This book is an introduction to the Sanskrit language. There are two parts to this course: Samskrta-vidyarambhah Part One and Part Two. The Samskrta-citrakosah (Sanskrit Picture Dictionary) is an ideal reference book and supplement to this resource. Samskrta-vidyarambhah means ‘the beginning of Sanskrit education’.
The course is divided into two parts with ten units in each part. In the first part, the Devanagari script is not introduced as part of the course work requirements. We have included it along with Roman transliteration so that students will become accustomed to seeing the script. The initial focus is on oral language. This course is based on communicative language and is not a traditional grammar approach.
Contemporary research into language acquisition informs us that second language learners require multiple opportunities to engage in authentic language usage. The chapters in this book are sequential but can also be studied independently. The chapters do build on previous knowledge introduced, this is especially so for the use of vocabulary and the conjugation of verbs.
Initially, the verb system is introduced with the third person singular and a subject. The last unit introduces the first person singular with subject and object cases. The verb system in Sanskrit is comprehensive. We are introducing the simplest forms in a gradual process but we are fully conscious of the fact that in conversational language, knowledge of the past, present and future, and imperative forms are essential.
The intention of these two introductory books on Sanskrit language is to familiarise the learner with the language. Students interact with authentic language features and structures that will form the basis for future in-depth study of Sanskrit. We achieve this through presenting the lessons in the framework of high interest topics and the use of common everyday communicative language structures.
A special feature of the Samskrta-vidyarambhah course is the inclusion of games. We have carefully selected and designed over ten games for interacting with and using the Sanskrit language. Games provide students with a stress-free, safe context in which to experiment with the language. While we accept the principle of accuracy in production of the target language, we also acknowledge the importance of approximation and experimentation with the language.
“Scaffolding” or providing adequate support for language learners is a well documented and accepted concept amongst teachers of all subjects, and is especially relevant for language learning. This resource provides scaffolds through visualisation, graphic organisers, writing frames, speaking frames, games and stories. The Sanskrit words taught in each unit are also listed in a table at the end of each unit. The Teacher’s Guide that accompanies this resource is full of support materials and templates for creating games, activities and interactive learning tasks.
Unique features of the Primer
- Focus on Sanskrit as a spoken language.
- Learning is structured around pairs and small groups.
- Progression from simple to more complex language.
- Tasks are designed for genuine communication to take place.
- Students interact with authentic language.
- A wide variety of teaching methods are utilised.
- Multiple opportunities are provided for students to learn.
- Initial emphasis on fluency rather than accuracy.
- Interpersonal skills are developed through the interactive tasks.
- Multiple learning styles are addressed throughout the course.
- It’s fun!