Progressive Linear B Grammar: was there a Future Tense?


Progressive Linear B Grammar: the Conjectural Future Tense (Click to ENLARGE):

Progressive Linear B Future Tense Conjectural

Progressive Linear B Grammar: was there a Future Tense? Well, yes and no...

The first thing we need to clear up before we go any further with the conjectural derived future tense in Linear B is this: there are absolutely no instances of the future tense attested anywhere on any extant Linear B tablets (at least to date), and I doubt there ever will be any. Why so? It is actually quite simple: the Linear B scribes were accountants, solely concerned with record-keeping and fiscal accounts for the current year only, and nothing else. Linear B scribes never kept records or accounts for more than one fiscal year (so-called, since that is scarcely what they would have called it, being as it is modern terminology). They routinely destroyed all accounting records for the previous year by wiping their clay tablets clean and reusing them all over again, year after year, until of course they (the tablets, not the scribes!) were no longer usable, and had to be replaced.

In other words, their total preoccupation with records for the current year, or as they called it, WETO or the “running year” precluded any concern at all for what lay ahead in the future, near or far, not even the next “running year”, a contradiction in terms per se, since only the current year can be “running”. So I must conclude that it is unlikely that the Linear B scribes ever used the future tense for their strictly administrative tabular accounts.

This does not mean, however, that the Mycenaeans did not use the spoken future tense, as that too is an absurd proposition. Like all peoples speaking almost any Occidental IE language, they had to use the future tense, and do so frequently, which is why I have reconstructed it regressively from Homeric Greek (or if not possible, from other early Greek dialectical forms). Once I have derived the conjugation for any tense, present, future, aorist, perfect, etc. it is a simple matter to reconstruct progressively the conjugation in its quasi-entirety, omitting the second person singular in the present & future tenses, since I am unable to reconstruct it with any degree of certainty... as I have pointed out numerous times before on this Blog.

CONCLUSION: Just because the future tense is not attested anywhere on extant Linear B tablets does not mean it did not exist. In fact, the contrary must be the case, since an IE (Indo-European) language (in almost all cases) must have a future tense. Had the Mycenaeans ever had reason to write in the future tense, they most surely would have. But they didn’t – at least we have not seen it so far. Linear B tablets unearthed sometime in the future may possibly give instances of the use of the future tense in writing, but once again, I sincerely doubt it, for the reasons elucidated above.

Richard

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vallance22

Historical linguist, Linear B, Mycenaean Greek, Minoan Linear A, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, ancient Greek, Homer, Iliad, only Blog ENTIRELY devoted to Linear B on Internet; bilingual English- French, read Latin fluently, read Italian & ancient Greek including Linear B well, Antikythera Mechanism

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