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The Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit


  • Date Published: May 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107088283
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About the Authors
  • Ideal for courses in beginning Sanskrit or self-study, this textbook employs modern, tried-and-tested pedagogical methods and tools, but requires no prior knowledge of ancient languages or linguistics. Devanāgarī script is introduced over several chapters and used in parallel with transliteration for several chapters more, allowing students to progress in learning Sanskrit itself while still mastering the script. Students are exposed to annotated original texts in addition to practise sentences very early on, and structures and systems underlying the wealth of forms are clearly explained to facilitate memorisation. All grammar is covered in detail, with chapters dedicated to compounding and nominal derivation, and sections explaining relevant historical phenomena. The introduction also includes a variety of online resources that students may use to reinforce and expand their knowledge: flash cards; video tutorials for all chapters; and up-to-date links to writing, declension and conjugation exercises and online dictionaries, grammars, and textual databases.

    • Can be used for traditional classroom settings, flipped classrooms, and self-study
    • Uses detailed tables to make memorising numerous forms manageable for students
    • Includes a comprehensive grammar appendix
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… a fresh and engaging approach … which takes the learner's concerns fully into account. Full of sage practical advice while maintaining rigorous instructional standards.' Paul Dundas, University of Edinburgh

    '[An] excellent introduction to Sanskrit, making the language accessible to the beginner but informed of the latest research.' James Clackson, University of Cambridge

    '[The] clarity and simplicity of the explanations make the book very well suited for self-study …; well designed for use by students with no prior acquaintance with South Asia, or with other classical languages …' Lawrence McCrea, Cornell University

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    Customer reviews

    09th Jun 2018 by Narasimhananda

    Swami Narasimhananda, Reading Religion Learning Sanskrit is usually considered to be a harrowing experience what with the memorization of elaborate rules of grammar and the language’s various verb and noun forms in numerous tenses and cases (such as the vocative case). This has discouraged many students from completing the study of Sanskrit and most leave it halfway. Every textbook that tries to solve this problem ends up creating another one, so it seems! The Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit comes as a welcome relief and is an excellent tool for learning Sanskrit. In The Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit, A. M. Ruppel, a Sanskrit teacher of rich experience, assures the student that one can minimize “the need for rote memorization” (1). The many innovations in this book start with the first chapter being numbered “0” rather than “1.” This is a Sanskrit textbook and a user-friendly computer manual bundled into one. The introduction by Ruppel is clear and concise about expectations from teachers and students, and also outlines study techniques, that are immensely helpful in bringing the student to easily grasp the intricacies of Sanskrit grammar. Throughout the book, examples are taken from important Sanskrit literature, like the Ramayana and the Bhagavad Gita, and so the student becomes familiar with many texts in the course of learning. Every minor detail of the language that is particularly useful for Anglophone students is provided, so that the chances of the student making an error are minimized. For example, in the lessons on translation, Ruppel gives a good sense of the vastness of the meanings of a single word and the various nuances with which a word might be used. The root forms of all nouns and verbs are shown, which helps the student to understand the various forms that a root can take, sometimes overwhelmingly, in Sanskrit. The nature of different kinds of stems is elaborately explained, assisting the student in understanding newer usages of these stems in later studies. The Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit comes with useful appendices including practice handouts for writing Sanskrit and also reference sections, including the background of the passages quoted in the book an index of grammatical terms an introduction to Sanskrit meter an introduction to Vedic Sanskrit lists of conjunct consonants, numerals, and compounds and a Sanskrit-English vocabulary. I am myself a teacher of Sanskrit and the quality of The Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit can be seen in the fact that I have dumped all other textbooks in this one’s favor. The ease of learning and teaching using this textbook cannot be overemphasized.

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107088283
    • length: 442 pages
    • dimensions: 254 x 197 x 27 mm
    • weight: 1.14kg
    • contains: 113 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Studying Sanskrit
    List of abbreviations
    Notes for the reader
    1. Writing Sanskrit
    2. The system of Sanskrit sounds
    2a. Word stress: heavy and light syllables
    3. Road maps: verbs
    4. The present tense
    5. Road map: nominals
    6. a-stems
    7. Vowel gradation and why we need to know about it
    8. Absolutives, ta-participle and infinitives
    introduction to internal sandhi
    9. ā-stems
    10. Prepositions and preverbs
    11. Introduction to external sandhi I: consonant sandhi
    12. Imperfect indicative and present potential
    13. ī- and ū-stems
    sandhi II: visarga sandhi
    14. Compound nouns
    15. Consonant stems I
    16. Sandhi III: vowel sandhi
    17. Noun formation
    18. Athematic verbs I
    19. Athematic verbs II
    20. Introduction to pronouns
    pronouns I
    21. The future tense
    middle and passive voice
    22. More participles
    pronouns II
    23. Relative and correlative clauses
    24. Consonant stems II
    25. Noun stems gradation
    consonant stems III
    26. i- and u-stems
    27. The perfect tense I: regular perfect formation
    28. The perfect tense II: irregular and unexpected forms
    29. ṛ-stems, n-stems
    the periphrastic future
    30. Secondary middle endings I: thematic verbs
    31. Secondary middle endings II: athematic verbs
    32. Pronouns III:
    1st- and 2nd-person pronouns
    33. Desideratives and gerundives
    34. The periphrastic perfect
    ta-participles ending in -na
    35. Perfect participles
    more comparatives
    36. Absolute constructions
    pronouns IV
    37. Numerals
    38. Aorists
    39. Pronouns V: asau/adas-
    40. Some irregular nouns
    Appendices: Appendix 1. Devanāgarī practice handouts
    Appendix 2. Background
    Appendix 3. Reference

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    The Cambridge Introduction to Sanskrit

    A. M. Ruppel

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  • Author

    A. M. Ruppel, Cornell University, New York
    A. M. Ruppel was the Townsend Senior Lecturer in the Greek, Latin and Sanskrit Languages at Cornell University, New York for nine years, and is currently Head of Sanskrit at St James Senior Boys' School in Ashford, UK. Ruppel has received the Stephen and Margery Russell Distinguished Teaching Award as well as a grant from the Cornell Center for Teaching Excellence, and is the author of Absolute Constructions in Early Indo-European (Cambridge, 2012).

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