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 !)


அ. இரவிசங்கர் | A. Ravishankar said...

//So you can say Telugu as a backup of Tamil.//

i enjoyed these lines. it holds true for kannanda, malayalam too which have archaic tamil words in practise now. by the way, words like செய், பிழி are in use even today. and ஆலோசனை may not be a tamil word at all but we are using it yet

Hariharan Ragunathan said...

That was a good analysis I have to say karthik... Nice to read posts on these kind of thoughts. Good one.

Jay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay said...

Wow..!!! Impressed!!! Never had opportunity to listen to these languages..!~!

All I knw is Tamil and a bit of Sinhalese.. These two languages sharing many words specially the verbs!!! :)

(Sinhalese is from Indo-Aryan Family)

பொன்ஸ்~~Poorna said...

//Ganta-Hindi word for an hour(घंटा)//
இல்லீங்க, இதுல ஏதோ தொடர்பின்மை தெரியுது.. தெலுங்கு உருவான காலத்தில் இந்தி இருக்கலை. சம்ஸ்கிருத சொற்கள் கலந்திருந்தா புரிஞ்சிக்கலாம்.. ஆனா இந்திச் சொற்கள் வாய்ப்பே இல்லை..

இன்னும் சொல்லப் போனால், 'கணம்' போன்ற ஒரு சொல்லில் இருந்து இந்த 'கண்டா' வந்திருக்க முடியாதா?

அதே போல தெலுங்கு எழுத்துரு சம்ஸ்கிருதத்திலிருந்து வந்தது என்பதையும் ஒப்ப முடியலை.. நீங்க குறிப்பிட்டிருக்கும் விக்கி பக்கத்திலேயே சம்ஸ்கிருத தேவநாகரியை 'மேற்கு பிராமி'ன்னும், தெலுங்கு எழுத்துருவை 'தெற்கு பிராமி'ன்னும் அங்கேயே வேறுபடுத்திடறாங்க. தெலுங்கு நம்ம பழைய வட்டழுத்துகளிலிருந்து வந்திருக்கும்னு நான் நினைச்சிகிட்டிருந்தேன்.. சில பழைய கல்வெட்டுகளின் தமிழ் எழுத்துகள் தெலுங்கு போல ஓடிப் பார்த்திருக்கேன்..

மற்றபடி, telugu is a backup of tamilங்கிறது நல்லா இருக்கு :)

Guru said...

Hmm.. The post is really interesting. You have done quite a bit of study into this topic.

Hope you haven't crossed sword with you Telgu friends yet - regarding this. :D

Rex said...

Nicely put your thoughts, I think the words you mentioned are derived from Sanskrit over Tamil. I hope it doesn't offend you if I made some corrections to your interpretations. The words you have up there sound same/similar but in the context of usage they are quite different. Word you had for legs differ in number, singular in tamil and plural in telugu. Heart is not "manasu" in telugu, the word is more used in poetry or literary telugu unlike the word in Tamil. Kan has more similarity to hindi Ear over telugu Kannu :D