Telugu Alphabets

Introduction

Telugu is one of the languages of the southern Indian states Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and a Union Territory Yanam. It stands third in the number of native speakers in India. Telugu is a Dravidian language which is very expressive and one of the regular languages of the world. Well over 75 million people in the world speak Telugu. Learning Telugu Alphabets is the basic foundation for learning Telugu script.
 

History

 Telugu in olden days was usually known by different names like Telengu, Tenungu, Telings. Telugu is famous mainly for its vowel ending sounds which helped it gain dominance in Karnatic music. Rajeswara Sarma stated about the historicity and content of Kanva’s grammar in Sanskrit. During the 16th century in the reign of Vijayanagara Emperor- Sri Krishnadevaraya was considered as the Golden Age of Telugu. Telugu was declared as the official language of the State of Andhra Pradesh by The Andhra Pradesh Official Language Act in 1966.
 

Alphabets in Telugu

Telugu Alphabets are known as Varnamala” which are broadly characterized as ‘Acchulu’ and ‘Hallulu’.
Telugu alphabets can be made into sets by considering the shape of them.
There are 9 such sets:
  • Set 1 : అ, ఆ,ట, త, ల, ఱ: These depict human face with close observation
  • Set 2: గ, న, స : These depict letter N of  English Alphabets
  • Set 3: ఇ, ఞ, ణ : These depict the heart symbol
  • Set 4: అం, ఈ, ఝ, ఠ, య, ర : In all these alphabets we have letter O’
  • Set 5: ఉ , ఊ, డ, ఢ, థ, ద, ధ : These are similar to spades in playing cards
  • Set 6: ఎ, ఏ, ఐ, ఘ, ప, ఫ, మ, వ, ష, హ : These depict a squirrel
  • Set 7: ఒ, ఓ, ఔ, ఙ, చ, ఛ, జ, బ, భ : These depict the number 2 and Neck of the Crane
  • Set 8: క, క్షThese are similar to letter S in English Alphabet
  • Set 9:  ఖ, శ, ళ
  • ఖ- This is formed by combining 2 and 1
  • శ- This is similar to number 8
  • ళ- This is similar to symbol of Infinity
 The Varnamala can be listed as below:
VarnamalaHindi ExamplesPronounced asPhonetic Examples
అమ్మaUp
ఆవుaaArm
ఇల్లుiIs
ఈగeeEat
ఉడుతuUber
ఊయలooOops
ఎలుకeAte
ఏనుగుaeAerobics
ఐదుaiAnt
ఒంటెoOpen
ఓడoaOld
ఔషదముauOutside
అంఅంబారీaMNumber
ఆఃనమఃAH
కలముkaKing
ఖడ్గముkhaKhaki
గదgaGun
ఘంటghaGhastly
gna
చరఖాchaChair
ఛత్రముchhaChhatisgarh
జడjaJam
ఝషముjhaJhalem
ini
టమాటtaTake
కంఠముthaThane
దమరుDaDanger
ఢంకాDhaDisk
వీణana
తలtaTank
రథముthaThick
దండdaThe
ధనుస్సుdhaBuddha
నగnaName
పలకpaParent
ఫలముphaFuse
బస్సుbaBank
భవనముbhaBhavan
మంచముmaMade
యంత్రముyaYacht
రవిraRain
లతlaLawyer
వలvaVase
శంఖముsaShine
షరాయిSaShare
సబ్బుshaSale
హంసhaHat
తాళముLaLamb
క్షక్షత్రియుడుkshaRickshaw
ఱమ్పముRa
 

Vowels

Out of the 50 letters in the Telugu Alphabets, there are a total of 14 Acchulu (Vowels) in Telugu.
These are the independent alphabets which have vowel sounds like a, u, o. These are produced by comparatively open configuration of the vocal tract, with the vibration of the vocal cords but without audible friction.
Except for అం’, All other Telugu Alphabets are produced by the free flow of air through the mouth without being blocked by the teeth, tongue and lips.
Acchulu
Telugu Examples
Pronounced as
Phonetic Examples
అమ్మ
a
up
ఆవు
aa
Arm
ఇల్లు
 i
Is
ఈగ
ee
Eat
ఉడుత
u
Uber
ఊయల
oo
Oops
ఎలుక
e
Ate
ఏనుగు
ae
Aerobics
ఐదు
ai
Ant
ఒంటె
o
Open
ఓడ
oa
Old
ఔషదము
au
Outside
అం
అంబారీ
aM
Number
ఆః
నమః
AH
 
Acchulu are basically of four types Hraswamulu, Dheergamulu, Vakramulu, Vakrathamulu
 
