FRS 003-001   CRN# ???               1 Unit

Learn a Foreign Language: Learn Telugu and Its Culture

Fall Quarter, 2006

Department of Applied Science, UC Davis


Room: 230 Walker Hall

Time: Tu        hours: 11.00 to 11.50 AM

Instructor: Prof. Rao Vemuri
Office hours:  TBD (The best way is to catch me after the class)
Office: TBA

Phone: (925) 422-9761 (Livermore)

Contacting Me: You can send a message via E-mail. While sending messages to me, please use "Freshman Seminar" in the subject line to help me see it quickly!

I come to Davis only on Tu and Th. Normally, I arrive at 11.00 AM and leave at about 4.30 PM after the class.  

Course Goals

Some goals we expect you to achieve:

  •   Learn about Language Families of the World and the place of Telugu in this family.
  •   Develop an "ear" for Telugu: i. e., an ability to recognize and identify Telugu by listening to conversations and recognize Telugu script and differentiate it from other Indian language scripts
  •   Learn about the similarities and differences between languages (at least between English, Telugu and other Indian languages)
  •   Recognize the relationship between Telugu - Sanskrit; Sanskrit –Greek/Latin and Greek/Latin-English
  •   Develop an ability to read and write Telugu via Roman transliteration
  •   Develop an ability to read and write simple Telugu words written in Roman script
  •   Introduction to Indian culture via a reading of English translations of Indian epics
    1.   Develop an appreciation for the relation between a language and a culture
    2.   Develop an understanding of the literary wealth of India in all its multitudes of languages.

As an experiment, we will try first to bypass the learning of Telugu alphabet and try to learn the language directly using Roman (that is, English) alphabet.

There are no examinations. But there will be homework assignments. Some homework assignments might involve writing brief one-page reports on what you read.

Reference books on Indian Epics: There are many books that can be used to supplement the lectures. Here are three recommended books. These books are inexpensive paperback editions and can be obtained from Each of you should get at least one of these books and read them. (These paperback editions are available for about $20.00). That is the only way you get a real good feel of Indian culture.

1.      William Buck, Mahabharata, New American Library, 1633 Broadway, New York , NY, 1973, ISBN 79-87933

2.      Chakravarti V. Narasimhan, The Mahabharata, Columbia University Press, 1997

3.      R. K. Narayan, The Ramayana, Vision Books, Vision Books, New Delhi, 1987, ISBN 81-7094-303-5

4.      R. K. Narayan, The Mahabharata, Vision Books, Vision Books, New Delhi, 1987, ISBN 81-7094-304-3

Course Outline and Notes. 

This was prepared for a 2-credit course. This time, we are offering this as a one-credit course. So we will have time to cover only half as much.

Homework 1

Homework 2

About the Class and Grading Policy

We meet two times a week, 50 minutes per session.

I intend to conduct this class as an "interactive and hands-on" class.

Your classroom participation is essential. You cannot sit passive.

I intend to use the following criteria in evaluating you and assigning a letter grade.

1.     It is possible that ALL of you can earn a A grade; but you have to earn it. I am not afraid to give B's and C's also.

2.     I will take attendance in each class. You can miss up to a maximum of two classes without incurring a penalty. Any more absences will affect your grade.

3.     I expect you to devote at least 2 hours each week doing the homework assignments. Each assignment must be submitted in the class on the assigned date (Usually you will get one week to do your assignment.)

4.     In about half of the assignments, you will be learning to read and write Telugu and in the other half you will be learning about Indian culture through an exposure to its literature. You may be asked to read English translations of relevant works.

Grading and Criteria for Evaluating Your Performance

1.     Regular attendance. You can miss at most two classes without a penalty. After that, you will lose 5% off the total grade per missed class.

2.     Regular class participation. The participation will be measured as follows.

a.      Excellent. Makes outstanding contributions to class discussions. Reads all "reading assignments" and more – proactively. Asks insightful questions. Actively collaborates with other students in the learning process.

b.     Good. Makes contributions to class discussions. Reads all "reading assignments." Asks questions. Collaborates with other students in the learning process.

c.     Fair. Participates somewhat in class discussions. Reads all "reading assignments." Misses classes. Collaborates, whenever possible, with other students in the learning process.

d.     Poor. Clams up and refuses to contribute to class discussions. Misses "reading assignments." Afraid to ask questions. Misses classes. Does not feel comfortable to collaborates with other students in the learning process

Department of Applied Science
University of California at Davis
Davis, CA 95616-8562

Page last modified on 9/27/2004