This course will lay the foundation for much of what we teach at CSTol. There are indeed courses in this school, such as the introductory courses and courses in religion and non-Indic philosophy, that do not require some knowledge of Sanskrit. But the more in depth and interesting courses do. Many of the courses will focus on a particular text and set of texts and students will be expected to read them in their original language. For that a good foundation in Sanskrit will be required.
The goals to be achieved in this beginning course are these:
1. Learning the Sanskrit alphabet and the principles of its organization.
2. Learning and becoming at home with the Sanskrit script or Devanagari.
3. Learning the technical terms and names for parts of Sanskrit grammar.
4. Learning some of the basic forms nouns, verbs, adverbs, and pronouns take in Sanskrit.
5. Beginning to read and write simple sentences in Sanskrit.
6. Beginning to translate simple sentences into and out of Sanskrit.
7. Building a rudimentary vocabulary.
In order to achieve these goals we will use a set of Sanskrit lessons created by my own Sanskrit teacher, J. Prabhakar Sastri, of Visakhapatanam in India. These lessons have been tried by Sastri Garu (a term of respect) in several classes taught a the University of Wisconsin. The book containing these lessons is called the Laghu-pada-parijata and is dedicated to Prof. Joe Elder of the University of Wisconsin because it was largely through Joe's help that Sastri had the opportunity to write it and try it out on students.
The text consists of 40 chapters or lessons. The first part of the beginning course will only cover the first 10 chapters. That is about what can be covered in ten to twelve weeks. The second part of the beginning course will cover lessons 11-20. The rest of the chapters will be covered in the two parts of the Intermediate Sanskrit course in the second year. The text will be distributed in pdf format to registered students of the course.
Students will also need to learn how to create Sanskrit texts in Devanagari on computers. I have gathered together a set of software tools to help do that. Those will be given to students and explained when the time is right. All of these software tools are free. So the only expense to students will be the course itself.
Beginning Sanskrit 1 will follow the course called Introduction to Sanskrit. While Introduction to Sanskrit is not a prerequisite for the Beginning Sanskrit courses, it is recommended. Beginning Sanskrit 1 will cost $50 per student and the enrollment will be capped at 30 students. So, if you are interested in taking the course, enroll early.