27521 - Sanskrit Language and Literature (1)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Marco Franceschini

  • Credits 6

  • SSD L-OR/18

  • Teaching Mode Traditional lectures

  • Language Italian

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students reach a first level of proficiency in the Sanskrit language and literature and are able to properly communicate the learned contents, with reference to relevant literature.

Course contents

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12 CFU COURSE

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The course includes the study of the main rules of Sanskrit grammar and an introduction to Indian classical poetry (kāvya).

Sanskrit Language.

The main topics to be addressed during the course are: Introduction to the history of the Sanskrit language; The phonetic system of Sanskrit; Vowel gradation; Sandhi; Indeclinables (adverbs, conjunctions, pre- and post-positions, particles); Declension (nouns, adjectives, pronouns, and numerals); The formation of words; Nominal compounds (dvandva, tatpuruṣa, karmadhāraya, bahuvrīhi); Conjugation (the present, future, aorist and perfect systems); The main derivative or secondary conjugations (passive, causative, desiderative, intensive and denominative); The nominal forms of the verb (participles, gerundive, infinitive, absolutive); Introduction to syntax.

The course includes the study (reading, grammatical analysis and translation) of sentences, stanzas and a short story in Sanskrit (for more information see below, "Reading/Bibliography").

Students are expected to gain familiarity with the International Alphabet for Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) and the Devanāgarī script.

Indian Literature.

The course includes the study of the characteristics and the lines of development of Indian classical poetry (kāvya): the beginnings of the movement and the discussion of its genesis, the essential requirements of kāvya literature, the composition of the works, the relationship between poetic practice and Indian literary criticism, kāvya and society.

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6 CFU COURSE

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The course includes the study of the basic principles of Sanskrit grammar and a brief introduction to ancient Indian literature in Sanskrit.

Sanskrit Language.

The main topics to be addressed during the course are: Introduction to the history of the Sanskrit language; The phonetic system of Sanskrit; Vowel gradation; Introduction to the rules of sandhi; Indeclinables (adverbs, conjunctions, pre- and post-positions, particles); Declension (the uses and meaning of the cases, the declension of the stems in a and ā, i and u, ī and ū, of the pronouns, and of the ordinal numerals); Introduction to Sanskrit nominal compounds; Conjugation (the present indicative and the imperfect, the verbal classes of the first conjugation and the root as, "to be"); The nominal forms of the verb (participles, gerundive, infinitive, absolutive); Introduction to syntax.

The course includes the study (reading, grammatical analysis and translation) of sentences, stanzas and a short story in Sanskrit (for more information see below, "Assessment methods").

Students are expected to gain familiarity with the International Alphabet for Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) and the Devanāgarī script.

Indian Literature.

The course includes the study of the main lines of development of ancient Indian literature.

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IMPORTANT NOTE FOR ALL STUDENTS

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The course starts from the basic principles of the Sanskrit language: thus, no prior knowledge of Sanskrit is required.

However, in order to profitably attend the course, students should possess:

  • a good knowledge of basic grammar and a knowledge of the basic features of an inflexional language (with special reference to the use and meaning of the "cases");
  • basics of articulatory phonetics.

Students lacking such prerequisites are strongly advised to fill the gap before the beginning of the course, by reading for example:

  • Graffi, G., Scalise, S., Le lingue e il linguaggio, Bologna: Il Mulino, 2002, pp. 51–66 (Chap. 3, §§ 3.1–3.2), 73–80 (Chap. 4, §§ 1.1–2.3), 175–182 (Chap. 7, §§ 5.1–5.2).

The sections suggested above are available under "Teaching material" as "Graffi&Scalise 2002-Capitoli selezionati.pdf".

Readings/Bibliography

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12 CFU COURSE

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SANSKRIT LANGUAGE.

The standard textbook is:

  • Della Casa, C., Corso di sanscrito, (seconda edizione), Milano, CLUEB-Unicopli, 1998.

Grammar.

For the exam, all students (attending and non-attending) are required to study all the grammatical topics covered in Della Casa's textbook.

Furthermore, the study of the document "Coulson-Tabella sandhi.pdf" (available under "Teaching material") is recommended to all students: the document contains a grid in which the results of the application of the rules of external sandhi are summarised.

Exercises.

Attending students must carry out the following exercises:

  • exercises on Devanāgarī script available under "Teaching material" (file "Coulson-Esercizi.pdf");
  • the following exercises in Della Casa's textbook (pp. 70 foll.): I: all exercises; II: all exercises; III: all exercises; IV: exercises 1–10; V: exercises 1, 6, 7; VI: all exercises except 11; VII: exercises 1–7; VIII: exercises 1–4, 6–8; IX: exercises 1, 2, 4, 8–10; XIII: exercise 2; XVI: exercises 1–3; XVIII: exercises 1–3, 5, 11, 12; XIX: exercises 1–5;
  • in Della Casa's textbook, the story entitled "Il padre di Somaśarman" (p. 91).

Non-attending students must carry out the following exercises:

  • exercises on Devanāgarī script available under "Teaching material" (file "Coulson-Esercizi.pdf");
  • the following exercises in Della Casa's textbook (pp. 70 foll.): I: all exercises; II: exercises 1, 2, 3, 10, 11; III: exercises 1–10, 12, 13, 14; IV: all exercises; V: exercises 1, 3, 6; VI: exercises 3, 10; VII: exercises 6, 7, 8; VIII: exercises 6, 7, 8; XI: exercises 2, 3, 6, 8; XII: exercises 1, 2, 3, 4, 6; XIII: exercises 1, 2, 3; XIV: exercise 8; XV: exercise 5; XVIII: exercise 11; XIX: exercises 1–5;
  • in Della Casa's textbook, the stories entitled "I cigni e la tartaruga" (p. 89) and "I brahmani che ridanno vita al leone" (p. 90).

