languages Dictionary Series, 6. Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Language (1989). * * Callā Rādhākr̥ṣṇaśarma, ''Landmarks in Telugu Literature: A Short Survey of Telugu Literature'' (1975). *


External links

*
Telugu language
at ''
Encyclopædia Britannica The (Latin for "British Encyclopædia") is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia. It is published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.; the company has existed since the 18th century, although it has changed ownership various t ...
''
Hints and resources for learning Telugu

English to Telugu online dictionary

'Telugu to English' and 'English to Telugu' Dictionary

Dictionary of mixed Telugu By Charles Philip Brown



Online English – Telugu dictionary portal that includes many popular dictionaries

English–Telugu Dictionary

Telugu Hindu literature
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