Sanskrit Primers: R. Antoine's Sanskrit Manual
christophe.vielle at UCLOUVAIN.BE
Tue Jul 22 05:09:18 EDT 2008
I dare to add another Sanskrit primer to the other excellent ones
(Coulson, Deshpande, etc.) which could have been quoted in the
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,
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