Tag Archive: Decipherment



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Richard Vallance academia.edu website

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Proto-Greek Decipherment of Minoan Linear A silver pin from Mavro Spelio (Middle Minoan III = MM III) in the Heraklion Museum, Greece:

epingle-argent-kn-zf-31 620

This decipherment of Minoan Linear A silver pin from Mavro Spelio (Middle Minoan III = MM III) in the Heraklion Museum, Greece relies rather heavily on the debatable notion that Minoan Linear A is by and large proto-Greek, a theory espoused by Urii Mosenkis, one of the world’s most highly qualified linguists specializing in diachronic historical linguistics, including, but not limited to Minoan Linear A. Accordingly, I have deliberately interpreted ample chunks of the Minoan Linear a vocabulary on this silver pin as being proto-Greek, even though such a decipherment is surely contentious, at least in (large) part.

While the first line of my decipherment makes sense by and large, the second is more dubious. It is apparent that the Minoan Linear A word dadu on the first line is almost certainly not proto-Greek, but the last two syllables of dadumine, ie. mine appear to be the dative singular for the (archaic) Greek word for month, i.e. meinei (Latinized), such that the decipherment of this word at least would appear to read  in the month of dadu. There is nothing really all that strange or peculiar about this interpretation, since we know the names of the months neither in Minoan Linear A nor in Mycenaean Linear B. However, a definite note of caution must be sounded with respect to the decipherment of this word, as well as of all of the other so-called proto-Greek words on this silver pin, since none of them can be verified with sufficient circumstantial evidence or on the contrary. Hence, all translations of putative proto-Greek words in Minoan Linear A must be taken with a grain of salt.

While the second line on this pin, if taken as proto-Greek, makes some sense, it is much less convincing than the first, especially in light of the trailing word at the end, tatheis (Greek Latinized, apparently for the aorist participle passive of the verb teino (Latinized) = to stretch/strain, which actually does not make a lot of sense in the context.

Nevertheless, it would appear that at least some of the Minoan Linear A words which I have interpreted  as being proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean may in fact be that. I leave it up to you to decide which one(s) are and which are not, if any in fact are. Additionally, even if a few or some of them are proto-Greek, they may fall within the pre-Greek substratum. The most dubious of the so-called proto-Greek words on this pin probably are qami -, tasaza & tatei, since none of these are likely to have fallen within the pre-Greek substratum. 

But if the Minoan language itself is not proto-Greek, then what is it? I shall have ample occasion to address this apparently thorny question in upcoming posts and especially in my second article on the decipherment of Minoan Linear A, which I shall be submitting to Archaeology and Science by no later than April 17, 2017. 


Gretchen Leonhardt is up against some stiff competition from Urii Mosenkis concerning her so-called proto-Japanese origins of Minoan Linear A:  

Urii Mosenkis makes a very strong case for Minoan Linear A being proto-Greek, and he does it over and over, like clockwork. This includes his own completely different interpretation of Ms. Leonhardts highly contentious decipherment of kuro as so called proto-Japanese. I strongly suggest that Ms. Leonhardt read his articles. He is much more qualified than I am in Linear A (and, I contend, than Ms. Leonhardt as well), and I admit it without a shadow of hesitation. I am forced to revise my predictions about the partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A as I outlined them in my first article on Linear A, and I admit openly that Mosenkis is probably right, by and large. Ms. Leonhardt would do well to read all of his articles, as they flat-out contradict everything she claims about the so-called proto-Japanese origins of the Minoan language. I at least have the humility to lay down my cards when I am confronted with convincing evidence to the effect that my own partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A is defective, even though I have already reached many of the same conclusions as Mosenkis.

Not that he would ever convince Ms. Leonhardt of the infallibility of her own dubious decipherments of Linear A tablets. I have a very great deal more to say about Ms. Leonhardt’s contentious claims to eventual fame with respect to her clearly flawed interpretations of Linear A tablets, and to drive my points home, I shall have occasion to cite Mosenkis whenever and wherever he contradicts her, and that is always. 

