How to learn Telugu - some tips | Sulekha Creative




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How To Learn Telugu Some Tips

Tenneti Rao / 11 yrs ago /


At a recent gathering, a disaporic Telugu gentleman expressed sadness at the loss of his felicility with his mother tongue, Telugu. This has prompted me to pen some thoughts on this 'modern ailment' of Telugu people - both there in India and overseas. One can write volumes about the importance of this beautiful south Indian language (Telugu: Italian of the East, 'dEsa bhasha lanDu telugu leSSa - Sri Krishnadevaraya'). But I just want to write

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something which can aid, prompt, and impel at least some aspiring persons to learn the language. It is not impossible, nor it is that difficult as a beginner might think. Language(s)

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is part of one's culture; and what is culture? Some one in the social sciences/humanities View More

once commented about culture (I forgot the name) like this: "When a man loses everything, i.e., money, comforts, health etc., what is left is just a collection of his thoughts, memories, and culture". And then, if Telugu happens to be one's mother-tongue, it becomes incumbent on us to treasure and hold on to that 'invaluable gift of parents' and we must endeavor to pass on this to the next generation - as part of our 'tradition and dharma'. [see 'Religion and Dharma' by Sister Nivedita, Advaita Ashrama, 1989]

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Here, are some suggestions for language learners. These I have learnt myself through painful self-learning, walking through a maze of pit-falls. It is not worthwhile to discover every little thing in life oneself, a-priori, fresh; then, we will not have time for many wonderful things in life. Implicitly, we all are heavily indebted to our ancestors, forefathers, rishis, great thinkers.... It is best to acknowledge our debt to all such seniors and proceed from

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1. Start with a pure enquiring mind. Ideally the beginning should involve with a propitiation to Ganesa, Sarada, (or whoever your spiritual guide, be). Seek help from the great literary persons - Nannaya, Potana, Molla, Annamayya, etc. We are learning this art/language for our own uplifting, enlightenment, joy. Not for any immediate wealth or rewards. 2. Learn first alphabet - vowels and consonants. That is, try to recognize the written letters. These are available on the internet. You can also buy books like 'pedda balasikha' and other lower grade simple books with letters, words, and pictures. Telugu alphabet is somewhat similar to the Sanskrit and Hindi alphabets (I mean the sound, not the script). Telugu script is quite close to that of Kannada. Like in Sanskrit, there is quite a bit of rationality and logic in Telugu alphabet and some of the basic words (building blocks). For example, just by learning numerals 1-10 (or say, 1-20), one can master all higher numbers, say 1-100. A grasp of the basic grammar and rules for compound words (sandhi - it is there in Sanskrit also) will enable the beginner to quickly make progress. So, like all languages learning the basics, early steps diligently will make way for steady progress. Like in Hindi, there are two types of words in Telugu: 1. prakruti - these words are more formal, suitable for writing, often such words may have origin in Sanskrit (not always). 2. vikruti - these are variations derived from its cousin, prakruti word. These are used in common speech, sort of colloquial forms. But there are examples of a reverse nature also. After all any language is what its practioners try to mold into? Ex: There is a town in East Godavari, it is called 'Draakshaaraamam'. But it should have been called 'Dakshaaraamam' because the local temple and folklore lends the town with a connection to that story of 'Daksha'----Siva's father-in-law.. 3. Conversational Skills: If possible, try to fall in love with a Telugu boy/girl (I am kidding here). In the beginning, our difficulties are twofold; one is shyness. How can I speak when I think what I speak could be full of errors. That is ok, it happens to every beginner. Second, unless I start speaking even hesitantly, I will never learn the language. Start with some words for greeting like - 'namaskaaramu', 'baagunnara', or just with a smile. Or, ask for time, 'babu, time enTa?' In the olden days, Railway bookstores in India used to sell small books on Indian languages. (Telugu in 30 days). Visit a Telugu/Andhra coffee shop or restaurant. Start talking to the waiters there. 4. Listen, Listen and then Listen more. That is the best lesson any one can learn (either in life or learning languages). Watch the Telugu news on TV or listen to it on the radio. Generally, news bulletins are a bit slow. It is a bit easy to catch the words, augment vocabulary, and learn some idioms. Lots of my friends used to hone their skills in English by listening to BBC and watching some English movies. Old Telugu movies are quite helpful in this regard. Although the dialogues and language appear a bit archaic, such movies are slow going. And there in lies their virtue. For a beginner, it is easy to follow all the spoken words carefully. Also, in general the old movie dialogues are full of elegance and decorum. You can try such words with any Telugu person, and you would not get into any trouble. [cf. The new movie dialogues (at least some) look like as if the words were picked up from the noise and bedlam of 'a fish market' - as my Telugu teacher would say] 5. Try to read at least one on-line Telugu newspaper. We have Andhraprabha, Andhrabhoomi, Eenadu, Andhrajyoti, and others. All these newspaper websites are free. In the beginning, just try to read the headlines. That is enough. Then just concentrate on one little news/cinema/cartoon piece. Try to understand fully. All the newspapers, I think, have some little pieces for beginners. For example, in Andhrabhoomi, there is 'nErcukunDaam' it gives one peom, its meaning. So, start from scratch there and then slowly proceed to more complex articles. Learning a language is like falling in love. There will always be failures, bruises, and disappointments. But the sheer experience is worth all the trouble. And, who knows what you will find 'in the sea of a language'. You will certainly be more informed, will be more refined. Whether to enjoy a classical (carnatic = that which is pleasing to the ear - Dr. Balamuralikrishna) music programme or a Kucipudi dance or a poetry recitation - you need to knowTelugu. We can not comprehend the genius of Annamayya, Tyagaraja, Ramadasu, Potana, or SriSri and many others without this sweet tongue - Telugu. For now, this information is enough for all beginners. Now, you have to take that 'first and only one' step.




