Telugu grammar

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Telugu grammar is called Vyākaranam (Telugu: వ్యాకరణం).

The first treatise on Telugu grammar, the "Andhra Shabda Chintamani" was written in Sanskrit by Nannayya, who was considered first poet and translator of Telugu in the 11th century A.D. There was no grammatical work in Telugu prior to Nannayya's "Andhra shabda chintamani". This grammar followed the patterns which existed in grammatical treatises like Aṣṭādhyāyī and Vālmīkivyākaranam but unlike Pāṇini, Nannayya divided his work into five chapters, covering samjnā, sandhi, ajanta, halanta and kriya.[1]

After Nannayya, Atharvana and Ahobala composed sutras, vartikas and bhashyam. Like Nannayya, they had previously written their works in Sanskrit. [1]

In the 19th century, Chinnaya Suri wrote a simplified work on Telugu grammar called "Bāla Vyākaranam", borrowing concepts and ideas from Nannayya's Andhra Shabda Chintamani, and wrote his literary work in Telugu.[1]

Every Telugu grammatical rule is derived from Pāṇinian, Katyayana and Patanjali concepts. However high percentage of Paninian aspects and technics borrowed in Telugu.[1]

According to Nannayya, language without 'Niyama' or the language which doesn't adhere to Vyākaranam is called 'Grāmya' or apabhramsa and hence it is unfit for literary usage. All the literary texts in Telugu follows Vyākaranam.[1]


Subject–object–verb[edit]

The primary word order of Telugu is SOV (subject–object–verb)

Sentence రాముడు బడికి వెళ్తాడు.
Words రాముడు బడికి వెళ్తాడు.
Transliteration Rāmuḍu baḍiki veḷtāḍu
Gloss Ramu to school goes.
Parts Subject Object Verb
Translation Ramu goes to school.

This sentence can also be interpreted as 'Ramu will go to school' depending on the context. But it does not affect the SOV order. [1]

Inflection[edit]

Telugu is more inflected than the other literary Dravidian languages. Telugu nouns are inflected for number (singular, plural), gender (masculine, feminine, and neuter) and case (nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, vocative, instrumental, and locative). [2]

Gender[edit]

Telugu has three genders:

  • masculine (purusha liṃgam),
  • feminine (strī liṃgam), and
  • neuter (napuṃsaka liṃgam).

In Telugu the suffix - (–Du ) is almost always indicative of masculine gender. For example:

  • ta-mmu-Du (younger brother),
  • mu-khyu-Du (important man),
  • Ramu-Du (Ramu),
  • nA-ya-ku-Du (leader).

However, there are more masculine nouns that do not end in (-Du). For example:

  • a-nna (elder brother),
  • mA-ma (uncle).

Some masculine nouns ending in (Du) can be converted to feminine nouns by deleting the (–Du) suffix and adding a suffix (-I).

Masculine Feminine
na-rta-ku-Du (dancer) na-rta-ki (dancer)
vA-cha-ku-Du (narrator) vA-cha-ki (narrator)
pre-mi-ku-Du (lover) pre-ya-si (lover)

Some Masculine names ending in (Du) can be converted to Feminine names by deleting the (Du) and adding the suffix, (rAlu).

Masculine Feminine
na-rta-ku-Du (dancer) na-rta-ku-rA-lu (dancer)
pri-yu-Du (lover) pri-yu-rA-lu (lover)
bha-ktu-Du (male devote) bha-ktu-rA-lu (female devotee)

In Telugu the suffix - (–Mu ) or (-Am) or (-u) is almost always indicative of the neuter gender. For example:

  • Chitra Pata-mu or Chitra Pat-am (Photo Frame),
  • Chitra-mu or Chitr-am (Picture/Photo)
  • Akash-am or Akasha-mu (sky),
  • Neer-u (Water),
  • Parikar-am or Parikara-mu (Tool).

