Beginning Sanskrit I
University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne
This course is designed for university students taking Sanskrit as a minor or subsidiary subject, or in preparation for research. It can be completed in a year by a student giving a third of his or her time to Sanskrit. No previous experience of formal language learning is presupposed, and the course can be followed with or without a teacher.
The aim of the course is to develop reading ability, together with a knowledge of the main feature of phonology, morphology and syntax. There are sixty-five lessons, published in 3volumes, which introduce the difficulties of the language gradually, and provide practice in them as they are introduced. Each lesson contains explanations, oral practice which enables the student to produce correct sentences by following the examples given, a passage for reading, and written exercises. At first, the reading passages use very limited vocabulary and grammar, but they gradually become more complex as more gammatical categories and forms are introduced. From lesson 11 onwards they are based on stories found in Sanskrit literature, usually the Pañcatantra and related texts. Each story has been adapted in order to avoid forms which have not yet been introduced, and to increase the frequency of forms which are currently being learnt. As the course progresses, the passages follow their originals more closely.
The first nine lessons introduce the phonological system, using phonetic descriptions which are comprehensible to users withouth previous phonetic knowledge. Sandhi is introduced gradually, starting from Lesson 3. The Devanagari script is introduced in Lessons 23-7, and is used from then on in all the reading passages; roman script is used throughout in the explanations, practice sentences and exercises. The main forms of the highly complex verb system, the eight cases and three numbers of the nouns, and most of the inflectional classes are introduced and exemplified in stages. The grammatical terminology of modern Sanskrit scholarship has been adapted to conform with linguistic theory, as in Sanskrit by Dermot Killingley and Siew-Yue Killingley (Languages of the World /Materials 18).
Beginning Sanskrit has been used for many years in draft form. This first published edition has been thoroughly revised in the light of the author's long teaching experience.
ISBN 9783895860621. LINCOM Language Coursebooks 01. 242pp. 1997.