To view all of Mosenkis superbly conceived research papers, please visit his academia.edu account here:

Urii Mosenkis academia.edu


Here is a selective electronic bibliography of the highly qualified decipherments Mosenkis has made of several Minoan Linear A inscriptions:

Electronic:

Mosenkis, Urii. Flourishing of the Minoan Greek State in the Linear A Script
1700 – 14560 BCE.
https://www.academia.edu/28708342/FLOURISHING_OF_THE_MINOAN_GREEK_STATE_IN_THE_LINEAR_A_SCRIPT_1700_1450_BCE

Mosenkis, Urii. Graeco-Macedonian goddess as Minoan city queen.
https://www.academia.edu/26194521/Graeco-Macedonian_goddess_as_Minoan_city_queen

Mosenkis,Urii. Linear A-Homeric quasi-bilingual
https://www.academia.edu/16242940/Linear_A-Homeric_quasi-bilingual

Mosenkis, Urii. ‘Minoan-Greek’ Dialect: Morphology
https://www.academia.edu/28433292/MINOAN_GREEK_DIALECT_MORPHOLOGY

Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan Greek Farming in Linear A. https://www.academia.edu/27669709/MINOAN_GREEK_FARMING_IN_LINEAR_A_Iurii_Mosenkis

Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan Greek hypothesis: A short historiography https://www.academia.edu/27772316/Minoan_Greek_hypothesis_A_short_historiography

Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan Greek phonetics and orthography in Linear A 
https://www.academia.edu/27866235/Minoan_Greek_phonetics_and_orthography_in_Linear_A

Mosenkis, Urii. Minoan-Greek Society in Linear A.
https://www.academia.edu/27687555/MINOAN_GREEK_SOCIETY_IN_LINEAR_A

Mosenkis, Urii. Researchers of Greek Linear A.  
https://www.academia.edu/31443689/Researchers_of_Greek_Linear_A

Mosenkis, Urii. Rhea the Mother of Health in the Arkalokhori Script
https://www.academia.edu/31471809/Rhea_the_Mother_of_Health_in_the_Arkalokhori_Script

PS I came to almost exactly the same conclusions as Mosenkis re. this
inscription, although my Greek translation is different.

I wonder what Ms. Leonhardt has to say for herself in light of so many astonishingly insightful decipherments by Urii Mosenkis of a large number of Linear A tablets. I look forward to cogent and rational counter arguments on her part, which stand up to rigorous scientific criteria.


A ‘fairly accurate’ rendering of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 86a, according to Gretchen Leonhardt:

a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A HT 86a
This Linear B tablet clearly deals with various crops, with the lead in crop being grains or wheat, just as one would expect on either a Mycenaean Linear B tablet. By the same token, there is no reason to suppose that a Minoan Linear A tablet dealing with crops would not deal first and foremost with grains and wheat. The units of measurements identified on this tablet accord with those tentatively tabulated by Andras Zeke on the

minoan-language-blog

Ms. Gretchen Leonhardt of

Konosos.net

has duly advised me that (and I quote) “your "recto" tablet is a fairly accurate rendering of HT 86a, but your "verso" tablet is an inaccurate rendering of HT 87.... ” She is of course entirely correct in informing me that the so-called verso side is not the same tablet at all, but is in fact, HT 87 (Haghia Triada). I am nevertheless astonished that she would accord me a fair degree of accuracy in my decipherment of HT 86 a, in view of the fact that  (a) I do not even know what the Minoan language is;
(b) Ms. Leonhardt claims to have conclusively deciphered the Minoan language as being proto-Japanese, categorically stating as she does that “overwhelming evidence keeps me steadfast in this view...”, a claim which I intend shortly to refute in no uncertain terms, by bringing to bear on it reasonable circumstantial, though not conclusive, evidence to the contrary and;
(c) she concedes that my decipherment of HT 86 A is fairly accurate, in spite of the fact that I am apparently flailing in the dark, since I know nothing of the Minoan language. Yet if I am, how on earth did I manage to achieve even a fairly accurate decipherment, I have to ask her.

