Early Vedic

is the oldest attested Indo-Aryan language. Early Vedic is famous for its unique oral tradition (see introduction). Its importance for the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European can hardly be overestimated. It is the only IE language preserving breathy voiced consonants, traditionally represented as voiced aspirated. Its sandhi phenomena allow for glimpses into prosodic structure quite unexpected for a dead language (see sounds). Vedic has an archaic and rich case system (see words) and a complex pattern of finite and infinite embedding (see structures).


Eystein Dahl

University of Tromsø

Götz Keydana

University of Göttingen

Tim Felix Aufderheide

University of Jena


Early Vedic, intro, unit 1


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49492

linguistic affiliation, external history: overview, migratory routes, Mitanni Indo-Aryan, lexicon


Early Vedic, intro, unit 2


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49491

texts and transmission: literature, ritual, transmission, periodization, selected resources


Early Vedic, intro, unit 3


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49490

the R̥gveda: structure and content, poets, setting (geography, history), form, text sample



Early Vedic, sounds, unit 1


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49484

segmental inventory: phonetics, vowels (including diphthongs and syllabic resonants), consonants (stops, fricatives, approximants), traces of laryngeal *H


Early Vedic, sounds, unit 2


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49489

segmental processes: notion of sandhi, vowel coalescence, neutralization, retroflexion, assimilation, Grassmann and Bartholomae


Early Vedic, sounds, unit 3


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49488

prosodic structure: stress, accent system, syllable structure and repair, feet and weight contour, prosodic words, prosodic phrases and sandhi, intonation phrases



Early Vedic, words, unit 1


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49487

general remarks, word formation, compounds: Vedic as a fusional language, word classes, morphological devices, composition


Early Vedic, words, unit 2


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49486

nominal morphology: nouns, inflectional categories (case, number, gender), adjectives, pronouns, numerals


Early Vedic, words, unit 3


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49485

verbal morphology 1: typology, formal categories, morphological processes, person, number, voice, tense/aspect, mood/voice formation


Early Vedic, words, unit 4


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49497

verbal morphology 2: thematic/athematic stems, nominal forms, derivation (causative, desiderative, intensive, denominative)



Early Vedic, structures, unit 1


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49496

basic syntactic features, alignment, differential argument marking, valency-changing categories


Early Vedic, structures, unit 2


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49495

aspect, tense and modality: aspect/tense, modality (subjunctive, optative, imperative, injunctive)


Early Vedic, structures, unit 3


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49494

word order, embedding: word order, left and right periphery, speech acts, finite/infinite embedding


Early Vedic, structures, unit 4


DOI: https://doi.org/10.5446/49493

case morphosyntax: Early Vedic case system, use of cases, examples of object alternation



Lecturers' references

selection out of the lecturers’ references, enriched by Florian Fischer and project members:


general introductions, encyclopedias, literature, writing, history, miscellaneous

Delbrück, Berthold. 1897. Vergleichende Syntax der indogermanischen Sprachen. Zweiter Theil. Strassburg: Trübner.
Fortson, Benjamin W. 2010. Indo-European Language and Culture: an Introduction (2nd ed.). Chichester: Blackwell Wiley.
Gotō, Toshifumi. 2013. Old Indo-Aryan Morphology and its Indo-Iranian Background. In co-operation with Jared S. Klein and Velizar Sadovski. Wien: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften.
Kobayashi, Masato. 2004. Historical Phonology of Old Indo-Aryan Consonants. Tokyo: Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa. Tokyo University of Foreign Studies.
Lexicity. 2016. Sanskrit. (Accessed 2021-07-06.) (Mostly lists resources on Classical Sanskrit, not Vedic.)
Nègre, Xavier. 2002-2021. Lexilogos. (Accessed 2021-07-06.)


grammars, treatments of major grammatical domains

Bucknell, Roderick S. 1994. Sanskrit Manual. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.
Delbrück, Berthold. 1888. Altindische Syntax. Halle a. S.: Verlag der Buchhandlung des Waisenhauses.
Gonda, Jan. 1971. Old Indian. Leiden & Köln: Brill.
Jamison, Stephanie W. 2004. Sanskrit. In Woodard, Roger D. (ed.), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World's Ancient Languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
MacDonell, Arthur A. 1910. Vedic Grammar. Strassburg: Trübner.
Oberlies, Thomas. 2003. A Grammar of Epic Sanskrit. Berlin, New York: Walter de Gruyter.
Renou, Louis. 1952. Grammaire de la langue védique. Lyon & Paris: Imprimerie Artistique en Couleurs.
Speyer, Jacob S. 1896. Vedische und Sanskrit-Syntax. Strassburg: Trübner.
Tubb, Gary A. & Boose, Emery R. 2007. Scholastic Sanskrit: A Handbook for Students. New York: The American Institute of Buddhist Studies.
Wackernagel, Jacob. 1896‒1964. Altindische Grammatik. 3 Vols. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.
Whitney, William D. 1889. A Sanskrit Grammar. Including Both the Classical Language, and the Older Dialects, of Veda and Brahmana. (2nd edn). Leipzig, London: Breitkopf & Härtel, Trübner.

See also a list of grammars on Lexicity 2016 and Lexilogos.


dictionaries, headword search tools, further sources of information about the lexicon

Grassmann, Hermann. 1873. Wörterbuch zum Rig-Veda. Leipzig: Brockhaus.
Mayrhofer, Manfred. 1992. Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindoarischen. I. Band. Heidelberg: Carl Winter.
Mayrhofer, Manfred. 1996. Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindoarischen. II. Band. Heidelberg: Carl Winter.
Funderburk, Jim & Hyman, Malcolm D. & Malten, Thomas & Scharf, Peter. no date. Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries. (Accessed 2021-07-06.)

See also a list of dictionaries on Lexicity 2016 and Lexilogos.


text collections, corpora, treebanks

Digital Corpus of Sanskrit. 2019. (Accessed 2021-07-06.)
Gippert, Jost & Martinez, Javier & Korn, Agnes & Mittmann, Roland. 2016. TITUS TEXTUS: Thesaurus Indogermanischer Text- und Sprachmaterialien. Frankfurt: University of Frankfurt. (Accessed 2021-07-06.)

teaching material

coursebooks, exercises, materials or introductions supporting teaching

Krause, Todd B. & Slocum, Jonathan. 2004. Early Indo-European Online: Ancient Sanskrit Online. University of Texas: Linguistics Research Centre. (Accessed 2021-07-06.)