Three months is a very small window to learn a new language. Let’s see how and how much we can progress!
In the first month, week by week introduce yourself slowly to new topics.
Steps to start learning:
1.Introduce your brain to words in the Sanskrit
we can learn a language by listening to Sanskrit podcasts such as ivmpodcasts, playerfm, podbean, podchaser, samskritabharatipodcast, Listennotes, oursanskrit, Devyani radio and more Sanskrit podcasts available on available on iTunes (Apple Podcasts),Google Podcasts, Spotify, Breaker, TuneIn, Stitcher, Radio Public, Hubhopper , or YouTube, listening to Sanskrit radio such as TuneIn, watching Sanskrit movies with English subtitles and English movies with Sanskrit subtitles, to get a fair idea of the language. You could use cinestaan, movies like punyakoti, priyamasanam(National Award winning Sanskrit movie) – also available in a book format, anurakthi( world’s first 3d Sanskrit movie), ishti, suryakantha, aham brahmaasmi, AdiShankaracharya, Bhagwad Gita, Madhurasmitham, Namo, Mdhubhashitham etc.
Listening to all such resources will also help you train to listen to Sanskrit words and pronunciations. To ensure you can take out at least 5 to 10 minutes to listen to the Sanskrit language could be news, could be radio, anything that you can do while on your way back home or while walking your dog or at any other convenient time, spare at hand.
Once you train your ears to listen to Sanskrit words, phrases, speech, accent, dialects, we recommend you start maintaining a journal or a diary. In the next part of learning, we will be learning to accumulate/gather all such words and phrases, which are simple enough and used in day-to-day conversations from omniglot, kimavi, ezglot. Other than that, update your vocabulary lists with fillers, conversation connectors, idioms and slang so that you can hold small conversations going forward.
Remember, the phrases you collect now don’t have to be grammatically perfect. The idea is to be able to start getting confident to say basic things about yourself, such as “ मम नाम सीता ” These little victories will help you gain confidence and develop interest to interact with someone in Sanskrit.
2. Learn collective words and pronunciations
By the second week, you should practice speaking the phrases that you have collected in your vocabulary book verifying the pronunciations with Omniglot.com and Forvo.com to get better. And as you practice you see how different the Sanskrit pronunciation is from English. It has the new introduction of: and unheard of in any other European languages! But don’t fret or get anxious over it. Speak aloud, record yourself and play the recordings until you get the pronunciation correct. Keep adding new phrases to your vocabulary book the moment you are able to perfect the old ones. Prepare for small conversations such as “Namaskaarah, Mam naam Arti” Etc
Now that you can hold small conversations(irrespective of the grammar correctness), I recommend you log in to online language exchange of conversation exchange programs such as mylanguageexchange.com, speaky, and many more that are available online. In this manner, you will be able to improve your Sanskrit by listening to the native Sanskrit speaker and getting corrected at the moment you make a mistake via feedback. You can also take advantage of the free Sanskrit lessons offered by few teachers online.
Sign up for a free ‘Speak Sanskrit in 20 hours’ or
SAFIC Spandan 6 day intensive Sanskrit Learning Workshops, or Learn Sanskrit from Dr. Rao in SAFIC, courses to get confident about holding your first conversation with the native speaker.
After your first Sanskrit conversation, I beckon you to prepare yourself for the third week. I encourage you to schedule a minimum of 3 Sanskrit conversations a week so that you soon get into the rhythm of speaking Sanskrit besides slowly picking up the language’s nuances.
Speaking will anyways enable you to remember what you are talking about and to help train your brain we recommend you use flashcard apps such as 101languages.net, Anki, Quizlet, brainscape.com, intriductory-sanskrit.com, Studystack or download flashcard app from play store. Anki’s SRS algorithm will automatically have you spend more time practicing the phrases you’re less familiar with, and less time on the ones you know well. Practice your flashcards for at least fifteen minutes per day. I also recommend you start reading something more complex than the simple phrases and words you learnt so far. The sooner you master the basics of reading, the sooner you’ll be able to use Sanskrit literature as a study tool.
Start reading Sanskrit. I suggest you start from theSanskritlanguage.com and Sanskritfromhome.in. Sanskrit Documents is home to hundreds of different Sanskrit texts. Texts are available as PDF files, but by using this site’s Sanscript tool, you can convert the ITX versions into any script you like. GRETIL (Göttingen Register of Electronic Texts in Indian Languages) contains a large number of Sanskrit texts. These texts are in IAST, but you can convert them to Devanagari or another script by using this site’s Sanskript tool. The Free Indological Connection contains more than fifty rarer and more unusual Sanskrit texts, including a few copies of the Bhagavad Gita, a list of Sanskrit verb roots, and a translation of the New Testament into Sanskrit. Some texts are more interesting than others. LearnSanskrit.org has copies of the Bhagavad Gita (raw), Meghaduta (first half translated), and the Ashtadhyayi (chapter 1 translated). For more information, click here. Use Sanskrit Studio that has reviews of a lot of books to select one for yourself.
3. Try to communicate in Sanskrit
Week three is a good time to evaluate what’s worked for you in learning Sanskrit and what hasn’t worked so well. That is if you’ve kept up your practice. Chances are you’ve had some days when you felt super motivated, and some days when you were tired, bored, or had other engagements. This week is a great time to put things in their places and create a study schedule that works best for you.
Remember it is really very effective to study every day of the week even as little as 10 mins, rather than doing all your study in one or two days. A few simple reasons help you firm up your study routine and you don’t have to spend extra time trying to figure out where you left it last!
Throughout this week, keep reading, keep scheduling conversations, and keep building and practicing from your flashcard decks. Introduce yourself to Memrise, Drops, Duolingo to take further advantage of learning. No matter what else might get in the way of your studying, you can always find a few spare moments to check in your Anki deck.
4.Make a schedule for learning
Tweak your schedule, if it has been a little too heavy considering the time that you have at hand so that it works for you. In the last week of the first month, I recommend you keep practicing and adding to your flashcard decks, resume listening to a Sanskrit podcast or radio show, Sanskrit playlists, and conversations with native speakers this week. You will also find your listening to have improved significantly and you would be able to identify spoken words better. So why not try some of the great YouTube videos available.
5.Track your progress
Review yourself, your progress, your learning to see how far you’ve come in just a few weeks, even if you weren’t able to study as much as you wanted. You’ll be amazed by your progress and find it hard to believe that at one time, you could barely pronounce Namaskaarah! As long as you studied consistently and didn’t give up, you won’t be looking back!
So above are the basic steps to get started. Following these will surely help you to ace your learning process and reach the goal. Also, Multibhahsi offers the best courses for Sanskrit, you can check that out here.