About the book:
A Sanskrit Primer provides a useful outline for a rapid review of Sanskrit grammar and language. It combines in a brief and careful manner Buhler's exercises with explanations of Whitney. The whole subject is covered in forty-five lessons systematically arranged. Vocabularies are prefixed to each exercise. Sanskrit glossaries are appended to facilitate easy understanding.
The book is intended for earnest and eager students, and also for those who are keen to learn Sanskrit language.
The Primer, originally published in 1885 by Ginn and Company, Boston, is based upon an excellent little work by Professor Georg Buhler of Vienna: Leitfaden fur den Elementarcursus des Sanskrit, Wien, 1883. I became acquainted with this book while in Germany, and after using it with a class in Columbia College was convinced of its great practical value. On the other hand it seemed likely to be less useful to classes in America as keeping throughout to the native system of grammar, whereas the admirable Sanskrit Grammar of William Dwight Whitney presented the language in a much more logical and scientific form. It seemed therefore advisable to attempt a combination of Buhler’s practical g exercises and Whitney’s presentation of the actual structure of the language. To this end the book was entirely rewritten for the use of English-speaking students, nothing being retained that did not seem likely to meet the real needs of those for whom it was designed. Occasionally, however, as the hook would probably be used by persons who would not have the guidance of a competent teacher, explanations were added which normally would be given by the instructor. In many cases not only the substance but also the actual wording of Whitney’s rules was incorporated into the text of the Primer - of course with his consent.
The experiment tried with many misgivings in 1885 may be said to have proved successful, since the book has been in steady, though naturally in limited, demand for fifty years. Two years ago Messrs. Ginn and Company found it no longer practicable for them to continue its publication, and the Columbia University Press agreed to take it over.
In the original preface my deep obligations to Professors Buhler, Whitney and Lanman, and to the first of my former pupils in Sanskrit, Professor A. V. Williams Jackson, likewise to the printers in Berlin, Gebruder Unger (Theodor Grimm), were ex- pressed. Since then Professors H. F. Burton of the University of Rochester, Louis H. Gray of Columbia University, and A. W. Ryder of the University of California, with Dr. Charles J. Ogden of Columbia University, have given me similar and most welcome assistance. My further thanks are due, and most gladly expressed, to the two publishing houses mentioned above, who negotiated the transfer of rights with the greatest courtesy and skill.
The book has been carefully revised to remove all still remaining errors.
Introductory suggestions, p.xi.
I. Alphabet and Sounds.
II. Changes of Sounds. Guna and Vrddhi.
III. Rules of Euphonic Combination.
V. Substantives and Adjectives
XIII. Verbal, Adjectives and Substantives: Participles, Infinitive, Gerund.
Derivative or Secondary Conjugations.
XV. Periphrastic Conjugation.
XVI. Verbal preflxes: Adverbs and Prepositions.
XVII. Formation of Compound Stems.
XVIII. Syntactical Rules.
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