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State teaching award goes to Monika Boehm-Tettelbach and Axel Michaels


The fact that teaching “Made in Heidelberg” is very popular can not only be seen in the export of relevant offers abroad. Two programs of the South Asia Institute for language acquisition in Hindi and Sanskrit attract numerous students from all over the world to the Neckar every year. The two professors Monika Boehm-Tettelbach and Axel Michaels have now received the state teaching award for these lessons.

Learning with comics, as seen in the "Summer School of Spoken Sanskrit". Photo: University


In 1999 Monika Boehm-Tettelbach launched a "Practical Language Semester Hindi", which allows students to learn the most common language of this subcontinent in a relatively short time at the beginning of their studies in Modern Indology this language, explains the professor. A year later, Axel Michaels founded a "Summer School in Spoken Sanskrit". It is dedicated to the language practice of this type of lingua franca of India, which is otherwise only taught as written language outside of this country. “Sanskrit”, says Michaels, “is the fundamental tool for any study of Classical Indology. And regardless of whether you take a historical, literary, linguistic, religious, philosophical or ethnological approach, you cannot avoid mastering this language . "

Both courses have in common that they have got around in the world of Indology and therefore attract students from all over Europe and beyond. For Heidelberg in particular, their benefit lies in making their studies even more efficient. Above all, Monika Boehm-Tettelbach cites the shortening of study times as a positive effect. Because no one can ignore Hindi when studying Modern Indology. In addition, she is enthusiastic about the fact that, beyond the purely professional, friendships are created and a kind of community feeling is formed. This is reinforced by a mandatory stay of several weeks for the entire course at an Indian partner university.

Both want to invest the prize money of 10,000 euros back in their teaching. Because the lessons are of course not done by them alone, but - as Monika Boehm-Tettelbach emphasizes - supported by “highly motivated” employees. For that you need financial resources. Axel Michaels is also planning a “world first”, namely a textbook for spoken Sanskrit. And what would be the ideal preparation for a trip to India? The best thing to do is to speak both languages ​​- Hindi and Sanskrit - then all doors and gates would be open to you.

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