I’m by no means an expert, but I felt that a list of Sanskrit resources was overdue here. Please add anything you have in the replies.
With one exception, I’m only going to deal with textbooks that work from an English base. I simply haven’t looked into what I’m sure is no mean collection of resources in Indian languages.
Assimil, Le Sanskrit: This is the best book available in a major European language for learning Sanskrit. Everyone here is familiar with the method of Assimil, and this book doesn’t deviate from that method. It has transliteration and Devanagari throughout. For more discussion on this book, and my inspiration to investigate it in the first place, see this Deka Glossai video.
Kutumbasastri, Teach Yourself Samskrit: Note the “m”. This is not the vastly inferior book by Teach Yourself. This textbook series has several volumes for each level. The first level contains the main book, a narrative reader that is graded along with the main book, a similar conversational reader, and a key and glossary. This book uses very little English, essentially only in the instructions to each exercise. It is a very immersive introduction to Sanskrit grammar. Levels 2, 3, and the first half of 4 have also been published. This textbook seems excellent if you’re up for a bit of a challenge, but it is hard to find in print. It is available on Scribd here. I have only skimmed through this textbook, but it seems to be among the best available.
Krishnamurthy, Conversational Sanskrit: This textbook is well-graded, with each chapter starting with some example sentences and sample conversations with parallel text, then a vocabulary and suggestions for varying the given sentences, and only then is there a short grammar lesson. It unfortunately has no audio, and uses a slightly unusual transliteration scheme, only including Devanagari versions of the dialogues in the appendix. I think that this book is below Assimil, but if you want a vocabulary and usage-focused introduction to the language, rather than a grammar based one, this is a good choice.
The next few courses will be essentially in the western Grammar-translation tradition. If that’s not your thing, feel free to skim. For more detail than I will provide in this post, I recommend this blog’s reviews.
Egenes, Introduction to Sanskrit: This two-volume set is the best of this group of textbooks. It’s a pretty shallow grade, especially in its introduction of Devanagari and of sandhi. Its major drawback, in my opinion, is that it doesn’t provide extended reading selections until the second volume, when it adds a verse from the Bhagavad-Gita (which is well above the level of the learner at that point). The only exercises are the translation exercises in both directions. It does contain a key to the exercises. There is a highly useful supplement to this course from ANU called The Joy of Sanskrit. It contains recordings, further grammar explanations, and conversational Sanskrit phrases.
Maurer, The Sanskrit Language: This very large textbook follows essentially the same plan as Egenes, although the curve is steeper. It contains transliteration only in the paradigms, not throughout the rest of the text. The most important part of this book is the relatively (~1 page) long readings accompanying each chapter, with notes. There is no key to the exercises in the book, but it does have a companion website.
Deshpande, Saṃskṛta-Subodinī: In the same tradition as the above. Explains some grammar points and then has exercises. I’ve never looked at this book myself, but I understand that the exercises are good, although there is no key.
Goldman, Devavanipravesika: This is the textbook I started with. It has no particular advantages over the above textbooks, unless you really want to learn Sanskrit grammatical terms. It has very short readings and exercises for translation into Sanskrit, but no key.
Coulson, Teach Yourself Sanskrit: I can’t recommend this book for any reason, unless you are looking for an extremely cheap used textbook and you only kind of care about learning Sanskrit. It has minimal Devanagari, minimal readings, and very difficult exercises, although it does provide a key.
Online Sanskrit Lessons from IIT Madras
Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries
Sanskrit Bharati USA
Sanskrit Google Group (in Russian)
Online Devanagari Keyboard at Lexilogos
UT Introduction to Ancient (Vedic) Sanskrit
A Sanskrit Reader (Lanman)
Intermediate Sanskrit Selections
Brough, J., Selections from Classical Sanskrit Literature
Warder, A. K., Sanskrit prose reader
Mahalinga Sastri, Y., A First Reader of Sanskrit
Banerji, H.C, The New Method Sanskrit reader
Scharf, Peter, Ramopakhyana
The Clay Sanskrit Library
Mylius, K., Chrestomathie der Sanskritliteratur
Manuel pour étudier la langue sanscrite
This is just a small beginning, please comment things that I can add (and use myself!)
All about language programs, courses, websites and other learning resources
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