Start your review of Introduction to Sanskrit, Part 1 Write a review Shelves: language This is a great tool for those who want to learn Sanskrit but lack a very thorough understanding of linguistics. Many Sanskrit textbooks have been criticized for presupposing a certain level of linguistic sophistication, which was usually developed through Latin and Greek courses, before attempting to tackle Sanskrit. Egenes realized that many people interested in learning Sanskrit were English speakers with no background in synthetic languages. So what he has created with his "Introduction to This is a great tool for those who want to learn Sanskrit but lack a very thorough understanding of linguistics. So what he has created with his "Introduction to Sanskrit," as he mentions in the introductory chapter, is a sort of pre-primer, in so much as this book is an introduction to an introduction. By the end of the book you will have learned: the devanagari syllabary, the seven cases and how to decline many types of nouns, a healthy number of verb tenses, how to recognize how to make sandhi changes, and built up a good-sized vocabulary.
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It is a hardcover edition that, when opened and put on a table, will lay flat. It is printed on white, somewhat glossy paper, and the print is equally black throughout the book. Egenes uses both Roman transliteration and Devanagari throughout. The book has around pages altogether. Its Contents clearly outline the 18 Lessons of the book, together with the many appendixes and indexes. The 18 lessons span pages pp. Each lesson include the text that explains the grammar, together with the examples that are inserted throughout the explanatory grammar text, as well as any tables of paradigms.
Furthermore, it also includes the word long vocabularies that usually do not cover more than one page and the exercises, which may cover several pages. The answers to all the exercises are put in the back of the book pp. There are various types of declension tables for nouns masc. There is also a five-page reading exercise from the Bhagavad-gita in Devanagari and transliteration without any translation pp.
Format and Layout This Sanskrit textbook comes in a relatively large format. Because of its relatively wide design 19 cm wide , and because of a nice layout with wide margins and relatively big typefaces, the text always feels inviting to read; and because of the wide margins there is always lots of space for making notes.
The Devanagari is very nicely typeset. It comes in a large font that is very black, so it is easy to read in that respect even if it will take some time for beginners to readily commit all the Devanagari characters to memory. And I think it is noteworthy that the Devanagari always is accompanied by transliteration in this volume, to make the student comfortable at all times.
The Text The text is very good. It delivers clear explanations and comes with very clear examples. The number of places in which Egenes may be misunderstood, or not understood at all, are, in my own experience, very few.
And because of not only a general index but also a Sanskrit grammar term glossary, it is easy to locate any discussion on the relevant terms. The text also features well chosen examples that go well the discussion in the main text. Many authors do not always prioritize this.
Deshpande, of course, has excellent examples as well in his Samskrta-Subodhini ; but Coulson, for example, does not too long extracts. The only thing about examples is that one might have wished that there were just as many as Deshpande but that, of course, would have made the book substantially longer. Morphology Egenes has the right balance between morphology and usage. Then he spends time discussing the syntax, which very few other authors do at least not as lucidly as Egenes.
So, for example, on pp. This is very good. Sandhi One problematic aspect of Sanskrit, in general, is sandhi, and perhaps especially the external variant. I think this integration works well. But this is not because I think Egenes is not pedagogical. Excellent exercises and solutions This book contains not only exercises, but also answers. The exercises are to be translated very literally, more or less, word for word, which makes it easy for the student to produce Sanskrit sentences that correspond in word order to those provided in the answer section of the book.
That, I propose, is not correct. Egenes does take sandhi very seriously. But he also takes pedagogy seriously. Instead, Egenes spreads out the sandhi lessons in various lessons, so that the student more easily can integrate it gradually. Compared to many other cryptic and arrogant textbooks on Sanskrit, this is certainly an unusually un-cryptic and un-arrogant one. Egenes is spoonfeeding, and he does it nicely, just like a caring mother does to her child.
So when other authors use long, complex, convoluted explanations and footnotes, Egenes just presents everything in a very concise, lucid manner, thinking hard about exatly what to say and when to say it, so that it will be as easy for the student to assimilate as possible. In fact, the text is so lucid that one hardly needs a teacher at all. No wonder that so many university teachers and professors do not recommend the book: it makes them more or less superflous!
There is some truth in this. However, many traditional grammar terms in Sanskrit are also used in parallel, which may not be optimal for those who are purely using the text from a Western-centered linguistic viewpoint; they may not be interested in the traditional Sanskrit theories of grammar, but more concerned with comparative Indo-European linguistics and such.
This is not a book which tries to diminish the role of the Indian civillization, or its rishis, or its ancient sacred texts. This attitude, perhaps going so far as to say that the Indian rishis really have seen the truth and nothing but the truth, is, of course, very intimidating to the academic community at large, for many reasons.
Conclusion This is a very good book. For those who are studying completely on their own, this is most probably the best book in English on Sanskrit.
Egenes knows how to make things intelligible in a concise, readable way, and does not overwhelm the student with too much information at the time.
No customer reviews yet. This self-teaching guide presents Sanskrit pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary in simple and systematic steps, allowing students to easily master the fundamentals of this enchanting language. The text gently leads the beginner through small steps with clear, concise explanations. Each lesson includes instruction in alphabet, grammar, and vocabulary, with easy practice exercises at the end. Also included is a reading from the Bhagavad-Gita and Sanskrit quotations from the R. This primer is useful to all Sanskrit students, no matter what their orientation.
Thomas Egenes' Introduction To Sanskrit 01