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Sanskrit 1


Admission requirements



This course provides an introduction to the grammar of classical Sanskrit. Students are introduced to the phonology, morphology and syntax of the Sanskrit language and learn the accompanying terminology. Subjects that are dealt with include phonology, declension, conjugation, and verbal and nominal composition. The course is taught with reference to Gonda’s Elementary Grammar and the accompanying exercises. The exercises are prepared by the students in advance of each class and are the primary means through which the grammar is brought into practice during class. There are two two-hourly classes each week. The course requires active preparation and participation. Attendance of the classes is compulsory. In addition there is a one hour response meeting every two weeks.

At the end of the course students have a complete overview of the grammatical system of classical Sanskrit and are able to translate and analyze simple Sanskrit sentences and verses. The language is taught in Romanized transliteration. No knowledge of the Devanāgarī script is required during the first semester. Sanskrit 1 is the preparatory course for Sanskrit 2 taught in the second semester, in which pieces of Sanskrit literature are read in Devanāgarī following a brief introduction to the script.

Course objectives

  • Working knowledge of the grammar of classical Sanskrit, in particular paradigms of declension and conjugation.

  • Knowledge of accompanying terminology and the transliteration system.

  • Ability to translate simple sentences and verses from Sanskrit into English.

  • Acquiring elementary vocabulary of Sanskrit.



Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Attendance and active participation are mandatory.

Course Load

  • Classes (13×4), feedback hours (6×1) and exams (2×2): 62 hours

  • Preparation and revision of exercises, learning paradigms: 138 hours

  • Revision and preparation for exams: 80 hours

  • Total: 280 hours (10 EC x 28 hours)

Assessment method

2 written examinations (w), covering respectively declension and conjugation:
1) at the end of the first block (40%)
2) at the end of the second block (60%)

The individual exams cannot be retaken. If the average of both exams is 5.49 or lower there is one opportunity for a resit of the entire course (100%).


Blackboard is used as the main means for communication and for distribution of additional course materials.
Students are requested to register on Blackboard for this course.

Reading list

  • Jan Gonda, A Concise Elementary Grammar of the Sanskrit Language. With Exercises, Reading Selections, and a Glossary. Translated from the German by Gordon B. Ford, R. Leiden: Brill, 1966

  • Michael Coulson, Teach Yourself Sanskrit. An Introduction to the Sanskrit Language. Revised by Richard Gombrich and James Benson. Second edition. Kent: Hodder & Stoughton, 1992 (various reprints, used for background reading)


Registration via uSis.

Interested students from the MA Asian Studies need to contact the secretariat by e-mail clearly giving the course code and their student ID number to get registered for this course.

Registration Contractonderwijs



Prof. dr. P.C. Bisschop