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  REFERENCE
 
 

Sanskrit Language Texts

A list of the best books for learning Sanskrit.

 

Reprinted with permission from Columbia University's Inventory of Language Materials. For more information about the source of this document, see below.


1. INTRODUCTORY GRAMMARS AND READERS


Author
Aklujkar, Ashok
Title
Sanskrit: An Easy Introduction to an Enchanting Language (& five tapes). (1992.)
Source
Svadhyaya Publications, 5346 Opal Place, Richmond, B.C., Canada V7C 5B4. Phone 604-274-5353.
  Comment
An unusually comprehensive four-volume introductory grammar intended for an enriched two- year course of study; contains features of a reference grammar; many subtleties and much new material not found elsewhere. Volume One, Part A is a romanized 192-page manual of pronunciation, script and grammar divided into 36 lessons. Volume One, Part B, in 148 pages, using both Devanagari and Roman scripts, contains 25 appendices many of which, e.g., "Principal Forms of Common Verbs," are extremely useful; there is also an index to grammatical discussions. Volume Two consists of 142 pages of serial and cumulative Sanskrit-English glossaries as well as an English-Sanskrit glossary. Volume Three contains readings and exercises (no key) in Devanagari script to accompany the grammar chapters of Volume One. There are five audio cassette tapes. Introduction of charming gnomic verse balances rigorous exposition of grammar. Carefully incremental and clear; self instruction feasible. "Real" Sanskrit presented by a scholar to the tradition born. Highly recommended.


Author
Coulson, Michael.
Title
Sanskrit: An Introduction to the Classical Language. (2nd ed. 1992; orig. ed. 1976.)
Source
NTC Publishing Group, Chicago. Widely available.
  Comment
A welcome and graceful supplement to more systematic introductory grammars. Valuable for students interested in Sanskrit literature because examples are taken from dramatic prose, and because it contains a brief but illuminating explanation of literary commentary. Its 493 pages include excellent treatment of individual grammar topics, especially compounds; romanization for grammar presentation; its Sanskrit-English, English-Sanskrit translation exercises (with key) use Devanagari script. Serial and cumulative Sanskrit-English glossaries; cumulative English-Sanskrit glossary; index added in later edition. Coulson's style is drily entertaining. Though a Teach Yourself Book, it is better used with an instructor, if this is your principal text. Recommended.


Author
Goldman, Robert P., and Sally J. Sutherland.
Title
Devavanipravesika: An Introduction to the Sanskrit Language (& tapes?). (1987.)
Source
The Centers for South and Southeast Asian Studies, Publications Program, 2223 Fulton Street, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720. Phone 510-642-4065.
  Comment
Concise, focused and thorough introductory grammar in 460 pages; geared to covering all the basic grammar in one year of intensive study. Ideal for good language learners who want to progress rapidly. Uses Devanagari script from the beginning, with transliteration support until chapter 11. Overview emerges quickly because of the sequence of material and because major grammatical topics are completed in a single section or chapter rather than in widely separated chapters; material within sections is well organized. There are 22 lessons with readings and exercises (no key); serial and cumulative Sanskrit- English glossaries; serial English-Sanskrit glossaries; no index. The introduction of Sanskrit grammatical terminology with separate glossary helps prepare for reading of commentarial Sanskrit. Intended for classroom instruction but can be used by a good student working alone. Although the integration of sandhi into the presentations and exercises early in the book is an advantage, the sandhi chapter is unclear and confusing; substitution of other material is recommended for this chapter (see A. A. Macdonell, reference grammar section). Audio cassette tapes are available. Highly recommended.


Author
Gonda, Jan.
Title
A Concise Elementary Grammar of the Sanskrit Language. (1968).
Source
University of Alabama Press.
  Comment
This 152-page primer is an extremely basic outline of the language designed for those who prefer succinct treatment of grammar without cultural material. After a very brief presentation of Devanagari script, Roman script is used throughout. A section at the end contains 20 Sanskrit-English translation exercises (no key) and 13 reading passages with few explanatory notes but a good cumulative Sanskrit-English glossary. There is no index.


