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Vedic Sanskrit: Linguistic Structure and Prehistory


Admission requirements

Background knowledge of Indo-European linguistics.
Exchange students are allowed to follow this class if they have sufficient knowledge of Indo-European linguistics.


This course provides an introduction into Vedic Sanskrit, the language of the Vedas, especially that of the Rigveda, which is the oldest of them. Next to a survey of the synchronic phonology and morphology, we will be dealing with the major facets of Sanskrit historical grammar.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, students are expected to:

  • Be able to use linguistic terminology to analyse Vedic phonology and nominal and verbal

  • Memorize the most important (pro)nominal and verbal paradigms of Vedic Sanskrit

  • Be able to use their knowledge of Sanskrit historical grammar to predict the Sanskrit outcome of Proto-Indo-European reconstructions and to reconstruct the Proto-Indo-European ancestor of Sanskrit words.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

Students are expected to attend the weekly seminars of the BA course “Vedic Sanskrit” (5512V2038), where we’ll treat the synchronic grammar of Vedic Sanskrit.
Students will be given a reading list for self-study in order to deepen their knowledge of the historical development of this language. There will be five sessions where this literature will be discussed.

Course Load

26 contact hours
52 hours for preparation of the classes
10 hours for the study of the reading list
50 hours for preparation of the exam
2 hours for the exam

Assessment method


Midterm written exam with open questions (graded pass/fail)
Final written exam with open questions (graded 1-10)


To pass the course, students must pass both the midterm exam and the final exam. The course grade (1-10) is determined 100 % by the final exam.


Students who fail the course may resit the exam.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

Arthur Anthony Macdonell, A Vedic grammar for students (reprinted many times; any edition may be used), will be used as a reference grammar.
Syllabi will be provided during the course and uploaded to [Brightspace] (


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


[Prof. dr. A. Lubotsky] ( [Axel Palmér] (

Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats

E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

Coordinator of Studies