  1. Hraswamulu : These alphabets don’t require any stress to speak.
Hraswamulu
Telugu Examples
Pronunced As
Phonetic Examples
అమ్మ
a
Up
ఇల్లు
 i
Is
ఉడుత
u
Uber
ఎలుక
e
Ate
ఒంటె
o
Open
 
  1. Dheergamulu: These alphabets require some stress to speak.
Dheergamulu
Telugu Examples
Pronounced As
Phonetic Examples
ఆవు
aa
Arm
ఈగ
ee
Eat
ఊయల
oo
Oops
ఏనుగు
ae
Aerobics
ఓడ
oa
Old
 
  1.  Vakramulu
Vakramulu
Telugu Examples
Pronounced as
Phonetic Examples
ఎలుక
e
Ate
ఏనుగు
ae
Aerobics
ఒంటె
o
Open
ఓడ
oa
Old
 
  1.  Vakrathamulu
Vakrathumulu
Telugu Examples
Pronounced as
Phonetic Examples
ఐదు
ai
Ant
ఔషదము
au
Outside
 

Consonants

Hallulu, which are Consonants. These are produced by the partial or complete obstruction of the air stream by a constriction of the speech organs.Consonants of Telugu can be listed below:
Hallulu
Telugu Examples
Pronounced as
Phonetic Examples
కలము
ka
King
ఖడ్గము
kha
Khaki
గద
ga
Gun
ఘంట
gha
Ghastly
gna
చరఖా
cha
Chair
ఛత్రము
chha
Chhatisgarh
జడ
ja
Jam
ఝషము
jha
Jhalem
ini
టమాట
ta
Take
కంఠము
tha
Thane
దమరు
Da
Danger
ఢంకా
Dha
Disk
వీణ
ana
తల
ta
Tank
రథము
tha
Thick
దండ
da
The
ధనుస్సు
dha
Buddha
నగ
na
Name
పలక
pa
Parent
ఫలము
pha
Fuse
బస్సు
ba
Bank
భవనము
bha
Bhavan
మంచము
ma
Made
యంత్రము
ya
Yacht
రవి
ra
Rain
లత
la
Lawyer
వల
va
Vase
శంఖము
sa
Shine
షరాయి
Sa
Share
సబ్బు
sha
Sale
హంస
ha
Hat
తాళము
La
Lamb
క్ష
క్షత్రియుడు
ksha
Rickshaw
ఱమ్పము
Ra
 

Merging Vowels and Consonants

When we add the ‘Acchulu’ to ‘Hallulu’ we get a new word with a unique sound. 
These are the rules to be followed for combinations of Acchulu and Hallulu:
ఆ is added to the consonant by adding     ా
ఇ is added to the consonant by adding     ి
ఈ is added to the consonant by adding    ీ
ఉ is added to the consonant by adding   ు
ఊ is added to the consonant by adding  ూ
ఎ is added to the consonant by adding     ె
ఏ is added to the consonant by adding    ే
ఐ is added to the consonant by adding     ై
ఒ is added to the consonant by adding     ొ
ఓ is added to the consonant by adding      ో
ఔ is added to the consonant by adding     ౌ
అం is added to the consonant by adding ం
ఆః is added to the consonant by adding   ః
Acchulu+Hallulu
Telugu Examples
Pronounced as
Phonetic Examples
= క+అ
కన్ను
ka
Colour
కా = క+ఆ
కాకి
kaa
Carton
కి = క +ఇ
కింద
ki
King
కీ = క+ఈ
కీలకం
kee
Keep
కు = క+ఉ
కుంబకోణం
ku
Kung Fu
కూ=క+ఊ
క్రూరత్వం
koo
Cool
కె = క+ఎ
కెప్టెన్
ke
Case
కే= క +ఏ
కేరింత
kae
Camera
కై= క +ఐ
కైవసం
kai
Kite
కొ= క+ఒ
కొవొతు
ko
Cold
కో= క+ఓ
కోలాటం
koa
Corporation
కౌ= క+ఔ
కౌగిలి
kow
Cow
కం= క +అం
కంపు
kam
Kangaroo
కః= క+ఆః
kaha
 

Sample Text

To see how Telugu alphabets are used as building blocks to make complex sentences, please see the following
 
దయ అనెది ఒక భాష దానిని చెవిటివారు వినగలరు మరియు గుడ్డివారు చూడగలరు
 
Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see
                                                                                                     – Mark Twain
 
You can use our free learning app which helps you to come across a lot of Telugu Alphabets, phrases and practice lessons to improve your Telugu basics.