Although Ms. Leonhardt claims that my knowledge of Linear A is “in its infancy” (as everyone’s, including her own, must of necessity be), as a historical philologist specializing in the decipherment of ancient syllabaries such as Linear A, Linear B and Linear C, and unlike Ms. Leonhardt along with numerous other researchers who purport to have definitely deciphered the Minoan language, I neither have ever made nor would ever make the rash and untenable claim that I have deciphered it, given the exiguous size of the lexical database with which we have to work. I have said as much over and over, as for instance in this citation from one of my own works to be published in the next year or so, and I quote:

Conclusions concerning the many failed attempts at deciphering Minoan Linear A:

The worst of all the pretensions of the authors of the aforementioned monographs and tractata are their untenable claims that they have in fact deciphered Minoan Linear A. How is it even remotely possible that these soi- disant decipherers of Minoan Linear A can claim to have discovered the so-called magic bullet in the guise of the proto-language upon which their decipherment has been based, when the proto-languages they invoke are soà wildly disparate? These decipherers have turned to a number of proto-languages, some of them Indo-European (such as proto-Greek and Proto-Slavic), others non proto-Indo-European, running the gamut from Uralic (proto-Finnish), proto-Niger Congo to proto-Semitic and Sumerian all the way through to proto-Altaic and proto-Japanese. While it is patently impossible that all of these proto-languages could be at the base of the Minoan language, it is nevertheless remotely conceivable that one of them just might be. But which one? Given the tangled  mass of contradictions these so-called decipherments land us in, I am left with no alternative but to pronounce that none of these so-called proto-languages is liable to stand the test of linguistic verisimilitude. All of this leaves me with an uneasy feeling of déjà vu.

Instead, I have adopted the unique approach of declaring that it does not matter what proto- language Minoan derives from, or for that matter, whether or not it, like modern Basque, is a language isolate, meaning a natural (spoken) language, ancient (dead) or modern (alive) with no demonstrable genealogical or genetic relationship with any other language whatsoever or alternatively, a language that has not been demonstrated to descend from an ancestor common with any other language in the world. (italics mine).

and again:

In an article of this nature, which is the first of its kind in the world ever to deal with the partial, but by no means definitive, decipherment of Minoan Linear A, I must of necessity focus on those Minoan Linear A terms which offer the greatest insight into the vocabulary of the language, but not the language itself. Anyone who dares claim he or she has “deciphered” the Minoan language is skating on very thin ice. Any attempt to decipher the Minoan language is severely trammelled by the incontestable fact that no one knows what the language is or even what language class it belongs to, if any.


Can quantum computers assist in the decipherment of Minoan Linear A?” Keynote article on academia.edu

(Click on the graphical link below to download this ground-breaking article on the application of potentially superintelligent quantum quantum computers to the decipherment, even partial, of the ancient Minoan Linear A syllabary):

can-qauntum-computers-assist-us-with-decipherment-of-minoan-linear-a

This is a major new article on the application of quantum computers to the AI (artificial intelligence) involvement in the decipherment of the unknown ancient Minoan Linear A syllabary (ca. 2800 – 1500 BCE). This article advances the hypothesis that quantum computers such as the world’s very first fully functional quantum computer, D-Wave, of Vancouver, B.C., Canada, may very well be positioned to assist human beings in the decipherment, even partial, of the Minoan Linear A syllabary. This article goes to great lengths in explaining how quantum computers can expedite the decipherment of Minoan Linear A. It addresses the critical questions raised by Nick Bostrom, in his ground-breaking study, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies (Oxford University Press, 2014),

nick-bostom-superintelligence

in which he advances the following hypothesis:

