Sanskrit 2: Electric Boogaloo!

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artful_lounger
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Artful Lounger continues learning Sanskrit!


Following from my first GYG blog here:
https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/sho....php?t=6786286 I'm continuing into the second year of my CertHE in South Asian Studies (focusing on Sanskrit language) and so I thought I will continue a new GYG too


About Me

From last year:

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I'm a mature student, studying (mostly) Sanskrit at SOAS. Previously I spent...quite a while studying in various STEM fields before eventually leaving due to my mental health taking a nosedive in about second year, as well as having lost my enthusiasm for STEM fields. I found while studying Ancient Greek with the OU that I enjoyed studying ancient languages, so decided to embark on studying Sanskrit at SOAS!

Since then, that's all broadly true! However last year I also took a linguistics module which I found quite interesting and it was one of my best results, so I'm trying to explore that interest a bit more this year as well as continuing with Sanskrit

Outside of academic stuff the landscape has changed a fair bit...I don't really have much in the gaming sphere I'm playing a lot now apart from some LoL now and then. Over the summer I've been working as a temp, doing admin work. I might be continuing with this part-time next year too (which might be a good thing, or not, I'm not sure yet!) but still waiting to hear back on that


Academics

This year I'll be studying:

Sanskrit Language 2 (over term 1 and 2)
Ancient and Medieval Indian Philosophy (Term 1)
Introduction to the History of South Asia (Term 2)

I'll also be auditing:

Sanskrit Poetry and Aesthetics (over term 1 and 2)

I was originally planning to take a Sanskrit texts module alongside Sanskrit language 2, but the only one running this year is the one designed for third year Sanskrit students, which I am auditing instead! As it's supposed to be taken after Sanskrit 2 the lecturer (who teaches both) advised it would probably not be a good idea to take it for a grade, but that she would be happy for me (and others from my Sanskrit 1 modules) to sit in on the classes to get more exposure to Sanskrit language, texts, and culture!

Edit: Major changes! So I wasn't allowed to take two linguistics modules. In the end to balance my module load I ended up not taking any linguistics modules Instead I'll be taking Ancient and Medieval Indian Philosophy in term 1, which although being a year 2/3 philosophy module I was advised doesn't assume any prior knowledge of philosophy, and Introduction to the History of South Asia, a first year history module covering from early South Asia (bronze age) to just before English colonial rule began.

The philosophy module was one that I considered taking last year but had been advised to wait a year before taking, and hadn't originally planned to take this year because I was concerned I needed a philosophy background. It's mainly focused on Vedic texts and some alternative philosophies (e.g. some early Jain philosophy). The history module is pretty wide ranging so hopefully at least some will be interesting, I've not studied history in a long time though and am a little uncertain of it

I haven't yet decided if I want to do any modules at UCL through the life learning scheme in the classics department. They are only partially online this year which means I would need to commute to London if I did that which would make the cost even higher so I probably can't afford to do so financially, unless I continue working in my current job part-time - and then I couldn't afford to so in terms of time availability because it would be hard to balance all the time spent commuting to London with my potential working hours! So although I enjoyed the modules I took there last year a lot, it seems unlikely I can take any this year Still, I'm musing on the possibility...Hittite moved from SOAS to UCL and I did want to take that at some point if possible


Future Plans

I'm also going to be applying to uni this year (again!) for first year of a degree course. Due to my funding situation I can only be fully funded for a part-time course as if I studied full-time I would only receive a maintenance loan, which limits my options for full-time study only to unis with significant bursary/grant schemes for mature students

I haven't yet finalised where I am going to apply, although I am definitely certain after speaking with the admissions tutor for the course I want to apply to the BA Ancient Languages at UCL which is available part-time! The other major part-time options I've identified are Bristol and UWTSD Classics. I've been keeping an open mind about linguistics though as an option so might explore that a bit more too.

Unfortunately part-time study options are often quite limited which restricts the range of courses I could apply to by a lot. SOAS for example only permits part-time study in "exceptional circumstances", and only after year 1 of the course, and you are still classified as full time for fee purposes! So regrettably I definitely won't be continuing at SOAS for a degree


Tag List

This is the tag list from last year's thread If you would like to be tagged (or untagged!) please let me know!

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First post!


