Telugu language


Telugu language
Dravidian language spoken by more than 66 million people in South India and in immigrant communities elsewhere.

It is the official language of the state of Andhra Pradesh. The earliest inscription entirely in Telugu is from the 6th century; literary texts begin in the 11th century. The Telugu script, derived from the writing of the Calukya dynasty, is closely akin to Kannada script (see Indic writing systems). Like other major Dravidian languages, Telugu has very marked distinctions between formal or literary and colloquial registers and between social dialects.

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      largest member of the Dravidian language (Dravidian languages) family. Primarily spoken in southeastern India, it is the official language of the state of Andhra Pradesh. In the early 21st century Telugu had more than 75 million speakers.

      The first written materials in the language date from 575 CE. The Telugu script is derived from that of the 6th-century Calukya dynasty (Chalukya dynasty) and is related to that of the Kannada language. Telugu literature begins in the 11th century with a version of the Hindu epic Mahabharata by the writer Nannaya.

      There are four distinct regional dialects in Telugu, as well as three social dialects that have developed around education, class, and caste. The formal, literary language is distinct from the spoken dialects—a situation known as diglossia.

      Like the other Dravidian languages, Telugu has a series of retroflex consonants (/ḍ/, /ṇ/, and /ṭ/) pronounced with the tip of the tongue curled back against the roof of the mouth. Grammatical categories such as case, number, person, and tense are denoted with suffixes. Reduplication, the repetition of words or syllables to create new or emphatic meanings, is common (e.g., pakapaka ‘suddenly bursting out laughing,' garagara ‘clean, neat, nice').

Bhadriraju Krishnamurti
 

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Universalium. 2010.

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