Nick Bostrom makes it clear that artificial superintelligence (AS) does not necessarily have to conform to or mimic human intelligence. For instance, he says:
1. We have already cautioned against anthropomorphizing the capabilities of a superintelligent AI. The warning should be extend to pertain to its motivations as well. (pg 105)
and again,
2. This possibility is most salient with respect to AI, which might be structured very differently than human intelligence. (pg. 172) ... passim ... It is conceivable that optimal efficiency would be attained by grouping aggregates that roughly match the cognitive architecture of a human mind. It might be the case, for example, that a mathematics module must be tailored to a language module, in order for the three to work together... passim ... There might be niches for complexes that are either less complex (such as individual modules), more complex (such as vast clusters of modules), or of  similar complexity to human minds but with radically different architectures. 

... among others respecting the probable advent of superintelligence within the next 20-40 years (2040-2060).

This is a revolutionary article you will definitely not want to miss reading, if you are in any substantial way fascinated by the application of supercomputers and preeminently, quantum computers, which excel at lightning speed pattern recognition, which they can do so across templates of patterns in the same domain, to the decipherment of Minoan Linear A, an advanced technological endeavour which satisfies these scientific criteria. In the case of pattern recognition across multiple languages, ancient and modern, in other words in cross-comparative multi-language analysis, the astonishing capacity of quantum computers to perform this operation in mere seconds is an exceptional windfall we simply cannot afford not to take full advantage of.  Surely quantum computers’ mind-boggling lightning speed capacity to perform such cross-comparative multi-linguistic analysis is a boon beyond our wildest expectations.



A partial rational translation of another Minoan Linear A tablet on crops:

Ms. Gretchen Leonhardt has correctly pointed out that this decipherment I have assayed of what I took to be one Linear A tablet is in fact two entirely unrelated Linear A tablets, and  as such it must be considered as completely invalid. I am truly grateful to Ms. Leonhardt for bringing this serious gaffe to my attention. Once I have cleared the matter up, I shall repost my decipherment of both of these tablets in two separate posts.

a-partial-translation-of-another-minoan-linear-a-tablet

This Linear B tablet clearly deals with various crops, with the lead in crop being grains or wheat, just as one would expect on either a Mycenaean Linear B tablet. By the same token, there is no reason to suppose that a Minoan Linear A tablet dealing with crops would not deal first and foremost with grains and wheat. The units of measurements identified on this tablet accord with those tentatively tabulated by Andras Zeke on the

minoan-language-blog

I have already tentatively deciphered both adu and adaru in my Glossary of 107 Minoan Linear A words to appear in Archaeology and Science, Vol. 16 (2016), which is to be published sometime in 2018, since the publication date of this compendious international annual always lags behind by at least 18 months from the approximate date of submission of articles by authors, which in my case was November 2016.


Can super efficient quantum computers be of assistance at overcoming the seemingly insurmountable obstacles facing us in even a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A?

Quantum computers, as exemplified by the fantastically powerful D-Wave computer system invented by Canadians and now fully operational in 2017 (Click on their banner to jump to their site):


d-wave-logo

most probably will prove to represent or in fact be a revolutionary development in the power and artificial intelligence of computers even now, as early as twenty-first century (say bu 2025 or so). The D-Wave computer is purported to be 10 million times faster than the most powerful supercomputer on earth! It was recently put to the test to solve an exceedingly complex protein synthesis model, and it did so 3,600 times faster than the the most powerful supercomputer on earth! That is a simply astonishing feat. In fact, quantum computers are purported to be able to solve seemingly impossible problems totally beyond the ken of the fastest supercomputer in the world.

If this proves to be so, is it not conceivable that applying the smarts of a quantum computer such as the D-Wave might lead to real advances in the potential decipherment of Minoan Linear A?

