CONSOLIDATION OF MYCENAEAN GRAMMAR: Part 1 – Verbs in the Active Voice

CONSOLIDATION OF MYCENAEAN GRAMMAR: Part 1 – Verbs in the Active Voice: Click to ENLARGE:

CONSOLIDATON of Conjugations of Thematic & Athematic Verbs in the Active Voice in Mycenaean Greek

NOTE: if you are already very familiar with Mycenaean Linear B grammar, or if you are a serious student of the same, it is highly advisable to print out this Consolidated Table & keep it for your records.

Just as I promised in our last post, the time has come for us to start consolidating Mycenaean Grammar in Linear B, beginning with the Conjugations of both Thematic and Athematic Verbs in the Active Voice for all of these tenses: Present, Future, Imperfect, First & Second Aorist & Perfect tenses.

The obvious question many of you will be asking is: why on earth has Richard omitted the Future Perfect & Pluperfect, let alone any other oblique tenses... and the answer is as simple as Mycenaean Greek on the extant tablets practically and logically permits. Nowhere on the tables will we find any usage of even the future & perfect tenses (at least so far as I know), so the inclusion of these tenses might seem a bit of a stretch. But is it really? I for one emphatically say, not so. Why so? It is a quite straightforward, and indeed, highly plausible hypothesis to assume, and on fair evidence, that the Mycenaean Greeks made us of all of these tenses liberally in the spoken language. What evidence can I possibly have for that? The evidence we have is in the frequent recurrence of participles in all of these tenses on extant tablets, circumstantial evidence which, by association, fairly well confirms that the Mycenaeans spoke all of these tenses all the time.

This conclusion I have drawn is further buttressed by the fact that some of the aforementioned tenses do occur, even if only in partial conjugation(s) on extant tablets, and here of course, I speak of the present tense (extensively used on the tablets, to no-one’s great surprise, given that the vast majority of the tablets are accounting records for the current year ("weto”) or, as we call it the "current fiscal year”.

But the scribes also had to make reference to (recent) historical events, especially in the realms of trade and commerce (for which there exist scores of tablets, some of them very extensive, especially from Pylos), to the trades & crafts, to agricultural production and certainly to military matters and war. Thus the aorist plays a real role on the extant tablets. But what about the perfect tense? What evidence is there for it? Plenty. Even the most cursory look through even the smallest Mycenaean glossary, namely, The Mycenaean (Linear B) – English Glossary, reveals 3 examples of uses of perfect participles passive (dedemeno = corded, kekaumeno = burnt, muyomeno = initiates (part. as a noun), and there are plenty of examples pf present participles active and passive, which you can root out for yourself, by consulting this meagre glossary. However, we can easily ferret out plenty more participles from the much larger and more comprehensive glossary by Chris Tselentis, Athens, Greece, Linear B, 149 pp. long! My point is simply this: if the Mycenaeans were so "into” having recourse to participles, both active and passive, especially in the present, aorist and perfect tenses, it practically goes without saying that they used those tenses liberally in their spoken language... to my mind at least.


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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