Telugu vs. Tamil: Popular South Indian Languages

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Difference between Telugu and Tamil

Tamil and Telugu are Dravidian languages spoken by people the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, respectively. In 2004, the Indian government declared Tamil to be a classical language. It is interesting to note that Tamil is the official language of Singapore and Sri Lanka. It is also spoken in Malaysia and Mauritius. Telugu takes the honor as the fifteenth most spoken languages throughout the world. Telugu is influenced from Sanskrit and Urdu. Both Tamil and Telugu are among the twenty two scheduled languages in India.

Telugu
Tamil

History

The emergence of the Tamil language dates back to third century BC. The history of the Tamil language is divided into three parts. These are the Old Tamil, Middle Tamil and Modern Tamil. Old Tamil was spoken from 300 BC to around 700 AD. Middle Tamil lasted till 1600. From 1600 to present day the form of Tamil spoken comes under Modern Tamil. Tamil descends from proto-Dravidian which was spoken around the lower Godavari basin. In the past Telugu was called Telungu, Tenugu and Tenungu. Telugu has descended from Prakrit. It was spoken by the general population in the times of Satavahana Dynasty. Inscriptions in Telugu were found in the Guntur District in Andhra Pradesh – famous for the many things amongst which is the Amaravati stupa which the Dalai Lama blessed with a Kalachakra ceremony in 2006 due to its history as the King of Shambhala’s site for learning the Buddhist vajrayana teachings.

Geographic Distribution

Besides Tamil Nadu, Tamil is spoken in some parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra. It is also spoken by majority of people in northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. Descendents of colonial-era migrants in South Africa, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma, Singapore and Malaysia speak Tamil, but of course these are the minorities. Telugu is spoken by most of the people in Yanam district of Puducherry. It is also spoken in some parts of Jharkhand and Kharagpur in West Bengal. After Hindi and Bengali, Telugu is the third most popular language in India. More than eight hundred thousand people in U.S. speak Telugu.

Vocabulary

Some of the words used in Tamil are copied from languages of Tamil’s trading partners such as Munda, Malay, Chinese and Greek. Modern Tamil has some words imported from Urdu, Marathi, Persian and Arabic. The impact is also the other way round. Many languages use words that have Tamil origin. Some popular examples are mango from mangai, cheroot from curuttu and so on. Telugu, on the other hand, uses a large number of Sanskrit words. Usage of Telugu depends on the region in which it is spoken. In the regions near Hyderabad, the language is influenced by Urdu as Muslims conquered and ruled this region for centuries. It sometimes also depends on social status. Most middle class groups use Telugu mixed with English.

Similarities and Differences

Tamil

  • In 2004 Indian government declared Tamil to be a classical language.
  • History of Tamil language is divided into three parts: Old Tamil, Middle Tamil and Modern Tamil.
  • It is spoken in some parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra.
  • Modern Tamil has some words imported from Urdu, Marathi, Persian and Arabic.

Telugu

  • Telugu is fifteenth most spoken language in the world.
  • Inscriptions in Telugu were found in Guntur District in Andhra Pradesh.
  • It uses a large number of Sanskrit words.
  • It is also spoken in some parts of Jharkhand and Kharagpur in West Bengal.

Which language is difficult to learn?
  • Telugu
  • Tamil
 
 

Discuss It: comments 128

May be modern tamil did borrow some words from other languages. however, i doubt that the original one was ever influenced by others.

When you remove all the loan words from Tamil it can survive. Whereas no other indian languages survive.

  • Guest
  • Sai Kiran Sharma wrote on April 2012

Prove your absurd claim please. Your claim that remove loan words applies to Hindi. Telugu, Bengali, Marathi , Gujarati all can survive on their own. Come out of well!

What is the word "language" called in Hindi, Telugu, Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tulu, Sanskrit, Bengali etc.,?

Hindi= "Baasha" , Telugu= "Baasha", Marathi= "Baasha", Kannada="Baasha", Malayalam= "Baashai", Bengali= "Baasha"

What is its equivalent word in Tamil? Is it Basha itelf?

No the equivalent word for "Language" in Tamil is "Mozhi",

Is this one the only one or many to follow?

If anyone wish I shall prove it with even one million words.

What is "Country" called in Hindi, Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Tulu, Malayalam, Bengali, Urdu, Marathi etc.,?

