Telugu (English: /ˈtɛlʊɡuː/;[4] తెలుగు [t̪el̪uɡu]) is a Dravidian language native to India. It stands alongside Hindi, English and Bengali as one of the few languages with official status in more than one Indian state;[5] Telugu is the primary language in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and in the town of Yanam, Puducherry, and is also spoken by significant minorities in Karnataka (8.81%), Tamil Nadu (8.63%), Maharashtra (1.4%), Chhattisgarh (1%), Odisha (1.9%), the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (12.9%), and by the Sri Lankan Gypsy people. It is one of six languages designated a classical language of Indiaby the Government of India.[6][7]
Telugu ranks third by the number of native speakers in India (74 million, 2001 census),[8]fifteenth in the Ethnologue list of most-spoken languages worldwide[9] and is the most widely spoken Dravidian language in the world. It is one of the twenty-two scheduled languages of the Republic of India.[10] Approximately 10,000 pre-colonial inscriptions exist in the Telugu language.[11]