Telugu/Alphabet and Pronunciation/Introduction to vowels

The English language has 5 basic vowels: a e i o u. Telugu, on the other hand, appears to have a bigger number of them at first glance, but in fact they are simply a combination of those 5 basics sounds we have in the European languages, and notably here, in English. As with other Indian languages in the Sanskritic tradition (or Indo-Aryan and Dravidian languages), the ordering of the alphabet is virtually the same same except for a few changes and additions in letters. And as with the other major Dravidian languages, the Telugu vowel set adds short /e/ and /o/ in addition to the long /eː/ and /oː/ of the Indo-Aryan languages.

Telugu has often been called the Italian of the East due to the fact that all words end in a vowel, similar to the Italian language. This brings us to the next piece of information: Telugu is an abugida, meaning that sequences of consonants and vowels are written as a unit. More than often, we will be writing the vowels in their half-forms, ie. combined with consonants.

అ ఆ ఇ ఈ ఉ ఊ ఋ ౠ ఌ ౡ ఎ ఏ ఐ ఒ ఓ ఔ అం అః

Telugu has 18 vowels of which 3 are virtually phased out and hence do not have transliterations. The rhotics ఋ and ౠ (originally /r/ and /rː/), like the liquids ఌ and ౡ (originally /l/ and /lː/) have now turned into the syllables /ru/, /ruː/, /lu/, /luː/ respectively. They are fast going out of currency and are no longer included in the standard Telugu school textbooks issued by the government of Andhra Pradesh, which now prefers the actual consonants with a /u/ appended (e.g. /ruʃɪ/ (monk) used to be written ఋషి but nowadays, రుషి is preferred). for a quick glance, you could check the following page: