Sanskrit language and literature

A.Y. 2019/2020
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
L-OR/18
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
The course aims at providing students with a knowledge of the main grammatical structures of Sanskrit, and with an introduction to Indian literature in Sanskrit.
Expected learning outcomes
Essential notions on: phonological features and morphosyntactic structures of Sanskrit; literary categories of ancient and classical India; history of writing.
Ability to: correctly read a classical Sanskrit text both in IAST (International Alphabet for Sanskrit Transliteration) and devanāgarī script; master some basic vocabulary; translate simple Sanskrit passages through morphosyntactic analysis; contextualize literary works in ancient and classical Indian cultural history.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
The main topics discussed in the course are:
- Introduction to the Sanskrit Literature: Vedic-Brahmanical Literature
- Elements of Sanskrit Grammar: phonology, introduction to nominal morphology, introduction to verbal morphology, nominal composition, main syntactic structure.
- History of the Sanskrit Language: excursus about the definition of the Sanskrit bhāṣā; orality and literacy: an issue
- The Vedic word: the power of vāc
- The Devanāgarī script

Teaching Unit A (20 hrs)
- Introduction to the Sanskrit Literature: Vedic-Brahmanical Literature
- Elements of Sanskrit Grammar: phonology; basic lexicon
- History of the Sanskrit Language: excursus about the definition of the Sanskrit bhāṣā; orality and literacy: introduction to the issue

Teaching Unit B (20 hrs)
- Elements of Sanskrit Grammar: introduction to nominal morphology, introduction to verbal morphology, nominal composition, main syntactic structure
- Orality and literacy: an insight
- The Vedic word: the power of vāc - first part

Teaching Unit C (20 hrs)
- Elements of Sanskrit Grammar: introduction to nominal morphology, introduction to verbal morphology, nominal composition, main syntactic structure: continuation
- The Vedic word: the power of vāc: second part
- The Devanāgarī script
Prerequisites for admission
No prerequisites for admission.
Teaching methods
The course consists normally of taught classes. However, given the current situation, the First Teaching Unit will be delivered by means of didactic devices in absentia: Power Point slideshows with audio comments will be used and uploaded to the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel.
As for the Second Teaching Unit, attendance is mandatory, due to the fact that this part of the course is directly focused on linguistic learning: the linguistic exercises, which are to be made lesson by lesson, are extremely important for the basic learning of the Sanskrit language, and for developing the expected skills. If the teaching in absentia must be continued, alternative didactic means will be used.
In the Third Teaching Unit such a linguistic learning will be intensified, also by means of translations of complex literary texts, so that the attendance is mandatory once more. Also in this case Power Point slideshows will be an important support in order to promote a correct approach to the linguistic learning. As to the Devanāgarī script, material downloaded from specialised websites will be provided.
For other initiatives and news, students should also regularly refer to the website of the Indological courses of our University (https://sites.unimi.it/india/).
Teaching Resources
Attending students:
6 CFU (Teaching Units A-B)
· G. Boccali, S. Piano, S. Sani, Le letterature dell'India, Torino, UTET Libreria, 2000, pp. 7-65. (See the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel).
· Atharvaveda. Il Veda delle formule magiche, a cura di P.M. Rossi, Mimesis, Milano: ONLY EDITION 2020 forthcoming.
· C. Della Casa, Corso di Sanscrito, Unicopli, Milano (See the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel): phonology section.
· J. E. Houben, LInguistic Paradox and Diglossia: the emergence of Sanskrit and Sanskrit Language in Ancient India, Open Linguistics, DE GRUYTER OPEN, 2018, Historical Sociolinguistic Philology, 4 (1), pp.1-18. https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01807465
· A. Aklujkar, The Early History of Sanskrit as Supreme Language, in J. E.M. Houben (ed.), Ideology and Status of Sanskrit. Contributions to the History of the Sanskrit Language, Leiden-New York-Koln, E.J. Brill 1996, pp. 59-85 (See the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel).
· C. Della Casa, Corso di Sanscrito, Unicopli, Milano (See the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel): sandhi, nominal and verbal morphology, nominal compounds, main syntactic structures
· Sani, S. Ṛgveda. Le strofe della sapienza, Marsilio, Venezia 2000.
· Ch. Malamoud, Un corpo fatto di parola e ritmi poetici, in La danza delle pietre, Adelphi, Milano 2005, pp. 21-49.
· Ch. Malamoud, Nerezza della scrittura + Note sull'apparizione della scrittura in India, in Il gemello solare, Adelphi, Milano 2007, pp. 177-211.
· R. Salomon, Indian Epigraphy, Oxford University Press 1998; pp. 7-56; 72-94 (See the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel).
· Didactic material delivered during the course (See the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel)

9 CFU, in addition (Teaching Unit C)
· C. Della Casa, Corso di Sanscrito, Unicopli, Milano (See the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel): nominal and verbal morphology, nominal compounds, main syntactic structures
· Ch. Malamoud, Mattoni e parole. Osservazioni sul corpo degli dei nell'India vedica, in Cuocere il mondo, Adelphi, Milano 1994, pp. 261-299.
· D. Maggi, Idee linguistiche nell'India vedica, in "Annali del Dipartimento di Studi del Mondo Classico e del Mediterraneo Antico. Sezione Linguistica" (AION), XI, 1989 [1990], pp. 63-114. (See the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel).
· D. Maggi Vedico padá- dalla 'Parola' alla 'parola', in "Άλεξάνδρεια. Alessandria. Rivista di Glottologia", 12, 2018, pp. 9-21. (See the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel)
· Didactic material from websites (See the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel).

Non-attending students
In addition to the bibliography for the attending student:

A) M. Witzel, The Development of the Vedic Canon and its Schools: the Social and Political Milieu, in M Witzel (ed.), Inside the Texts. Beyond the Texts. New approaches to the study of the Vedas. Proceedings of the International Vedic Workshop, Harvard University, June 1989, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA., pp. 257-345. (See the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel).

B) J. Bronkhorst, How the Brahmins Won, E.J. Brill, Leiden 2016, pp. 162-174; pp. 190-220. (See the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel).

C) Sh. Pollock, The Sanskrit Cosmopolis, 300-1300: Transculturation, Vernacularization, and Question of Ideology, in J. E.M. Houben (ed.), Ideology and Status of Sanskrit. Contributions to the History of the Sanskrit Language, E.J. Brill, Leiden-New York-Koln 1996, pp. 197-247. (See the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel).
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam is oral, and lasts approximately 30 minutes. Broadly, it consists of two sections: the former aims to verify linguistic knowledge and skills, the latter knowledge and skills about literary subjects and other not exclusively linguistic topics, delivered during the course. As to the first section, linguistic knowledge and skills will be evaluated through reading, translation and grammarian comment of texts translated and explained during the course. As to the second section, it consists no less than two questions regarding the topics covered by the programme, with a peculiar focus on the monographic part.
Grading, on a scale of 30, will take into account: the student's general preparation, and the familiarity with the bibliography of the course; linguistic knowledge and skills; understanding and command of fundamental historical and cultural concepts; capacity for synthesis and critical analysis in the presentation; use of appropriate language; accuracy and relevance in the oral presentation.
Unita' didattica A
L-OR/18 - INDOLOGY AND TIBETOLOGY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica B
L-OR/18 - INDOLOGY AND TIBETOLOGY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours
Unita' didattica C
L-OR/18 - INDOLOGY AND TIBETOLOGY - University credits: 3
Lessons: 20 hours