Pronunciation and Phonetics

Learning proper pronunciation can be done without much knowledge of phonetics, actually. A basic knowledge, however, helps to make pronunciation clearer and thus facilitates the process of learning how to speak a foreign language properly.

eAmbalam introduces a phonetic chart which is based on Dhevanagari script. The sounds of vowels and consonants and other speech sounds in Sanskrit and the languages which have completely or mostly borrowed from it can be covered with the help of the chart. A few other sounds common to some languages in this group and outside are also put in. Unique sounds of some languages are specified too.

Diacritical marks are used to aid perfect pronunciation. World over, these marks have been created and propagated by scholars to make understanding of the differences in speech sounds in different languages better. Team eAmbalam also has created a phonetic chart which helps even first timers to pronounce words accurately.

Our Phonetic chart is unique, comprehensive, learner friendly and is divided into four columns wherein:
  • In the first column, the letter is written with the associated diacritical mark.
  • In the second column, an example is given in Dhevanagari language containing the letter.
  • In the third column, an example is given in English, which contains the sound closes to the letter or instructions in few cases, to facilitate better understanding.
  • In the fourth column, an audio button is placed with the help of which you can hear the actual pronunciation of the letter.
An open minded approach with the above introduction and guidelines will definitely enable the user to understand the speech sounds of any language and pronounce it like a native, which is eAmbalam’s aim in this exercise.

Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
A or a Aḍavu Arise
Ā or ā Ānanda Vast
I or i Indhira Sing
Ī or ī Īśha Meal
U or u U ṣhā Good
Ū or ū Ū rdhhva Boost
R or r Riṣh i Try
Ṛ or ṛ Ni ṛ uti Grr!
Lr or lr   Pronounce L and R together.
E or e Eka Ate
AI or ai Aikya Sight
O or o Ojas Robe
AU or au Audh ā rya Now
A M or am Śhiva m Drum
A HA or aha R ā ma ha Aha!
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English

Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English
KA or ka Kavi Car
KHA or kha Khalu Mark -Him
GA or ga Gamana Gut
GHA or gha Ghata Ugh!
Ṅ A or ṅa Tura ṅ ga Ring
CHA or ca Chakra Chart
CHHA or cha Chhandas Branch
JA or ja Jagath Jug
JHA or jha Jhallari Fudge
NYA or nya Gnyana Knew
Ṭ A or ṭ Ṭ anka Top
ṬHA or ṭha Pāṭha Pothole
ḌA or da Ḍ amaruka Dog
Ḍ HA or ḍ ha Mūḍ ha Madhouse
Ṇ A or ṇ a Ga ṇ a Wander
THA or tha Thanu Health
THHA or thha Athha Theater
DHA or dha Dha śha This
DHHA or dhha Dhhana m Dha with an additional H sound
NA or na Namask ā raha Nut
PA or pa   Path ā ka Past
PHA or pha Phala m P with a H sound
BA or ba Bandhhu Ball
BHA or bha Bhadra Abhor
MA or ma Manas Money
YA or ya Yama Yummy
RA or ra Rajas Rub
LA or la Lath ā Lust
VA or WA, va /wa A śh va or A śhwa Water/Valour
ŚHA or śha Śhakthi Shutter
ṢHA or ṣ ha Ṣh a ṇ mukha Shunt
SA or sa Sarasvatī Sun
HA or ha Hari Hum
Ḷ A or ḷ a Ar āḷ a Bold
KṢHA or k ṣ ha Ak ṣh i Try to pronounce Ka, Sa & Ha – all at one time.
Extra Vowels in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada & Malayalam Scripts    
É or é Éṇi Angel
Ō or ō Ō m Ō M
ZHA Exclusive to Tamil & Malayalam Fold the tip of your tongue backwards and try to pronounce it with the aid of the audio button.
Syllable Usage in Sanskrit Usage in English


Spoken Telugu Guide


Telugu belongs to the Dravidian family of languages. South Indian languages except Konkaṇi are Dhraviḍian. Most people who speak the languages belonging to this family now live in southern India. However, pockets of people belonging to this group also live in several other parts of the world, e.g., Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Central Asia.

Language History :

Thelugu, which recently got classical language status, has a 4,000-year old history. Thelugu derived from 'Thrikaliṅga.' Later it became 'Thenugu' and people in the Deccan plateau used to call it as 'Thelaṅga' and now it has become 'Thelugu'. In fact, historians found a word 'Thelaṅgāna' near Jīḍimeṭla (earlier Jīḍimaṭṭa) of Haidherābād city on stone inscriptions dating back to 13-14 AD. Interestingly, the original pronouncement of 'Thelugu' is Thel and Agu. Thel means 'south corner’.

The word 'Thelaṅga' is also used in Mahābhāratha time, Aṅga Dheśham was famous for female elephants. Aṅga means a female elephant. These elephants ate only 'Thala' trees. So these elephants were referred to as 'Thala Aṅgaḍulu' and later became Thala Aṅga then Thalaṅga and now Thelugu. During King Hariṣhchandra's regime, the Thelugu language come into limelight.