Author
Hart, George L., III.
Title
Sulabha Samskrtam: A Rapid Sanskrit Method. (reprint ed. 1984; orig. ed. 1972.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124. Also sold by: Center for South Asia, Univ. of Wisconsin at Madison, 203 Ingraham Hall, 1155 Observatory Drive, Madison, WI 53706.
  Comment
An introductory grammar containing 220 pages with 30 sets of Sanskrit-English and English-Sanskrit translation exercises (no key); Sanskrit-English serial and cumulative glossaries; English-Sanskrit cumulative glossary; no index. While there is a good section on the writing of Devanagari script, roman script is used throughout (except for reading passages, a few selected paradigms and glossary entries). Presupposes classical categories with no attempt to use Sanskrit grammatical terms. The presentation of grammar, though sometimes insightful, is not particularly systematic nor are the explanations especially clear. Should be used with an instructor.


Author
Lanman, Charles Rockwell.
Title
A Sanskrit Reader. (reprint ed. 1983; orig. ed. 1884.)
Source
India: Sri Satguru Publications, 40/5, Shakti Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124.
  Comment
A 405-page reader with 106 pages of Devanagari text from Vedic, epic, didactic and story literature, and from works on ritual and law. Although flawed by its orientalist lack of both sympathy for, and intimate knowledge of, the culture which gave rise to these texts, it is currently the only Sanskrit reader of its caliber. Its advantages lie in the diversity of the readings, clear printing, breaking of sandhi for the initial reading selection, readings which are extremely well supported by a glossary (with Indo-European cognates) and introductory notes, and references to relevant paragraphs in Whitney's Sanskrit Grammar.


Author
Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.
Title
A Vedic Reader For Students. (reprint ed. 1992; orig. ed. 1917.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124.
  Comment
A 263-page reader containing Devanagari text, transliteration and translation of thirty Rgvedic hymns, with exhaustive introductory and grammatical notes for each hymn. It has, in addition, an excellent glossary (with Indo-European cognates) and index. The best place to begin a study of Vedic language; may be used in conjunction with Macdonell's Vedic reference grammar (see reference grammar section).


Author
Maurer, Walter Harding.
Title
The Sanskrit Language: An Introductory Grammar and Reader. (1995.)
Source
Curzon Press, London.
  Comment
A methodical, comprehensive introductory grammar/reader intended for a two-year study of both language and culture; especially good for students with little training in grammar. Volume One is a 551-page instruction manual containing 32 lessons, each with Sanskrit-English and English-Sanskrit translation exercises (no key). The exercises are accompanied by extensive notes and serial Sanskrit- English glossaries. The readings feature diverse cultural material. Very good treatment of Sanskrit pronunciation, with diagrams of the vocal tract; one of the best presentations of Devanagari script. Devanagari is used in readings, paradigms and grammar discussions. Unique features include an explanation of early Indian calendars and a detailed linguistic treatment of Sanskrit and the Indo-European family of languages. Volume Two consists of 278 pages of appendices and English-Sanskrit, Sanskrit-English cumulative glossaries. The sequence of topics is somewhat arbitrary; delayed introduction of sandhi and the dual number may be problematic for quick students. Well suited to self-instruction because it anticipates the difficulties of beginners. There is no index. Hardbound; beautifully typeset. Highly recommended.


Author
Perry, Edward D.
Title
A Sanskrit Primer. (reprint ed. 1993; orig. ed. 1885.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124.
  Comment
A methodical, comprehensive introductory grammar/reader intended for a two-year study of both language and culture; especially good for students with little training in grammar. Volume One is a 551-page instruction manual containing 32 lessons, each with Sanskrit-English and English-Sanskrit translation exercises (no key). The exercises are accompanied by extensive notes and serial Sanskrit- English glossaries. The readings feature diverse cultural material. Very good treatment of Sanskrit pronunciation, with diagrams of the vocal tract; one of the best presentations of Devanagari script. Devanagari is used in readings, paradigms and grammar discussions. Unique features include an explanation of early Indian calendars and a detailed linguistic treatment of Sanskrit and the Indo-European family of languages. Volume Two consists of 278 pages of appendices and English-Sanskrit, Sanskrit-English cumulative glossaries. The sequence of topics is somewhat arbitrary; delayed introduction of sandhi and the dual number may be problematic for quick students. Well suited to self-instruction because it anticipates the difficulties of beginners. There is no index. Hardbound; beautifully typeset. Highly recommended.


