How the Telugu language was Born

By Sara . Updated: January 16, 2017
How the Telugu language was Born

Telugu is the most widely spoken Dravidian language which is one of the twenty two scheduled languages of India. It is primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It is also spoken in some neighboring states like Karnataka,Tamil Nadu, Maharastra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar. Telugu has the third largest number of native speakers in India, after Hindi and Bengali. It is also one of the six languages which are designated as the classical language of India. It also holds 15th rank among the World’s language in the largest number of speakers. Even though Telugu is Dravidian in origin, around 70% of its words are Sanskrit based.

Telugu is an ancient language and some inscriptions containing Telugu words are dated back to 400 BC. The first inscription entirely in Telugu was found in the Rayalaseema region which is from 575 AD. Telugu later on flourished under the rule of Vijayanagar Empire where Telugu was one of the languages spoken in royal court. Nannayya’s Mahabharatam is one of the first works in Telugu literature which is a translation from Sanskrit to Telugu. There are many theories related to the origin of Telugu language. Here are some theories about how the Telugu language was born.

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Theory 1

According to a Hindu Legend Shiva descended as a linga on three mountains. The three mountains are Kaleshwaram in Telangana, Rayalaseema and Bhimeswaram in Coastal Andhra.According to legend, the land lying among these three mountains marks the boundaries of Telugu speaking people due to which the language derived its name.

How the Telugu language was Born - Theory 1

Theory 2

According to this theory, Andhra Pradesh was attacked and then conquered by tailaing, which was a tribal group. As time passed, the land itself came to be known as tailing and from here came the name of the Telugu language.

Theory 3

Another theory suggests that ten means south and tenunugu denotes the people of South. The Telugu land was also known as Telenga Desha in earlier times. Tele- and –nga or –gu are common formatives in Dravidian. The base -teli means clearer or bright. So Telugu means a brighter or clearer language.

Theory 4

One more theory related to Telugu language links with Gondi which is a lesser known Dravidian tongue. In Gondi telu means white and –unga denotes a pluralizing suffix. When put together it means fairer people unlike the Dravidians who are black or brown.

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