Take for instance my recent analysis and synopsis on the practically unimaginable formidable obstacles facing us in even beginning to get a handle on the syntax and semiotics of Minoan Linear A:

postobstacles

Is it not conceivable that a quantum computer such as the D-Wave might be able to at least make a dent in the potential decipherment, however partial, of Minoan Linear A? Or is it not? The question is not hypothetical. Proponents of the awesome power of quantum computers purport to be able to resolve supremely complex problems completely beyond the reach of even the most powerful of conventional digital supercomputers, as illustrated in this composite:

quantum-computers-intelligence-applications-decipherment

However, there may very well remain possibly insurmountable obstacles even for quantum computers in tackling a seemingly unsolvable problem as fractious as the decipherment of Minoan Linear A, however tentative. Some of the truly form obstacles that can and almost certainly shall practicably stand in the way of quantum computers being able to tackle this redoubtable challenge are:

In spite of the astonishing claims that proponents of quantum computing make for its potential in solving intractable problems which even the most powerful supercomputers cannot even hope to address, what is the substance of these claims? This scenario needs to be logically parsed.
1. Just because quantum computers have unquestionably proven to be able to realize exponentially more efficient leaps in some (and I lay the emphasis on just some) activities, this does not necessarily mean that these quantum leaps imply a parallel or even corresponding quantum leap in AI (artificial intelligence) learning.
2. Even if such a corresponding quantum leap in AI (artificial intelligence) learning were to prove practicable, and in effect take place (possibly by 2025), what is meant by AI (artificial intelligence) or to take the proposition even further, what is implied by the admittedly vague term superintelligence?
3. Do advanced AI or superintelligence necessarily have to conform to or mimic human intelligence, or might they possibly constitute a  discrete, self-contained phenomenon in and of themselves?
4. And if so (i.e. if 3), then would such a superintelligence (or 1 among many) be able to resolve problems, such as specifically, the potential decipherment, even if merely partial, of Minoan Linear A, (anywhere near) as well as human intelligence can? Or put another way, can quantum computing AI or superintelligent learning strategies mimic and even complement human learning strategies?
5. Or if they cannot (i.e. accomplish 4.), can they perhaps accomplish something along the same lines as human learning strategies just because they may in fact not actually resemble human intelligence?

These are just a few of the factors we must absolutely take into consideration if we are to make any assumptions whatsoever over the potential for quantum computers, no matter how clever they may turn out to be and in what sense clever, to accomplish a task as mind-boggling as even the partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A. I shall have plenty more to say about the potentialities of quantum computing in the realm of diachronic linguist decipherment in future, but the introduction suffices for now.


KEY POST! The truly formidable obstacles facing us in even a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A:

Any attempt, however concerted, at even a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A is bound to meet with tremendous obstacles, as illustrated all too dramatically by this table:

minoan-linear-a-prefixes-roots-stems-suffixes

These obstacles include, but are not prescribed by:

1. The fact that there are far fewer extant Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments, of which the vast majority are mere fragments (no more than 500), most of them un intelligible, than there are extant tablets and fragments in Mycenaean Linear B (well in excess of 4,500), of which the latter are mostly legible, even the fragments.

2. The fact that Mycenaean Linear B has been completely deciphered, first by Michael Ventris in 1952 and secondly, by myself in closing the last gap in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B, namely, the decipherment of supersyllabograms in my article, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, in the illustrious international archaeological annual, Archaeology and Science, ISSN 1452-7448, Vol. 11 (2015), pp. 73-108, here:

cover-as-2015


This final stage in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B has effectively brought closure to its decipherment.

As illustrated all too conspicuously by this table of apparent roots/stems and/or prefixes of Minoan Linear A lexemes and their lemmas, we are still a long way off from being able to convincingly decipher Minoan Linear A.

At the categorical sub-levels of the syntax and semiotics of Minoan Linear A, we cannot even begin to determine which categories to isolate, let alone what these categories are. Allow me to illustrate in discriminative terms:

3. As the table of Minoan Linear A so-called roots & stems + prefixes above all too amply highlights, we cannot even tell which first syllable or which of the first 2 syllables of any of the Minoan Linear A words in this list is/are either (a) roots or stems of the Minoan Linear A lexemes or lemmas which it/they initiate or (b) prefixes of them, even if I have tentatively identified some as the former and some as the latter (See the table).

