Friday, February 1, 2008

Telugu - derivative of Tamil

Italian of the east.That's how the Sweet telugu has been portrayed.It is a Dravidian language. I guess it should be a derivative of Tamil with respect to Sanskrit.Being in Mumbai I am very much fortunate to hear almost all widely spoken Indian languages(So called Mumbai exposure).This has given me the opportunity to correlate the similarities between my mother tongue and the new languages I am coming across.

Also I got a Telugu friend as my roommate so I am getting a lot of Telugu words as input to my processor.From my understanding Telugu has its words from Tamil and its scripts from Sanskrit.According to Wiki the Telugu script is an descendant of the Brahmi script.

If you consider words of Telugu the nouns are from Tamil and the verbs are from both Sanskrit and Tamil.For example Nouns like eye and ear are from Tamil.

      Tamil    English        Telugu
Kan      கண்      Eye Kannu     కన్ను
Chevi   செவி      Ear Chevi      చెవి
Kaal     கால்      Leg Kaallu      కాళ్ళు
Manam மனம்      Heart Manasu   మనసు

Most of the time you will get Telugu word by appending a "Lu" at the end of corresponding Tamil word.Hindi words are also there like Ghanta(hour).One fourth is called as paaw(पाव) in Hindi and same in Telugu.

Now comes the real trick where the a combination of Tamil and Sanskrit word is there in Telugu.In Tamil we say three as moonu (மூணு)and thirty as muppathu(முப்பது).And we call 3/ 4 as muk-kaal means (three * one fourth).In Telugu the same has been called as


  • Mupp-Tamil word for three(முப்)
  • Paaw-Hindi word for one fourth(पाव)
  • Ganta-Hindi word for an hour(घंटा)

This shows that Telugu is a derivative of Tamil wrt Sanskrit.As I started hearing more words in Telugu I found it familiar because more words are descendant of Tamil.For example  Allosanai,pli,Cheii..lots of words.One interesting fact is Telugu still preserve some typical Tamil words which are not in existence in colloquial Tamil language.For example the word

  • Cheii (செய்),
  • Allosanai (ஆலோசனை)
  • Pilzi (பிழி)

are Tamil words from sangam period which are not used most frequently now a days.But these words are more colloquial in Telugu.Apart from language I found lot more similarity in culture between Tamil and Telugu people starting from the food habits to

So you can say Telugu as a backup of Tamil.Since the backup has been taken by 200 BC still it has those old words of Tamil.Learning new language is always exciting as it will improve your comparison skills and more importantly you will get acquainted to new language soon,if start comparing it with your language.

Language Courtesy :

(I wonder at the algorithm they are using in Google transliteration especially from English to Tamil.Transliterating simple 26 letter language to complex 247 letter is not easy !)

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