Telugu script

Last updated
Telugu script
Telugu in Suranna font.png
Languages Telugu
Gondi language
Time period
c. 900 CE–present [1]
Parent systems
Sister systems
Dhives akuru
ISO 15924 Telu, 340
Unicode alias
[a] The Semitic origin of the Brahmic scripts is not universally agreed upon.

Telugu script (Telugu : తెలుగు లిపి, translit.  Telugu lipi), an abugida from the Brahmic family of scripts, is used to write the Telugu language, a Dravidian language spoken in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana as well as several other neighbouring states. The Telugu script is also widely used for writing Sanskrit texts and to some extent the Gondi language. It gained prominence during the Eastern Chalukyas also known as Vengi Chalukya era. It shares extensive similarities with the Kannada script, as it has evolved from Kadamba and Bhattiprolu scripts of the Brahmi family. Both Adikavi Pampa of Kannada and Adikavi Nannayya of Telugu hail from families native to the Vengi region.

Telugu language Dravidian language

Telugu is a Dravidian language spoken in the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and the union territories of Puducherry (Yanam) by the Telugu people. It stands alongside Hindi, English and Bengali as one of the few languages with primary official language status in more than one Indian state. There are also significant linguistic minorities in neighbouring states. It is one of six languages designated a classical language of India by the country's government.

There are several systems for romanization of the Telugu script.

Abugida writing system

An abugida, or alphasyllabary, is a segmental writing system in which consonant–vowel sequences are written as a unit: each unit is based on a consonant letter, and vowel notation is secondary. This contrasts with a full alphabet, in which vowels have status equal to consonants, and with an abjad, in which vowel marking is absent, partial, or optional. The terms also contrast them with a syllabary, in which the symbols cannot be split into separate consonants and vowels. Abugidas include the extensive Brahmic family of scripts of South and Southeast Asia, Semitic Ethiopic scripts, and Canadian Aboriginal syllabics.


Derivation from the Brahmi script

The Brahmi script used by Mauryan kings eventually reached the Krishna River delta and would give rise to the Bhattiprolu script found on an urn purported to contain Lord Buddha's relics. [2] [3] Buddhism spread to East Asia from the nearby ports of Ghantasala and Masulipatnam (ancient Maisolos of Ptolemy and Masalia of Periplus). [4] The Bhattiprolu Brahmi script evolved to become the Telugu script by 5th century C.E. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]

Krishna River third longest river in central−southern India

The Krishna River is the fourth-biggest river in terms of water inflows and river basin area in India, after the Ganga, Godavari and Brahmaputra. The river is almost 1,400 kilometres (870 mi) long. The river is also called Krishnaveni. It is one of the major sources of irrigation for Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Buddhism World religion, founded by the Buddha

Buddhism is the world's fourth-largest religion with over 520 million followers, or over 7% of the global population, known as Buddhists. Buddhism encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices largely based on original teachings attributed to the Buddha and resulting interpreted philosophies. Buddhism originated in ancient India as a Sramana tradition sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. Two major extant branches of Buddhism are generally recognized by scholars: Theravada and Mahayana.

East Asia Subregion of Asia

East Asia is the eastern subregion of Asia, defined in either geographical or ethno-cultural terms. China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam belong to the East Asian cultural sphere. Geographically and geopolitically, the region includes China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, Mongolia, North Korea, and South Korea.

The Muslim historian and scholar Al-Biruni referred to both the Telugu language as well as its script as "Andhri". [12]

Al-Biruni 11th-century Persian scholar and polymath

Abū Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Al-Bīrūnī (973–1050), known as Al-Biruni in English, was an Iranian scholar and polymath. He was from Khwarazm – a region which encompasses modern-day western Uzbekistan, and northern Turkmenistan.


Telugu uses eighteen vowels, each of which has both an independent form and a diacritic form used with consonants to create syllables. The language makes a distinction between short and long vowels.