4. In the case of roots or stems, which ones are roots and which are stems? What is the difference between the two in Minoan Linear A? Let us take a couple of entries as examples to illustrate my point:

4.1 The 3 words beginning with the apparent root or stem asi, (I cannot tell which is which), the first 2 syllables of asidatoi, asijaka & asikira may not even be roots or stems of these words at all, but prefixes of 3 probably unrelated words instead. Who is to know?
4.2 If asidatoi, asijaka & asikira are either nouns or adjectives, what is the gender and number of each one? To say the very least, it is rash to assume that asidatoi is plural, just because it looks like an ancient Greek masculine plural (as for example in Mycenaean Linear B teoi (gods) or masculine plurals in any other ancient Greek dialect for that matter, since that assumption is based on the most likely untenable hypothesis that Minoan Linear A is some form of proto-Greek, in spite of the fact that several current linguistic researchers into Minoan Linear A believe precisely that. The operative word is “believe”, since absolutely no convincing circumstantial evidence has ever come to the fore that Minoan Linear A is some form of proto-Greek.
4.3 The conclusion which I have drawn here, that Minoan Linear A may not be proto-Greek, arises from the fact that almost all of the Minoan words in this table bear little or no resemblance at all even to Mycenaean Greek.
4.5 But there clearly exceptions to the previous hypothesis, these being words such as depa and depu, of which the former is a perfect match with the Homeric, depa, meaning  “a cup”.

On the other hand, depu is less certain. However, in my preliminary tentative decipherment of 107 Minoan Linear A words (which are to appear in my article to be published in Vol. 12 of Archaeology and Science, 2017-2018), I have come to the tentative conclusion that the ultimate u in almost all Minoan Linear A words is quite likely to be a macro designator. If this were so, depu would be larger than depa. So a translation along the lines of [2] “a large cup” or “a libation cup” might be in order. Still, I could be dead wrong in this assumption.
4.6 However, the lexeme depa does appear to reveal one probable characteristic of Minoan Linear A grammar, that the ultimate for the feminine singular may very well be a, as in so many other languages, ancient or modern (let alone Greek). If that is the case, then words such as asijaka, asikira, keta, kipa, saja, sina and tamia may possibly all be feminine singular... that is to say, if any, some or even all of them are either nouns or adjectives, clearly a point of contention in and of itself. Who are we to say that one or more of these words may instead be adverbs or some person, singular or plural, of some conjugation in some tense or mood of some Minoan Linear A verb? On the other hand, at least one or more or even most of these words and the other words in this table ending in a may be nouns or adjectives in the feminine singular. But one again, who can say at all for sure?
4.7 If the ultimate u is supposed to be a macro designator, how then are we to account for the fact that [3] maruku, which very much looks like a (declensional) variant of maru, means “made of wool”, which itself has nothing whatsoever to do with a macro designator, if at the same time the apparent lexeme maru actually does mean “wool”? After all, one might conclude, maru looks a lot like Mycenaean Linear B mari or mare, which as everyone knows, does mean “wool”. But it is just as likely as not that the assumption that maru means “wool”, and its variants maruku “made of wool” ? (a guess at best) and maruri = “with wool” have nothing whatsoever to do with wool in Minoan Linear A.
4.8 In fact, the hypothesis that maruri = “with wool” is based on yet another assumption, namely, that the termination ri is dative singular, similar to the commonplace dative singular oi, ai or i in Mycenaean Linear B. But if that is the case, this implies that Minoan Linear A is probably proto-Greek, for which there is no substantive evidence whatsoever. So we wind up mired in a flat out contradiction in terms, in other words, an inescapable paradox.  
4.9a Next, taking all of the words beginning with the root or stem? - or prefix? sina [4], what on earth are we to make of so many variants? Perhaps this is a conjugation of some verb in some tense or mood. If that is the case, we should expect 6 variations, first, second and third persons singular and plural. Or should we? What about the possible existence of the dual in Minoan Linear A? But here again we find ourselves smack up against the assumption we have just made in 4.5, 4.6, 4.7 & 4.8, that the putative Minoan verb beginning with the so-called root or stem sina is itself proto-Greek.

