The origins of the Telugu alphabet can be traced by to the
Brahmi alphabet of ancient India, which
developed into an alphabet used for both Telugu and Kannada, which
in turn split into two separate alphabets between the 12th and 15th
The earliest known inscriptions containing Telugu words appear on
coins that date back to 400 BC. The first inscription entirely in
Telugu was made in 575 AD and was probably made by Renati Cholas, who
started writing royal proclamations in Telugu instead of Sanskrit.
Telugu developed as a poetical and literary language during the
Until the 20th century Telugu was written in an archaic style very
different from the everyday spoken language. During the the second half
of the 20th century, a new written standard emerged based on the modern
spoken language. In 2008 Telugu was designated as a classical language
by the Indian government.
Type of writing system: syllabic alphabet in which all consonants
have an inherent vowel. Diacritics, which can appear above, below, before
or after the consonant they belong to, are used to change the inherent vowel.
When they appear the the beginning of a syllable, vowels are written
as independent letters.
When certain consonants occur together, special conjunct symbols
are used which combine the essential parts of each letter.
Direction of writing: left to right in horizontal lines
Used to write:
Telugu (తెలుగు), a Dravidian language spoken by about 75 million
people mainly in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, where it is
the official language. It is also spoken in such neighbouring states as
Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Maharashtra and Chattisgarh, and is one
of the 22 scheduled languages of India.
There are also quite a few Telugu speakers in Canada, the USA, Malaysia,
Mauritius, Myanmar and Réunion.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with
reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)