We see why so many speech-language pathologists are in need of information about Telugu speech and language development. Did you know that there are more than 250,000 Telugu speakers in the United States.
- Number of speakers: There are approximately 74 million native speakers of Telugu. It is the third most spoken language in India and the fifteenth most spoken language worldwide.
- Writing system: Telugu script comes from the Brahmic family of scripts.
- Language Family: Telugu is a Dravidian language native to southeastern India.
- Official language in: Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Yanam, Puducherry in India
The Sound Systems of Telugu and English
If you’ve read our book, Difference or Disorder: Understanding Speech and Language Development in Children from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds, then you already know that we need to understand the similarities and differences between the sounds of languages before we can make a decision about whether a speech error is a language influence error or whether it might indicate a speech impairment. So, take a look at the Venn diagrams below for information about the consonants and the vowels in Telugu and English.
Assume we are testing a child from an Telugu background who is learning English as a second language.
If errors occur on the sounds that are unique to English, that is indicative of language influence.
If errors occur on the sounds unique to Telugu or the sounds shared between Igbo and English, that is indicative of a speech impairment.
It’s more complex than that, obviously, but that’s a good place to start. Then we need to think about the order of acquisition of the sounds in development, and of course the phonotactic constraints. For more information on all of that, check out the Difference or Disorder book.
Telugu Speech and Language Development
Telugu and English Consonant Phonemes
Telugu and English Vowel Phonemes
Phonological Patterns in Telugu
|Patterns of Native Language Influence:||Example/description of possible errors:|
|Telugu has a vowel harmony in 2-syllable words in which the first vowel dictates what type of vowel will come next.||Second syllable vowel errors might be influenced by this harmony|
|Telugu words generally end in vowels. Words can end in m, n, y, w||Final consonants might be omitted or substituted for an allowable Telugu final consonant|
|Word stress is usually placed on the last or second-to-last syllable||Stress could be switched for multisyllabic words with stress on the initial syllable (e.g. butterFLY for BUTterfly|
|There are many Telugu consonants that are similar to English but are produced as dentalized and/or aspirated.||These patterns may influence productions of English stop consonants|
|Half of the Telugu vowels are longer than English vowels||Vowel sounds might be produced as longer vowels than is typical in English|
CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS FOR LANGUAGE: Telugu and English
|Feature||Telugu||English||Examples of Errors|
|Word Order||Subject-object-verb||Usually subject-verb object||Bill to the store goes.*|
|Gender||Telugu marks nouns for gender using masculine, feminine, or neuter inflections.||There are no gender inflections for nouns in English.|
Inflections might be carried over into English.
|Plurality||Marked with an inflectional suffix||Usually marked with the inflectional suffix /s/ or /z/||None expected|
Note: Sentences marked with an asterisk (*) are not grammatical.
Thank you for all the great feedback for all the languages you are requesting information on! We have published posts or are working on: Albanian, Amharic, Cambodian, Cantonese, Flemish / Dutch, Filipino/Tagalog, Hmong, Igbo, Karen, Kinyarwanda (ever heard of that one?), Portuguese, Romanian, Somali, Thai, Turkish, and Urdu/Hindi. For those not familiar with our current book, we’ve already compared and contrasted English with Spanish, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Korean, German, Czech, Japanese, Farsi, Mandarin, French, Russian, Arabic, and the African-American English dialect.
If there are other languages you would like to see, please let us know with your comments below!