However, Telugu sometimes uses the same forms for singular feminine and neuter genders – the third person pronoun (అది /ad̪ɪ/) is used to refer to animals and objects.[3]

Pronouns[edit]

Telugu pronouns include

  • Personal pronouns and Demonstrative pronouns(The persons speaking, the persons spoken to, or the persons or things spoken about).
  • Reflexive pronouns (in which the object of a verb is being acted on by verb's subject).
  • Interrogative Pronoun.
  • Indefinite pronoun.
  • Demonstrative adjective and Interrogative adjective Pronouns.
  • Possessive adjective Pronouns.
  • Pronouns referring to numbers.
  • Distributive Pronouns.

[4]

Vibhakti or postpositions[edit]

Telugu language uses postpositions for word in different cases. With the use of postpositions, there are eight possible cases (vibhakti విభక్తి).

Telugu English Significance Usual Suffixes Transliteration of Suffixes
(I) Pratdhama Vibhakti (ప్రథమా విభక్తి) Nominative Subject of sentence డు, ము, వు, లు Du, mu, vu, lu
(II) Dviteeya Vibhakti (ద్వితీయా విభక్తి) Accusative Object of action నిన్, నున్, లన్, కూర్చి, గురించి nin, nun, lan, kUrci, guriMci
(III) Truteeya Vibhakti (తృతీయా విభక్తి) Instrumental, Social Means by which action is done (Instrumental), Association, or means by which action is done (Social) చేతన్, చేన్, తోడన్, తోన్ cEtan, cEn, tODan, tOn
(IV) Chaturthi Vibhakti (చతుర్థి విభక్తి) Dative Object to whom action is performed, Object for whom action is performed కొఱకున్, కై korakun, kai
(V) Panchami Vibhakti (పంచమీ విభక్తి) Ablative of motion from Motion from an animate/inanimate object వలనన్, కంటెన్, పట్టి valanan, kaMTen, paTTi
(VI) Shashthi Vibhakti (షష్ఠీ విభక్తి) Genitive Possessive కిన్, కున్, యొక్క, లోన్, లోపలన్ kin, kun, yokka, lOn, lOpalan
(VII) Saptami Vibhakti (సప్తమీ విభక్తి) Locative Place in which, On the person of (animate) in the presence of అందున్, నన్ aMdun, nan
(VIII) Sambodhanaa Prathama Vibhakti (సంబోధనా ప్రథమా విభక్తి) Vocative Addressing, calling ఓ, ఓయి, ఓరి, ఓసి O, Oyi, Ori, Osi

Punctuation[edit]

Telugu uses single and double vertical bars to indicate a comma and a fullstop. However modern Telugu uses punctuation marks which are borrowed from English. [5]

Sandhi or joining[edit]

Sandhi is the fusion of sounds across word boundaries and the alteration of sounds due to neighboring sounds or due to the grammatical function of adjacent words.

Telugu uses morphological processes to join words together, forming complex words. These processes are traditionally referred to as sandhi. Example, Shankara + Abharanam gives the word shankarabhranamu.

There are many types of sandhi in Telugu. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Savarna Deergha Sandhi.
  • Guna Sandhi.
  • Vruddhi Sandhi.
  • Yanadesha Sandhi.
  • Trika Sandhi.
  • Akara Sandhi.
  • Ukara sandhi.
  • Ikara Sandhi.
  • Dugagama Sandhi.
  • Saraladesha Sandhi
  • Gasadadavadesha Sandhi.
  • Rugagama Sandhi.
  • Yadagama Sandhi.
  • Prathametara Vibhakti Sandhi.
  • uchadadi sandhi.

Samasam or nominal compounds[edit]

Samasam or samasa occurs with various structures, but morphologically speaking they are essentially the same: each noun (or adjective) is in its (weak) stem form, with only the final element receiving case inflection.