A vowel is one of the two principal classes of speech sound, the other being a consonant. Vowels vary in quality, in loudness and also in quantity (length). They are usually voiced, and are closely involved in prosodic variation such as tone, intonation and stress. Vowel sounds are produced with an open vocal tract. The word vowel comes from the Latin word vocalis, meaning "vocal". In English, the word vowel is commonly used to refer both to vowel sounds and to the written symbols that represent them.

A diacritic – also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign, or accent – is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph. The term derives from the Ancient Greek διακριτικός, from διακρίνω. Diacritic is primarily an adjective, though sometimes used as a noun, whereas diacritical is only ever an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute ( ´ ) and grave ( ` ), are often called accents. Diacritical marks may appear above or below a letter, or in some other position such as within the letter or between two letters.

A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. It is typically made up of a syllable nucleus with optional initial and final margins. Syllables are often considered the phonological "building blocks" of words. They can influence the rhythm of a language, its prosody, its poetic metre and its stress patterns. Speech can usually be divided up into a whole number of syllables: for example, the word ignite is composed of two syllables: ig and nite.

IndependentWith క (k) ISO IPA IndependentWith క (k) ISO IPA

The independent form is used when the vowel occurs at the beginning of a word or syllable, or is a complete syllable in itself (example: a, u, o). The diacritic form is added to consonants (represented by the dotted circle) to form a consonant-vowel syllable (example: ka, kru, mo). అ does not have a diacritic form, because this vowel is already inherent in all of the consonants. The other diacritic vowels are added to consonants to change their pronunciation to that of the vowel.


ఖ + ఈ (ీ) → ఖీ/kʰa/ + /iː//kʰiː/
జ + ఉ (ు) → జు/dʒa/ + /u//dʒu/


Character ISO IPA Character ISO IPA Character ISO IPA Character ISO IPA Character ISO IPA

Other diacritics

There are also several other diacritics used in the Telugu script. mutes the vowel of a consonant, so that only the consonant is pronounced. and nasalize the vowels or syllables to which they are attached. adds a voiceless breath after the vowel or syllable it is attached to.

Virama is a generic term for the diacritic in many Brahmic scripts, including Devanagari and Bengali script, used to suppress the inherent vowel that otherwise occurs with every consonant letter. The name is Sanskrit for "cessation, termination, end". As a Sanskrit word, it is used in place of several language-specific terms, such as halant ; halant, hoshonto ; ; ; halantu ; pulli, chandrakkala or viraamam ; halanta ; halanta ; halant ; a that ; karan ; and pangkon . In Devanagari and many other Indic scripts, a virama is used to cancel the inherent vowel of a consonant letter and represent a consonant without a vowel, a "dead" consonant. For example, in Devanagari,

  1. क is a consonant letter, ka,
  2. ् is a virama; therefore,
  3. क् represents a dead consonant k.

Anusvara is a diacritic dot used to mark a type of nasal sound and used in a number of Indic scripts. It is typically transliterated ⟨ṃ⟩. Depending on the location of the anusvara in the word and the language for which it is used, its exact pronunciation can vary.

Chandrabindu is a diacritic sign with the form of a dot inside the lower half of a circle. It is used in the Devanagari (ँ), Bengali (ঁ), Gujarati (ઁ), Oriya (ଁ), Telugu (ఁ), Javanese ( ꦀ) and other scripts.

