Linear B FONT (Curtis Clark) – English keyboard KEYS (annotated) Progressive Linear B – CLICK TWICE to ENLARGE:
As far as I am aware of, this is the first time ever that anyone has provided a complete Mycenaean – Greek – Latin (English) Keyboard LAYOUT for the Curtis Clark Linear B Font. Previous Linear B keyboard layouts on the Internet indicated the Latin key + its Linear B equivalent, but never with the Latin (English) version of the Linear B equivalent following the Linear B character (vowel, syllabogram, numeric or homophone) corresponding to the Latin key you need to press to get that Linear B character. The problem with this is that, unless you already know a priori what the Linear B character represents (i.e. which English or Greek vowel or consonant), you will drive yourself half nuts searching all over the keyboard trying to figure out which Latin key you need to press that actually corresponds to the Linear B character you want and which it (hopefully) represents. I should know. That is what happened to me, over and over! This is a real and very frustrating impediment to the student trying to learn Linear B.
On the other hand, if the keyboard layout shows precisely which Latin key yields which Linear B character and what the Latin equivalent of that Linear B syllabogram, logogram or ideogram actually means, the student should be able to master the Linear B keyboard more quickly… which is why I have compiled this systematic table of keyboard layout of the Linear B keyboard complete with:
1. the Latin key you need to press to get its Linear B equivalent;
2. the Linear B syllabogram spelled out in alphabetic Latin for the Latin character you just pressed, so that you know you pressed the right key to yield the exact Linear vowel, syllabogram, homophone, logogram, ideogram or numeric value you intended to get;
3. with my annotative notes explaining in meticulous detail precisely what each Latin key pressed represents, in light of the various issues (and there are plenty of them) that arise with such a complex keyboard layout, where the Latin alphabetic keys are required to represent a sylllabary with far more characters than any alphabet (Latin, Greek, Cyrillic or otherwise). The 26 letters + numeric and non-alphabetic keys on the English Latin keyboard must somehow do justice to the far larger set of some 200 Linear B characters, and in fact the Curtis Clark Linear B Font goes a long way towards satisfying this requirement.
4. It is for these reasons that it is imperative you read ALL the notes in the Table above; otherwise, you will not fully grasp how the Linear B keyboard functions.
5. This is all the more critical when once we grasp the fact that Linear B is unable to distinguish between short and long vowels, meaning that every single Linear B vowel or syllabogram ending in I or O must represent both the short & the long Greek equivalents of these 2 vowels. The Table makes this perfectly clear.
6. In addition, the first R in any syllabogram beginning with R (RA RE RI RO RU) must be aspirated in Greek, since the first instance of Greek letter R is always aspirated. Moreover, if there are 2 consecutive Rs in Greek, the first one is always aspirated & the second one is always unaspirated. Additionally, since the R syllabograms cannot distinguish between a single R and a double R in Greek, the student must be fully cognizant of this fact when attempting to translate a Linear B word into its Greek equivalent. And just to make matters worse, Linear B has no syllabograms beginning with the consonant L. In Linear B, the consonant R must make do for both L & R + a vowel, in other words, RA RE RI RO RU also stand for (the absent) LA LE LI LO LI. I will eventually explain in detail why this phenomenon occurs in Linear B.
YOU MUST READ THE TABLE & ITS NOTES IN THIS POST IN ORDER TO EFFECTIVELY USE THE LINEAR B KEYBOARD! If you do not read the notes, the Linear B Keyboard with its equivalent English keys will be very difficult to interpret. On the other hand, once you have carefully read the NOTES to the Linear B keyboard Table, you will soon discover, to your immense relief, that it will be much easier to learn how to effectively use the Linear B keyboard. There are several reasons for this, all of which are given in detail at the bottom of the Table. To summarize the Table’s LEGEND, we note the following:
1. By far the easiest characters to learn are the Linear B vowels, which are in alphabetical order in Linear B & in QWERTY order in English. If you press the consecutive English keys qwert, you get the Linear B vowels in alphabetical order. This feature was cleverly designed by the inventors of the Curtis Clark Linear B Font, who made sure that one of the most common series of keys on the standard QWERTY keyboard (the first 5 letters QWERT on first row top left of the QWERTY keyboard) represent the Linear B vowels in alphabetical order, making the vowels by far the easiest Linear B characters to learn.
2. Pressing the UC (upper case) for certain (quasi) consecutive alphabetic English keys, for instance H J K L will yield alphabetically consecutive Linear B syllabograms, for instance, H J K L give you MA ME MI MO.
3. Pressing the LC (lower case) for certain (quasi) consecutive runs of English keys, for instance h j k l will yield consecutive Linear B syllabograms, where h j k l give you PA PE PI PO. Closely examining the results of the same consecutive series of alphabetic characters in UC and then in LC, here: H J K L & h j k l, we discover something else. The Linear B syllabograms produced by the lower case (LC) letters are the very next Linear B syllabograms in alphabetical order after those produced by pressing the UC of the same alphabetic characters. Sure enough, UC H J K L = MA ME MI MO & LC h j k l = PA PE PI PO. Now we know that the UC series yields Linear B M syllabograms as far as O, while the LC sequence yields the very next Linear B syllabograms alphabetically, i.e. the P series as far as O. This makes it much easier for you to master at least the Linear B syllabograms for longer alphabetic series in UC and LC, since we now know a posteriori that the LC Linear B series of syllabograms is the next alphabetically after the UC series. So now, all at one fell swoop, we have learned all 8 Linear B syllabograms ME ME MI MO PA PE PI PO.
4. Some series are in reverse UC order, for instance, when you press M & N you get RE & RA, while m & n give you KE KA. But this is still pretty easy to remember.
5. Other series are in reverse LC order, e.g. z x v = SA SE SO, while the same Latin letters are in alphabetical order in UC, e.g. V X Z = NO NE NA. This is still pretty easy to master, once you get the knack of it.
6. Some Latin keys are consecutive non-alphabetic Latin characters keys, either UC or LC, .e.g = RI RO + [ ] = YE YO & = ZE ZO
7. Some non-alphabetic series of Latin characters are mixed UC & LC of the same Latin key, e.g. LC ; = PU & UC: = RU
METHOD IN THE MADNESS OF THE CURTIS CLARK LINEAR B FONT:
So, in spite of all appearances, there is method in the madness of the seemingly insane layout of the Linear B keyboard. The designers of Curtis Clark Linear B Font did know what they were doing. So if you bear in mind the aforementioned principles practically applied to the layout of the Curtis Clark Linear B FONT, you should be able to master most of the keys in no time flat. Unfortunately, many other keys are scattered randomly all over the Latin keyboard, so they will be a lot harder to remember. Fortunately, they are in the minority & they are almost all homophones, which are the characters least frequently found on the extant Linear B tablets. But you still have to learn these characters if you are to become fluent in translating Linear B tablets, because (dammit all!) at least one or two pop up on every single tablet, wouldn’t you know.
The practical application of my theory, Progressive Linear B Grammar & Vocabulary to the mastery of the Linear B Font:
This is precisely why I have developed my novel Theory of Progressive Linear B Vocabulary & Grammar in this Blog, putting it into practical application step by step, so that students of Linear B will be able to follow a smooth learning curve, without encountering too many bumps in the road on the way to full mastery of the script. The very first step in the practical application of my theory is, of course, a relatively smooth mastery of the Linear B Font. As far as I can tell, no one has gone as far as I have in explaining in minute detail the (not so esoteric?) raison d’être in the layout of the Linear B FONT keyboard.
The next post explains how to download & use the Curtis Clark Linear B Font.