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Unit information: Introduction to Sanskrit I: Grammar in 2020/21

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Introduction to Sanskrit I: Grammar
Unit code THRS10017
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Langer
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Sanskrit is the single most important language in Indian culture. The fundamental texts of Indian religions, philosophy, law, science, poetry, drama, etc. are all composed in Sanskrit. For anyone who wishes to gain an appreciation of Indian religions and culture the study of Sanskrit is therefore of paramount importance. Indian culture itself has traditionally regarded the study of Sanskrit grammar and literature as basis of all education. Moreover, in the contemporary study of Indian religion and culture Sanskrit terminology serves as something of a "lingua franca".

The unit aims to introduce students to the basics of Sanskrit grammar as a foundation for the reading of Sanskrit texts, and involves the completion of weekly Sanskrit/English and English/Sanskrit/ exercises and the preparation of short passages for reading.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit student will:

  1. have gained experience and practice in reading, writing and transcribing simple Sanskrit texts (both in Roman and Devanāgarī script);
  2. have acquired the basic skills of analysing grammatical forms and sentence structure;
  3. have some experience in translating from Sanskrit into English and vice versa;
  4. be able to demonstrate a more critical approach to translations and secondary literature based on Sanskrit texts;
  5. have developed a greater understanding, hence appreciation, of an important classical language and basic linguistic skills, such as handling grammar books and dictionaries as well as analytical thinking

Teaching details

2 x 2 hour seminar per week

Assessment Details

This language unit will be assessed summatively by two timed assessments testing introductory knowledge and understanding of the basic elements of the alphabet, vocabulary, and grammar of Sanskrit. Class test 1 =20% of overall unit mark; class test 2 = 80%.

ILOs 1 and 2 are tested by class test 1, and ILO’s 3-5 are tested by class test 2.

Reading and References

Ruppel, A.M. The Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2017)