Telugu or Telegu (Telugu: తెలుగు) is a Dravidian language (South-Central Dravidian languages) mostly spoken in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where it is the official language. Including non-native speakers it is the most spoken Dravidian language, the most spoken language in India followed by Hindi. It is one of the twenty-two official languages of the Republic of India. It is widely spoken in Andhra Pradesh and also spoken in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Orissa, and Pondicherry, with major populations in Bengaluru and Chennai, though the dialects spoken in these places vary greatly from the standard version of the language. It is also spoken among a diaspora population in the USA, Malaysia, Mauritius, South Africa, Ireland, Fiji, Reunion, Trinidad and the UK among other countries around the world. Telugu is one of the fifteen most widely spoken languages in the world.
According to K.L. Ranjanam, the word is derived from talaing, who were chiefs who conquered the Andhra region. M.R. Shastri is of the opinion that it is from telunga, an amalgamation of the Gondi words telu, meaning "white", and the pluralization -unga, probably referring to white or fair-skinned people. According to G.J. Somayaji, ten- refers to 'south' in Proto-Dravidian, and the word could be derived from tenungu meaning "people of the South".
The ancient name for telugu land seems to be telinga/telanga desa. It seems probable that the base of this word is teli, and that -nga, or gu is the common Dravidian formative element. A base teli occurs in Telugu teli, bright; teliyuTa, to perceive, etc. However, this etymology is contested. Telugu pandits commonly state Tenugu to be the proper form of the word, and explain this as the ‘mellifluous language’ from tene or honey. However, this claim does not appear to be supported by scholarly opinion. The word Kalinga might be derived from the same base as Telugu kaluguTa, to live to exist, and would then simply mean ‘human.’
Since the 1940s, what was considered an elite literary form of the Telugu language has now spread to the common people with the introduction of mass media like television, radio and newspapers. This form of the language is also taught in schools as a standard. In the current decade the Telugu language, like other Indian languages, has undergone globalization due to the increasing settlement of Telugu-speaking people abroad. Modern Telugu movies, although still retaining their dramatic quality, are linguistically separate from post-Independence films.
At present, a committee of scholars have approved a classical language tag for Telugu based on its antiquity. A final notification from the Government of India is awaited.
In Tamil Nadu the Telugu dialect is classified into Salem, Coimbatore, and Chennai Telugu dialects. It is also widely spoken in Virudhunagar, Tuticorin, Madurai and Thanjavur districts.
The rhotics ఋ and ౠ (originally /r/ and /rː/), like the liquids ఌ and ౡ (originally /l/ and /lː/) have now turned into the syllables /ru/, /ruː/, /lu/, /luː/ respectively. They are fast going out of currency and are no longer included in the standard Telugu school textbooks issued by the government of Andhra Pradesh, which now prefers the actual consonants with a /u/ appended (e.g. /ruʃɪ/ (monk) used to be written ఋషి but nowadays, రుషి is preferred).
The table below indicates the articulation of consonants in Telugu.