Character ISO Character ISO Character ISO Character ISO


క + ్ → క్   [ka] + [∅][k]
క + ఁ → కఁ[ka] + [n][kan̆]
క + ం → కం[ka] + [m][kaṁ]
క + ః → కః[ka] + [h][kaḥ]

Places of articulation

There are five classifications of passive articulations:

Kaṇṭhya: Velar
Tālavya: Palatal
Mūrdhanya: Retroflex
Dantya: Dental
Ōshtya: Labial

Apart from that, other places are combinations of the above five:

Dantōsthya: Labio-dental (E.g.: v)
Kantatālavya: E.g.: Diphthong e
Kantōsthya: labial-velar (E.g.: Diphthong o)

There are three places of active articulation:

Jihvāmūlam: tongue root, for velar
Jihvāmadhyam: tongue body, for palatal
Jihvāgram: tip of tongue, for cerebral and dental
Adhōṣṭa: lower lip, for labial

The attempt of articulation of consonants (Uccāraṇa Prayatnam) is of two types,

Bāhya Prayatnam: External effort
Spṛṣṭa: Plosive
Īshat Spṛṣṭa: Approximant
Īshat Saṃvṛta: Fricative
Abhyantara Prayatnam: Internal effort
Alpaprānam: Unaspirated
Mahāprānam: Aspirated
Śvāsa: Unvoiced
Nādam: Voiced

Articulation of consonants

Articulation of consonants is be logical combination of components in the two prayatnams. The below table gives a view upon articulation of consonants.

Telugu Vyanjana Ucchārana Pattika [13]
Prayatna Niyamāvalī Kanthya
Dantōṣṭya Ōshtya
Sparśa , Śvāsa, Alpaprānam ka (క)ca (చ)ṭa (ట)ta (త)pa (ప)
Sparśa , Śvāsa, Mahāprānam kha (ఖ)cha (ఛ)ṭha (ఠ)tha (థ)pha (ఫ)
Sparśa , Nāda, Alpaprānam ga (గ)ja (జ)ḍa (డ)da (ద)ba (బ)
Sparśa , Nāda, Mahāprānam gha (ఘ)jha (ఝ)ḍha (ఢ)dha (ధ)bha (భ)
Sparśa , Nādam, Alpaprānam,
Anunāsikam, Dravam, Avyāhata
ṅa (ఙ)ña (ఞ)ṇa (ణ)na (న)ma (మ)
Antastha , Nādam, Alpaprāṇam,
Drava, Avyāhata
ya (య)ra (ర)
la (ల)
va (వ)
Ūṣman , Śvāsa, Mahāprāṇam, Avyāhata Visarga śa (శ)ṣa (ష)sa (స)
Ūshman , Nādam, Mahāprānam, Avyāhata ha (హ)

Consonant conjuncts

The Telugu script has generally regular conjuncts, with trailing consonants taking a subjoined form, often losing the tallakattu (the v-shaped headstroke). The following table shows all two-consonant and one three-consonant conjunct, but individual conjuncts may differ between fonts.


Consonant + vowel ligatures

అఁఅంఅఃNo Vowel
క్షక్షాక్షిక్షీక్షుక్షూక్షృక్షౄక్షౢక్షౣక్షెక్షే క్షైక్షొక్షోక్షౌక్షఁక్షంక్షఃక్ష్



NOTE: , , and are used also for 164, 264, 364, 11024, etc. and , , and are also used for 1256, 2256, 3256, 14096, etc. [14]


Telugu script was added to the Unicode Standard in October, 1991 with the release of version 1.0.

The Unicode block for Telugu is U+0C00U+0C7F:

Telugu [1] [2]
Official Unicode Consortium code chart (PDF)
1. ^ As of Unicode version 12.0
2. ^ Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points

In contrast to a syllabic script such as katakana, where one Unicode code point represents the glyph for one syllable, Telugu combines multiple code points to generate the glyph for one syllable, using complex font rendering rules. [15] [16]

iOS character crash bug

On February 12, 2018 a bug in the iOS operating system was reported that caused iOS devices to crash if a particular Telugu character was displayed. [17] [18] The character is a combination of the characters "జ", "్", "ఞ", "ా" and The Zero-Width Non-Joiner character which looks combined like this "జ్ఞా". An incorrect handling of the Zero-Width Non-Joiner separator while combining the characters seems to be the cause of the Telugu bug. [19] Apple confirmed a fix for iOS 11.3 and macOS 10.13.4. [20]

See also

Related Research Articles

The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is an alphabetic system of phonetic notation based primarily on the Latin alphabet. It was devised by the International Phonetic Association in the late 19th century as a standardized representation of the sounds of spoken language. The IPA is used by lexicographers, foreign language students and teachers, linguists, speech-language pathologists, singers, actors, constructed language creators and translators.

