SOAS University of London

South Asia Department

Sanskrit Language 2 (PG)

Module Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Full Year


Sanskrit Language to intermediate level. Language ability will be assessed before a student is accepted.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

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

  1. ability to read and understand Sanskrit texts at intermediate level
  2. consolidated knowledge of Sanskrit grammar
  3. ability in English-Sanskrit composition at intermediate level
  4. familiarity with the history of Sanskrit literature and its cultural and religious background
  5. knowledge and understanding of the role of language in general, and Sanskrit in particular, in scholarship and research (specific learning outcome for PG students) based on textual sources


A total of 22 weeks teaching with 4 hours classroom contact per week. 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 passages to be read, translated, interpreted, and discussed in class are taken basically from Lanman’s Sanskrit Reader and Böthlingk’s Sanskrit-Chrestomathie, and include specimens from various layers of Sanskrit literature (Hitopadesa, Kathāsaritsāgara, Manu, Vedic prose and poetry, etc.) up to Kàlidàsa’s Raghuvaümsa.  These readings are combined with a thorough revision of Sanskrit grammar, to which approximately one third of the class hours is dedicated.  Students are also made familiar with the corresponding chapters of the history of Sanskrit literature.

Method of assessment

One three hour written examination to be taken in May/June (50%); a 3,000 word (or equivalent) translation to be submitted on day 1, term 3 (30%); 4 homework assignments to be submitted first class after reading week, term 1; first class, term 2; first class, after reading week, term 2; first class, term  3 (total 20%).

Suggested reading

  • Otto F. Böthlingk, Sanskrit-Chrestomathie. St. Petersburg: Kaiserlichen Akademie der
  • Charles Rockwell Lanman, A Sanskrit Reader.  Delhi: Motilal Barnasidass (reprint)
  • Arthur A. Macdonnell, A Vedic Reader for Students. Delhi: Motilal Barnasidass (reprint).

For Reference:

  • Arthur Berriedale Keith, A History of Sanskrit literature. Oxford: Clarendon.
  • __________ , Religion and Philosophy of the Vedas and Upanishads. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
  • Jakob S. Speijer, Sanskrit Syntax.  Delhi: Motilal Barnasidass (reprint).
  • Adolf F. Stenzler. A Primer of the Sanskrit Language. Translated with some revision by Renate Söhnen-Thieme.  London: SOAS.
  • Moriz Winternitz, History of Sanskrit Literature, vol. 1, 3. Delhi: Motilal Barnasidass  (reprint).
  • William Dwight Whitney, Sanskrit Grammar; including both the classical language, and the older dialects, of Veda and Brāhmana. Cambridge, Mass.:  Harvard University Press (reprinted many times).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules