Telugu, Indian Languages - Informative & researched article on Telugu, Indian Languages
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Home > Reference > Indian Languages > Languages of South India > Telugu
Telugu, Indian Languages
Telugu is the official language of the Indian state Andhra Pradesh and has a Dravidian origin.
 
 Telugu, Indian LanguagesTelugu language is India's native Dravidian language. The government of India has given it the status of a popular Classical language as well. Moreover, it is one of the 22 scheduled languages of India. Telugu is the only language other than Hindi, English and Bengali that is predominantly spoken in more than one Indian state, being the primary language in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, as well as in the town of Yanam where it is also an official language. Apart from Andhra Pradesh, it is also spoken in neighbouring states like Andaman and Nicobar, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Odisha. It is the principal language of Andhra Pradesh. In cities like Chennai and Bengaluru, it is widely used.

The language Telugu is a highly developed language and the word 'telugu' comes from the phrase ‘trilinga’. It represents three temples at Kaleshwaram, Draksharamam and Srisailam. It has a close association with Kannada alphabet. Telugu language forms India's largest linguistic unit. Telugu retains some features of Sanskrit that have subsequently been lost in some of Sanskrit's daughter languages such as Hindi and Bengali, especially in the pronunciation of some vowels and consonants.

Official Status of Telugu Language
Telugu is one of the 22 official languages of India. In the year 1953, Telugu was affirmed as the official language of Andhra Pradesh, after the formation of the state. It was declared completely on linguistic basis. In Yanam district of Puducherry also, Telugu has the status of official language. According to 2001 census report, more than 74 million people speak this language. Telugu ranks third by the number of native speakers in India and is the most widely spoken Dravidian language. In the Ethnologue list of the most used languages of the world, Telugu ranks in the top 14.

History of Telugu Language
Telugu, Indian Languages Telugu alphabet is closely connected with Kannada alphabets and it is a successor of ancient India's Brahmi script. Telugu inscriptions containing some words were found on coins in Andhra Pradesh. It dates back to almost 400 BC to 100 BC and was actually discovered in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. Some Telugu words appear in the Prakrit collection of poems collected during the Satavahana dynasty. Telugu literature was initially found in inscriptions and poetry in the courts of the rulers, and later in written works such as Nannayya's "Mahabharatam" (1022 AD). The Telugu language was written in an archaic style until the 20th century, which was very different from the language used today. It was during 20th century's second half, the new written standard of Telugu emerged and it was completely based upon today's modern spoken language. This language experienced huge changes just like the other languages of India in between the medieval and modern era. In the present decade, with the introduction of mass media the literary form of Telugu language has spread in the society.

Influence of Muslim Rule on Telugu Language
With the exception of Coastal Andhra, a distinct dialect developed in the Telangana State and the Rayalaseema region due to Muslim influence: Sultanate rule under the Tughlaq dynasty had been established earlier in the northern Deccan during the 14th century. This heralded an era of Persian/Arabic influence on the Telugu language, especially among the people of Hyderabad. The effect is also evident in the prose of the early 19th century, as in the Kaifiyats.

In the princely state of Nizam, Andhra Jana Sangham was started in 1921 with the main intention of promoting Telugu language, literature, its books and historical researches.

Dialects of Telugu Language
Berad, Dommara, Komati, Golari, Dasari, Kamathi, Vadaga, Godavari, Toorpu, Salewari, Telangana, Vadari, Paschima, Srikakula, Guntooru, Nellooru, Rayalaseema, Prakasam, Yanadi are some of the main dialects of Telugu language. The several dialects of Telugu language have been -

  • Chenchu: This Dravidian language belongs to South Central family's Telugu branch. It is widely spoken in Andhra Pradesh. Other names of this language are Chenswar, Chenchukulam, Choncharu and Chenchwar.
  • Savara: This South-Central Dravidian language is mostly spoken in eastern India.


  • Alphabet of Telugu Language
    The Telugu alphabets consist of 60 symbols - 16 vowels, 3 vowel modifiers, and 41 consonants. Sanskrit and Telugu alphabets are similar and exhibit one-to-one correspondence. Telugu has complete set of letters which follows scientific system to express sounds.

    Geographic Distribution of Telugu Language
    Telugu language is mostly spoken in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Yanam district of Puducherry too largely uses this language. It is also used in neighbouring states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Puducherry, Orissa and Maharashtra. In some parts of Kharagpur, >West Bengal and Jharkhand too, this language is spoken. Telugu language is also spoken in countries like Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Bahrain, South Africa, United States, United Kingdom, Fiji, United Arab Emirates and Ireland. In India, Telugu is the third most used language after the languages Hindi and Bengali.

    (Last Updated on : 18/05/2015)
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