I forgot to mention in the original post, but in the run up to the new academic year (and hopefully mostly over this bank holiday weekend!) I'll also try to chart my experience of this MOOC thing I've been doing on Zoroastrianism and Avestan language (especially the latter part!). I've been meaning to catch up on it for a while so hopefully this bank holiday weekend, where I am for once blissfully alone at home as everyone else (including dogs!) went camping, will let me do some quiet study and reflection

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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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That's so annoying you can't study a degree at SOAS. Stupid systems grrrrrr :grumble: :mob: :shakecane:

Posting to subscribe, please do keep me tagged! Looking forward to following your language-learning adventures
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
That's so annoying you can't study a degree at SOAS. Stupid systems grrrrrr :grumble: :mob: :shakecane:

Posting to subscribe, please do keep me tagged! Looking forward to following your language-learning adventures
Thank you!

And yes it was a bit disappointing to learn I was trying to see if I could make it work by living in poverty for one year then being able to study part time thereafter, but then when double checking the fine print to figure out what "exceptional circumstances" would apply to, I saw that actually they still class you as full time for fee purposes/SFE purposes so it was a no go

Still I'm not too sure what I would've studied had I stayed there...the linguistics course has been cut to a joint honours course only (and can't be combined with art history either sadly), South Asian Studies is gone and rolled up with all the other regional studies courses into the Languages & Cultures course which is a lot more generic (more general world lit/media courses than specific text based courses for each language) so there wasn't too much in terms of options The most likely candidate would've been anthropology and linguistics as a joint honours since I've been interested in anthropology and anthropological approaches to things for quite a while but that might've actually been a bad choice since it was one of the first degrees I was interested in applying to over 10 years ago in school and I think if I ended up doing that original plan after all this time and struggle I might've had a bit of meltdown

I guess at least it has the small benefit of forcing me to explore other options more widely!
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Updates

Work has been a little slow for the last couple days (unusually!) so I worked through a bit more of the Zoroastrianism MOOC, skipping ahead to the Avestan language bit which was the main reason I was taking it

It was quite interesting because the script and alphabet for it was very different to what I expected. For some reason I guess I thought it would be more similar to Sanskrit and devanāgarī, namely a syllabic alphabet (or rather, syllabary) with a script that went from left to right. But it is in fact a "regular" alphabet where each graph represents a single letter, and the script is right to left. I wonder if the script format was influenced by neighbouring Semitic languages like Hebrew which are often written right to left?

There are quite a few phonemes which are very unfamiliar to me, the course did include audio of them though but I'm still not great at distinguishing a lot of phones by ear. I couldn't tell if one of the /t/ sounds was aspirated or not for example. Interestingly the graph for that was very similar to the sign for the retroflex ṭa in Sanskrit, so I was wondering if Avestan had retroflex sounds. I think these entered Sanskrit from neighbouring Dravidian languages in South Asia rather than being a product of the Indo-European substrate though so I'd be surprised if it did. Something to look into!

Some of the words were very similar or even virtually identical to Sanskrit words, at least phonetically, such as the Avestan word for power which sounds phonetically very close to the Sanskrit word for warrior (?) kṣatriya- (also a root for other related words I think). Another one is manas in Sanskrit (I'm not as familiar with this word but it seems to be connected to various meanings relating to mind/intellect/understanding) and manah in Avestan meaning "thought". I seem to vaguely recall a discussion in our classes last year about -s and -ḥ endings being somehow related/equivalent in Sanskrit through some shift from Vedic Sanskrit (which as mentioned before was very close to, or arguably nearly identical to, Old Avestan) so the different ending may just be the result of a sound change over time.

I'm going to practice a little bit of writing some of the letters from the script as recommended by this course I'm following and see how well I remember them, probably over this weekend

I should also probably start thinking about personal statement writing soon :cry: I have until January but the lecturer I asked to act as a reference for me has requested I send her the material I'm planning to submit with my application so she can have an idea of the whole picture so I need to send her my PS in enough time for her to be able to read it (along with the other info) and write my reference well before that deadline!

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(Original post by 5hyl33n)
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Further Update

Disaster my personal tutor rejected my linguistics module choices, apparently it was OK for me to take one such module last year but I would be taking too many outside the South Asian region this year if I take them so I need to rechoose my modules

There just aren't that many modules in the area though now that everything has been rolled into the new languages and cultures programme...I am able to take modules from that course but they're mostly fairly generic and I wasn't really that keen on them...

Back to the drawing board I guess :/

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(Original post by artful_lounger)

Further Update

Disaster my personal tutor rejected my linguistics module choices, apparently it was OK for me to take one such module last year but I would be taking too many outside the South Asian region this year if I take them so I need to rechoose my modules

There just aren't that many modules in the area though now that everything has been rolled into the new languages and cultures programme...I am able to take modules from that course but they're mostly fairly generic and I wasn't really that keen on them...