|Prayatna Niyamāvali|| Kanthyamu|
| Dantyamu |
|Sparśam, Śvāsam, Alpaprānam||ka||ca||Ta||ta||-||pa|
|Sparśam, Śvāsam, Mahāprānam||kha||cha||Tha||tha||-||pha|
|Sparśam, Nādam, Alpaprānam||ga||ja||Da||da||-||ba|
|Sparśam, Nādam, Mahāprānam||gha||jha||Dha||dha||-||bha|
| Sparśam, Nādam, Alpaprānam,|
Anunāsikam, Dravam''', Avyāhatam
| Antastham, Nādam, Alpaprānam,|
|-||ya|| ra (Lunthitam) |
| la (Pārśvikam) |
|Ūshmamu, Śvāsam,Mahāprānam, Avyāhatam||Visarga||śa||sha||sa||-||-|
|Ūshmamu, Nādam,Mahāprānam, Avyāhatam||ha||-||-||-||-||-|
|Telugu||రాముడు (Ramudu) బంతిని (bantini) కొట్టాడు(kottaadu)||Literal translation||Rama ball hit||Reformatted||"Rama hit the ball"|
|Dative||Ramuniki||రామునికి||(కి; ki or కు; ku)|
Here is how other cases are manifested in Telugu:
|Case||Usage||English example||Telugu example|
|Adessive case||adjacent location||near/at/by the house||ఇంటి/పక్క /ɪŋʈɪprakːa/|
|Inessive case||inside something||inside the house||ఇంట్లో /ɪŋʈloː/|
|Locative case||location||at/on/in the house||ఇంటిదగ్గర /ɪŋʈɪd̪agːara/|
|Superessive case||on the surface||on (top of) the house||ఇంటిపై /ɪŋʈɪpaj/|
|Case||Usage||English example||Telugu example|
|Allative case||movement to (the adjacency of) something||to the house||ఇంటికి /ɪŋʈɪkɪ/, ఇంటివైపు /ɪŋʈɪvajpu/|
|Delative case||movement from the surface||from (the top of) the house||ఇంటిపైనుంచి /ɪŋʈɪnɪɲcɪ/|
|Egressive case||marking the beginning of a movement or time||beginning from the house||ఇంటినుంచి /ɪŋʈɪnɪɲcɪ/ (ఇంటికెల్లి /ɪŋʈɪkelːɪ/ in some dialects)|
|Elative case||out of something||out of the house||ఇంటిలోనుంచి /ɪŋʈɪnɪɲcɪ/ (ఇంట్లకెల్లి /ɪŋʈlakelːɪ/ in some dialects)|
|Illative case||movement into something||into the house||ఇంటిలోనికి /ɪŋʈɪloːnɪkɪ/ (ఇంట్లోకి /ɪŋʈloːkɪ/)|
|Sublative case||movement onto the surface||on(to) the house||ఇంటిపైకి /ɪŋʈɪpajkɪ/|
|Terminative case||marking the end of a movement or time||as far as the house||ఇంటివరకు /ɪŋʈɪvaraku/|
|Case||Usage||English example||Telugu example|
|Oblique case||all-round case; any situation except nominative||concerning the house||ఇంటిగురించి /ɪŋʈɪgurɪɲcɪ/|
|Case||Usage||English example||Telugu example|
|Benefactive case||for, for the benefit of, intended for||for the||ఇంటికోసం /ɪŋʈɪkoːsam/ (ఇంటికొరకు /ɪŋʈɪkoraku/)|
|Causal case||because, because of||because of the house||ఇంటివలన /ɪŋʈɪvalana/|
|Comitative case||in company of something||with the house||ఇంటితో /ɪŋʈɪt̪oː/|
|Possessive case||direct possession of something||owned by the house||ఇంటియొక్క /ɪŋʈɪjokːa/|
For example, one can affix both "నుంచి; nunchi - from" and "లో; lo - in" to a noun to denote from within. An example of this: "రాములోనుంచి; ramuloninchi - from within Ramu"
Here is an example of a triple agglutination: "వాటిమధ్యలోనుంచి; vāṭimadʰyalōninchi - from in between them"
However, Telugu is also largely Sanskritized, that is, it has a wide variety of words of Sanskrit/Prakrit origin. The Indo-Aryan influence can be attributed historically to the rule of the Satavahana kings, who used Prakrit as the official language of courts and government, and to the influence of literary Sanskrit during the 11th – 14th centuries CE. Today, Telugu is generally considered the Dravidian language with the most Indo-Aryan influence.
The names of days in Telugu used are: Adivaramu (Sunday)Somavaramu(Monday)Mangalavaramu(Tuesday)Budhavaramu(Wednesday)Guruvaramu(Thursday)Sukravaramu(Friday)Sanivaramu(Saturday) are same as in Sanskrit. All mantras and Hindu religious words , words in astrology in Telugu are almost same as in Sanskrit. Eighty million people speaking Telugu use the words knowingly or unknowingly Sanskrit words. All literary works in Telugu use Sanskrit words freely and enjoyed by the speakers of Telugu even in the 21 st century.
