Languages in Andhra Pradesh

Telugu, Urdu, Hindi, Banjara, and English are the main languages spoken in Andhra Pradesh, followed by Tamil, Kannada, Marathi and Oriya. Also referred to as `Tenugu' in the past, Telugu is considered as the main and official language of the State.

Being the most spoken Indian language, after Hindi and Bengali, Telugu ranks 15 among the World's languages in the largest number of speakers. As many other languages, Telugu has also been influenced by Sanskrit and includes Nannaya, Tikkana, Sri Nathudu, Tenali Rama Krishna, Sri Krishna Devarayulu and a host of others as its most prominent poets. It also includes some Kannada and Tamil words which do not earn much currency. Several Persian and Arabic words also entered into the Telugu language, with the arrival of the Muslim rule but they were only confined to the spoken language and to the language of the judiciary and the executive. Urdu, which is regarded as the second official language of Andhra Pradesh came to the Deccan, late in the 15th century. With poets such as Mohammed Quli, Mulla Wajhi, and Sheikh Ahmed contributing their fine work the 17th century was known as the golden age of Urdu.


The Indian languages are basically divided into four classes of languages i.e. the: Mon-Khmer, Sino-Tibetan, Indo-European and Dravidian. Telugu originated from the Dravidian family which consists of 24 languages, stretching the whole South-Asia, i.e. from Baluchistan to Sri Lanka. Also popularly referred to as the 'Italian of the East' by various admirers, Telugu is a sweet and pleasing language. Apart from Andhra Pradesh, the Telugu language is also spoken in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Orissa, Puducherry, and among various other countries around the world. According to some experts, early Telugu goes back up to 400 BC, which is the time of its origin. After this, the beauty of this language inspired poets and during 500-1100 AD, it was a rage amongst scholars and courtiers. But, Telugu language was given real emphasis during the period 1100-1600, as this was the period when the language came under the influence of Sanskrit language. During the 17th century, which was the era of Muslim rule, several Persian and Arabic words were also added in the Telugu language, and its influence went on till the 19th century. Change took place in the late 19th century and the early 20th century when the English language marked its influence on Telugu. Modern technologies of communication and the printing press came into being during the British rule which brought in a blend of classic and modern styles and the result was the start of a new development. Other means of mass communication of the modern world such as television, radio and newspapers further helped in changing the format of Telugu literature and this is how Telugu language got through a dramatic quality change.

Contemporary influences

In spite of first printed Telugu book being out in 1796, it took some time before the modern period in literature to set in. Young artists familiar with English literature tried to imitate Shelly, Keats and Wordsworth which gave birth to a new kind of romantic poetry called the Bhavakavithwa. Bengali novelists were also a very great influence on modern Telugu fiction such as Rabindranath Tagore, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and Ramesh Chandra Dutta. Now-a-days the drama, novel, short story, essay and criticism in Telugu have reached great heights, although they started only a century ago.

Last Updated on 20 June 2013