Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Verbs/Infinitives:

As of this post, we shall be reconstructing natural Mycenaean Linear B grammar from the ground up. When I refer to natural Mycenaean Linear B, I mean not merely the Linear B extant grammatical forms in the standardized, formulaic and fossilized language of inventories which we encounter on extant Linear B tablets, but grammatical forms common to the entire natural, spoken language. While we do not have any direct evidence of the syntactical construction of the spoken language, we can nevertheless largely reconstruct grammatical forms in natural Mycenaean Greek.  Such reconstructed forms are referred to as derived.

In this post, we introduce attested Mycenaean Linear B infinitives only, i.e. those which are found on extant tablets. In the next post, we shall feature a considerable number of derived infinitives, which are nowhere to be found on the extant tablets, but which nevertheless can be reconstructed with relative ease.

Linear B verbs, just as all verbs in every East Greek dialect down from Mycenaean to early and late Ionic and Attic, among other dialects, are classified as follows:

Thematic Verbs:

These are the so-called standard verbs, which are by far the most common in all ancient Greek dialects. Thematic verbs are sub-classed into three voices, active, middle and passive. The middle voice is unique to ancient Greek, and is self-referential, by which we mean the subject acts upon him- or herself or of his or her own volition. The middle voice also includes reflexive verbs.

Athematic Verbs:

Athematic verbs are far less common than thematic, but they are the most ancient of ancient Greek verbs. They have already appeared completely intact by the time Mycenaean Greek has entrenched itself. The Mycenaean conjugations of athematic verbs are very similar, and in some cases identical to, their conjugations in much later Ionic and Attic Greek, and must therefore be considered the root and stem of the same class of verbs in later classical Greek. The fact that athematic verbs were already fully developed by the era of Mycenaean Greek is a strong indicator that the Mycenaean dialect is not proto-Greek, but the first fully operative ancient East Greek dialect. We shall demonstrate over and over that Mycenaean Greek was the primordial fully functional East Greek dialect which was to be adopted and adapted by the later East Greek dialects (Ionic and Attic among others).

The reconstruction of natural language Mycenaean grammar by means of the methodology of progressive grammar is to be the subject of my fourth article in the prestigious international journal, Archaeology and Science, Vol. 13 (2017). The concept of progressive grammar is actually quite easy to grasp. It merely designates the reconstruction of natural, as opposed to inventorial, Mycenaean Greek grammar from the ground up. By the time I have finished with this project, I shall have reconstructed a huge cross-section of natural Mycenaean grammar, approaching the grammar of later East Greek dialects in its comprehensiveness.

Here is the table of attested thematic and athematic infinitives in Mycenaean Greek:

mycenaean-linear-b-infinitives-620