INDIAN LITERATURE.

The standard textbook is:

  • Boccali, G. – Piano, S. – Sani, S., Le letterature dell'India, Torino, UTET, 2000.

All students (attending and non-attending) are required to study the section on "La letteratura classica", pp. 383–464 (introductory note and chapters 1–6), plus the description of one kāvya work of her/his choice among those dealt with in chapter 7 (pp. 465 foll.).

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6 CFU COURSE

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SANSKRIT LANGUAGE.

The standard textbook is:

  • Della Casa, C., Corso di sanscrito, (seconda edizione), Milano, CLUEB-Unicopli, 1998. Grammar.

All students (attending and non-attending) are required to study the topics covered in the following paragraphs (§§) and pages (pp.) in Della Casa's textbook:

  • pp. vi-xiii (Introduction to the history of the Sanskrit language);
  • §§ 1–34, 40a, 41 (Phonetics of Sanskrit, Vowel gradation, Admitted final consonants, Sandhi), §§ 80–84, 87b (Conjugation), §§ 43–52, 69–73, 75, 78 (Declension: nouns and adjectives, pronouns, ordinal numerals), §§ 117–121 (Past participle passive, gerundive, infinitive, absolutive), §§ 122–125 (Indeclinables), § 127 (Prefixes), §§ 130–134 (Compounds);
  • pp. 83–85 (Devanāgarī script).

Furthermore, the study of the document "Coulson-Tabella sandhi.pdf" (available under "Teaching material") is recommended to all students: the document contains a grid in which the results of the application of the rules of external sandhi are summarised.

In addition, non-attending students are required to study Sections 1 to 5 in:

  • Coulson, M., Sanskrit: An Introduction to the Classical Language, Sevenoaks: Hodder and Stoughton, 1976 (various editions).

Exercises.

All students (attending and non-attending) must carry out the following exercises:

  • exercises on Devanāgarī script available under "Teaching material" (file "Coulson-Esercizi.pdf");
  • the following exercises in Della Casa's textbook (pp. 70 foll.): I: all exercises; II: all exercises; III: exercises 1–10; V: exercises 1, 6, 7.

INDIAN LITERATURE.

All students (attending and non-attending) are required to study:

  • Renou, L., Le letterature dell'India, Milano: Garzanti, 1956.

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NOTE FOR ALL STUDENTS

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The following work is an extremely useful companion volume to Della Casa's Corso di sanscrito and is especially recommended for non-attending students:

  • M. Coulson, Sanskrit: An Introduction to the Classical Language, Sevenoaks: Hodder and Stoughton, 1976 (various editions).

A short anthology of ancient Indian literature in Italian translation is available at the "G.R. Franci" library, via Zamboni 33.

Teaching methods

The course consists of taught classes. Classes are generally divided into four parts:

  • analysis of the exercises given in the previous lesson (students will be asked to read, analyse, and translate the exercises);
  • teaching of one or more new topics;
  • carrying out of exercises relevant to the new topic;
  • assignment of exercises which students are required to work on before the next class.

Occasionally, the teacher will make use of Power Point slideshows and audio files.

Although not mandatory, attendance is highly recommended. Students who cannot attend classes are requested to contact the teacher before the beginning of the course.

Assessment methods

The exam is oral and normally lasts 30 to 45 minutes.

The exam is divided into three parts:

  1. Reading, grammatical analysis and translation of 2–3 exercises chosen by the teacher among those indicated under "Readings/Bibliography";
  2. Reading (with short grammatical analysis and translation) of one or more sentences printed in Devanāgarī script, drawn from the Devanāgarī script exercises in "Teaching material" (6 CFU exam) or from one of the Sanskrit stories specified under "Readings/Bibliography" (12 CFU exam);
  3. A question on the history of Indian literature.

Grading is based primarily on student's preparation, but will also take into account the clarity of her/his exposition and her/his ability to use an appropriate terminology.

Broadly speaking:

  • The ability to identify without hesitation the grammatical forms met with in the exercises and to explain the phonetic changes produced by the application of the rules of sandhi, the use of a precise and appropriate terminology, together with a fluent reading of the Devanāgarī script, will be evaluated with excellent marks;
  • The ability to recognise a good part of the grammatical forms in the exercises, an acceptable knowledge of the sandhi rules, the use of a decent but not always adequate terminology, and an acceptable fluency in reading the Devanāgarī script will be evaluated with decent to average marks;
  • A limited ability to identify the grammatical forms in the exercises, just some knowledge of the rules of sandhi, a laborious reading of the Devanāgarī script, the use of an inaccurate terminology will lead to mere pass marks;
  • The inability to identify a substantial part of the grammatical forms and of the sandhi rules operating in the exercises, a poor command of the appropriate terminology, and a scanty knowledge of the Devanāgarī script will lead to exam failure.

Teaching tools

Handouts will be made available to students in the "Teaching material" area. The handouts will contain didactic materials on specific topics, exercises and tests, software and fonts for writing Sanskrit texts on the computer, both in transliteration (using the IAST, International Alphabet for Sanskrit Transliteration) and the Devanāgarī script.

Office hours

See the website of Marco Franceschini