Hindi= "Desh" or "Rashtr", Sanskrit= "Desam", Telugu="Desam", Kannada= "Desam", Malayalam= "Desam" , Bengali= "Desh", Urdu= "Desh", Marathi= "Desh" or "Rashtr"

What its equivalent in Tamil? Is it Desam or Rashtr?

No. Tamil has its own word "Naadu"

tamil is rich and ancient and it is the first indian language to be declared as a classical language

I don't accept tamil borrowed words from those languages...

Some people may use that...

But equivalent words in tamil is there for those words borrowed from those language...

If possible Can you examplify the borrowed words...

Tamil is the worst language all over the world and tamilians number one racists

  • Guest
  • ScrewuPradeep wrote on February 2011

are u **** me? In which way r tamils racist? And how do u say that it is the worst language? Keep ur opinions to urself ****face, or at least state ur making an opinion without any reasoning what-so-ever.

  • Guest
  • Amita wrote on December 2011

I agree. They are both related to eachother. They way you the numbers is the same in both languages. They are racists and non-racists people in every community. No one can say racist unless if they walk around their skin and understand their point of view. Telugu and Tamil are both good Dravidian languages. For examples, Tollywood and Kollywood are connected to eachother. For instance; Portuguese and Spanish are related to eachother. The same thing goes to Telugu and Tamil, both Dravidian languages are tightly connected to one another. Thank you for reading this.

One simple example to spray black to your face Pradeep, is " meeru peru yemi" here meeru is chuttuchol in tamil and peru is derived from Peyar, so you have only one thing with you is "yemi". Yemi yemi yemi??? who told that tamils are racist? it is only you telugus robbed our ancient tamil territories of Vengadanadu, Karkaanadu, Venginaadu, Thondainaadu and Aruva Vadathalainaadu (all are in Nellore, Chittor and South Ananthapur districts), for the reason that you have occupied those area in large numbers making tamils minorities there.

hello as_whole pradeep..u r definitely mad...

  • Guest
  • Asokan wrote on April 2012

My monther tongue is Telugu and native from Tamil Nadu.

But I am proud of to be Tamilan.

Pradeep are u mad

I'm from Tamilnadu and I admit Telugu is one awesome language!

It is the 15th most spoken language in the world! wow!

Though it has many sanskrit words, it is very easy to understand :)

Kudos to Telugu!

@Balaji - I second you..Telugu rocks!

Tamil is worst lauguege

narayan.. u r no. of stupid in the world.. have no other words to say abt u and pradeep..

Tamizh is the best language in the world and am proud to say that iam a tamizhan...there is no equal dynasty to our cholas in south and central India..

Correct!! better langauages and dynasties are there in India. That is the reason Govt of India asked Karunanidhi son to write correct spell Alagiri in Gazzt of India instead of Azhagiri (like Azharuddin)

Telugu,Malayalam and Karnataka. please return back all the borrow words and culture from Tamilian. Tamil is official language in Singapore. Tell me where your official langua appart than india. Think care fully before condam others Mother tongue. All Language in the world are gifted by GOD.

Thank you

tamil is not an indian language at all.....so get out from india all tamilians...............

  • Guest
  • Jash121 wrote on February 2012

What filth do you speak ? Racist pigs like you ruin India's success every single day. You must be jailed for your obnoxious comments.

  • Guest
  • m.govin wrote on February 2012

ha ha well they did that thousands of years ago and that is why you can find Tamil in many languages because they loaned many words to the new language and that is why you can see Tamils around the world over unlike etc etc

Malaysian Tamilian

தமிழன்தமிழன்

if not an indian language then let all other non tamils leave our territories that include present tamilnadu, kerala, south karnataka and south andhra. you indians live peacefully in your area.

  • Guest
  • m.govin wrote on February 2012

ha ha who is being racist here Thiru.Pradeeep? you are

I guess if all the Tamil words from malayalam/telugu and kannada are taken out , they would have to probably learn sign language to communicate..no offence meant but its the truth..Its just like the french/dutch/german and many other european languages who loaned from english mostly.

Raja raja cholan

well said m.govin. I challenge pradeep to remove all tamil loan words/ tamil root words from his language, his language perish. Then he should speak blah.. blah..blah.... The same in the case of Kannada and Malayalam. And malayalam is just a dialect of Tamil ( Kodunthamizh). before commenting one should know the historical background of their language and literature. Out of all excavated inscriptions found in india 65% are Tamil while prakrit 15% pali 10% and others 10%.