The Kannada script is an abugida of the Brahmic family, used primarily to write the Kannada language, one of the Dravidian languages of South India especially in the state of Karnataka, Kannada script is widely used for writing Sanskrit texts in Karnataka. Several minor languages, such as Tulu, Konkani, Kodava, Sanketi and Beary, also use alphabets based on the Kannada script. The Kannada and Telugu scripts share high mutual intellegibility with each other, and are often considered to be regional variants of single script. Other scripts similar to Kannada script are Sinhala script, and Old Peguan script (used in Burma).

Gujarati script alphabet

The Gujarati script is an abugida used to write the Gujarati and Kutchi languages. It is a variant of the Devanagari script differentiated by the loss of the characteristic horizontal line running above the letters and by a number of modifications to some characters.

The Brahmic scripts are a family of abugida or alphasyllabary writing systems. They are used throughout the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia and parts of East Asia, including Japan in the form of Siddhaṃ. They are descended from the Brahmi script of ancient India, and are used by languages of several language families: Indo-European, Dravidian, Tibeto-Burman, Mongolic, Austroasiatic, Austronesian, and Tai. They were also the source of the dictionary order of Japanese kana.

The Burmese alphabet is an abugida used for writing Burmese. It is ultimately a Brahmic script adapted from either the Kadamba or Pallava alphabet of South India, and more immediately an adaptation of Old Mon or Pyu script. The Burmese alphabet is also used for the liturgical languages of Pali and Sanskrit.

Labialization is a secondary articulatory feature of sounds in some languages. Labialized sounds involve the lips while the remainder of the oral cavity produces another sound. The term is normally restricted to consonants. When vowels involve the lips, they are called rounded.

The Balinese script, natively known as Aksara Bali and Hanacaraka, is an alphabet used in the island of Bali, Indonesia, commonly for writing the Austronesian Balinese language, Old Javanese, and the liturgical language Sanskrit. With some modifications, the script is also used to write the Sasak language, used in the neighboring island of Lombok. The script is a descendant of the Brahmi script, and so has many similarities with the modern scripts of South and Southeast Asia. The Balinese script, along with the Javanese script, is considered the most elaborate and ornate among Brahmic scripts of Southeast Asia.

The Batak script, natively known as surat Batak, surat na sampulu sia, or si-sia-sia, is a writing system used to write the Austronesian Batak languages spoken by several million people on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. The script may be derived from the Kawi and Pallava script, ultimately derived from the Brahmi script of India, or from the hypothetical Proto-Sumatran script influenced by Pallava.

Tamil script abugida script

The Tamil script is an abugida script that is used by Tamils and Tamil speakers in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and elsewhere to write the Tamil language, as well as to write the liturgical language Sanskrit, using consonants and diacritics not represented in the Tamil alphabet. Certain minority languages such as Saurashtra, Badaga, Irula, and Paniya are also written in the Tamil script.

Odia script Historic Brahmic script

The Odia script is a Brahmic script used to write the Odia language.

The Limbu script is used to write the Limbu language. It is a Brahmic type abugida.

Yi script Script used to write Yi peoples language

The Yi script is an umbrella term for two scripts used to write the Yi languages; Classical Yi, and the later Yi Syllabary. The script is also historically known in Chinese as Cuan Wen or Wei Shu and various other names (夷字、倮語、倮倮文、畢摩文), among them "tadpole writing" (蝌蚪文).

