Telugu is spoken primarily by people who hail from the Andhra Pradesh region of India. With its wide array of pronunciations, vowels, and consonant sounds, Telugu can seem intimidating to learn. However, if you set clear learning goals, dedicate yourself to a daily learning program, and get your hands on helpful resources, you can learn to converse and/or write in Telugu.
Important tips to learn Telugu
- Work on some common Telugu nouns.
- Add some common Telugu verbs to your vocabulary.
- Keep adding basic words for communicating in Telugu.
- Practice common phrases in Telugu.
- Practice writing the individual Telugu vowels and consonants.
- Work on writing the conjunct consonants and vowel diacritics.
- Set aside time to write in Telugu script daily.
- Identify the parts of speech in Telugu grammar.
- Practice Telugu grammar rules for prepositions, negations, and questions.
Work on some common Telugu nouns.
By mastering essential everyday terms like “food” and “water,” you’ll begin to identify the subject matter of Telugu conversation or writing. Use Telugu workbooks or websites build a list of common nouns, such as the following:
He – అతడు (athadu)
She – ఆమె (aame)
Boy – అబ్బయి (abbayi)
Girl – అమ్మయి (ammayi)
Add some common Telugu verbs to your vocabulary.
Learning commonly-used verbs will help you to identify the action being described in Telugu sentences. Combine this with your growing vocabulary of common nouns, and you’ll be on your way to understanding basic Telugu. For instance:
Go – వెళ్ళు (vellu)
Talk – మాట్లాడు (maatlaadu)
Know – తెలుసు (telusu)
Give / Respond – ఇవ్వు (ivvu)
Keep adding basic words for communicating in Telugu.
For instance, the following are useful in recognizing or asking questions:
Where – ఎక్కడ (ekkada)
Why – ఎందుకు (enduku)
What – ఏంటి (enti)
How – ఎలా (ela)
Practice common phrases in Telugu.
Along with picking up individual words in Telugu, start working on common phrases as well. Begin with common phrases that will help you ask basic questions and engage in rudimentary conversation in Telugu. For instance:
Hello – నమస్కారం (namaskārām)
How are you? – మీరు ఏలా ఉన్నారు ? (meeru aelaa unnaaru?)
My name is… – నా పేరు … (naa paeru …)
Goodbye – వెళ్ళొస్తాను (vellostaanu)
Practice writing the individual Telugu vowels and consonants.
The Telugu alphabet (వర్ణమాల (varnamaala)) is syllabic in nature, and all consonants have an inherent vowel. Vowels are written independently only when they begin a syllable. Start learning how to write in Telugu by focusing on the individual letters first.
Work on writing the conjunct consonants and vowel diacritics.
Conjunct consonants are special symbols used when certain consonants are combined. There are 34 of these conjunct consonants in Telugu. Additionally, there are 14 vowel diacritics—these symbols appear above, below, or after a consonant in order to change the consonant’s inherent vowel.
Set aside time to write in Telugu script daily.
If you’re used to writing in Latin script, Telugu lettering may appear impossibly difficult. However, with daily practice, you’ll get the hang of the letter formations more quickly than you might expect. The important thing is to dedicate yourself to learning by keeping your ultimate goal in mind.
Identify the parts of speech in Telugu grammar.
To master Telugu grammar (వ్యాకరణ – vyaakarana), you’ll probably need the help of a Telugu tutor or a Telugu writing class. However, you can begin by identifying the parts of speech (భాషాభాగాలు – bhaashaabhaagaalu) of Telugu words. The parts of speech are:
నామవాచకం – Noun (naamavaachakam)
సర్వనామం – Pronoun (sarvanaamam)
క్రియ- Verb (kriya)
Practice Telugu grammar rules for prepositions, negations, and questions.
Once you become comfortable writing in Telugu script and identifying the parts of speech (nouns, verbs, etc.), move on to more challenging grammatical practice. For instance, work on identifying and placing prepositions, negations, and questions in Telugu writing.
If you mangle your words or ask a nonsensical question, laugh it off and try again. Most Telugu speakers, like native speakers of languages around the world, are happy when non-natives try to speak their language. Instead of being insulted that you messed up, they’ll likely be eager to help you out.