Telugu is the fastest growing language in the US, says a study by an American think tank. It has doubled in the last eight years, vying for a slot among the top ten languages soon.
The number of US residents speaking Telugu rose by 86 per cent between 2010 and 2017, revealed an online video of the World Economic Forum.
But Telugu, the fourth most spoken language in India, is still outside the top 20 of the most widely-spoken languages other than English in the US, reports the BBC, which hosts an exclusive news website and TV program in Telugu owing to its overwhelming presence in many pockets of the US and Europe.
The video referred to a study by the US-based Centre for Immigration, which analysed census data to look at the pace at which languages were being spoken in America.
The study on languages spoken in the US used data from the American Community Survey and compared the number of people who said they spoke a language other than English at home in 2010 and 2017, the BBC said.
Last year there were more than 400,000 Telugu speakers in the US -- nearly double the number in 2010. Out of the top 10 fastest-growing languages in America, seven are from South Asia.
The rise of Telugu was connected to the links forged between Hyderabad and the US engineering and technology industries, Prasad Kunisetty, founder of the Telugu People Foundation, a non-profit organisation in the US, was quoted as saying.
The rapid growth of IT in the mid-1990s led to a huge demand for software engineers, he said.
Many were recruited from Hyderabad, which sends students to the US in large numbers.
Down the years, Telugu-speaking Americans have continued to hire software engineers from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the BBC said.
Notable US-based Telugu speakers include the first Indian-American Miss America Nina Davuluri and the current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. In February, a Telugu language character began to crash iPhones across the world, when sent as an iMessage or even if just inserted in a text field can make user's iPhone unusable. The character also affected macOS, tvOS 11 and watchOS, forcing apple rush for a fix soon.
Of the more than 60 million people that speak a language other than English out of the total population of about 320 million, the vast majority speak Spanish.
Out of the most commonly spoken South Asian languages, Hindi is first, followed by Urdu, Gujarati and then Telugu.
As per the 2016 American Community Survey of the US Census Bureau, the languages spoken at home by the most people older than five years of age are:
- English only – 229.7 million
- Spanish – 40.5 million
- Chinese – 3.4 million
- Tagalog (including Filipino) – 1.7 million
- Vietnamese – 1.5 million
- Arabic – 1.2 million
- French – 1.2 million
- Korean – 1.1 million
- Russian – 0.91 million
- German – 0.91 million
- Haitian Creole – 0.86 million
- Hindi – 0.81 million
- Portuguese – 0.77 million
- Italian – 0.58 million
- Polish – 0.54 million
- Urdu – 0.47 million
- Japanese – 0.46 million
- Persian (including Farsi and Dari) – 0.44 million
- Gujarati – 0.41 million
- Telugu – 0.37 million
- Bengali – 0.32 million
- Tai–Kadai (including Thai and Lao) – 0.31 million
- Greek – 0.29 million
- Punjabi – 0.29 million
- Tamil – 0.27 million.
(With inputes from IANS)