Thelugu words generally end in vowels. Thelugu features a form of vowel harmony wherein the second vowel in disyllabic noun and adjective roots alters whether the first vowel is tense or lax. Thelugu words also have vowels in inflectional suffixes harmonized with the vowels of the preceding syllable. Thelugu has three genders: masculine, feminine, and neutral.

Thelugu Scripts

The Thelugu alphabet is called Onamalu. The Thelugu alphabet consists of 60 symbols - 16 vowels, 3 vowel modifiers, and 41 consonants. Samskruth and Thelugu alphabets are similar and exhibit one-one correspondence. Thelugu has complete set of letters which follows scientific system to express sounds.  Some of them are introduced to express fine shades of difference in sounds. Thelugu script can reproduce the full range of Sanskrit phonetics without losing any of the text's originality.  Thelugu has made its letters expressive of all the sounds and hence it has to deal with significant borrowings from Sanskrit,  Thamizh and  Hindusthāni .

It had a well-developed script. An example of the character set used by this script is given below. There are more than four hundred symbols in this script. It is highly likely that these symbols are a mixture of hieroglyphs, ideograms, syllabic graphs and other such patterns. So far, the available examples of the script consist of very short phrases or sentences comprised of 5 to 26 characters.

The ancient predecessor to Thelugu and other Dhraviḍian languages had a script as depicted in the Indus seals. In spite of several imaginative attempts, this script remains un-deciphered.

Link/relation with other languages

The southern sub family gave rise to Thamizh, Kannada, Malayāḷam, Koḍagu and Thuḷu as well as some other non-literate tribal languages. The monumental Linguistic Survey of India (pub. 1906) carried out more than a century ago lists many of these languages. A more recent classification, a list of over 70 languages in the Dhraviḍian family and some relevant statistics can be found at the ethnologic site. Further research may reveal that some of these languages are actually dialects of other languages. Conversely, more languages may be re-classified from existing regional variants.

Thelugu in History

It is more or less certain that the Indus seals (hieroglyphic or not) found in the remains of Mohenjodhāro and Harappa represent the proto-Dhraviḍian language. Geographically the range of this language extended from the Sindhhu river all the way up to the borders of Gaṅgā-Yamunā doab spreading over the Saraswathi river basin in Pakistan and India. It flourished for well over a 1000 years from around 3000 BCE. In a recent  discovery  (May 1999), researchers unearthed at Harappa, what seems to be the earliest known writing in the world -dating from 3500 BCE.

The arrival of Aryan tribes into the sub-continent might have triggered this in some fashion. The Sumerian and other Mesopotamian cultures had thriving socio-political systems supported by rigorous record keeping. The Nandha kings (and Mauryan emperors who succeeded them) at Pāṭaliputhra adopted a script inspired by it for all their official communications. From this developed the Brāhmi script and eventually the modern day Dhevanāgari.

The Āndhra (Śhāthavāhana) dynasty introduced the Brāhmi script to the present day Kannada and Thelugu regions. The earliest inscriptions found in the Tamil land belong to more or less the same period. A number of early Śhāthavahana coins and other remains were found in Tamil Nadu. It is therefore reasonable to assume that Śhāthavahana introduced the script to the Thamizh country also. The Śhāthavahanas were, for some time, vassals of the Mauryan Empire. Mauryan Emperor Aśhoka the great (reign: 269-232 BCE) and the rise of Buddhism played stellar roles in championing this spread of writing. Thus, Thelugu and all the other south Indian languages had developed from the proto-Dhraviḍian language of the Indus valley while their scripts descended from the Brāhmi.


  • Dravidian, Telugu, Telanga, Tenugu
  • Anga desam, Telangana, Jeedimetla, Hyderabad
  • Onamalu, Sanskrit, Tamil, Hindustani
  • Indus, Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, Ganga, Yamuna , Swaraswati
  • Nanda, Maurya, Pataliputra, Satavahana,


English Telugu
Hello Namaskaaramu
How are you? Meeru bhaaga unnaara?
I am fine, Thank you! Nenu bhaaga unnaanu, Dhanyavaadhamu !
My name is …………….. Naa peru
What is your name? Nee peru emi?
  Mee peru emi? (Peer/Younger/Casual)
Where is the bus stand? Bus stand ekkada undhi?
How far is the railway station? Railway station entha dhooranga undhi?
Where is the airport located? Vimaanaashrayam ekkada undhi?
How much does this item (any item) cost? Ii vasthu dhara emiti?
Where is the medical shop? Mandhulu shop ekkada undhi?
Which is a good hotel in this area? Ii praanthamlo manchi hotel edhi?
What is the minimum fare in an auto/taxi? Auto/Taxi kanishta chargila ante emiti? (you may use “ minimum” which is in vogue instead of kanishta)
How far is a shopping mall from here? Ikkada nunchi oka shopping maal entha dhooranga undhi?
Do you know music or dance? Meeku sangeetham ledha nruthyam thelisa?
How? Ela?
What? Em?
Why? Endhuku?
Where? Ekkada?
When? Eppudu?
Thank you! Dhanyavaadhamu!


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