Puneet Varma (Editor)

Telugu grammar

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The first treatise on Telugu grammar (Telugu: వ్యాకరణం vyākaranam), the "Andhra Shabda Chintamani" was written in Sanskrit by Nannayya, who was considered as the first poet and translator of Telugu in the 11th century A.D. After Nannayya, Atharvana and Ahobala composed sutras, vartikas and bhashyam.


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.

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


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).

Gender (liṃgam)

Telugu has three genders:

  • masculine (purusha liṃgam),
  • feminine (strī liṃgam),
  • 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-nnaya (elder brother),
  • mA-maya (uncle).
  • Some masculine nouns ending in (Du) can be converted to feminine nouns by deleting the (–Du) suffix and adding a suffix (-I).

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

    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.

    Number (vachanam)

    Any thing in singular form is singular (ekavachanam). Any things more than one in number are called plural (bahuvachanam).

    In Telugu plural is also used to address elders with respect. In Telugu language some are always plural and some are always singular, for example water, {neellu} is always plural.

    God (bhagavantudu), sun (suryudu), earth (bhoomi), moon (chandrudu), these are always singular form. However, Devullu is a plural form of god,because many deities exist.

    Case (విభక్తి vibhakti)

    Telugu has eight cases.


    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.
  • Word order

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

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


    Telugu uses single and double vertical bars to indicate a comma and a full stop. However modern Telugu uses punctuation marks which are borrowed from English.

    Sandhi or joining

    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 shankarabharanamu.

    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

    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:

  • Tatpuruṣa Samasam.
  • Prathama tatpurusha samasam
  • Dvitiya tatpurusha samasam
  • Trutiya tatpurusha samasam
  • Chaturthi tatpurusha samasam
  • Panchami tatpurusha samasam
  • Shashti tatpurusha samasam
  • Saptami tatpurusha samasam
  • Nai tatpurusha samasam
  • Karmadhāraya Samasam.
  • Viśeshana purwapada karmadharaya samasam
  • Viśeshana uttarapada karmadharaya samasam
  • Viśeshana ubhayapada karmadharaya samasam
  • Upamana purvapada karmadharaya samasam
  • Upamana uttarapada karmadharaya samasam
  • Avadharana purvapada karmadharaya samasam
  • Sambhavana purvapada karmadharaya samasam
  • Dvigu Samasam.
  • Dvandva Samasam.
  • Bahuvrīhi Samasam.
  • Amredita Samasam.
  • awyaee bhava samasam
  • Alankaram or ornamentation

    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. shabdalankaras are 6 types where as there are nearly 30 to 40 types in ardhalankaras.

  • Shabdalankaram
  • Vruttyanuprasa
  • Chekanuprasa
  • Latanuprasa
  • antyanuprasa
  • Yamakam
  • Mukta pada grastam
  • Arthalamkaram
  • Upamanaalankaram
  • Utprekshaalankaram
  • Rupakaalankaram
  • Shleshalankaram
  • Arthantaranyaasam
  • Atishayokti
  • Atishayokti Ahamkaram {This was invented by a Telugu teacher (Sreedhar Raju Alluri) from MUNICH on 12th Feb 2017}
  • Drushtantam
  • Swabhavokti
  • vyajastu
  • virodhi
  • vishamamu
  • parikaramu
  • branti madala
  • kramalam
  • Chandassu or Telugu prosody

    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, Mattebha vikreeditham, Sardoola Vikreeditham, Kanda, Aata veladi, Theta geethi, Sragdhara, Bhujangaprayata, etc. are some metrics used in Telugu poetry.

    Prakruti and Vikruti

    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:


    Telugu grammar Wikipedia

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