Identification. Speakers of the Telugu language inhabit Andhra Pradesh State in south India as well as border areas of the neighboring states of Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. There are also substantial numbers of Telugu speakers in the interior of Tamil Nadu, especially in the central and northern regions. In addition there are small Telugu communities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and countries formerly part of the British Empire—Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Mauritius, Singapore, and South Africa.
Location. Andhra Pradesh is located in tropical latitudes (between 12° and 19° N and 76° and 86° E) similar to mainland Southeast Asia or southern Mexico. Important features of the land include a palmyra-dotted coastal plain extending 960 kilometers along the Bay of Bengal, lush deltas of the Godavari and Krishna rivers, a strip of forested hill country paralleling the coast, and a rolling upland plain strewn with eroded rocky outcrops. The major rainfall is supplied by the southwest monsoon, its winds prevailing between June and September.
Demography. In 1981 the population of Andhra Pradesh was 53,550,000, with an average density of 195 persons per square kilometer and a decennial growth rate of 23.1 percent. The population is mainly Hindu (87 percent) but with Important Muslim and Christian minorities (8 and 4 percent, respectively).
Linguistic Affiliation. The Telugu language is a member of the Dravidian Language Family concentrated in the south of the Indian peninsula. Other related major languages are Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam. Telugu possesses its own distinctive, curvilinear alphabet and a voluminous and venerable literary tradition. It is also the primary language of South Indian classical music.