The country, India is often referred to as a “museum of languages”. The reason behind this being that in India dwell a large number and variety of languages.
There are also various dialects spoken in India. There is huge diversity among all the languages existing in India. This is because of the vastness of the country. This vastness gives rise to various cultural as well as geographical differences.
Within this language family, two of the very common languages are Tamil and Telugu. Although they belong to the same language family, they have major differences between them.
Tamil vs Telugu
The main difference between Tamil and Telugu is that the Tamil language is the oldest languages among all the Dravidian languages in India. It is more than 2000 years old and is dated between 3 BC and 3 AD. On the other hand, the first inscription of the language Telugu was only in 575 AD.
Comparison Table Between Tamil and Telugu
|Parameter of Comparison||Tamil||Telugu|
|Origin||Its origin is dated between 3 BC and 3 AD.||Its origin is dated back to 575 AD.|
|Attributed to||It is attributed to Sangam literature||It is attributed to Renati Cholas.|
|Influenced by||The language is widely influenced by Sanskrit||The language is independent of the Sanskrit language and has adopted words from Greek, Urdu, Chinese, Marathi.|
|Script||There are 12 vowels and 18 consonants in this language.||There are 16 vowels and 41 consonants in this language.|
|Native of||The language is the official language of the state of Tamil Nadu.||The language is the official language of the state of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.|
What is Tamil?
Among the various languages existing in India, Tamil is one of the popular languages of India. It is the native language of Tamil Nadu and of the union territory of Puducherry.
The official language of Sri Lanka is also Tamil. Around the beginning of the 21st century, the number of Tamil speakers were more than 66 million people.
The origin of this language is centuries older than the Christian era. The origin date is between 3 BC and 3 AD.
The Tamil language is not just the most popular but is also considered the oldest among all the Dravidian language family. In 2004, the Government of India declared Tamil a classical language.
Tamil is the only language in the Dravidian family that has been given the status of a classical language. This implies that Tamil meets all the criteria for being considered a classical language- the origin of it is ancient, its tradition is independent and it has an adequate amount of ancient literature.
Also, the first Indian language that has been printed and published has also been Tamil.
The amazing part about this language is that this language is still widely popular and spoken by a lot many people. This is not the case with other ancient languages like Sanskrit and Aramaic.
What is Telugu?
Telugu is another very popular Dravidian language which stands shoulder to shoulder with Hindi and Bengali in regards to the very few languages that have a primary official status in not just one Indian state. It is the official language of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
This language is also highly popular and spoken by people living in the states of Odisha, Kerala, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh and Andaman and the Nicobar Islands.
Around the beginning of the 21st century, the number of Telugu speakers were more than 75 million people. According to the 2011 census, there were 82 million people who spoke Telugu as their native language.
In India, Telugu occupies the fourth position in terms of the language with the highest number of native speakers. Also, Telugu is one of the most rapidly growing languages in the United States.
The script of Telugu comes from the Calukya dynasty of the 6th century. It is related to the Kannada language. Telugu is known to be a very sweet language, which is why this language is nicknamed as the “Italian of the East”.
Main Differences Between Tamil and Telugu
- Tamil is one of the oldest Dravidian languages with its origin being dated between 3 BC and 3 AD whereas Telugu came into existence in 575 AD.
- Tamil is the official language of the state of Tamil Nadu whereas Telugu is the official language of the state of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
- Tamil is said to be influenced by the Sanskrit language to a great deal while on the other hand, Telugu is independent of the Sanskrit language and has adopted words from Greek, Urdu, Chinese, Marathi.
- In Tamil, there are 12 vowels and 18 consonants whereas in Telugu there are 16 vowels and 41 consonants.
- According to the 2011 census, there were more than 75 million native speakers of Tamil whereas there were 82 million native speakers of Telugu.
India is a vast country, full of diversity. This has given rise to numerous languages all across the country. All the languages in India have originated from some great languages of the past, in some way or the other.
The Dravidian language family is spoken by 22% of the Indians. Both Tamil and Telugu language are a part of this family and are primarily spoken in the southern part of India.
Both these languages are a native language of different states.
Basically, the only thing common in them is that they are a part of the same language family. Other than that, both these languages are quite different from each other and as unique in their own way. The scripts of these languages are also quite different from each other.