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Vedic Sanskrit


Admission requirements

Background knowledge of Indo-European linguistics.
Exchange students are allowed to follow this class if they have sufficient knowledge of Indo-European linguistics.


This course provides an introduction into Vedic Sanskrit, the language of the Vedas, especially that of the Rigveda, with focus on synchronic and historical phonology and morphology. Besides being a key language for any scholar of South and Central Asian literature, Vedic Sanskrit has always been a cornerstone of Indo-European linguistics. It also serves as a gateway to further study of other Indo-Iranian languages. Next to a survey of the synchronic Vedic phonology and morphology, we will be dealing with the major facets of Sanskrit historical grammar. We will outline the main developments from Proto-Indo-European leading up to Vedic Sanskrit. This will be illustrated in weekly assignments for which the students will apply their knowledge to analyse Sanskrit words and sentences

Course objectives

At the end of the course, students are expected to:

  • Have insight into the cultural significance of Vedic Sanskrit literature and the prehistory of Indo-Iranian languages and peoples

  • Memorize the most important (pro)nominal and verbal paradigms of Vedic Sanskrit

  • Be able to use linguistic terminology to analyse Vedic phonology as well as nominal and verbal morphology

  • Be able to use their knowledge of Sanskrit historical grammar to predict the Sanskrit outcome of Proto-Indo-European reconstructions and to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European ancestor of Sanskrit words.

  • Be able to use standard dictionaries and grammars to analyse Sanskrit words and forms


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

lecture / seminar

Assessment method


  • A short mid-term written examination with short open questions (graded pass/fail)

  • A final written examination with short open questions (graded 1-10)


To pass the course, students must pass both the mid-term and the final examination. The course grade (1-10) is determined 100 % by the final examination


Students who fail the course may resit the exam.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Introduction to Vedic Sanskrit. This is the course syllabus which will be provided at the start of the course and will be studied throughout the course and as preparation for the examinations.

Reference literature:

  • Macdonell, Arthur A. 1916. A Vedic grammar for students (reprinted many times; any edition may be used).

  • Monier-Williams, Monier. 1899. A Sanskrit-English Dictionary.

  • Mayrhofer, Manfred. 1992-2001. Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindoarischen, I-III.

  • Grassmann, Hermann. 1873. Wörterbuch zum Rig-veda.

  • Jamison, Stephanie W. & Brereton, Joel P. 2014. The Rigveda. The earliest religious poetry of India.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on this website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs


For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats
E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress contact the Coordinator of Studies


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