Telugu (; తెలుగు, Telugu pronunciation: [ˈteluɡu]) is a Dravidian language spoken by Telugu people predominantly living in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where it is also the official language. It is the most widely spoken member of the Dravidian language family and one of the twenty-two scheduled languages of the Republic of India. It is one of the few languages that has primary official status in more than one Indian state, alongside Hindi and Bengali. Telugu is one of six languages designated as a classical language (of India) by the Government of India.Telugu is also a linguistic minority in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, West Bengal, and the union territories of Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It is also spoken by members of the Telugu diaspora spread across countries like United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand in the Anglosphere; Myanmar, Malaysia, South Africa, Mauritius; and the Arabian Gulf countries of UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia etc.With nearly 81 million native speakers as per the 2011 census, Telugu is the fourth most spoken language in India and 15th in the world in the Ethnologue list of languages by number of native speakers. It is also the fastest-growing language in the United States, where there is a large Telugu-speaking community. It is also a protected language in South Africa and is offered as an optional third language in schools in the KwaZulu-Natal province. Roughly 10,000 pre-colonial inscriptions exist in the Telugu language.
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