Language Programs

Berkeley provides comprehensive language instruction at three levels, from introductory to advanced, in eight of the major literary and spoken languages of five countries in South Asia: Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Bengali, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tibetan and the recently added Telugu. Enrollments in South Asian languages are substantial and have been steadily growing in recent years. We have been able to offer language instruction in these languages because of demand from the student body and overwhelming support from the Bengali, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu speaking communities.

Our language lecturers — Sally J. Sutherland Goldman (Sanskrit), Usha Jain (Hindi), Upkar K. Ubhi (Punjabi), Gregory Maxwell Bruce (Urdu), Amitabha Basu (Bangla), S. Bharathy (Tamil & Telugu) and Gareth Sparham (Tibetan)—provide language training and expertise across South Asian literary traditions, from modern conversational language classes to the reading of classical texts.




 Bangla Hindi Punjabi Sanskrit 




  Tamil  Telugu Tibetan Urdu 

Language Publications

One measure of the quality of the language program is certainly the fact that the three lecturers in Hindi (Usha Jain), Tamil (Kausalya Hart) and Sanskrit (Sally J Sutherland. Goldman with Robert Goldman) have written the definitive textbooks for the teaching of their respective languages in North America. ISAS’ publishing program publishes all these books. For further information and buying information please go to our ISAS Language Publications page.

Beginner Hindi


Inter Hindi


Adv Hindi



Sanskrit book

Introduction to
Hindi Grammar
Hindi Reader
Hindi Grammar
 Tamil for

An Intro to Sanskrit


South Asia Related Library Holdings

Berkeley’s South Asia collection ranks among the four leading South Asia collections in the nation

The South Asia Library boasts the following holdings: Subscriptions for about 5,300 serials, 1,750 of which are published in regional languages; 25 journals and newspapers from the South Asia diasporic community; 25 South Asia daily newspapers;more than 450,000 monographs, with around 10,000 new volumes added annually; 3,700 maps; 600 videos and DVDs; numerous special collections thematically or linguistically arranged; extensive special format holdings, such as films, prints, sound recordings, slides and a number of palm leaf manuscripts in Tamil, Sanskrit and Sinhala.

AAS Language Database: 
Learn a Less Commonly Taught Asian Language

This database and website is an inventory of all US institutions offering instruction in Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs) of Asia with particular attention to institutions offering distance learning options. Language knowledge is essential for the study of Asian cultures and societies. While instruction in Chinese, Japanese, and Korean is widely available in North America, relatively few universities offer instruction in the so–called Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTLs) of Asia. Explore your possibilities with one of the 27 languages in this database from Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and East Asia.

For further information on each of these language programs please browse through the menu items on the left.