Language is the dress of thought - Samuel Johnson

Incredible India - the world has aptly named this land of diversities. So many different languages, cultures, dialects, topography - it truly is a land of medley! When it comes to Indian languages, none can even compete with the numbers - you have Hindi, Bengali, English, Telugu, Tamil, Dravidian, Marathi, Urdu, Kannada, Malayalam and so many others. Did you know that India has 22 official languages and no national language? The spoken languages of regional people have given rise to so many different official languages.

Telugu is the official language of the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Thanks to Andhra Pradesh tourism, the language is rapidly spreading to other parts of the country as well. And then there is the larger Telugu diaspora found in other parts of the world where people have migrated to and still speak Telugu as their mother tongue. Worldwide, there are more than a million Telugu speakers, according to the last census.

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How Did Telugu Become A Part of Indian Languages?

Telugu
The Telugu diaspora has spread to many different parts of the world | Image source: Visualhunt | Image Courtesy: Hobo Matt

Telugu belongs to the Dravidian family of languages. It is spoken by Telugu people who predominately live in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Telugu is one of the 22 official Indian languages, along with Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, English, and others. The Yanam district of the Union Territory of Puducherry has also declared Telugu as their official language. The Telugu language has also been conferred the status of an Indian classical language by the national government. Other states of India where Telugu constitutes a linguistic minority include,

  • Odisha
  • Karnataka
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Kerala
  • Punjab
  • Chhattisgarh
  • Maharashtra
  • Andaman & Nicobar Islands

According to the 2011 census, there are nearly 82 million Telugu speaking people in India making it the fifth most widely spoken native language. Amongst all the languages of the Dravidian family, Telugu is the most popular. You would be surprised to know that thanks to a huge Telugu-speaking community, it is one of the fastest growing languages in the United States.

A Brief History of Telugu Language

Famous linguist, Bhadriraju Krishnamurti has suggested that Telugu is a Draidian language that descends from the Proto-Dravidian family. According to linguistic reconstruction, this family of languages can be traced back to the 3rd millennium B.C. Russian linguist, Mikhail S. Andronov argues that Telugu had branched out from the Proto-Dravidian language sometime between 1000 and 1500 B.C.

Etymology

People who speak Telugu as their native language are simple referred to as Telugu or Telugoo. In the 13th century, Atharvana Acharya wrote the Trilinga Sabdannusasana, a book on Telugu grammar and later in the 17th century, Appa Kavi explicitly suggested Telugu to be derived from this book. However, there is hardly any proof to substantiate this claim and many linguists doubt this derivation.

Another school of though suggests that tenugu is derived from the word "ten", meaning south in the the Proto-Dravidian language to denote the people who loved in the south or the southern direction. And finally, the name Telugu was a result of replacing the n with the t.

Geographical Influence & Dialects in Telugu

Andhra Pradesh tourism
Andhra Pradesh tourism has greatly influence the evolution of the Telugu language| Image Source: Visualhunt | Image Credit: Ravages

Telugu is most widely spoken in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Andhra specially has its own distinct mother tongue and its geographical territory has been demarcated based on the extent of the Telugu language. Evidences of this basis can be found in the 11th century description of Andhra boundaries and their equivalence to the Telugu linguistic sphere. According to these documented texts, Andhra Pradesh was bordered by the Mahendra mountain in the north, a region which is now the Ganjam district in Odisha and by the Srikalahasteeswara temple in the south in what is now the Chittoor district. In the west, it extended to as far as the Kurnool district which almost on the other end of the modern Andhra state.

Common Telugu Place Names

You will find some common suffixes all over Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. These include,

  • ooru
  • pudi
  • pedu
  • peta
  • patnam
  • wada
  • giri
  • cherla
  • palle
  • gudam

Three Major Telugu Dialects

Telugu has three major dialects, namely -

  1. Coastal - widely spoken in the coastal Andhra region
  2. Rayalaseema - spoken in the four Rayalaseema districts
  3. Telangana - adopted by the vast majority of the Telangana state

There is an ethnic dialect called the Sri Lanka Gypsy Telugu which is used by an ethnic gypsy minority called the Ahikuntaka in the Batticaloa district of Sri Lanka.

