Table 2: Comparison of Spelling Conventions in Linear B and Alphabetical Greek

Table 2: Comparison of Spelling Conventions in Linear B and Alphabetical Greek – Click to ENLARGE:

Linear B syllabograms correspondance with ancient Greek

As you will quickly enough appreciate from studying Table 2, Comparison of Spelling Conventions in Linear B and Alphabetical Greek, the Linear B syllabary sometimes has a tough time representing exactly the Greek vowels and consonants they are supposed to be (exactly but not always!) equivalent to. This is particularly true for:
(a) the vowels E & O, which are both short and long (epsilon in the Table) and long (aytay in the Table in alphabetical Greek & o micron (short) & o mega (long) (See the 2 variants on each of these vowels in Greek in Table 2 above) can only be represented by 1 single vowel syllabogram for the same vowels, i.e. E & O, in Linear B. (See also the same Table).
(b) the situation seems considerably more complicated with the alphabetical Greek consonants, but the appearance of complexity is just that, merely apparent.
By studying the Table above (Table 2), it should dawn on you soon enough that the Linear B syllabograms in the KA, PA, RA, QE & TA series are forced to represent both alphabetical Greek variants on the vowels each of them contains, since once again, Linear B is unable to distinguish between a short vowel and a long vowel following the initial consonant in each one of these series.
(c) In the next post, we will provide ample illustrations of these principles of spelling conventions in Linear cross-correlated with their equivalent spelling conventions in (early) alphabetical Greek.

NOTE: When we eventually come around to analyzing the Syllabary of Arcado-Cypriot (the Greek dialect resembling the Mycenaean Greek dialect to a striking degree), we will discover that in fact the Syllabary for Arcado-Cypriot, known as Linear C, suffers from precisely the same deficiencies as Linear B, which in turn establishes and confirms the principle that no syllabary can substitute fully adequately for the Greek alphabet, although I must stress that both Linear B & Linear C are able to account for a great many (though certainly not all) of the peculiarities of the Greek alphabet. What is truly important to keep in mind is that a syllabary, in which all 5 vowels have already been accounted for, and in which the consonants (so to speak) are all immediately followed by any one of the vowels, is the very last step in evolution from hieroglyphic through to ideographic and logographic systems before the actual appearance of the (earliest form of) the ancient Greek alphabet. In other words, the evolution from hieroglyphic systems such as ancient Egyptian all the way right on through to the Greek alphabet, the culmination of 1,000s of years of evolution, looks something like this:

hieroglyphics - ideograms -› logograms -› syllabary -› alphabet

in which only the last two systems, the syllabaries, represented by Linear A, Linear B & Linear C, and the Greek alphabet, contain all of the vowels. This is of the greatest significance in the understanding of the geometric economy of both syllabaries and alphabets, explaining why syllabaries consist of far fewer characters (generally no more than about 80-90 syllabograms, not counting logogams and ideograms, which are merely remnants of the previous systems) than any previous stage(s)in the evolution of ancient writing systems, and why alphabets consist of even fewer characters (only 24 in the classical Attic Ancient alphabet, and never more than 30 in the earliest Greek alphabets).



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