Back to the drawing board I guess :/

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ARGH this sounds immensely frustrating, am sorry This whole rolling things into new programmes seems to be messing things up a lot for you and doesn't sound that fruitful for many students anyway

Lots of sympathetic hugs coming your way! :jumphug:
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
ARGH this sounds immensely frustrating, am sorry This whole rolling things into new programmes seems to be messing things up a lot for you and doesn't sound that fruitful for many students anyway

Lots of sympathetic hugs coming your way! :jumphug:
Thank to for the support as always

It is really stressful...I've found one module to replace one of the linguistics one which is an art history module on the Mughal period. It wasn't my favourite topic in the art history module last year but I did enjoy that module overall (and I did actually answer the Mughal period question as one of my exam essays).

The other one I'm still really stuck on...the only other module that might be interesting is one on ancient and medieval Indian philosophy (mainly focusing on Vedic and Upanishadic texts) but I'm very uncertain about that because I have no background in philosophy at all

It technically has no prerequisites but it is a module for 2nd/3rd year philosophy students so I'm a little worried it will implicitly assume some background in philosophy generally. Also it's a term 1 module (like the art history module) so I would be basically full time study (including the audited module) for term 1, which since it seems I might have my contract extended for my job wouldnt be ideal...

The others I mostly don't meet the requirements for and/or am not really interested in taking :/

PS I saw ABBA reformed, that must be exciting for your research
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Thank to for the support as always

It is really stressful...I've found one module to replace one of the linguistics one which is an art history module on the Mughal period. It wasn't my favourite topic in the art history module last year but I did enjoy that module overall (and I did actually answer the Mughal period question as one of my exam essays).

The other one I'm still really stuck on...the only other module that might be interesting is one on ancient and medieval Indian philosophy (mainly focusing on Vedic and Upanishadic texts) but I'm very uncertain about that because I have no background in philosophy at all

It technically has no prerequisites but it is a module for 2nd/3rd year philosophy students so I'm a little worried it will implicitly assume some background in philosophy generally. Also it's a term 1 module (like the art history module) so I would be basically full time study (including the audited module) for term 1, which since it seems I might have my contract extended for my job wouldnt be ideal...

The others I mostly don't meet the requirements for and/or am not really interested in taking :/

PS I saw ABBA reformed, that must be exciting for your research
That's cool you found an art history one, even if it's not quite ideal. Can understand your concern about the philosophy one :console: A very tricky position to be in!

Yesssssssssssssssssss
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
That's cool you found an art history one, even if it's not quite ideal. Can understand your concern about the philosophy one :console: A very tricky position to be in!

Yesssssssssssssssssss
Sorry for the delayed response, work has been manic this week! Yes, the art history module isn't an exact match for my interests but looks interesting even beyond that, plus it was the lecturer for some of my module last year so should be OK I think
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Module Situation Update

On the module front my personal tutor has relented and suggested I could take one of the linguistics modules I already picked out along with the art history module. Of course, the one that I've been granted permission to take which I would prefer to take is also a term 1 module, so I would be taking full-time credits in term 1...which might be hard to manage if my contract is extended past the end of the month (it has been extended to the end of the month now, as part-time, so starting next week I have a little more time to catch up on everything!). But the philosophy module above is also a term 1 module! So all the modules I kind of am more keen to take, are term 1 modules :/

The term 2 options are second/third year politics/IR modules which I'm not too keen on because a) they focus on contemporary South Asia which while no doubt interesting isn't really my interest and b) I have no background in the politics/IR area. Otherwise there is a music module which I am absolutely not going to take because I am terrible at music! I don't think it's a performance module but also I think I'm as close to being tone deaf as you can get without actually being clinically tone deaf, so the listening exam would be an instant fail in that module...so I think that one is a hard pass from me! So the only term 2 module that I think I could reasonably take is the final option, a first year history module focused on South Asia. Which covers at least some of the periods I'm interested in, but I haven't done history (i.e. not of art ) since year 9 (and for good reason!) :O

So either take a module I'm not too sure about and balance my workload across the two terms, or take one I'm slightly more sure about but have more work in term 1. Both are also wholly assessed by coursework, which seems nice on one level because not having to take an exam, but coursework is also stressful in a different way...plus it gets marked a bit more stringently! In the exam you get the benefit of the doubt a little due to the time scale and the format I think Tough decisions to make...I'm going to look a bit more at the content of each module over the weekend to make a judgement on Monday hopefully.
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More Module Madness!

