https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChivalrousKnight

Help save my language!

Hello, everyone. I'm Aman, a 10th-class student from India, and I speak a language called Telugu, the daily usage of which is rapidly being taken over by influence from the English language. And what I have noticed is that more and more vocabulary from English is replacing native words. You would notice more English words in a sentence in many cases than Telugu ones.

This wouldn't have bothered me if Telugu were just a small endangered language with no influence on culture dying slowly in some remote corner of the world; no, there are more native speakers of Telugu than the population of the UK, or France, and almost as many as that of Germany. It is estimated that there are around 90 million speakers around the world (including second-language speakers), making it the 17th most spoken language in the world (Source: Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_languages_by_total_number_of_speakers).
Despite being among the top 20 most spoken languages in the world, most people, I'm sure, haven't ever heard of a South-Indian language called Telugu in their lives. I've been wanting to make a course on Duolingo to make a humble effort to help the vulnerable-language situation, and have applied a few months ago, but haven't had any response so far from the team. I do not mean to blame the well-meaning team behind Duo, because it is only obvious that they work on languages that are in demand, and like I said before, virtually no foreigner has ever heard of the Telugu language and it is quite likely that nobody ever will if I and other speakers don't make an effort to spread its usage. Here are a few things about the Telugu language that you might find interesting:

  1. The Telugu script, though a bit unforgiving to a new learner, is extremely simple and exclusively sound-based. For example, the letter ద ('da' with a soft 'd', similar to the 'th' in 'the') always makes the same sound regardless of which word it is a part of, unlike the English 'th' which can be pronounced differently in different words ('thing' & 'the' don't have the same 'th' sound).

... 2. The script is very compact, and many sounds can, in most cases, can be written as a single letter. For example, 'kra' in English which takes up 3 letters to write (and which doesn't mean anything, probably; I just wanted to demonstrate with a sound with more than one consonant in a single syllable), is written as క్ర in Telugu, with a symbol under the letter for 'ka' (క) denoting the existence of an 'r' sound along with the 'k'.

... 3. Many words merge into a single, unbroken sound in many cases, usually in spoken language. For example, 'ఏమి' (what, pronounced 'eemi') and 'మాట్లాడుతున్నావు' (you are speaking, pronounced as 'maatlaadutunnavu) merge to form 'ఏమ్మాట్లాడుతున్నావు' ('eemmaatlaadutunnavu). NOTE: Although it sounds like an absolute mess when the words are romanized, the language isn't nearly as horrible.

... 4. There are many, many dialects which are all mutually intelligible, and speakers of any such dialect can understand the గ్రాంధిక భాష (textual language, which is what I aim to teach in the prospect of a course made possible on Duo).

... 5. There is no usage of ideograms as in the case of Japanese (Kanji) or Chinese, which denote different sounds when a part of different words, and almost any word that is spoken, or sound that is made can be written without any omission, with a few exceptions such as the 'a' sound (for example, in 'bat') or the 'o' in 'box', which are denoted by a long 'a' (as in 'bark') and 'o' as in 'boat' respectively. No other phonetic problems will be encountered in the learning process.

... The script, like I mentioned before, is a tiny bit hard to learn, because of many letter variants and letter-modifications, but once learned, the language can be learned entirely through conversation.

... Thank you very much for reading through this long post. This is my sincere effort to help save a language that has been around for millennia, and has been an influential one all along. I hope I can help make a course on Duolingo for learning తెలుగు. Thanks!!

November 14, 2017

31 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OmegaGmaster

నమస్కారమండీ! I love the Telugu languge, and fully support a Duolingo course on it. However, to support Telugu, you must upvote this thread. You should put this link into your thread and ask users to upvote it. Thanks!

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChivalrousKnight

Funnily enough, I was the one that made that post as well with another account I used to have a few years ago.

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OmegaGmaster

Oh wow. I don't know what to say now!

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Multi0Lingual4

Telugu is already in the incubator here: https://www.duolingo.com/courses/te. If you are fluent in both, I hope you can apply. Both contributors have left.

You can apply here: https://incubator.duolingo.com/apply

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OmegaGmaster

Yes, please apply for English for Telugu speakers. You could revive the course that's been dead for over a year, and possibly end up contributing for the reverse course once it's released.

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/QuadraticLingual

Or just do the reverse course first. That would help save the language.

