Sanskrit language and literature

A.Y. 2021/2022
9
Max ECTS
60
Overall hours
SSD
L-OR/18
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
The course aims at providing the students with the fundamentals of Sanskrit Grammar and the main topics of Sanskrit Literature.
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
First semester
On the delivery modes of training activities for the academic year 2021/22 more specific information will be given in the coming months, depending on how the health situation develops.
Course syllabus
The main topics discussed in the course are as follows:
- 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 structures.
- History of the Sanskrit Language: excursus about the definition of the Sanskrit bhāṣā; orality and literacy: points at issue.
- Translation and linguistic comment of stanzas from the Bhagavadgītā
- Questions of Vedic prose: the Atharvaveda collection between prose and versification
- The Devanāgarī script

The aforementioned topics will be organized in three sections, 20 hours each, as follows:
Section A (20 hrs)
- Introduction to the Sanskrit Literature: Vedic-Brahmanical Literature
- Elements of Sanskrit Grammar: phonology; basic lexicon; Devanāgarī script
- History of the Sanskrit Language: excursus about the definition of Sanskrit bhāṣā

Section B (20 hrs)
- Elements of Sanskrit Grammar: introduction to nominal morphology, introduction to verbal morphology, nominal composition, main syntactic structures
- Translation and linguistic comment of stanzas from the Bhagavadgītā
- History of the Sanskrit Language: excursus about the definition of Sanskrit bhāṣā
- Orality and literacy: points at issue

Section C (20 hrs)
- Elements of Sanskrit Grammar: nominal morphology, verbal morphology, nominal composition, main syntactic structures: continuation
- Translation and linguistic comment of stanzas from the Bhagavadgītā
- Questions of Vedic prose: the Atharvaveda collection between prose and versification. Reading and comment of Atharvavedic passages.
Prerequisites for admission
No prerequisites for admission
Teaching methods
Normally, the course consists both of taught classes and participative classes. The former ones are adopted for learning theoretical subjects (Introduction to the Sanskrit Literature; History of the Sanskrit Language; Monographic Subject), and are supported by Power Point slideshows, whereas the latter ones are especially aimed to the linguistic learning (Elements of Sanskrit Grammar; Devanāgarī script; Translation and linguistic comment of stanzas from the Bhagavadgītā), and are based on linguistic exercises. The attendance is mandatory especially for this section of the course: 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.
For other initiatives and news, students should also regularly refer to the Sanskrit Language and Literature page of Ariel, and the website of the Indological courses of our University (https://sites.unimi.it/india/).
Teaching Resources
6 CFU (Parti A-B)
· G. Boccali, S. Piano, S. Sani, Le letterature dell'India, Torino, UTET Libreria, 2000, pp. 7-65.
· Atharvaveda. Il Veda delle formule magiche, a cura di P.M. Rossi, Mimesis, Milano: ONLY EDITION 2020; Premessa.
· C. Della Casa, Corso di Sanscrito, Unicopli, Milano, last edition (2021): Phonetics (Unità A); sandhi, Nominal and Verbal Morphology, Nominal Composition, main syntactic structures
· J. E.M. 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.
· J.E.M. Houben, "From Fuzzy-Edged "Family-Veda" to the Canonical Śākhas of the Catur-Veda: Structures and Tangible Traces", in VEDIC ŚĀKHĀS: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE, edited by Edited by Jan E.M. Houben, Julieta Rotaru, Michael Witzel. Cambridge, Mass. HOS Opera Minora IX, 2016, pp. 159-192.
· 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
· Didactic material delivered during the course (Cf. Ariel Platform).
NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS: in addition to the program for attending students
· Sh. Pollock, "The Sanskrit Cosmopolis, 300-1300: Transculturation, Vernacularization, and Question of Ideology", in Ideology and Status of Sanskrit. Contributions to the History of the Sanskrit Language, ed. by J. E.M. Houben, Leiden-New York-Koln, E.J. Brill 1996, pp. 197-247
· J. Bronkhorst, How the Brahmins Won: From Alexander to the Guptas, Leiden, Brill, 2016.

9 CFU in addition (Parte C)
· C. Della Casa, Corso di Sanscrito, Unicopli, Milano, last edition (2021)
· M. Witzel, Early Sanskritization. Origins and Development of the Kuru State, in "Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies", 1995, pp. 1-26.
· Atharvaveda. Il Veda delle formule magiche, a cura di P.M. Rossi, Mimesis, Milano: ONLY EDITION 2020; complete text.
· P. Sylvain-Lévi, La dottrina del sacrificio nei Brāhmaṇa, Adelphi, Milano, 2009 [Tr. italiana di La doctrine du sacrifice dans les Brâhmanas, Paris 1898].
· P.M. Rossi, Questioni di prosa vedica, forthcoming.
· Didactic material delivered during the course (Cf. Ariel Platform).

NOT ATTENDING STUDENTS: in addition to the program for attending students
· S. Sani, Ṛgveda. Le strofe della sapienza, Venezia, Marsilio, 2000.
· L. Renou, Les parties en prose de l'Atharvaveda, in Etudes védiques et panineennes, vol. I, Paris, 1955, pp. 71-88.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam is oral, and lasts approximately 30 minutes. Normally, it consists of two sections: the former aims to verify linguistic knowledge and skills, the latter aims to ascertain knowledge and skills about literary subjects and further 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.

International or Erasmus incoming students are kindly requested to contact the teacher of the course. Also students with disabilities should contact the teacher of the course, in order to discuss alternative examination methods, in agreement with the competent Office.
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
Educational website(s)