Old Telugu

Authored by: P. Ramanarasimham

The Dravidian Languages

Print publication date:  December  1997
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415100236
eBook ISBN: 9780203424353
Adobe ISBN: 9781136911644


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Old Telugu belongs to the South-Central branch of the Dravidian languages. All the languages of this subgroup underwent the phonological change of metathesis or apical displacement whereby certain resonants and sonants which in Proto-Dravidian (PDr) occurred only in the offset of a syllable now appear in the onset. The PDr verb *varay ‘sketch, draw, write’ becomes varai ‘id.’ in Tamil, but becomes first vr?yu ‘id.’ then r?yu ‘id.’ in Telugu. While the six non-literary languages of this subgroup have contrastive vowel length only in initial syllables, Telugu words may have contrastive length in any syllable. Of the seven languages of this subgroup, it is the only one with a written literary tradition. Old Telugu and Gon?i retain serial verb constructions in the negative, while the other languages, including Modern Telugu, have lost them.

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