What writing system(s) does this language use?
Telugu is written using modern Telugu script which was evolved from Vijaya script of Vijayanagara days;similar to the Kannada script. Just like the Latin alphabet, the Telugu script has letters representing vowels and consonants. In addition, unlike the Latin alphabet, there are letters representing combinations of vowels and consonants! For example, to represent 'PA' using Telugu script we have to combine the consonant ప్ (P) with the vowel అ (A) to form ప (PA). This type of letters are simply called as gunintalu or vowel-consonants. The Tamil script has 16(+2/+3) vowels, 39 consonants and 624 vowel-consonants (16 vowels x 39 consonants = 624 vowel-consonants). In addition, there is a special letter called arasunna (ఁ) which is classified as neither a consonant nor a vowel. Hence, the complete script is comprised of 625 letters! Though many of them may not be in use. In accordance with pronunciation, written form may differ from spoken form. In Telugu, vowels are called as Achchulu which means soul-letters, consonants are called as Hallulu which means body-letters and vowel-consonants are called as Gunintalu which means body & soul letters. Do you have any idea of why vowels are called as souls? It is because they give life (sound) to the soundless bodies - consonants! The Telugu script looks very different from the letters you are reading now. For example the word Telugu written in the Telugu script is in the image on the left.
How many people speak this language?
Where is this language spoken?
Telugu is a language primarily spoken in South India. It belongs to Dravidian group of languages. Including non native speakers, there are nearly 90 million people speaking Telugu in Andhra Pradesh alone. But they are also present in the USA, the UK, Malaysia, Fiji islands, Mauritius, and South Africa where people that speak Telugu have traveled to.
What is the history of this language?
Telugu is one of the oldest languages in the world, the old form of Telugu dates back to 1000 BC. Early inscriptions were found in the 6th century AD. But proper literary work started five centuries later in the 11th century. Sanskrit, the oldest language of India, has had an enormous impact on Telugu in modern times and many of its words have seeped into Telugu. Telugu was given the highest position by Srikrishna Devaraya, a king of the Vijayanagar empire. During his reign Telugu was highly revered and was also the language of the state.
Nannayabhattarakudu, is the first poet in Telugu and called "Aadi Kavi" meaning the first poet. He translated Mahabharata, the great epic from Sanskrit to Telugu in 1020 AD.
What are some basic words in this language that I can learn?
తెలుగు వెలుగు-light బ౦తి-Ball ఆవు-Cow అమ్మ-Mother
What is a simple song/poem/story that I can learn in this language?
This is a famous poem by Vemana.
Uppu karpurambu,okka polikanundu,
chooda chooda ruchula,jaada veriah,
purushulandu punya purushulu veriah,
Viswa dhabi rama vinura vema.
"The look of salt and camphor are same.They can be differentiated only by taste.In the same manner,There will be a difference in men and great men though they look same.O Lord of Universe rama,listen to the of Vema."
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