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Vedic Sanskrit: Linguistic Structure and Prehistory


Admission requirements

Previous knowledge of Indo-European linguistics and reading proficiency in German.


This course provides an introduction into Vedic Sanskrit, the language of the Vedas, especially that of the Rigveda, which is the oldest of them. Next to a survey of the synchronic phonology and morphology, various aspects of the metre of the texts will be discussed.

This course furthermore introduces the student to the historical grammar of Sanskrit. With a focus on phonetics, phonology and morphology, the developments leading from Proto-Indo-European via Proto-Indo-Iranian to Vedic Sanskrit will be dealt with, and a number of topics will be discussed in more detail. To these aims, related languages such as Avestan and Old Persian will be regularly compared. At the end of the course, the student will write a research paper dealing with a topic discussed in class, or a related theme.

Course objectives

1) Insight into the linguistic structure of Vedic Sanskrit.

2) Insight into the main aspects of Vedic Sanskrit metre.

3) Knowledge of major historical developments of Sanskrit starting from Proto-Indo-European.


The timetable will be available by June 1st on the website.

Mode of instruction

Students are expected to attend the weekly seminars of the BA course Vedic Sanskrit (5512V2038), where the basics of Vedic grammar and metre are taught.
Reading list on the historical grammar of Sanskrit and its Indo-European roots.

A one-hour weekly tutorial in order to discuss the additional reading.

Course Load

  • time spent on attending seminars and tutorials: 39 hours

  • time preparation of the classes: 91 hours

  • time to prepare for the final paper: 150 hours

Assessment Method

1) Written exam at the end of the course 40%
2) A research paper on a synchronic or diachronic Vedic Sanskrit linguistics or metre 60%

Resit: students who fail the course may resit the exam and/or research paper.


This course is not supported by Blackboard.

Reading list

Macdonell, Arthur Anthony, A Vedic grammar for students. (Reprinted many times; any edition may be used.)
Syllabi will be provided during the course.


Students should register through uSis. If you have any questions, please contact the departmental office, tel. 071 5272144 or mail:

When registering, students that are registered for the specialisation that this course belongs to, or the Research Master, take priority. The deadline for registration is August 15. All other students should contact the coordinator of studies

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


MA Linguistics departmental office, P.N. van Eyckhof 4, room 102C. Tel. 071 5272144;