Learn How to Type Linear B FAST! – well, at least much faster than usual: Click to ENLARGE


Learn How to Type Linear B FAST! - well, at least much faster than usual: Click to ENLARGE

Easy Guide to Mycenaean Linear B Font keyboard

Typically, keyboard layouts for Mycenaean Linear B are so abstruse that they actually confuse us more than they help us. I hope to remedy this messy state of affairs with this brand new keyboard layout for Mycenaean Linear B which I have just devised, with its own mnemonics and other guidelines for easy learning. Here are the keys to this keyboard layout:


Your first time round, you must download & install the Linear B Font by Curtis Clark, here: Click to go to the site and download the font:

Linear B Font Curtis Clark

Once you have installed the Linear B Font, you can then proceed to type anything you like in Linear B, by following these steps in order. 

(a) First you must change your Font from your default (Times New Roman, Georgia etc.) to Linear B
(b) Next, you should increase the size of your Linear B font 2 points up from your default font size in (a). Thus, if you default font size is 12 points, you should set the Linear B font to 14 points. You may also need to set the Linear B font to BOLD if it does not appear clearly enough to your satisfaction. This is up to you.


Syllabograms: If you start typing any linear series of 5 q w e r t y keyboard keys from the left to the right, you will be typing the entire series of a particular group of syllabograms from [consonant + a + e + i + o + u], as illustrated in the examples here:

If you type A S D F G, you will automatically get DA DE DI DO DU. Try it!
If you type a s d f g, you will automatically get TA TE TI TO TU.
If you type Z X C V B, you will automatically get NA NE NI NO NU.
If you type z x c v b, you will automatically get SA SE SI SO SU.

NOTE the mnemonics, DATA & NASA, for the syllabogram series DATA = DA... + TA... and NASA for the syllabogram series NASA = NA... + SA... Think about it for a second or two, and you will get it. From then on in, it will be a cinch for you to  type DA... from A... & TA... from a... (DATA) + NA... from Z & SA from z... (NASA). Anyway, it is for me. If you don ’t like using mnemonics (memory reminders, the string on an elephant ’s trunk), you can just skip this part.

The only exception to this is the series: q w e r t (lower-case LC), which gives you the 5 vowels in order: a e i o u.

Some series of syllabograms are incomplete. In these cases, you do not have to type as far across the keyboard. For example:

If you type Y U I O, you will automatically get QA QE QI QO
If you type y u i o, you will automatically get WA WE WI WO

Examples of actual Linear B text (Latinized):

If you type .Vv, you get the word, KONOSO (Knossos)
If you type hef, you get the word, PAITO (Phaistos)
If you type Ep, you get thew word, AIZA (goat)
If you type qXLe[, you get the word, ANEMOIYERIYA (Priestess of the Winds)


These are easy. Once you are in Linear B, 1 = 1, 2 = 2, 3 = 10... 5 = 100 8 = 2,000 etc. The only thing you need to remember is how many times to press each number key to write a large number in Linear B, e.g. for 43,537, type: 0 0 8 7 5 5 5 5 5 4 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1    


Some series (some of which are also incomplete) yield only homophones. For example:

SHIFT 1 2 3 4 5 = ! @ # $ % yield the homophones: ha nwa pu2 rai riya.
[ ] \ yield the syllabograms YE & YO + the homophone -two- & when shifted to upper case (UC)
{ } | yield the syllabograms ZE & ZO + the homophone -dwo- (lower case! LC)

You will be typing homophones very rarely; so you don’t really need to learn these keys. Just refer to the chart when you need to type homophones (at a ratio of some 100 syllabograms per homophone, i.e. 100:1)


(A) You MUST follow these steps after you have finished typing text in Linear B.
(a) SAVE your document immediately in .doc or .docx format!
(b) SWITCH to your default font (e.g. Times New Roman or Georgia) and reduce your font size by 2 points (also remove BOLD if you used BOLD to type in Linear B).
(c) You may now continue typing in your default font. If Linear B still appears, and your default font does not, you have incorrectly followed this procedure. 


