Andhra Pradesh: languages and Dialects


The main languages spoken in Andhra Pradesh are Telugu, Urdu, Hindi, Banjara, and English followed by Tamil, Kannada, Marathi and Oriya. Telugu is the principal and official language of the State.


Telugu is the most widely spoken language of the Dravidian family 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. According to the 1981* Census, Telugu is spoken by over 45 million in Andhra Pradesh. It has also spread to the other parts of the globe, i.e., Burma, Indo-China, South-Africa and the U.S.A. Being a mellifluous language, it is called, by its admirers as the `Italian of the East’.

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 but they did not gain much currency.

With the advent of the Muslim rule, several Persian and Arabic words entered into the Telugu language. But they were confined to the spoken language and to the language of the judiciary and the executive. The influence of Persian and Arabic is discernible to a considerable extent in the languages spoken in Telangana due to its long association with the Muslim rule. There is also a great element of English words in the vocabulary of Coastal Andhra and Rayala


Urdu, another important language of the State and spoken by the Muslims is Indian in origin. Though many words in it found their way from the Arabic and Persian, it has always been true to the idiom of the western Hindi dialect. It was “the language of the Exalted Court” at Delhi in the Mughal period. It acquired the shortened name `Urdu’ and became the handmaid of the Persian culture in India.

Hindi speaking people, numbering 13,83,792, (7,10,313 males and 6,73,479 females) and forming about three per cent of the population, held the third place. None of the remaining languages was spoken by even 2 per cent of the population. Thus Tamil, Kannada and Marathi account for still smaller proportions. These individual languages, however, account for a fairly substantial proportion of speakers in some districts.

Koya language

Koya is the language spoken by a tribal community in Bhadrachalam in Khammam district; RampachodavaramEast Godavari districtKotaramachandrapuramWest Godavari district in Andhra PradeshKoya is a South-Central Dravidian language of the GondiKui group. It is sometimes described as a dialect of Gondi (spoken in Adilabad district in Telangana and in Gondwana region of Central India), but it is possibly mutually unintelligible with Gondi dialects.

Savara Language

Savara is a Dravidian language spoken by just over a million people in the Eastern Ghats of Srikakulam and Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh in India. It has no script of its own and is generally written in Telugu or English script.

The Savara Bhasha Sangham has been making efforts to promote the language. As a part of this, the Sangham has brought out a translation of Savara songs earlier published by Gidugu Ramamurthy Pantulu, the legendary scholar who championed the modern Telugu movement for colloquial usage and a pioneer in Munda linguistics.


The Jatapu are one of the major Scheduled Tribes in the India state of Orissa, AP mainly in the Srikalulam and Vizianagaram districts, and also in the Koraput and Ganjam districts. The Jatapu are part of the Khondas, who speak the Khond language in the hills and Telugu on the plains. They speak a dialect called ‘Kuvi ‘ according to the 1911 available Census Report of Madras, the Khondas and Jatapus are considered as synonymous.


Kolam is a Dravidian language spoken by about 200,000 people in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The language is also known as Kolami, Kolamboli, Kolamy, Kolmi or Kulme.

The Kolam call themselves ‘Kolvar’: ‘Kola’ means stick or bamboo in their language. Their name probably derives from their livelihood of making baskets, wattles and winnowing fans from bamboo.


Gadaba or Gutub is a Mundari language spoken by the Gadaba, a Scheduled Tribe living in the Agency Area of north coastal Andhra Pradesh. They call themselves ‘Mogililu’ or ‘Modililu’ in their own dialect in the Srikakulam District. The Gadaba were formerly employed as palanquin-bearers. The Gadaba are distributed in the Agency Area of Visakhapatnam, Vizanagaram and Srikakulam districts and in certain agency tracts of Koraput and Ganjam districts of Orissa.

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