The main languages that are spoken by people
of Andhra Pradesh are Telugu, Hindi,
Banjara, Urdu and English. Telugu is the official language of Andhra
Pradesh. It has been has been influenced by Sanskrit. It was also referred
to as `Tenugu' in the past. `Andhra' is the name given to it since the
medieval times. C.P. Brown describes it as the " Italian of the East ".
A Dravidian Family Language
Andhra society is one of the ancient societies of India. One can encounter several tales about Andhras in epics like 'Mahabharat' and 'Ramayan', in great puranas, and Budhdhist 'Jataka' Tales. Telugu belongs to the family of Dravidian languages, which consists of 24 languages spanning the entire South-Asia, from Baluchistan to Sri Lanka.
In terms of population, Telugu ranks second to Hindi among the Indian languages. The most popular explanation that is given to the word Telugu is that it comes from the word "Trilinga", i.e. from the three temples at 'Srisailam', 'Drakasharamam', and 'Kaleshwaram'. Telugu has a close resemblance with Tamil, Kannada, and Tulu.
The Telugu alphabet is called "Onamaalu". Its vocabulary is very much influenced by Sanskrit. In the course of time, some Sanskrit expressions used in Telugu got so naturalised that people regarded them as pure Telugu words. Some Kannada and Tamil words were also taken into Telugu. The prominent poets of Telugu include Nannaya, Tikkana, Sri Krishna Devarayulu and a host of others.
With the advent of the Muslim rule, several Persian and Arabic words entered into the Telugu language. Urdu is another language that came to the Deccan, late in the 15th century. It flourished during the reign of the Qutubshahi Dynasty. The 17th century was the golden age of Urdu, with poets like Mohammed Quli, Mulla Wajhi, and Sheikh Ahmed contributing their literary pieces. This confirms the ancient nature of Andhra society.