(B) You MUST follow these steps to switch to the Linear B font, after you have finished typing text in your default font (Times New Roman or...)
(a) SAVE your document immediately in .doc or .docx format!
(b) SWITCH to the Linear B font and increase your font size by 2 points (also add BOLD if you want your Linear B text to stand out).
(c) You may now continue typing in Linear B. If your default font still appears, but Linear B does not, you have incorrectly followed this procedure.

Simply alternate from (A) to (B) to switch back and from your default font & Linear B. DO NOT OMIT ANY STEPS!


Oh, and don’ t forget to print out this template of the Linear B font, laminate it in plastic and pin it to the wall above your computer for quick reference!

I shall illustrate how to insert these in your Linear B text in the next post. 






How to Install and Use the Linear B True Type Font by Curtis Clarke

How to Install and Use the Linear B True Type Font by Curtis Clarke (Click to ENLARGE):

Linear B True Type Font by Curtis Clark
If you want to be able to type Linear B with your keyboard, you must first download the font, which you can easily do by scrolling to the bottom of this page to: Friends & Links, to LinearBTTF Font, which will take you to the page where you can download the Linear B Font. You must then install the Font in your Windows Fonts directory. I do not know the procedure for MAC users. Typing the appropriate UC (upper case) or LC (lower case) letter, number or non-alphanumeric character will produce the Linear B syllabogram associated with that character. This takes some getting used to, but in fact, the keyboard layout for Linear B is practical and logical, if you take the time to learn this. For instance, typing q w e r t will yield the Linear B vowels, A E I O U in that order. However, typing Q W E R T yields the Linear B syllabograms, TIYA PTE AI RIYO & SIYA. So be careful!  Likewise, a s d f g gives you TA TE TI TO TU, but A S D F G yields DA DE DI DO DU.

Anyone who is truly serious about learning Linear B should definitely learn how to type it on the keyboard, as writing it can be messy and arduous. It takes some getting used to, but you will master it eventually. Best of luck.


How to download & use the Linear B Font by Curtis Clark:

How to download & use the Linear B Font by Curtis Clark:

DOWNLOAD & install the Linear B Font by Curtis Clark:

Unless you download and install the Linear B Font you will not be able to type Linear B on your keyboard, and unless you read the NOTES below, Linear B characters will look far too small when you insert them in a document.  To download:

on this Blog, scroll down to the bottom of this page to: Friends & Links & scroll down to: Linear B TTF & click on it to download.

NOTES on the usage of the Linear B font:

1. Whenever you switch from your default Latin font (Times New Roman, Georgia etc.), you will have to change your font size to 26 or 28 points BOLD, if you wish the Linear B text to appear large enough on your keyboard to be easily legible.  If you choose anything less than 26 points, some Linear B characters may not display correctly, usually with some strokes missing.
2. Once you have switched to Linear B font, you can use the keyboard guide in the previous post to type Linear B characters (vowels, syllabograms, homophones & logograms) or words, phrases and sentences.  With the guide and the Linear B Font install, you will even be able type the entire text of most extant Linear B tablets. 
3. There are exceptions, since the Linear B font by Curtis Clark cannot account for most of ideograms in Linear B, of which there are well over 100. Fortunately, these ideograms, for the most part, occur relatively rarely on the tablets.  One notable exception is Pylos Tablet 641-1952 (Ventris), the very first tablet Michael Ventris translated in June & July 1952, on which the ideograms for various types of tripods (ti-ri-po-de) frequently recur.  The Curtis Clark font (or for that matter any other Linear B/Mycenaean font) cannot account for ideograms such as these.

In cases such as this, you can (if you like) download charts of Linear B ideograms in image formats (e.g. jpeg or PNG), and then crop to the particular ideogram you want to use, resize it to the equivalent of 26 to 28 points, and then insert it into your document at the appropriate position in the Linear B word containing that ideogram, finally switching back to the Linear B font to complete the word.  The problem with this, of course, is that it is a time-consuming and awkward procedure.  It's up to you.  If you have the patience, do it.  If you are hosting a Linear B blog, and you want Linear B text to appear professional, you really don't have much of a choice.  I don't. 

If you wish to access the Linear B Ideograms, proceed as follows:
1. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to Friends & Links and then to UCB Linear B Ideograms, and click to see the chart of Linear B ideograms.  Click on the chart of ideograms, click again to open it in its full size, and then right click to save it to your computer.  Once you have saved the table of ideograms, you then crop down to the particular ideogram you would like to insert in your Linear B text, and save the cropped ideogram to your computer. Good luck!  You'll need it.

