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South Asia Department

Sanskrit Language 1 (Postgraduate)

Course Code:
15PSAC294
Unit value:
1
Taught in:
Full Year

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

At the end of the course, a student should be able to demonstrate . . . 

  • a basic understanding of the grammar, syntax, and usage of Classical Sanskrit
  • the ability to read simple narrative Sanskrit texts with the help of a dictionary
  • the ability to reproduce the nominal and verbal systems of the language
  • the ability to comprehend simple Sanskrit prose
  • the ability to compose simple Sanskrit prose
  • knowledge and understanding of the role of language in general, and Sanskrit in particular, in language-based scholarship and research (specific learning outcome for PG students)

Workload

This course will be taught over 22 weeks with 2 hours classroom contact per week of language classes. 10 research seminars to be taken within SOAS.  Attendance to be proven by signature from chair and to be submitted to the Associate Dean for Masters by the last day of term 2.

Scope and syllabus

The basic text for the year is a self-contained grammar and primer, for instance Robert Goldman and Sally Sutherland Goldman, Devavàõiprave÷ikà: An Introduction to the Sanskrit Language or A. F. Stenzler’s Primer of the Sanskrit Language . This main text will be supplemented by additional materials developed by the instructor. The twenty weeks of the two teaching terms are devoted to a systematic introduction to Sanskrit grammar and usage. During these terms, there are weekly homework assignments and in-class exercises, drills of the recurrent structural features of the language, in addition to four homework assignments. The third term will be devoted to review of major features of the language and preparation for the final examination.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (40%); a 3,000 word (or equivalent) translation to be submitted on day 1, term 3 (30%); 4 homework assignments (due 1st class after reading week (1st and 2nd terms); first class after Christmas and Easter holidays) (15%); weekly paradigm quizzes during terms 1 and 2 (15%).

Suggested reading

  • Robert Goldman and Sally Sutherland Goldman, Devavàõãprave÷ikà: An Introduction to the Sanskrit Language Berkeley CA: Center for South Asian Studies.
  • Adolf F. Stenzler. A Primer of the Sanskrit Language. Translated with some revision by Renate Söhnen-Thieme. London: SOAS.
  • Michael Coulson, Teach Yourself Sanskrit: An Introduction to the Classical Language. Sevenoaks: Teach Yourself.

Suggested:

  • A.L. Basham. The Wonder that was India. London: Sidgwick and Jackson.
  • Thomas Burrow. The Sanskrit Language. London: Faber
  • John Dowson. A Classical Dictionary of Hindu mythology and religion. Calcutta: Rupa (reprint).
  • Monier Monier-Williams. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon.
  • Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty. Hindu Myths Harmondsworth: Penguin
  • Sheldon Pollock. The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture, and Power in Premodern India. Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • William Dwight Whitney. Sanskrit Grammar; including both the classical language, and the older dialects, of Veda and Bràhmaõa. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press (reprinted many times).