Telugu is second only to Hindi in the number of speakers among the fourteen national languages of the Indian Union.

Discover the language

The official language of the state of Andhra Pradesh, Telugu is India's second regional language, and its presence remains very strong in Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Pondicherry. One of the most important in the country, its cinema reflects the importance of a language rooted in South Indian culture, and appeals to a very wide audience: "Tollywood" is second only to Bollywood in the number of films produced, and in Andhra Pradesh alone has a Telugu-speaking audience of over 7 crores (70 million). In India and worldwide, Telugu audiences exceed 10 crores (100 million), with a highly-educated diaspora (engineering, medicine, research) present in all advanced countries, including France and Germany, but primarily in English-speaking countries (U.S.A., U.K., Canada, Australia), as well as a long-established presence in Southeast Asia (from Burma to Singapore) and the Indian Ocean (Reunion, Mauritius). Globalization has also made the state of Andhra a high-tech region, with a wealth of NGOs in all fields, both in Hyderabad and in its coastal towns, well beyond the metropolises (Vijayawada, Vizag). Cutting-edge developments in Communication and Information Technology (IT) also make Telugu a strategic language, useful to professionals in commerce, translation, development and international business.

Famous for its aesthetic qualities, this "Italian of the East" conceals a prodigious wealth of literature, the lyrical component of which provides a very major part of the repertoire of South Indian Carnatic songs. The Telugu translation of the Mahābhārata by Nannayya in the 11th century inaugurated a vast poetic tradition marked by the importance of borrowings from the Sanskrit tradition of the North, which were added to the original Dravidian contributions. This influence is still very much alive, and the habitual alternative use of synonyms from both languages in the common idiom itself, as well as the transposition of Sanskrit texts into the script or versified meters of Telugu, perfectly reveal this specific ambivalence of the āndhra tradition. (The words telugu and āndhra are a perfect example, deriving respectively from the two divergent (Dravidian and Sanskrit) origins: telugu bhāṣa/āndhra bhāṣa both mean "Telugu language".)

If we had to, we'd find a "modern" illustration of this in popular narrative or theatrical texts, such as Balijēpalli Lakṣmikantam's Śrī Satyahariśandriyamu or Malyāla Jayarāmayya's Bhīṣma mahātma caritra burrakatha (bhīṣmuḍu), both composed in a classical style during the 20th century.

In popular oral traditions, but also in very ancient scholarly literary currents of Shivaite bhakti, poetic styles and linquistic modes close to common speech developed, however, which regularly revitalized the original Dravidian roots of the language. In fact, these two great perpetual currents still influence each other today in language and literature, in narrative and living theatrical forms (harikatha, burrakatha, jamukulakatha, nāṭakam, shadow theater tōlubommalāṭa, etc.), devotional hymns and songs or... revolutionary poems, and nurture Telugu's enduring Dravidian and Sanskrit ambivalence. Beyond this, the effects of colonization and the emphasis on reformist themes in modern and contemporary social movements also contributed to a linguistic and artistic transformation, in all genres of the written word, with the realization of a vigorous Telugu prose literature that testifies to a constant assimilative and renovating vitality of this language.

Telugu language: basic methods & grammars

  • ARDEN A.H., A progressive grammar of the Telugu Language, CLS, The Christian Literature Society, [1873]1975, Madras, pp. 475
  • BOSSÉ, Olivier & Dina, Manuel de télougou, l'Harmattan, 1990, pp. 467 (or)
  • BOSSÉ, Olivier & Dina, Parlons télougou, l'Harmattan, 1994, pp. 444
  • LISKER, Leigh, Introduction to Spoken Telugu, Spoken Language Services, American Council of Learned Societies, New York, [1963]1991.
  • KRISHNAMURTI Bh. & GWYNN, J.P.L., A Grammar of Modern Telugu, Oxford University Press, 1985.

Training courses

Bachelor's and Master's courses to choose from:
Licence LLCER - Asie et pacifique - télougou course
Licence LLCER - Asie et Pacifique bilingue télougou course
Master LLCER