Here you see a little demonstration of how to crop a particular ideogram out of the UCB Linear B Ideograms table you have just downloaded.  I did it in 3 steps myself, so that I could see the results at each step, but of course, you will take your own approach to cropping down to a single ideogram, in this case, the ideogram for "woman":

Ideograms man & woman to woman 

Note that I will be explaining & illustrating the use of Linear B logograms and ideograms (annotated) at Progressive Linear B Lessons, Levels 4 & 5 in the winter & spring (of 2014).

4. When you switch back to your default Latin font to type English (or French, German, Italian etc. Etc.) you of course must downsize the font size back to its default, for instance, Times New Roman or Georgia 10-12 points regular (not BOLD).

When you switch to the Linear B font, upsize the font size to a minimum of 26-28 points BOLD.  When you switch back to your default Latin font, downsize to 10-12 points regular (not BOLD).  Recycle this routine as required.


Easy Guide to the Keyboard Layout for the Linear B Font by Curtis Clark

Easy Guide to the Keyboard Layout for the Linear B Font by Curtis Clark (Click to ENLARGE):

Linear B Keyboard Guide Revised 1200

NOTES on the Easy Guide to the Keyboard Layout for the Linear B Font by Curtis Clark:

Once you have downloaded the Linear B Font by Curtis Clark (See the next post for instructions), and have had your first look at it, you will probably be wondering how to make any sense of the keyboard layout. Which alphanumeric keys correspond to which Linear B syllabograms? It all looks like a complete mess. Not to worry. I have taken the trouble and plenty of time to figure it all out for you. You will be hugely relieved to discover that there is a method to the apparent madness of the keyboard layout. The rationale behind the design of the Linear B keyboard is in fact perfectly sound, and (mostly) logical in its own quirky way.

Right away, we note that the lowercase (LC) alphanumeric key sequence q w e r t yields the Linear B vowels A E I O U when you have reset your Font to Linear B.

Likewise, each standard sequence of Linear B syllabograms, e.g. DA DE DI DO DU, RA RE RI RO RU (and any other Linear B syllabogram sequence) is produced by a corresponding sequence of uppercase (UC) or lowercase (LC) alphanumeric characters.

For instance, A S D F G produce DA DE DI DO DU while a s d f g produce TA TE TI TO TU & Z X C V B produce NA NE NI NO NU while z x c v b yield SA SE SI SO SU.

Exception: The sequence of alphanumeric characters Y U I O does not produce a complete sequence of Linear B syllaobgrams. Y yields homophone PA2 (Y) while U I O give us QE QI QO. This makes sense, since there are only 3 syllabograms in the Q+ series. Curtis Clark has therefore assigned to the alphanumeric key Y the homophone PA2 (See the keyboard table above for the actual homophone).

All of the other alphanumeric key sequences, however short (3 sequential keys), except one, yield corresponding complete series of syllabograms .  2 uppercase (UC) of 5 alphanumeric key sequences yield homophones. These are:

(UC) Q E R T which produces the homophones TIYA AI RIYO SIYA, except for W which gives us the syllabogram PTE. So the complete UC series Q W E R T = TIYA PTE AI RIYO SIYA.
NOTE: (UC) ! @ # $ % produce homophones only: HA NWA P2 RAI RIYA.

1 lowercase LC) of 4 alphanumeric key sequences yields its corresponding series of 4 syllabograms: y u i o = WE WE WI WO

2 sequences of 3 alphanumeric key sequences yield respectively:
(LC) p [ ] = YA YE YO while (UC) P { } = ZA ZE ZO each of which consists of only 3 syllabograms anyway.

2 sets of homophones are represented by LC & UC of the same key: LC = KWE UC + DWE & LC \ TWO UC | DWO (DUO= Linear B 2)

Master these guidelines and you have mastered the Linear B keyboard.

If you intend to repost this Guide on your site, on any picture board, on Facebook, Twitter or any other Internet services or site, please respect my copyright, since it took me at least 8 hours to produce it along with these helpful notes.

Thank you