Secondary articulation occurs when the articulation of a consonant is equivalent to the combined articulations of two or three simpler consonants, at least one of which is an approximant. The secondary articulation of such co-articulated consonants is the approximant-like articulation. It "colors" the primary articulation rather than obscuring it. Maledo (2011) defines secondary articulation as the superimposition of lesser stricture upon a primary articulation.

Lepcha script

The Lepcha script, or Róng script, is an abugida used by the Lepcha people to write the Lepcha language. Unusually for an abugida, syllable-final consonants are written as diacritics.

Bhattiprolu script Variant of the Brahmi script

The Bhattiprolu script is a variant of the Brahmi script which has been found in old inscriptions at Bhattiprolu, a small village in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh, South India. It is located in the fertile Krishna river delta and the estuary region where the river meets the Bay of Bengal.

Bengali alphabet abugida used in writing Bengali and Assamese

The Bengali or Bangla alphabet is the alphabet used to write the Bengali language and has historically been used to write Sanskrit within Bengal. It is quite similar to the Assamese alphabet and other alphabets based on the Bengali–Assamese script.

Clip fonts or split fonts are non-Unicode fonts that assign glyphs of Brahmic scripts, such as Devanagari, at code positions intended for glyphs of the Latin script or to produce glyphs not found in Unicode by using its Private Use Area (PUA).

Kha is the second consonant of Indic abugidas. In modern Indic scripts, kha is derived from the Brahmi letter , which is probably derived from the Aramaic ("Q").

Ga is the third consonant of Indic abugidas. In modern Indic scripts, ga is derived from the Brahmi letter , which is probably derived from the Aramaic after having gone through the Gupta letter .


  1. Campbell, George. "Concise Compendium of the World's Languages" . Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  2. Antiquity of Telugu language and script:
  3. Ananda Buddha Vihara Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine
  4. The Great Stupa at Nagarjunakonda in Southern India-【佛学研究网】 佛教文化网 中国佛教网 中国佛学网 佛教信息网 佛教研究 佛学讲座 禅学讲座 吴言生说禅
  5. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Writing Systems by Florian Coulmas, p. 228
  6. Murthy, K.N.; Rao, G.U. "4.5 Telugu Script" (PDF).
  7. Indiain Epigraphy: a guide to the study of inscriptions in Sanskrit, Prakrit, and the other Indo-Aryan languages, by Richard Solomon, Oxford University Press, 1998, p.40, ISBN   0-19-509984-2
  8. Indian Epigraphy by Dineschandra Sircar, Motilal Banarsidass, 1996, p.46, ISBN   81-208-1166-6
  9. The Dravidian Languages by Bhadriraju Krishnamurti, 2003, Cambridge University Press, pp.78-79, ISBN   0-521-77111-0
  10. Comparative Dravidian linguistics: Current perspectives by Bhadriraju Krishnamurti. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001. ISBN   0-19-824122-4
  11. K. iRaghunath Bhat, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-07-19.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. Al-biruni. English translation of 'Kitab-ul Hind'. New Delhi: National Book Trust.
  13. "Telugulo Chandovisheshaalu", Page 127 (In Telugu).
  14. Nāgārjuna Venna. "Telugu Measures and Arithmetic Marks" (PDF). JTC1/SC2/WG2 N3156. International Organization for Standardization. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
  15. "Developing OpenType Fonts for Telugu Script". February 8, 2018.
  16. "Unicode 4.0.0: South Asian Scripts" (PDF).
  17. "rdar://37458268: iOS and Mac OS System can't render symbol and has crashed". Retrieved 2018-03-12.
  18. "If you receive this message on your iPhone, delete it immediately". The Independent. 2018-02-15. Retrieved 2018-02-16.
  19. "How to crash the iPhone with a telugu character". Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  20. "Apple to Fix Telugu Character Bug Causing Devices to Crash in Minor iOS Update" . Retrieved 2018-03-12.