The How and Why of Learning Sanskrit - Olga Olina | PGO 2021

The How and Why of Learning Sanskrit - Olga Olina | PGO 2021

Sanskrit is the classical language of South Asia, where it is the language of scholarly tradition, high culture, religious thought, and philosophical writings – much like Latin in Europe. Sanskrit grammar and vocabulary serve as the basis for over 200 modern Indo-Aryan languages. Due to its widespread use throughout Southeast and Central Asia during medieval times, Sanskrit has greatly influenced the neighbouring languages and functioned as a source of lexical borrowing for many languages spoken in Asia. Since the discovery of the Indo-European language family, enthusiasm for Sanskrit and its literature grew, and its grammar has been systematically studied by many linguists around the globe.

In this talk, I will introduce you to the numerous reasons why learning Sanskrit is both worthwhile and fascinating. You will learn about Sanskrit writings and the oral tradition of storytelling in ancient India, about the scripts used for writing Sanskrit and the sounds of this language. I will explain the basics of Sanskrit grammar and the major role it played in the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European. You will find out who wrote the oldest grammar book and what study materials for studying Sanskrit are presently available.

Olga is a Sanskrit teacher, historical linguist, minority & indigenous languages advocate. Fascinated by linguistic diversity, she collects ancient and modern languages in her Idiomarium. Olga is enchanted by faded manuscripts and very fond of language puzzles. She has been researching Old Lithuanian, tutoring courses in Indo-European Linguistics at Humboldt University of Berlin, and is in love with everything involving grammar, script decipherment and calligraphy.

This video was recorded at the Polyglot Gathering Online 2021 (

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