Origin of Telugu Language
Before getting into the theoretical journey of the etymology of the word Telugu, the evolution of the language Telugu through its history, ephigraphy etc whether it had a predominant influence of any particular language, whether it is the language spoken by many Indians in many parts , whether it has similarities in some Chinese words etc I would personally like to make a note that it is one of the sweetest language in India and this fact was made known by one the greatest poet of India, a polyglot who of course was a great poet in Tamil. He stated that Telugu is the sweetest language to compose songs and in addition the sweetness was transformed from a mere sweetness into eternal nectar by Saint Tyagaraja, one of the Carnatic Trinity through his excellent compositions. So that in the world of music , of which classical carnatic is the greatest and unique with its multiple Ragas [different modes-several hundreds] and Talas [hundreds of different rhythmic patterns] Telugu language will always globally remain the sweetest and most lively language , thanks to Saint Tyagaraja.
Now let us get into the journey of the etymology and the evolution of Telugu
Etymology of the word Telugu
The most popular explanation that is given to the word telugu is that it comes from the word trilinga, i.e. from the three temples at Srisailam, Drakasharamam, and Kaleshwaram. However, not many scholars accept this view. Let us examine some of them here.
Khandavalli Lakshmi Ranjanam
It probably comes from the word talaing . Since tala refers to head, talaings refers to leaders. Probably, talaings were civilized people and conquered the tribals in the area of current Andhra pradesh. Hence the name talaings. Later this must have given rise to the words telungu and trilinga .
Some say that the word telugu comes from the Sanskrit forms trilinga or trikalinga: Actually, the word kalinga itself is a Dravidian word. In Kui language, rice is called Kulinga. Since Kuis were mainly rice eaters, Aryans might have called them kulingas or kalingas.
Marepalli Ramachandra Shastri
In Gondi languahge, unga is form for plural. telu means white. Hence, telunga probably refers to people who are white in complexion.
Ganti Jogi Somayaji
ten refers to south in Proto-Dravidian. Hence tenungu refers to Southerners.
Which of the two words is older? telugu or tenugu ? Some say that tenugu is older than telugu because Nannaya used the word tenugu and Ketana who is younger than Nannaya used the word telugu in his Andhra Bhaashaa Bhushanam. Malliya Raechana wrote a grammar book (Lakshana Granthamu) called Kavi Janaashrayamu. But he didn't use this word in the place of 'praasa' anywhere, so we are not sure what he really used.
The popular notion is that the first person to use the word trilinga is Vidyanaatha in Kakatiya era. Actually, the first person to use the word trilinga is Rajashekhara in Vidhdhasaala Bhanjika. He is the first person to use trilinga with a ra vattu . Markandeya and Vayu Puranas mention only tilinga. One of the oldest works in Tamil called Agattiyam says Konganam Kannadam Kollam telungam . On the whole, it is more probable that the word telugu is older than the word tenugu.
Telugu is a language primarily spoken in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, where it is an official language. It is also spoken in the neighbouring states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa and Tamil Nadu, and is spoken in the bordering city of Yanam, in the neighbouring territory of Pondicherry. According to the 2001 Census of India, Telugu is the language with the third largest number of native speakers in India(74 million) thirteenth in the Ethnologue list of most-spoken languages worldwide, and most spoken Dravidian language. It is one of the twenty-two scheduled languages of the Republic of India and one of the four classical languages.
Telugu was influenced by Sanskri and Prakrit. Telugu borrowed several features of Sanskrit that have subsequently been lost in Sanskrit's daughter languages such as Hindi and Bengali, especially in the pronunciation of some vowels and consonants. It has also been influenced by Urdu around Hyderabad city
The third phase is marked by further stylization and sophistication of the literary language. Ketana (13th century) in fact prohibited the use of spoken words in poetic works.During this period the separation of Telugu script from the Kannada script took place.[ Tikkana wrote his works in this script.
The Vijayanagara empire (Rayalaseema region) gained dominance from 1336 till the late 17th century, reaching its peak during the rule of Sri Krishnadevaraya in the 16th century, when Telugu literature experienced what is considered its golden age. Pada kavita pitamaha, Annamacharya, contributed many Telugu songs to this language.
Telugu is one of the 22 official languages of India. The Andhra Pradesh Official Language Act, 1966, declares Telugu the official language of Andhra Pradesh. This enactment was implemented by GOMs No 420 in 2005.
Telugu also has official language status in the Yanam District of the Union Territory of Pondicherry.
Telugu, along with Kannada, was declared as one of the classical languages of India in the year 2008 after Sanskrit (in 2005) and Tamil (in 2004).
Telugu words generally end in vowels.
Telugu features a form of vowel harmony . Telugu words also have vowels in inflectional suffixes harmonized with the vowels of the preceding syllable.