So it turns out I'm not going to be able to take the art history module because both lecture and seminar are going to be in-person on campus...in the middle of the day with almost all my other lectures. So to make it to campus I would need to begin commuting to London at 5:50AM then remain on campus all day to attend both the in-person classes and all my online ones because they're all more or less back to back or with too small a gap between them to get back home before the next online lecture starts...which I just don't think is going to be sustainable at all, especially if my contract gets extended past the end of the month at work

However I did hear back from the ancient and medieval Indian philosophy lecturer who assured me that it is an introductory module and doesn't presuppose any background in philosophy. So I will be planning to take that one instead of the art history lecture. I was originally interested in taking it last year actually but was advised to maybe wait until I had some background in Sanskrit so the terminology wouldn't be quite so alien to me. So knowing it doesn't assume any philosophy background is reassuring and aside from perhaps some "distraction" by linguistics is more in line with my original aims for doing this CertHE overall.

That leaves me back at my starting point of deciding on the second module though...although before I was leaning towards the linguistics option now I'm thinking maybe the history option is better? Having looked at it more, it focuses mainly on pre-colonial India which fits my interests, plus as a first year option it should be accessible (and the module leader confirmed it doesn't assume any background in history or historical methods like A-level History or similar). It also means that I'm a bit less pressured in term 1. It would also give me, between my modules, a reasonably broad introduction to pre-colonial South Asia, from both visual/material perspectives, intellectual history/philosophical perspectives, and more "traditional" historical perspectives.

Outside of module worries, my contract has been extended again to the end of the month but now part-time; once I have some idea of my timetable later in the month they will revisit it to see if I can be extended beyond this month part-time too. So that is good, I think? Good to have money coming in at least, however from the end of this month into next month it looks like work will become pretty manic due to a lot of major things coming up around that time

In free-time world (such that it exists!) I watched that new Netflix show, Q-Force. In spite of the terrible initial trailer for it, it was actually really quite charming and cute, and much more character/plot focused than comedy focused (which was to its benefit). I enjoyed it overall, sadly I think the initial trailer put off a LOT of people who thought it was going to be borderline offensive pandering and stereotyped jokes all the time, so I'm worried it's not going to get picked up for a second season :/ Also I've found when I'm not working I kind of run out of things to do a lot without WoW taking up all my spare time...been napping a lot lately as a result I might get Monster Hunter Rise to fill that gap, plus unlike WoW an LoL I generally enjoy playing monster hunter (as usually if something goes wrong I feel like it was my mistake and I have to learn from it - whereas in the other games oftentimes it feels like it was someone elses mistake outside of my control screwing everyone over!).

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(Original post by 5hyl33n)
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Sorry for being behind on the thread, have limited brain capacity atm and always prefer to give your thread my full attention Great to know that the philosophy and history modules don't presume any prior knowledge/background/training - hopefully that encourages you to give them a go.

5.50am is NOT a time according to the TLG Theory of Time, just in case you were in any doubt about that :hand:

Oooh a music module! My PhD supervisor studied music (well, ethnomusicology) at SOAS but yeah, it wouldn't be my cup of tea either :ninja: so fair enough you don't wanna consider that

Great also that your workplace like you so much! :awesome:
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Sorry for being behind on the thread, have limited brain capacity atm and always prefer to give your thread my full attention Great to know that the philosophy and history modules don't presume any prior knowledge/background/training - hopefully that encourages you to give them a go.

5.50am is NOT a time according to the TLG Theory of Time, just in case you were in any doubt about that :hand:

Oooh a music module! My PhD supervisor studied music (well, ethnomusicology) at SOAS but yeah, it wouldn't be my cup of tea either :ninja: so fair enough you don't wanna consider that

Great also that your workplace like you so much! :awesome:
No worries, and thank you! Yes I agree 6am is way too early...I did used to have to get up then for work when I lived in Cambridge but there I just had to walk ~15 mins to my workplace then I could zone out while drinking a cup of tea for a couple hours so it wasn't so bad getting up that early Doing it to then get on a train (to then switch trains twice!) to go to London sounds torturous

Yeah music is not something I'm very good at in any capacity so definitely not a good idea I think both in terms of enjoyment of the module and actually doing well on it! Much as I appreciate listening to music for enjoyment from an academic point of view I think I would struggle! Still vacillating on the linguistics vs history modules, planning to confirm with my tutor Monday so will keep thinking on it

I was surprised they were so keen to keep me on, the agency that put me there did tell me when they were updating me on the extension apparently my work had really positive feedback about me when they did extend me last time so I guess they must be pretty happy with what I'm doing!
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Modules Chosen!


