Hyderabad: Telugu is the most spoken among the Dravidian language family. It is primarily spoken in southeastern India and is the official language of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Telugu originated from the Proto-Dravidian language and it belongs to the Central Dravidian language subfamily, whose members originated from the Proto-Dravidian spoken in the central part of the Deccan plateau.
Recently, a picture showing the Telugu alphabets with a claim that Telugu has been voted as the 2nd best script of the world by the International Alphabet Association is going viral. NewsMeter got a request to debunk this claim on Twitter.
The claim that Telugu script has been ranked second best in the world by the International Alphabet Association is TRUE.
When searched with the keywords 'International Alphabet Association Telugu', it fetched many results confirming that Telugu was indeed ranked second-best script in the world at the World Alphabet Olympics conducted by the International Alphabet Association, but this event took place in 2012 and is NOT recent.
The viral image shared above has been circulated online for several years.
According to a blog by ITSCA (Indian Telugu Civil Servants Association), World Alphabet Olympics is an event that selects the most distinguished alphabet among all the writing systems created or modified in the world.
In October 2009, 16 nations with their original alphabets gathered to evaluate which set of letters was the most outstanding. It was the world's first competition to discern which alphabet was the best. It was organized by scholars from the private sector as fairness can be compromised when governments are involved.
In this event conducted between October 1 and October 4, 2012, Hangeul has won the gold medal while South India's Telugu and the English alphabet stood in the second and third positions respectively.
Here is the newspaper excerpt from those dates:
This news was also published on some of the Korean media websites.
This fact is also mentioned in the Language Log published by the University of Pennsylvania on October 16, 2012.
Though we were not able to find more details about World Alphabet Olympics conducted after 2012, the news that Telugu was selected as the second-best script in the World Alphabet Olympics, 2012, held in Bangkok, Thailand is TRUE. Korean script Hangeul ranked first while English ranked third.
When we searched for the website of the International Alphabet Association, we were redirected to the website https://www.internationalphoneticassociation.org/, where we could not find any further details.
Therefore, the claim that Telugu has been selected as the second-best script in the world by the International Alphabet Association is TRUE, but it is NOT recent and the event happened in 2012.