క ఖ గ ఘ ఙ చ ఛ జ ఝ ఞ
ట ఠ డ ఢ ణ
త థ ద ధ న
ప ఫ బ భ మ
య ర ల వ శ ష స హ ళ క్ష ఱ The consonants correspond almost one-to-one to the set in Sanskrit, with two exceptions. One is the historical form of /r/ఱ which is now again being phased out by the current form ర. (e.g. /gurːam/ (horse) was written గుఱ్ఱం but is now written గుర్రం). The other is the retroflex lateral ళ /ɭ/.
The table below indicates the articulation of consonants in Telugu.Telugu Vyanjana Ucchārana Pattika8
(adhōstamu)Sparśam, Śvāsam, AlpaprānamkacaTata-paSparśam, Śvāsam, MahāprānamkhachaThatha-phaSparśam, Nādam, AlpaprānamgajaDada-baSparśam, Nādam, MahāprānamghajhaDhadha-bhaSparśam, Nādam, Alpaprānam,
Anunāsikam, Dravam, AvyāhatamnganjaNana-maAntastham, Nādam, Alpaprānam,
Dravam, Avyāhatam-yara (Lunthitam)
La (Pārśvikam)la (Pārśvikam)
Ra(Kampitam)va-Ūshmamu, Śvāsam,Mahāprānam, AvyāhatamVisargaśashasa--Ūshmamu, Nādam,Mahāprānam, Avyāhatamha-----
Though the Telugu consonant set lists aspirated consonants (both voiced and unvoiced), they are reserved mostly for transcribing Sanskrit borrowings. To most native speakers, the aspirated and unaspirated consonants are practically allophonic (like in Tamil). The distinction is made however, rather strictly, in written or literary Telugu.
In Telugu, Karta కర్త (nominative case or the doer), Karma కర్మ (object of the verb) and Kriya క్రియ (action or the verb) follow a sequence. Telugu also has the Vibhakthi విభక్తి (preposition) tradition.Teluguరాముడు (Ramudu) బంతిని (bantini) కొట్టాడు(kottaadu)Literal translation Rama ball hitReformatted"Rama hit the ball"
Telugu is often considered an agglutinative language, in which certain syllables are added to the end of a noun in order to denote its case:Instrumental Ramunitoరామునితో(తో; to)DativeRamunikiరామునికి(కి; ki or కు; ku)AblativeRamudinunchiరాముడినుంచి(నుంచి; nunchi)GenitiveRamuniరాముని(ని; ni)
These agglutinations apply to all nouns, generally, in the singular and plural.
Here is how other cases are manifested in Telugu:
While the examples given above are single agglutinations, Telugu allows for polyagglutination, the unique feature of being able to add multiple suffixes to words to denote more complex features:
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"
Like in Turkish, Hungarian and Finnish, Telugu words have vowels in inflectional suffixes harmonized with the vowels of the preceding syllable.
Inclusive and exclusive pronouns
Telugu exhibits one of the rare features that Dravidian languages share with few others: the inclusive and exclusive “we.” The bifurcation of the First Person Plural pronoun (we in English) into inclusive (మనము; manamu) and exclusive (మేము; mēmu) versions can also be found in Tamil and Malayalam, although it is not used in modern Kannada.
Telugu pronouns follow the systems for gender and respect also found in other Indian languages. The second-person plural మీరు /miːru/ is used in addressing someone with respect, and there are also respectful third-person pronouns (ఆయన /ɑːjana/ m. and ఆవిడ /ɑːvɪɽa/ f.) pertaining to both genders. A specialty of the Telugu language, however, is that the third-person non-respectful feminine (అది /ad̪ɪ/) is used to refer to animals and objects, and no special neuter gender is used.
Like all Dravidian languages, Telugu has a base of words which are essentially Dravidian in origin. Words that describe objects and actions associated with common or everyday life: Like తల; tala (head), పులి; puli (tiger), ఊరు; ūru (town/city) have cognates in other Dravidian languages and are indigenous to the Dravidian language family.
However, Telugu is also largely Sanskritized, that is, it has a wide variety of words of Sanskrit and 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 eleventh-fourteenth centuries C.E. Today, Telugu is generally considered the Dravidian language with the most Indo-Aryan influence.
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 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.
The earliest evidence for Brahmi script in South India comes from Bhattiprolu in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.9 Bhattiprolu was a great centre of Buddhism since the fourth century B.C.E. (Pre-Mauryan time), from which Buddhism spread to east Asia. A variant of Asokan Brahmi script, the progenitor of Old Telugu script, was found on the Buddha's relic casket.10 The script also traveled to Rayalaseema region, the original home of the Chalukyas11 The famous tenth century Muslim historian and scholar, Al-Biruni, called Telugu language and script "Andhri."12
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 sixteen are vowels, three are vowel modifiers, and forty-one are consonants. Spaces are used between words as word separators.
The sentence ends with either a single bar | (“purna virama”) or a double bar || (“deergha virama”). Traditionally, in handwriting, Telugu words were not separated by spaces. Modern punctuation (commas, semicolon, and so on) was introduced with the advent of print.13
There is also a set of symbols for numerals, though Arabic numbers are typically used.
Telugu is assigned Unicode codepoints: 0C00-0C7F (3072-3199).