Some of the Telugu samasams are:

Alankaram or ornamentation[edit]

Telugu Alankaram is a figure of speech which means ornaments or embellishments which are used to enhance the beauty of the poems. There are two types of Alankarams, 'Shabdalankaram' which primarily focuses on Sound and 'Arthalamkaram' which focuses on meaning. These two alankarams are further broken down in to different categories.[6]

  • Shabdalankaram
    • Vruttyanuprasa
    • Chekanuprasa
    • Latanuprasa
    • Yamakam
    • Mukta pada grastam
  • Arthalamkaram
    • Upamanaalankaram
    • Utprekshaalankaram
    • Rupakaalankaram
    • Shleshalankaram
    • Arthantaranyaasam
    • Atishayokti
    • Drushtantam
    • Swabhavokti

Chandassu or Telugu prosody[edit]

Main article: Chandas (Telugu)

Metrical poetry in Telugu is called 'Chandassu' or 'Chandas'. ya-maa-taa-raa-ja-bhaa-na-sa-la-gam is called the chandassu chakram. Utpalamala, Champakamala, Mattebham, Sardoola, Kanda, Sragdhara, Bhujangaprayata, etc. are some metrics used in Telugu poetry.

Vachanam or grammatical numbers[edit]

Any thing in singular form is singular (Ekavacanam): Any things more than one in number are called plural: (bahuvacanam) In Telugu, Singular is Called Eka-Vachanam (Ex: Nuvvu - you) and Plural is called Bahu-Vachanam (Ex: Manam - we).

In Telugu plural is also used address elders with respect. In Telugu language some are always plural and some are always singular for e.g. water, {nILlu} is always plural.

God (Bhagavantudu), sun (sUryuDu), earth (bhUmi), moon (caNdruDu) these are always singular form.

Water - Neeru (singular) and NeeLLu (Plural)

Prakruti and Vikruti[edit]

Telugu has many Tatsama words. They are called Prakruti, which are equivalent to Sanskrit words. The equivalent colloquial words are called Vikruti, which means distorted. However, Prakruti is only used as a medium of instruction in educational institutions, offices etc.
For example:

Prakruti word => Vikruti word.
Agni (fire)=> Aggi.
Bhojanam (food) => Bonam.
Vidya (education) => Vidde .
Raakshasi (evil) => Rakkasi.
Shoonya ( zero) => Sunna.
Drishti (sight) => Dishti.
Kanishtam (minimum) => Kaneesam.
Agaravarti (inscent, agara+varthi, scent wounded ) => Agaravatti.
Vibhoothi (ash) => Vibhudhi.
Chanaka ( chick pea , Chanakya is derived from same root ) => śanaga.
Kavacha (protective shell) => Gavacha => Gavva.
Bhiksham ( alms) => Bichcham.
Dvitiya ( second) =>Vidiya.
Trutiya (third) => Tadhiya.
Jaagrata (alert) => Jaagratta.
Vamati (vomit) =>Vanti,
Swanta (own) => Sonta.
Atavi(forest) => Adavi.
Twara(fast) => Toraga.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Gopavaram, Padmapriya; Subrahmanyam, Korada (2011). "1". A Comparative Study Of Andhrasabdachintamani And Balavyakaranam. Hyderabad: University of Hyderabad. 
  2. ^ Charles Philip Brown (1857). A grammar of the Telugu language (2 ed.). Christian Knowledge Society's Press. 
  3. ^ Charles Philip Brown (1857). A grammar of the Telugu language (2 ed.). Christian Knowledge Society's Press. p. 39. 
  4. ^ A progressive Grammar of Telugu Language with copius examples and exercises. Christian Knowledge Society's Press. 1905. 
  5. ^ A Short Outline of Telugu Phonetics. 
  6. ^ Gopavaram, Padmapriya; Subrahmanyam, Korada (2011). A Comparative Study Of Andhrasabdachintamani And Balavyakaranam. Hyderabad: University of Hyderabad.