So after all the back and forth I've selected as my non-language modules Ancient and Medieval Indian Philosophy and Introduction to the History of South Asia. Both are wholly assessed by essay, which has benefits and downsides!

The former I had considered taking last year as it seemed interesting due to mainly being focused on the Vedas (the RV and Upaniṣads mostly) plus some opposing (not sure if this is the right term?) philosophies (e.g. early Jain philosophy). However I had been advised not to take it until second year, then put off taking it because as a year 2/3 philosophy module I wasn't sure I had the right background for it. Since I got sort of forced to explore other options anyway, I got in touch with the lecturer and they assured me that it didn't presuppose any background and while a year 2/3 module was still introductory.

The latter is fairly broad ranging in an introduction to the history of more or less the Indian subcontinent, from the bronze age Indus Valley civilization through to the point of the East India Trading company bringing British colonial rule to India (this is where it cuts off so the course doesn't seem to focus much on contemporary colonial/postcolonial history). Hopefully this will help tie together the content I studied in the art history module last year, and the philosophy module above this year. I've not done any "history" since year 9 though which was...a very long time ago! So I am a little worried, but as it's a year 1 module hopefully won't be too arduous

Otherwise the major update is I bought monster hunter rise for myself It arrived earlier today so going to play it for a bit this evening Not sure what weapon I'll play, I'm leaning towards insect glaive again since apparently they improved a lot of the weakpoints it had in monster hunter world!

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(Original post by 5hyl33n)
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Sounds good - that is the sort of stuff I teach! Indian philosophy and I've taught a couple of courses on modern Indian history (Hindu thinkers tie in quite nicely to Independence, post-Independence, Hindutva).

I think you'll love it!
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(Original post by gjd800)
Sounds good - that is the sort of stuff I teach! Indian philosophy and I've taught a couple of courses on modern Indian history (Hindu thinkers tie in quite nicely to Independence, post-Independence, Hindutva).

I think you'll love it!
I hope so! The history module I'm not too sure what to expect, but the philosophy one did appeal to me previously so knowing it doesn't assume any prior knowledge of (western) philosophy is reassuring so I'm feeling hopeful that one will be good
Its all completely new stuff to me though in both cases so no matter what I'll definitely learn something (and hopefully will enjoy the process too!)
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
I hope so! The history module I'm not too sure what to expect, but the philosophy one did appeal to me previously so knowing it doesn't assume any prior knowledge of (western) philosophy is reassuring so I'm feeling hopeful that one will be good
Its all completely new stuff to me though in both cases so no matter what I'll definitely learn something (and hopefully will enjoy the process too!)
In some ways not having the Western background will help you. I usually (not always!) find that people well-versed in Western are too quick to drawn weird comparisons that don't work, or are intimidated by how different this stuff is to what they are comfortable with. I'm excited for you tbh haha
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Sorry for very late reply, but: exciting stuff :nutcase: Wishing you the very best of luck for the term and academic year ahead
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Sorry for very late reply, but: exciting stuff :nutcase: Wishing you the very best of luck for the term and academic year ahead
No worries, thank you for your support as always too I've been quite slow replying to things the last few days, mostly because I spent all weekend playing monster hunter Plus work has been busy again...since I'm now basically doing the same work (and mostly the same amount of work!) in half the amount of hours I don't get as many "breathers" as before, at least not if I want to get everything squared away before I finish for the week on Wednesday :O

I am enjoying one of those lulls now though

(Original post by gjd800)
In some ways not having the Western background will help you. I usually (not always!) find that people well-versed in Western are too quick to drawn weird comparisons that don't work, or are intimidated by how different this stuff is to what they are comfortable with. I'm excited for you tbh haha
Also following from the above, sorry for the late reply! Hopefully that will work to my advantage then! I am looking forward to it overall, there is the worry that some of the material might be quite conceptually difficult but I guess that is the point really! One of my lecturers last year (I think, it might've been in a reading they assigned instead) said something along the lines of "If you don't have to fight your way through the theory then it's not worth knowing!". Not sure if that's wholly true but perhaps I can take solace in that thought Although I think that was more with reference to literary/critical(/anthropological) theory rather than (theoretical?) philosophy :holmes:
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