Blog Post

Telugu Language and It Connection with Sanskrit

A Blog Post

One of the reasons I am able to translate Sanskrit texts into English with some ease is that Telugu happens to be my first language, where I am automatically introduced to the subtle nuances of Sanskrit. In Telugu many old and archaic Sanskrit words and phrases come to life as how they were probably used when Sanskrit was still the spoken language of ancient India among educated Indians. Classical Telugu is very sweet. When used in poetry in metrical form it sounds very rhythmic. I believe it is because Telugu language has Sanskrit as its base both literally and grammatically. Telugu people and culture have a long history that dates back to the Vedic times. It was probably Telugu communities who introduced the Vedic traditions and culture in the South. The geographical location of Telugus, and the large empire established by the Satavahana rulers, also suggests that they and the Marathas were probably the connecting link between the North and the South.

It appears that Telugu has been wrongly classified as a purely Dravidian language, which remains unchallenged since the European scholars of the colonial era classified it in justification of their Aryan, Dravidian theory. Telugu should have been classified as a mixed language, having the features of both linguistic streams. Classical Telugu in which most of its classical poetry and Prabandhas were rendered has a greater affinity with Sanskrit, while many words of daily usage and folk expressions have a lot in common with other Dravidian and Prakritik languages. Because of its classical nature and subtle beauty, Sri Krishnadeva Raya took to Telugu and used it as his court language. He even said to have composed some works in Telugu and praised it as the best of the native language (Desa bhashalandu Telugu lessa). Whatever may be the truth, if you have a good knowledge of Telugu, you will understand many Sanskrit words without the need to refer to a dictionary.