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(tĕl`əgo͞o'), Dravidian language of India: see Dravidian languagesDravidian languages
, family of about 23 languages that appears to be unrelated to any other known language family. The Dravidian languages are spoken by more than 200 million people, living chiefly in S and central India and N Sri Lanka.
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(also Tenugu), the language of the Andhra (Telugu) people in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where it is the official language; in the adjoining regions of Tamil Nadu and Mysore; and in some countries of Southeast Asia. Spoken by approximately 50 million people (1975, estimate), Telugu belongs to the southeastern group of the Dravidian languages.

There are two forms of Telugu: the archaic granthika, or grammatical form, and the generally used vyavaharika, or colloquial form, which became established in Telugu literature during the 15th century. The vyavaharika form is based on the dialect of the eastern regions in which Telugu is spoken: Eastern Godavari, Western Godavari, Krishna, and Guntur; other Telugu dialects are Rayalasim and Telingana and the northeastern dialects, spoken in the regions of Srikakulam and Vizagapatam.

In Telugu, the original Dravidian alveolar consonants and the retroflex liquid sonant were lost. The root vowel or initial vowel disappeared: examples are rendu (“two”), from *irandu; and m(r)ān̲u (“tree, wood”), from *maran̲. The affricate ts͜ developed, and the distinction between the feminine and neuter genders was lost in the singular; in modern Telugu the masculine gender is opposed to a nonmasculine gender.

Inscriptions in Telugu date from the seventh century A.D., and Telugu literature dates from the 11th century.


Petrunicheva, Z. N. Iazyk telugu. Moscow, 1960.
Telugu-russkii slovar’. Moscow, 1972.
Arden, A. H. A Progressive Grammar of the Telugu Language. Madras, 1955.
Krishnamurti, B. Telugu Verbal Bases: A Comparative and Descriptive Study. Berkeley-Los Angeles, 1961.
Mahadeva Sastri, K. Historical Grammar of Telugu. Anantapur, 1969.
Subrahmanyam, P. S. Modern Telugu. Annamalainagar, 1973.
Galletti di Cadilhac, A. Galletti’s Telugu Dictionary: A Dictionary of Current Telugu. London, 1935.


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