Hyderabad: Telugu language lovers have reasons to cheer from the findings of the American Community Survey statistics released by the census bureau of the United States. Telugu is the 20th most spoken language in the US and is one of the five foreign languages mostly spoken at home by people living in that country.
This data was tabulated from 2012 to 2016. More than one-fifth of the total population, aged 5 years and above, speaks a language other than English at home. This number has increased to 21.1 per cent from the previous 20.3 per cent between 2007 and 2011. Of the Telugu natives in the US, nearly 3.2 lakh people prefer to speak Telugu at home. The highest concentration of the Telugu speakers lived in California followed by Texas and New Jersey.
Around 60 per cent also speak English “very well” and a large number of Telugu families fall in this category. Besides Telugu, other languages that are spoken at home include Punjabi, Bengali, Tamil and Haitian, according to the US agency. While just 10 million people speak various Asian languages at home, Spa-nish speakers are four times in number. Nearly 40 million Spanish speakers live in the US.
Hyderabad-based entrepreneur, Bharat Yadma, who lived in the US for 18 years before shifting to India, stated that the Indian families, including Telugu natives, prefer to speak in their mother tongue because of two reasons. “One reason is that parents want the kids to stay connected with their roots. The other reason is Telugu parents want their children to be well-versed with the language so that they won't face difficulties in getting jobs even if they relocate to the native place in future,” he said.
Prof. G.V.K. Reddy, HoD (civil) at Vardhman Engineering College, said that the number of people speaking Telugu at home in the US would continue to inc-rease due to availability of Telugu language trai-ning centres at temples in the US and access to Telugu satellite channels and movies.
“Many immigrants strive very hard to protect their unique identity by nurturing their mother tongue and culture. Parents go out of their way to teach their children the language and culture. Many parents send their children to weekend classes to learn Telugu language and classical dances like Bharatnatyam. Patronage for Telugu language by Telugu associations of North America is worth noting in this regard,” Mr.Reddy said.
He further said that Telugu families converse only in Telugu at get-togethers and celebrations. Katherine Hadda, US consul general in Hyderabad, also tweeted on the growing popularity of Telugu language in the US. US Census Bureau conducts the American Community Survey every four years and it is the only source of small area statistics for social, economic, housing and demographic characteristics....