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OmegaGmaster

Well, English for Telugu is open already, so we might as well finish that first.

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizsue

English for Telugu speakers is in Phase 1, and after it reaches Phase 3 there's a good chance that Duolingo will put Telugu for English speakers in Phase 1. :)

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/OmegaGmaster

It's been inactive for over a year. ???

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lizsue

Yes, unfortunately it doesn't seem to be anywhere near Phase 3 yet. :/

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/forest_breeze_17

The problem with English for Telugu speakers is that it will change all text an The website to Telugu. If someone is trying to learn Telugu, they will not understand anything. That is my opinion.

November 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Thomas_Wesley

A well-written post, but you might want to consider breaking up what you've written into paragraphs.

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChivalrousKnight

Hitting enter after every point apparently didn't work. Will try something different the next time I make a post. Thank you!

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Multi0Lingual4

I think you have to hit enter twice. :P

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaRiff

You have to hit the space bar twice before hitting enter.

November 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChivalrousKnight

That worked; thank you!!

November 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zerr_

I fully support a Telugu course, but I don't understand why you think it's in any particular danger - 90 million speakers is about as far away from endangered as you can get.

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/forest_breeze_17

Well as he/she stated, it is being replaced with English stuff so we should save the original language while we can.

November 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChivalrousKnight

My calling the Telugu language 'vulnerable' might seem a bit exaggerated, but from what I've seen, people who can speak Telugu really well, understand the grammar rules and make little or no errors are nonetheless looked down upon if their English is bad. This has been driving people away from the language entirely, and if this keeps up for some time, the language would 'technically' be alive, but nobody would speak it. Like I said before, more than half of the words in a typical Telugu sentence are English words, at least from what I've observed.

November 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zerr_

That's just borrowing between languages. It happens all the time - more than half the words in an English sentence are from French or Latin, and yet English is much more than "technically" alive.

Telugu is in no danger. Don't worry about it. :)

November 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChivalrousKnight

But the difference between what happened to (old) English and what is happening to Telugu, is the fact that people are also leaving behind the grammar structure that is unique to Telugu and not just integrating foreign words into the language itself. Yes; our language has been heavily influenced in the past by Sanskrit, then later Hindi and Urdu, and yet, what counts as 'the Telugu language' still exists. I fear that this won't remain the same.

November 16, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piguy3

Well, English did once have an active case system ;)

November 17, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Captain_Duo

I greatly support this!! the language sounds and looks interesting!!!

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChivalrousKnight

Thank you!

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DreamOfFlying

I'm all for it. All though I have to admit I've never heard about this language before I still think it's a great idea because the more languages Duo has, the better.
P.s Unrelated fact, but I like your profile pic ;)

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChivalrousKnight

Thank you! (You probably know, but it's fan-art of Saber from Fate:Stay Night).

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Dcarl1

I love Telugu, and have seen a number of Telugu films. I also support what OmegaGmaster says here about upvoting, and offering to be a contributor. It’s a beautiful language!

But languages do change and evolve. And English will affect other languages rather strongly at this point in time (as the French, who have “le weekend” can tell you). English Itself is a muddled mix of Germanic, Norman French, and many other influences that has strayed far from its roots. You can’t prevent a language changing.

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/81cheney

Has the government done anything to save Telugu? You know, it's been called the Italian of the East, because many of its words end in vowels just like Italian. Anyway, I hope a course is made! Good luck!

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChivalrousKnight

The government of both Telugu-speaking states is hell-bent on making money and cares a damn about saving the culture or the language. By 'We want to preserve Telugu culture', they are actually only talking about the Hindu parts of the culture. It's a bit unfortunate, but I can't help it.

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/QuadraticLingual

I'm going to sound like a complete moron, but I'm going to try to explain.

The problem isn't that there are less native speakers, it's that English is replacing the language. As you said yourself, "more and more vocabulary from English is replacing native words."

I'm not saying your idea is a bad one (in fact, I support this idea). It's that the main problem lies in the fact that those native speakers are having their language replaced with English.

November 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChivalrousKnight

It is less of a 'oh, I'm using English words because the Telugu counterparts don't fit well in the context' and more of a social status here. People find English-speakers 'posh', etc. You know how languages-of-the-elite work, right?

November 14, 2017
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