The vocabulary of Telugu especially in the Hyderabad region has a trove of Persian-Arabic borrowings, which have been modified to fit Telugu phonology. This was due to centuries of Muslim rule in these regions: the erstwhile kingdoms of Golkonda and Hyderabad. (e.g. కబురు, /kaburu/ for Urdu /xabar/, خبر or జవాబు, /ɟavɑːbu/ for Urdu /ɟawɑːb/, جواب)
Modern Telugu vocabulary can be said to constitute a diglossia, because the formal, standardized version of the language, heavily influenced by Sanskrit, is taught in schools and used by the government and Hindu religious institutions. However, everyday Telugu varies depending upon region and social status. There is a large and growing middle class whose Telugu is substantially interspersed with English. Popular Telugu, especially in urban Hyderabad, spoken by the masses and seen in movies that are directed towards the masses, includes both English and Hindi/Urdu influences.Lately,this heavy amalgamation of non-native languages with spoken telugu has raised concerns.
The earliest evidence for Brahmi script in South India comes from Bhattiprolu in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. Bhattiprolu was a great centre of Buddhism since 4th century BCE (Pre-Mauryan time) from where Buddhism spread to east Asia. A variant of Asokan Brahmi script, called Bhattiprolu Script, the progenitor of Old Telugu script, was found on the Buddha’s relic casket
The famous Muslim historian and scholar of 10th century, Al-Biruni called Telugu language and script as 'Andhri'.
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 (“achchu” or “swar”) and consonants (“hallu” or “vyanjan”). Consonants in consonant clusters take shapes which are very different from the shapes they take elsewhere. Consonants are presumed to be 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 “maatras”. The shapes of vowel “maatras” are also very different from the shapes of the corresponding vowels.
The overall pattern consists of sixty symbols, of which 16 are vowels, three vowel modifiers, and forty-one consonants. Spaces are used between words as word separators.
The sentence ends with either a single bar | (“purna virama”) or a double bar
Telugu is assigned Unicode codepoints: 0C00-0C7F (3072-3199).
Though Carnatic music has a profound cultural influence on all of the South Indian States and their respective languages, most of the songs (Kirtanas) are in Telugu language. This is because the existing tradition is to a great extent an outgrowth of the musical life of the principality of Thanjavur in the Kaveri delta. Thanjavur was the heart of the Chola dynasty (from the 9th century to the 13th), but in the second quarter of the sixteenth century a Telugu Nayak viceroy (Raghunatha Nayaka) was appointed by the emperor of Vijayanagara, thus establishing a court whose language was Telugu. Telugu Nayaka rulers acted as the governors in the present day Tamil Nadu area with headquarters at Thanjavur (1530-1674 CE) and Madurai(1530-1781 CE). After the collapse of Vijayanagar, Thanjavur and Madurai Nayaks became independent and ruled for the next 150 years until they were replaced by Marathas. This was the period when several Telugu families migrated from Andhra and settled down in Thanjavur and Madurai. Most of the great composers of Carnatic music belonged to these families. Telugu, a language ending with vowels, giving it a mellifluous quality, was also considered suitable for musical expression. Of the trinity of Carnatic music composers, Tyagaraja's and Syama Sastri's compositions were largely in Telugu, while Muttuswami Dikshitar is noted for his Sanskrit texts. Tyagaraja is remembered both for his devotion and the bhava of his krithi, a song form consisting of pallavi, (the first section of a song) anupallavi (a rhyming section that follows the pallavi) and charanam (a sung stanza; serves as a refrain for several passages the composition). The texts of his kritis are all, with a few exceptions in Sanskrit, in Telugu (the contemporary language of the court), and this use of a living language, as opposed to Sanskrit, the language of ritual, is in keeping with the bhakti ideal of the immediacy of devotion. Sri Syama Sastri, the oldest of the trinity, was taught Telugu and Sanskrit by his father, who was the pujari (Hindu priest) at the Meenakshi temple in Madurai. Syama Sastri's texts were largely composed in Telugu, widening their popular appeal. Some of his most famous compositions include the nine krithis, Navaratnamaalikā, in praise of the goddess Meenakshi at Madurai, and his eighteen krithi in praise of Kamakshi. As well as composing krithi, he is credited with turning the svarajati, originally used for dance, into a purely musical form.
