The proportion of eponyms & toponyms in percentage to all terms in Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Linear B. Does it all add up?
There are 45 eponyms and toponyms in our Glossary of 134 words in Minoan Linear A, comprising 33 % of the total.
Calculating the total number of terms in Chris Tselentis’ Linear B Lexicon as 1,500 give or take, and the number of eponyms and toponyms as 380 give or take, the percentage of the latter is 25 % of the total.
It should come as no surprise at all anyone at all familiar with Mycenaean Linear B that there are so many eponyms and toponyms (e&ts) in the Lexicon. This being the case, it is reasonable to expect that the same phenomenon should repeat itself in Minoan Linear A. And so it does. Yet, while it is clear that eponyms and toponyms account for a significant percentage of the total number of terms in each syllabary, why the 8 % discrepancy between the percentage of eponyms and toponyms (e&t) in Minoan Linear A = 33 % and in Mycenaean Linear B = 25 %?
There are several cogent reasons for the divergence:
1. Whereas philologists have squarely deciphered the vast majority of words in Mycenaean Linear B, the same cannot conceivably be said of Minoan Linear A. Hence, the over-weighted preponderance of e&ts in Minoan Linear A. We simply have not been able to decipher enough Minoan Linear A words, however accurately or not, to be able to state with confidence that we have even approached a comprehensive lexicon of Minoan Linear A. This fact alone would account for the relatively higher percentage of e&ts in Minoan Linear A (33 %) than in the wide-ranging Linear B Lexicon by Chris Tselentis (25 %).
2. However, even Tselentis, in spite of his admirable thoroughness, has not by any means accounted for all of the terms deciphered in Linear B, as these amount to at least 2,500. So unless we count all of the eponyms and toponyms on every last extant Mycenaean Linear B tablet, the percentage of the e&ts cannot be accurately accounted for.
3. The same goes for our Minoan Linear A Glossary of 134 terms. Since the number of terms deciphered, exclusive of eponyms and toponyms, amounts to 89, these account for only 17.5 % of all intact words in Prof. John G. Younger’s Linear B Lexicon (ca. 510). So in the case of Minoan Linear A, the total percentage of eponyms and toponyms (33 %) is decidedly lop-sided to the up side. There is no way of telling how positively biased the percentage of e&ts in our Minoan Linear A Glossary of 134 terms is, but it is certain that it is out of whack, just as the percentage of e&ts in Mycenaean Linear B is (but for entirely different reasons).
4. Thus, we cannot definitively conclude that the frequency of e&ts in Minoan Linear A is as closely aligned with the frequency of the same in Mycenaean Linear B as we might imagine or wish it to be. Such an expectation is entirely misguided.
5. On the other hand, it is quite clear the eponyms and toponyms account for a considerable segment of the total vocabulary in both Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B. This set of circumstances must never be overlooked in any sober attempt at the decipherment of Minoan Linear A, however partial.
There still remains one ineluctable sticking point with eponyms and toponyms in Minoan Linear A. Whereas in Mycenaean Linear B, which has been deciphered for the most part with considerable accuracy, we can virtually always distinguish between a word which is an eponym and one which is a toponym (with only a handful of exceptions at best), the same cannot be said of Minoan Linear A. There is just no guarantee that the 27 words I have identified as eponyms in our Glossary of 134 Minoan Linear A words are in fact all eponyms, or vice versa, that the 18 toponyms are indeed all toponyms. The most glaring example of this crossover transposition is the name Kaudeta (?), which may be either an eponym or a toponym (which is why I have listed it in both categories), or which may be neither. That is made clear enough by my marked hesitancy in defining it either way, while at the same time I find myself hedging my bets by including it also in the list of terms I have tentatively deciphered, more or less accurately, where I define it as possibly meaning “ to be distributed (fut. part. pass.) approx. = Linear B, epididato = having been distributed (aorist part. pass.) ”. But you cannot have it three ways. All this goes to show how precarious the partial decipherment of even a relatively small subset of Minoan Linear B (26 %) is bound to be.
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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