spoken Sanskrit class this summer

Jaob Schmidt-Madsen jacob at FABULARASA.DK
Sun May 15 00:08:52 UTC 2011

Dear Al,

A couple of years ago I took spoken Sanskrit classes with the Samskrita
Bharati organization in Delhi and Varanasi. They also teach in the medium
of the language being taught, and discourage students from speaking in any
other language in class. In the boarding-school-like Samvadashala in Delhi
where students stay for anything from two weeks to several months, even
speaking in any other language outside class is strictly prohibited (and
enforced as such).

Apart from the rather severe discipline upheld by Samskrita Bharati, I was
quite taken by their method of instruction which enabled students with
little or no prior experience with Sanskrit to quickly get a basic grasp
of the language. The grammar, of course, was watered down with
periphrastic forms and a predilection for a-stem nouns and thematic verbs,
but still students were able to make simple conversation in Sanskrit after
just a few classes. Myself included, rather to my surprise.

So by all means, tell your son to go ahead and join the course (which, I
am sure, will be less rigid in its discipline than Samskrita Bharati's).
It is quite an eye-opener learning Sanskrit through conversation alone.
You quickly learn to set up a grammatical "no nonsense" filter in the
Paninian center of your brain :)

Best wishes,


Jacob Schmidt-Madsen
Department of Indology
University of Copenhagen

> My son is contemplating this class in Heidelberg. He has the Sanskrit
> background for it but is hesitant because it is conducted (like all
> language
> immersion programs) in the language being taught. I would be interested to
> hear from anyone who has taken this course in the past, hopefully telling
> Nick that it is not too threatening.
>  Al Collins, Ph.D.

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