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Telugu (; తెలుగు, Telugu pronunciation: [ˈt̪eluɡu]) is a Dravidian language native to the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where it is also the official language. Spoken by about 96 million people (2022), Telugu 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 the six languages designated as a classical language by the Government of India. It is the 14th most spoken native language in the world. Modern Standard Telugu is based on the dialect of erstwhile Krishna, Guntur, East and West Godavari districts of Coastal Andhra.Telugu is also spoken in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Orissa 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, Malaysia, Mauritius, UAE, Saudi Arabia and others. Telugu is the fastest-growing language in the United States. It is also a protected language in South Africa and is offered as an optional third language in schools in KwaZulu-Natal province.According to Mikhail S. Andronov, Telugu split from the Proto-Dravidian language around 1000 BCE. Earliest inscriptions with Telugu words date back to c. 400 BCE in Bhattiprolu of Andhra Pradesh. Telugu words were also found in the inscriptions of Emperor Ashoka (257 BCE), Satavahanas, and Vishnukundinas. Inscriptions in Old Telugu script were found as far away as Indonesia and Myanmar. Telugu was the court language of various dynasties of South India namely the Eastern Chalukyas, Eastern Gangas, Kakatiyas, Vijayanagara Empire, Qutb Shahis, Madurai Nayaks, Thanjavur Nayaks. Telugu was used officially as a language of bureaucracy outside its homeland even by non-Telugu dynasties like the Thanjavur Marathas in Tamil Nadu.Telugu has an unbroken, prolific, and diverse literary tradition of over a thousand years. Pavuluri Mallana's Sāra Sangraha Ganitamu (c. 11th century) is the first scientific treatise on mathematics in any Dravidian language. Avadhānaṃ, a literary performance that requires immense memory power and an in-depth knowledge of literature and prosody, originated and was specially cultivated among Telugu poets for over five centuries. Roughly 10,000 pre-colonial inscriptions exist in Telugu.In the precolonial era, Telugu became the language of high culture across South India. Vijaya Ramaswamy compared it to the overwhelming dominance of French as the cultural language of modern Europe during roughly the same era. Telugu also predominates in the evolution of Carnatic music, one of two main subgenres of Indian classical music and is widely taught in music colleges focusing on Carnatic tradition. Various non-Telugu people over the centuries have remarked on the natural musicality of Telugu speech, referring to it as a mellifluous and euphonious language. Source: Wikipedia (en)

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