Author
Wikner, Charles
Title
"An introductory course to the Sanskrit language"
Source
Available by anonymous ftp from: ftp.nac.ac.za/wikner/
  Comment
"It is a 155-page 600-dpi Postscript file suitable for double-sided printing on a4 or letter-size paper. (The a4 paper version prints happily on an HPLJ4+ with duplex option; the adjusted margins for the letter paper version are estimates only -- perhaps someone will inform me of errors?) To give an idea of what is covered in this course, an ASCII version of the Preface and Contents pages are appended:
sktintro.ps600-a4paper-june96 (9206k)
sktintro.ps600-a4paper-june96-zip (980k)
sktintro.ps600-letter-june96 (9207k)
sktintro.ps600-letter-june96-zip (981k)
For the two "-zip" files, remember to set TYPE to BINARY. Enjoy!" (--Author).


2. REFERENCE GRAMMARS


Author
Bucknell, Roderick S.
Title
Sanskrit Manual. (1994.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124.

 

Author
Kale, Moreshwar Ramchandra.
Title
A Higher Sanskrit Grammar. (reprint ed. 1988; orig. ed. 1931.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124. .

 

Author
Leidecker, Kurt F.
Title
Sanskrit: Essentials of Grammar and Language. (1976.)
Source
Adyar Library and Research Center, Madras 600 020. In the US: The Theosophical Publishing House, P. O. Box 270, Wheaton, Illinois 60187.

 

Author
Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.
Title
A Sanskrit Grammar for Students. (reprint ed. 1993; 3rd ed. 1927.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124.

 

Author
Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.
Title
A Vedic Grammar for Students. (reprint ed. 1993; orig. ed. 1916.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124.

 

Author
Speijer, J. S.
Title
Sanskrit Syntax. (reprint ed. 1993; orig. ed. 1886.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124.

 

Author
Whitney, William Dwight.
Title
The Roots Verb-Forms and Primary Derivatives of the Sanskrit Language. (reprint ed.; orig. ed. 1885.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124.

 

Author
Whitney, William Dwight.
Title
Sanskrit Grammar. (reprint ed. 1994; 2nd ed. 1889.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124.

 

3. DICTIONARIES, SANSKRIT-ENGLISH


Author
Apte, Vaman Shivram.
Title
The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary. (reprint ed. 1993; 4th ed. 1965.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124.

 

Author
Apte, Vaman Shivram.
Title
The Student's Sanskrit-English Dictionary. (reprint ed. 1993; 2nd ed. 1970.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124.

 

Author
Benfey, Theodor.
Title
Sanskrit-English Dictionary. (reprint ed. 1991; orig. ed. 1866.)
Source
Asian Educational Services, C 2/15 SDA, New Delhi 110016.

 

Author
Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.
Title
A Practical Sanskrit Dictionary. (reprint ed.; orig. ed. 1954.)
Source
Oxford University Press.

 

Author
Monier-Williams, Monier.
Title
A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. (reprint ed. 1994; 1st ed. 1899.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124.

 

Author
Suryakanta.
Title
A Practical Vedic Dictionary. (1981.)
Source
Oxford University Press.

 

4. DICTIONARIES, ENGLISH-SANSKRIT


Author
Apte, Vaman Shivram.
Title
The Student's English-Sanskrit Dictionary. (reprint ed. 1993; 3rd ed. 1920.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124.

 

Author
Monier-Williams, Monier
Title
A Dictionary, English and Sanskrit. (reprint ed.; orig. ed. 1851.)
Source
Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawahar Nagar, Delhi 110007. In the US: South Asia Books, P.O. Box 502, Columbia, MO 65205. Phone 314-474-8124.


  RELATED READING ON THIS SITE

Sanskrit
Our reference page on the Sanskrit language. Includes overview and links.


  SOURCE OF THIS DOCUMENT

Reprinted with permission from Columbia University's Inventory of Language Materials. Original title: "Sanskrit Teaching Materials." Guest editor for Sanskrit: Nadine Berardi, Columbia University. General editor: Frances Pritchett (fp7@columbia.edu ). Publishing supervisor: David Magier. Hard copy publisher: Southern Asian Institute, Columbia University. Year of publication: annual, with frequent updates. May be copied or distributed without permission. Comments and updates are welcomed by the editor. For more information about this publication, click here.


This page was published on Realization.org on September 14, 2000 and last revised on November 6, 2001.
 

Copyright 2002 Realization.org