Sound familiar?

Sfauthor at Sfauthor at
Sat Jun 28 02:45:48 UTC 1997

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

"Many have undertaken the study of *** without attaining the fluency that
might make it the enjoyable as well as useful experience that it ought to
be. Even though grammars, dictionaries, and introductions to *** abound,
there is still relatively little material that guides the beginner gradually
yet expeditiously towards a confident mastery of classical material. For all
too many aspirants, the leap (or toss) into the primary texts has entailed a
falling into a kind of void: suddenly, the project slows down, often ending
in a perpetual stall. It is not hard to understand why. How many people,
after all, actually find themselves attracted by the prospect of inching
their way through the strange idioms of an ancient work, supported only by a
general acquaintance with grammar, an all-purpose vocabulary, perhaps a huge
dictionary with tiny print, and minimal active practice of the language?
Under such conditions, reading *** becomes puzzle-solving, an adventure in
decoding, a challenge to patience, a therapeutic escape in "busy work--
anything but an instructive and vital encounter with an interesting,
complex, and vastly influential culture that often offers great writing,
important ideas, valuable teachings, and significant personalities.

Progress that goes too slowly feels like no progress at all. Those who
choose to become professional classicists might escape the typical bog, but
work-a-day humanists and others who want *** as a cultural resource and a
useful skill rather than as a major life-commitment may well have only a
short time of formal study at their disposal to attain the fluency they
need. If they are going to get it at all, they must get it in a reasonably
timely way."

I took the liberty of substituting *** for the word Latin, but this passage
could just as well apply to most student's experience with Sanskrit.

This was taken from a page at:

The site outlines an innovative approach to learning Latin. Sanskritists may
find some of the methods described there useful as well.

Brian Dana Akers
sfauthor at

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