Tenneti Rao /

/ 10 yrs ago

thanks porpuli. Comment Porpuli /

/ 10 yrs ago

if one wants to see very good telugu in recent movies, watch pothuraju (virumandi dubbed from tamil), unlike rest of rubbish which probably use 40% or so english words this one uses authentic venkatagiri dialect and has good telugu. and "baagu" is never black, black is karri/nalupu. Comment Tenneti Rao /

/ 11 yrs ago

to kaveriyamma, that is a nice name. thanks for your comment. obviously, telugu both the spoken and written versions (dialects) vary a bit - depending on the region in andhra pradesh. for example, coastal telugu is a bit different from the telugu from karnataka border (like dhone, adoni). telengana telugu is also quite unique. in the coastal regions (say, godavari) a wood pecker is called 'vadrangi pitta'. in that famous movie 'ankur' by shyam benegal, the same bird is called as 'vadla pitta' - so that is the colloquial usage in telangana region. now, baagu = well, so, 'baagunnaara?' = are you doing well? as far as i know, baagu does not connote black. the other greeting 'manci gunnaara?' is also ok. but 'manci' = good. the important thing is - you like telugu. that is great. hope we (telugu people) can impart some language/quotations to you? Comment Tenneti Rao /

/ 11 yrs ago

to iamokuok, nenu kshemam, miiru kshemamaa? thanks for the comment. i am a bit disinclined to all shortcuts: like 10 steps to self-impr ovement, 6 weeks of diet..etc. but i will consider your idea definitely. o...oo....oka vanda padaalato, oka vanda amkelato telugu nercu kumdaama? baagaane vundi aalocana.. ayite imka modalu peddaamaa? o...oo...amtunte, puurvapu muu..muuu...muddu ane paata gurtu koccindi Comment Tenneti Rao /

/ 11 yrs ago

to indu3: thank you. yea - you're right these tips are applicable for any language. probably, we all must have consciously or unconsciously utilized these ideas. there may be many more useful tips... like listening to music/songs. i improve my hindi by listening to some great songs. if one has the drive and enthusiasm, then one can always progress Comment Tenneti Rao /

/ 11 yrs ago

to satyanarayana sishtla gaarki, ika nunci tappaka prayatnistaanu. i have to learn some of these modern telugu-computer scripts - like unicode, etc. but, prastutaaniki, english and telugulo raastaanu. mari, vastaa, mancidandi tenneti rao Comment Kaveriyamma /

/ 11 yrs ago

baagunnara! (does it not mean 'dark you are!') i think in telugu best greeting is 'manchigunnara' ('are you well, in good health?) btw, i'm not telugu, but, i love to here telugu speech, its a soft language; is very romantic... like french/ spanish. Comment IAMOKUOK /

/ 11 yrs ago

namaskaaramu rao garu, baagunnara?

i think if you list common phrases 100 numbers and their english translation, telugu can be learned very quickly ( and any other language as well) good practical tips. friendly regards s.seshadri Comment Indu3 /

/ 11 yrs ago

i suppose the tips u have given are helpful to learn any language, indu Comment SATYANARAYANA SISTLA /

/ 11 yrs ago

i posted the comment in telugu by using "lekhini" chaalaa baagundi telugulo mariyu englishlo andinche prayatnam cheyandi. but it appeared as ????????? ???????? ??? ???? ?????????? Comment

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How to learn Telugu - some tips | Sulekha Creative

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