Sanskrit Primers: R. Antoine's Sanskrit Manual

Christophe Vielle christophe.vielle at UCLOUVAIN.BE
Tue Jul 22 05:09:18 EDT 2008


Dear Colleagues,
I dare to add another Sanskrit primer to the other excellent ones 
(Coulson, Deshpande, etc.) which could have been quoted in the 
discussion.
Some years ago, I heard through an Indian friend (a Syriac scholar 
from Kottayam) about the high value of the Sanskrit Manual of Father 
R. Antoine s.j., a Belgian scholar who taught in St. Xavier's 
College, Calcutta(cf. http://www.goethals.org/robert.htm : Robert 
Antoine: The Indologist by J Felix Raj, SJ).
More recently, Prof. Winand Callewaert, from the University of 
Leuven, told me that he was also using Antoine's manual for his 1st 
year Sanskrit students.
I finally got an exemplar of this manual through an antiquarian bookseller.
The "Part I" is in two volumes entitled "A Sanskrit Manual for High 
schools" and "Book of Exercises for the Sanskrit Manual" (1953, 
Catholic Press, Ranchi; a think that there was in the seventies a 
reprint in one vol.). The 26 lessons, supposed to cover "the matter 
of the first three years (standards IV to VI or classes VI to VIII)" 
of High school, appears to fit perfectly with a first year Sanskrit 
at the university level.
The lessons are very clear, and the vocabulary to learn, Sanskrit 
sentences to translate and composition exercises well chosen.
The "Part II" "meant as an immediate preparation for the School Final 
Examination", joins in one vol. 27 lessons and the exercices, in 
which the Sanskrit sentences are taken from Kaavya-maalaa or 
Kaalidaasa and classical literature (+ at the end a list of "verbal 
roots with their principal parts", "Sanskrit-English Glossary" and 
"English-Sanskrit Glossary"). So, at the end of High school, it was 
at that time possible to acquire a Sanskrit level as good as here the 
level of Greek and Latin of my forefathers... (which is now only 
possible to acquire at the University).
Despite a few misprints to be corrected, the Manual deserves to be reprinted.
I shall try with 1st year students the vol. I for the coming academic year.
With best wishes,
Christophe Vielle

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