Tamils form a major race not only in India, but also in Tamizh Eezham (North and North West and Eastern parts of Srilanka- 25% of country's population), Malaysia (32,00,000- Hindu+Moslem Tamils), Singapore where they form nearly 7% of the population and it is one of the official languages there. Mauritius (1,25,000 or 10% of the total population), Reunion (225000 or 40% of total population), South Africa (10,00,000 or 3% of total population of the country), Thailand (68,000 Indian Tamils+ 5,00,000 Tamil Klings of Nakhon Ratchasimha and Pattaya), Many more thousands in Medan, Laos, Ho Chi Minh City, Guyana(60,000), Guadeloupe (60,000), Trinidad and Tobago (12% of total indian population with mostly Biharis and Urdu speaking muslims) and emigrant refugees in Denmark, Switzerland, Netherlands, Germany, France, French Overseas Territories such as Martinique etc., Norway, Finland, Sweden (several lakhs here),England, US and finally a big number in Canada.

  • Guest
  • Sai Kiran Sharma wrote on April 2012

Telugu has no heritage from Tamil, except for the border areas of AP and Tamil Nadu. So your point of returning Words and Culture back to Tamils doesnt hold good. Please apply some logic.

i think most of tamilians are athists.thats why they wont respect others and their languages

tamil is the most beautiful and sweet language its very old when compared to other dravidian language.u know tamil is one among the three languages which have an equivalent word for tsunami in tamil it is called as azhi perali.telugu is also one of the best language in india but tamil is out of comparision as it is the mother language of dravidian language

Check ur History knowledge...Telugu & Kannada born from Kadambha and chalukya scripts. Thats the problem with TN they claim tamil is mother to Sanskrit

  • Guest
  • Mahesh wrote on December 2011

Satti you First check it k you just check it in wikipeadia or else and then you talk about it ..

Proto dravidian is more less equivalent to old tamil ..Thats y tamil can be rightly called as Mother of dravidian languages.pls enlighten urself

well said.

what the ****!!!

telugu is more old than tamil...tamilians cheat their language is old than Telugu..

Obvious! Tamil is older than telugu

telugu is more old than tamil? poor sayid what is your mark is history or linguistics? read my replies. refer whatever literature and find the place of tamil there. if you remove all tamil loan words/ root words from ur telugu then you should speak blah.. blah.. and blaaaah... that's what you have with you.

  • Guest
  • Shan wrote on April 2013

Dont make comedy.You can search anywhere in internet,if you prove telugu is older than tamil, i will shave my head throughout my life

I live in Andhra pradesh. I've learnt every subject in school in Telegu Language. I Started Studying Tamil 2 years after my graduation and I should tell you that language struck me so much.I know I should talk in favour of my mother tongue telegu but i just can't stop feeling that tamil is the sweetest langage in India or may be in the world.No offence to telegu.

Dude first write correct spelling of "Telugu" before you pretend.

  • Guest
  • Amaresh wrote on May 2011

Oh yes i'm sorry! its telugu.I wrote it in a hurry.

It says that ur not real telugu guy. Ur jus showing up as telugu to praise tamil

It has been a long time since i have written in telegu or telugu.sorry i have written in wrongly.your right it's telugu not telegu.I was sick when i submitted this i didn't concentrate when i was writing.

Your language is also very sweet Amaresh.You are a very broad minded person and it is not a surprise.The reason is that we all belong to same mother language family.I am very proud of you.

  • Guest
  • Oru thamilan wrote on June 2011

Tamil and Telugu are blood relatives. ie mother and daughter.

Dont give ur opinion as all others.

Telugu and tamil re two different languages,yes there are similarities because both are derived from dravidian root

  • Guest
  • Sandeep wrote on December 2011

Sorry Oru tamizhan, You are true to the fact of blood relatives, but the relation is not of mother-daughter, but Elder sister and younger sister.

The reason telugu is younger sister is coz of no literary evidences earlier to tamizh....but antiquity of all the dravidian languages is inconclusive.

Telugu language is praised by many scholars and great people from many other regions. even tamil poets praised telugu as "sundara telungu".

sri krishnadevaraya,

britishers,dutch,italains

  • Guest
  • loverboyaaryan wrote on June 2011

i dont understand both language.so english is the best language tat whole world understands.

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