Online Introduction to Sanskrit
A three-term introduction to Classical Sanskrit, comprising of one session of two hours per week aimed at those who wish to understand the structure of the language and to read and pronounce it with accuracy.
This course consists of three terms of ten weeks each (October to July). Contact hours: 20 hours per term (two hours, once a week, for ten weeks)
Mode of Attendance: On-Line
The SOAS Language Centre course in Online Sanskrit is aimed at those who are unable to regularly attend campus-based classes. The course aims to give participants an appreciation of Sanskrit as a linguistic system. The first term describes the Sanskrit language in terms of its linguistic affiliation, pronunciation and writing system; the second term concentrates on grammar and on the acquisition of a basic working vocabulary. In the third term the emphasis is placed on reading and understanding basic graded Sanskrit.
This course presupposes no existing knowledge of the language; consequently, no assessment is offered prior to registration.
Teaching sessions take place online. In each live session, the teacher presents material specifically designed for the session in question. Learners hear the teacher and each other. They also see the teacher's and each other's written comments, questions and responses. Homework will be set and the equivalent of classroom ‘handouts’ will be available on the Virtual Learning Environment which contains materials designed for the wider community of Sanskrit learners at SOAS.
Online sessions will be recorded and can be viewed at any time after the live session has finished, for revision and consolidation. Students will also be able to contact the tutor directly by e-mail. Two face-to-face workshops are planned for August 2013. These are aimed at consolidating the material covered in the online course. The workshops are optional (and subject to a fee) and are recommended for students contemplating further study in the language.
Online class size is limited to twelve to allow close involvement.
Summary of course contents
- Sanskrit and the IE Languages
- The Sound System of Sanskrit: Consonants
- The Sound System of Sanskrit: Vowels
- Additional Signs and Conjunct Consonants
- More on Conjunct Consonants
- First Steps in Grammar
- First Text in Sanskrit
- Reading and Consolidation
- Thematic Verbs and Gerunds
- Reading Practice
- The Principles of Sandhi
- Visarga Sandhi
- More on Visarga sandhi
- Vowel Strengthening
- More on the Verbal System
- The Demonstrative Pronoun: tad
- The Past Passive Participle
- Reading and Consolidation
- Reading Passage
- Reviewing Visarga Sandhi
- Demonstratives again: saḥa and eṣaḥ
- Exploring Declensional Patterns
- Further Reading Passage
- The Locative Absolute
- Reading Consolidation: Pronunciation and Vocabulary
- Reading Consolidation: Phonology and Grammar
- Reading Consolidation: Syntax
Continuing your study
This course is designed to stimulate an interest in the Sanskrit language and provides an ideal foundation for those who are contemplating self-study in the language.
What do you need to take part online?
To participate in this course, you will need a PC with a headset. We use the Genius HS 04SU headset. It has separate connectors for headphone and microphone, so it is not a USB headset. We find that some USB headsets introduce a delay which can be a nuisance with online language learning.
You will need a reliable broadband connection with no wireless dropouts. We do not recommend dial-up connections.
You don't need a webcam. We will not be making use of one in this course. Also, you will not need any special text display requirements.
Our virtual classroom system is called Blackboard Collaborate version 12. Make use of the CONFIGURATION ROOM now to check that your PC has the right software to use Blackboard Collaborate and to become acquainted with it. We recommend that you do this.
You can view a Sanskrit online taster session which took place in May 2010. It's a good way to see what our virtual classroom looks like. The taster lesson begins at 42 minutes into the session. This is a recording so some of the virtual classroom tools aren't available. This session used an earlier version of Blackboard Collaborate called Elluminate.
Course materials are not included in the course fee and can be purchased from the SOAS bookshop firstname.lastname@example.org. You are advised not to purchase course materials until your course has been confirmed.
The course takes place online.