Sanskrit Courses regularly offered at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Information for Prospective Students)

Visnu as Vamana holding a parasol Sanskrit is a member of the Indo-European family of languages and of the Indo-Iranian branch of languages in particular. It shows many similarities in both grammar and vocabulary to ancient Greek and Latin, the classical languages of Europe. Sanskrit functioned for more than two thousand years as the basic vehicle of classical Indian literature. Knowledge of Sanskrit provides the key to a first-hand understanding of classical Hindu religion and philosophy. Sanskrit is also an important language for the study of Buddhism, and it is indispensable for the student of comparative philology. The study of Classical Sanskrit provides a useful foundation for the study of Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit, of related languages such as Pali and of languages that have borrowed from Sanskrit such as Classical Tibetan.
First Semester Sanskrit

Second Semester Sanskrit
Third Semester Sanskrit

Fourth Semester Sanskrit
Advanced Readings in Sanskrit

375 First Semester Sanskrit
4 credits
The aim of this course is to acquaint the student with the Devanagari script, which is most commonly used for printing texts in Sanskrit; the method of transliteration into Roman script; the most common vocabulary and the important grammatical features of the classical language as a preparation for reading.
Prerequisites: Open to freshmen
Textbook: Deshpande, M.M.: Samskrtasubodhini: A Sanskrit Primer.
Ann Arbor: University of Michigan 2003
Recommended grammar: Stenzler, A.F.: Primer of the Sanskrit language, translated into English with some revision by R. Söhnen.
London: University of London 1992
376 Second Semester Sanskrit
4 credits
Continuation of 375 First Semester Sanskrit. After completing the course the student should be able to read simple texts in Classical or Epic Sanskrit (Ramayana, Mahabharata) with the help of a dictionary and a grammar.
Prerequisites: 375 First Semester Sanskrit

475 Third Semester Sanskrit
4 credits
The emphasis is on consolidating the knowledge of vocabulary and grammar acquired in 375-376 First and Second Semester Sanskrit and on increasing the fluency of reading. The student is exposed to a body of simple selections from the narrative literature from a reader with a glossary, such as C.R. Lanman's Sanskrit Reader (A Sanskrit Reader. 1884; repr. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press 1963) or Stenzler's Primer of the Sanskrit language, pp. 102ff.
Prerequisites: 376 Second Semester Sanskrit
Required books: Whitney, W.D.: A Sanskrit Grammar. Leipzig 1879, 1889 (revised edition), Delhi 1977 (reprint of the fifth edition) (to accompany Lanman's Reader)

Macdonell, A.A.: A Sanskrit Grammar for Students. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1975 (reprint)
Recommended books: Bucknell, R.S.: Sanskrit Manual. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 1994

Whitney, W.D.: The Roots, Verb-forms and Primary Derivatives of the Sanskrit Language. Leipzig 1885, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 1979 (reprint)
476 Fourth Semester Sanskrit
4 credits
Continuation of 475 Third Semester Sanskrit. The students is exposed to simple selections from epic or Puranic literature, such as the Bhagavadgita. Texts read vary from year to year.
Prerequisites: 475 Third Semester Sanskrit
Required books: Monier-Williams, M.: A Sanskrit-English Dictionary.
Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 1979 (reprint of revised edition 1898/1899)


Apte, V.S.: The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary.
Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 1965 (three parts in one volume)

675 Advanced Readings in Sanskrit
3 credits
Reading and analysis of selected texts from different genres, ranging from a specific branch of technical-philosophical literature (sastra) to poetic literature (kavya). Texts studied vary from year to year.
Prerequisites: 476 Fourth Semester Sanskrit
Recommended book: Speijer, J.S.: Sanskrit Syntax. Leiden 1886, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass 1988 (reprint)

(Last Modified: 03/15/03 )
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