|pre-1020 CE||pre-Nannayya period||1020–1400||Age of the Puranas||1400–1510||Age of Srinatha||1510–1600||Age of the Prabandhas||1600–1820||Southern period||1820 to date||Modern period|
In the earliest period there were only inscriptions from 575 CE onwards. Nannaya's (1022-1063) translation of the Sanskrit Mahabharata into Telugu is the piece of Telugu literature as yet discovered. After the death of Nannaya, there was a kind of social and religious revolution in the Telugu country.
Tikkana (thirteenth century) and Yerrapregada (fourteenth century) continued the translation of the Mahabharata started by Nannaya. Telugu poetry also flourished in this period, especially in the time of Srinatha.
During this period, some Telugu poets translated Sanskrit poems and dramas, while others attempted original narrative poems. The popular Telugu literary form called the Prabandha evolved during this period. Srinatha (1365-1441) was the foremost poet, who popularised this style of composition (a story in verse having a tight metrical scheme). Srinatha's "Sringara Naishadham" is particularly well-known.
The Ramayana poets may also be referred in this context. The earliest Ramayana in Telugu is generally known as the Ranganatha Ramayana, authored by the chief Gonabudda Reddy. The works of Potana (1450-1510), Jakkana (second half of the fourteenth century) and Gaurana (first half of the fifteenth century) formed a canon of religious poetry during this period. Padakavitha Pithamaha, Annamayya, contributed many Accha (original) Telugu Patalu to this great language.
The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries CE is regarded as the "golden age" of Telugu literature. Krishnadevaraya's Amuktamalayada, and Peddana's Manucharitra are regarded as Mahakavyas. Telugu literature flourished in the south in the traditional "samsthanas" (centres) of Southern literature, such as Madurai and Tanjore. This age is often referred to as the "Southern Period". There were also an increasing number of poets in this period among the ruling class, women and non-Brahmins who popularised indigenous (desi) meters.
With the conquest of the Deccan by the Mughals in 1687, Telugu literature entered a lull. Tyagaraja's compositions are some of the known works from this period. Then emerged a period of transition (1850-1910), followed by a long period of Renaissance. Europeans like C.P. Brown played an important role in the development of Telugu language and literature. In common with the rest of India, Telugu literature of this period was increasingly influenced by European literary forms like the novel, short story, prose and drama.
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 Baala Vyaakaranamu in a new style after doing extensive research on "Andhra Grammar" which is the greatest gift to Telugu literature.Other well-known writings by Chinnayasoori are: (1) Neetichandrika (2) Sootandhra Vyaakaranamu (3) Andhra Dhatumoola and (4) Neeti Sangrahamu.
Kandukuri Veeresalingam (1848-1919) is known as 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 Rayaprolu Subba Rao, Gurajada Appa Rao, Viswanatha Satyanarayana, Katuri Venkateswara Rao, Jashuva, Devulapalli Venkata Krishna Sastry, and Sri Sri Puttaparty Narayana Charyulu.
Mutnuri Krishna Rao published the first Telugu newspaper in Andhra Pradesh in 1902 A.D
Viswanatha Satyanarayana won India's national literary honour, the Jnanpith Award. 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"), Viswanatha Satyanarayana ("Veyi Padagalu"), Bulusu Venkateswarulu (Senior) ("Bharatiya Tatva Sastram"), Bulusu Venkateswarulu (Junior) ("YogaVasishtam, Prācīna Bhāratavarṣa maharṣulacaritralu."), Kodavatiganti Kutumba Rao and Buchi Babu. Jnanpith award winners for Telugu
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