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Sanskrit Grammar (Dover Language Guides) [Paperback]

William Dwight Whitney
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 6, 2003 0486431363 978-0486431369 3
As Latin is key to the study of Western classics, so Sanskrit is the language of ancient Indian literature. This guide begins with an introduction to the Sanskrit alphabet, followed by a treatment of the accent — its changes in combination, inflection, and tone. Succeeding chapters discuss declension, conjugation, parts of speech, more.

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Sanskrit Grammar (Dover Language Guides) + A Sanskrit Reader: Text, Vocabulary and Notes + The Roots, Verb-Forms and Primary Derivatives of the Sanskrit Language
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Product Details

  • Series: Dover Language Guides
  • Paperback: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications; 3 edition (September 6, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486431363
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486431369
  • Product Dimensions: 0.4 x 0.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Whitney Sanskrit Grammar February 21, 2006
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I like the introductory sections and discussion of differences in classical and Vedic Sanskrit. Still it moves quickly into more detail than can be absorbed with casual study. It is a good reference text -- easier to find things than some of the other grammatical texts -- and it answers some basic questions, like the history of the word spacing in modern texts. But still engages in the vocabulary of advanced grammar without defining the terms -- for example, desiderative, aorist, etc.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Reference, Not a Textbook December 20, 2009
When Europeans first stumbled upon Sanskrit, the Indians had been working from a grammar by Panini for over a millennium. The problem is that Sanskrit was already several hundred years old by the time Panini's grammar took its form, and it's not clear that he and his fellow scholars quite understood the language for which they were writing the rules. As a result, you wind up with phenomena analogous to English speakers' memorization of rules like "i before e except after c..." that aren't always helpful, or even correct. Since Panini set the standard, his work applies, as far as I understand it, to most things written after his time. But for earlier texts, notably the Vedas, the Indian/Indologist traditions of grammar can make things more, not less, confusing.

Whitney set out to make a grammar of Sanskrit the same way you'd do for any other previously unknown language. The model he fit Sanskrit into is definitely European and it may be strained in places. But this is a sincere effort to document what happens in Sanskrit within the actual texts, as opposed to laying down the rules that tradition had passed along. As a reference, it is therefore useful for seeing how the earliest Sanskrit really worked. It is, as another reviewer noted, a shortcoming that there is nothing on syntax. However, for the morphology of Sanskrit from its earliest days, this is an excellent work.

Note that this is a reference grammar, and not a textbook. If you try to learn Sanskrit from this and this alone, you will not get too far. Better to start with Perry's Sanskrit Primer, which combines the vocabulary and exercises from a German primer by Buhler with Whitney's explanations of key points.
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5.0 out of 5 stars classic Sanskrit grammar October 10, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a classic Sanskrit grammar. It is geared more for the advanced student or scholar than for the beginner, but it does have insightful details for students of any level.
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