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MaurerSanskritLanguageMini80Summary: Although Walter Harding Maurer’s book The Sanskrit Language is not a typical self-study text (if not complemented with other materials), it is a well-written volume with extensive readings accompanied by important “in-context” Sanskrit usage notes. It might certainly be used in an introductory (university or college) Sanskrit course.

Now available in paperback, this grammar offers a completely new approach to the study of Sanskrit, aimed at students with no previous specialist knowledge of the categories of grammar. It is a stimulating and infectious approach, designed to cultivate rapid and lasting enthusiasm for Sanskrit.

Important features of the work are the use of connected passages for exercise which are intrinsically more interesting and challenging than the unrelated sentences found in other grammars; the great deal of attention given to the explanation of the Devanagari system; and the extensive appendices and glossaries.


Sanskrit Beginners 1

Materials: Maurer, W. H. (2001) The Sanskrit Language: An Introductory Grammar and Reader (Revised edition). London: Routledge.

Overview of course contents

• Historical and linguistic background
• The sound system: consonants
• The sound system: semi-vowels and sibilants
• The sound system: vowels (initial and ‘short’ for ms)
• The conjunct consonant
• Reading, writing and pronunciation practice
• Word order and parts of speech
• First sentences in Sanskrit
• Mid-term consolidation
• The noun: gender, number and case
• Introduction to the verbal system
• From sentence to text: ‘Our Town’ (Maurer, p. 62)
• Gerunds: verbal information without the fuss
• Second text: ‘A Heavenly Retreat’ (Maurer, p. 70)
• Overview and consolidation


The emphasis of Sanskrit Beginners 1 is to introduce the student to Sanskrit as a linguistic system, by putting it in its appropriate linguistic context and looking carefully at how it is structured both in terms of its sound system and its grammar. The course presupposes no knowledge of an Indian language or of Latin or Greek. The course is divided into two sections of five weeks, the first establishing a familiarity with the pronunciation and writing of the language, the second concentrating on further practice in pronunciation and writing whilst starting to investigate the grammar of the language.
Grammatical terminology is gradually incorporated, giving the student confidence in identifying parts of speech in Sanskrit before tackling  grammar. There is a mid-term session, consolidating the first half, and an end-of-term consolidation session, concentrating on the material  covered in the second half of the course.
At the end of the course, the student is able to read and understand basic sentences in the present tense (and the active voice), can read Sanskrit  script, albeit with some difficulty and with frequent recourse to transliteration, and will have acquired a vocabulary of around 150 words.

See Review of The Sanskrit Language by Govinda Dāsa (2013)


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