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Andhra Pradesh Tourism - Learning Telugu through Travel

Andhra Pradesh tourism
Incredible India - Andhra Pradesh brings its own touch of diversity and culture to it | Image Source: Visualhunt | Image Courtesy: Well Bred Kannan

Perhaps in return of arrogance and spoliation, India will teach us the gentleness of a mind, the quiet content of an uninquisitive soul, and a pacifying love for all the living things - Will Durant

Andhra Pradesh is often referred to as the Kohinoor of India because of its scenic beauty. Famous for its rich natural resources, rivers, and history, Andhra Pradesh tourism is one of the most sought after activities of travel enthusiasts. Tirupati, Horsley Hills, Araku Valley, Ramakrishna Beach, Vizag, and Dolphin House are just few of the attractive tourist destinations.

Vishakapatnam

Many know this beautiful city for its white beaches. But Vizag, the other name for this city, also houses beautiful lakes, century-old caves, beautiful valleys and mountain ranges. The best beaches to visit include Lawson Bay Beach and Ramakrishna Beach.

Bora Caves

Located near Vizag, this cave system is one the largest and oldest in the country. Famous for its irregularly shaped stalagmites and stalactites, the Caves attract hundreds of tourists every year.

Araku Valley

This is a famous hill station near Vishakapatnam, which is famous for its dense coffee plantations and waterfalls. It also has a rich biodiversity that makes it a must-visit on your Andhra Pradesh tourism itinerary.

Horsley Hills

Another famous hill station that is a gateway to Lake Gangotri, Environment Park and Gully Banda. Located near the Hills is the Koleru Lake, which is one of the largest sweet water lakes in India.

Tirupati

Also called Tirumala Tirupati, it is home to Sri Venkateswara. It also goes by the name of Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple which is visited by millions of pilgrims all year round from all over the world.

Fun Way to Learn Indian Languages - Telugu Movies

Telugu movies
Telugu movies have made the language and its many dialects famous all over India | Image Source: Visualhunt : Image Courtesy: Romana Klee

The industry of Telugu movies is also known as Tollywood. The industry started gaining popularity through the works of popular filmmaker, Raghupati Venkaiah who used to produce short films and travelled extensively across Asia to promote his work. Venkaiah is credited as the father of Telugu movies and cinema.

In 1933, the British took interest in Telugu movies and the East India Film Company produced its first Telugu movie, Savitri. The film had a whopping budget of approximately 10,00,000 and was shot in Calcutta. It received an honorary diploma at the 2nd Venice International Film Festival.

Other famous Telugu movies to be screened at various international film festivals include,

  • Pathala Bhiravi
  • Malliswari
  • Devadasu
  • Mayabaza
  • Nartanasala
  • Maro Charitra
  • Maa Bhoomi
  • Sankarbharanam
  • Sagara Sangamam
  • Siva

In recent times, SS Rajamouli's film, Bahubali: The Beginning, received the distinct honor of being nominated for the 42nd American Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film. The second part of the movie went on the win the 44th edition of the Award in the Best International Film category.

Strategic Tips on How to Learn Telugu Effectively

Telugu script
Tips on how to learn Telugu include improving your reading and writing skills first | Image Source: Visualhunt | Image Courtesy: Romana Klee

Like other Indian languages, Telugu is also the official language of more than a million people. It is the primary language in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and many want to learn the language on account of work or travel. But how to learn Telugu? The task can seem daunting at first. But if you set clear learning goals, invest time in regular learning, and are able to access the right resources, learning Telugu should not be as challenging.

10 Easy Methods to Master the Telugu Language

Here is a list of simple and effective ways to learn Telugu:

  1. Start with learning Telugu nouns.
  2. Use Telugu vocabulary in your daily spoken language.
  3. Keep adding new words to your spoken Telugu.
  4. Apart from Hindi and English, integrate Telugu as a third language.
  5. Pick up the common Telugu phrases used in movies or books.
  6. Improve your ability to identify Telugu vowels and consonants.
  7. Learn the 34 different conjunct consonants and 14 vowel diacritics of the Telugu language.
  8. Get your parts of speech right.
  9. Regularly practice Telugu grammar rules of prepositions, negations, and questions.
  10. Write short paragraphs in Telugu daily.
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Pragnajyoti

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