But I have to ask out loud, are you aware of any verb in ancient Greek which begins with the root or stem sina? Well, according to  Liddell & Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon, there are in fact 2, which I have Latinized here for ease of access to those of you who cannot read Greek, and these are, (1) sinamoreo (infinitive sinamorein), which means “to damage wantonly” and (2) sinomai, “to plunder, spoil or pillage”. The problem is that neither of these ancient Greek verbs bears any resemblance to or corresponds in any conceivable way with the 7 Minoan Linear A variants post-fixed to sina. So I repeat, for the sake of emphasis, are these 7 all variants on some Minoan Linear A verb or are they not?

4.9b What if on the other hand, all 7 of these variants post-fixed to sina are instead a declension of some Minoan noun or adjective in Linear A? It is certainly conceivable that there are 7 cases in the Minoan language, in view of the fact that plenty of ancient and modern languages have 7 cases or more. Latin has six: nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, ablative and vocative. But ancient Greek has only 5, nominative, genitive, dative and accusative and vocative, the ablative absolute (which occurs in Latin) subsumed under the genitive absolute. From this perspective, it would appear quite unlikely that the 7 Minoan Linear A variants on sina are proto-Greek declensions, especially in light of the fact that, once again, none of them bears any resemblance to the ancient Greek, sinapi = “mustard”, sinion = “sieve” or sinos = “hurt, harm, mischief, damage” (nominative).

5. Moving on to taniria and tanirizui [5], we could of course once again draw the (most likely untenable) conclusion if taniria is a feminine singular noun, then tanirizui must be/is dative singular, following the template for the dative singular in Mycenaean Linear B (i, ai or oi). But once again, there is no word in ancient Greek bearing any resemblance to these critters. And once again, even if Minoan Linear A had a dative singular, why on earth would it have to end in i?

6. However, when we come to the 4 words reza, adureza, kireza and tireza, we are confronted with another phenomenon. 3 of these 4 words (adureza, kireza and tireza) each in turn apparently are prefixed by adu, ki and ti. Makes sense at first sight. However, once again, appearances can be terribly deceiving. 

Nevertheless, in my preliminary decipherment of Minoan Linear A, I have drawn the tentative conclusion that all four of these words are intimately interconnected. And in the actual context of the few extant Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments in which these 4 terms appear, it very much looks as if they are all terms of measurement. But you will have to await the publication of my article on the tentative decipherment of 107 Minoan Linear A words in Vol. 12 (2017-2018) of Archaeology and Science to discover how I came to this conclusion.

7. Notwithstanding the fact that almost all of the words in this highly selective table of Minoan Linear A lexemes and lemmas (whichever ones are which), with the exception of depa and depu, as well as winu, which may be the Minoan Linear A equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B woino = “wine”, appear not to be proto-Greek, that does not imply that at least a few or even some are in fact proto-Greek, based on this hypothesis: a number of words in Mycenaean Linear B, all of which appear to be proto-Greek, disappeared completely from later ancient Greek dialects. Among these we count a number of Mycenaean Greek words designating some kind of cloth, namely, pawea, pukatariya, tetukowoa and wehano [pg. 94, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, in Archaeology and Science, Vol. 11 (2016)], plus several other Mycenaean Linear B words listed in the same article, which I do not repeat here due to space limitations. However, I must toss a wrench even into the assumption that the words designating some kinds of cloth (but which kinds we shall never know) are Mycenaean Linear B Greek or even proto-Greek, when they may not be at all! What if a few, some or all of them are in the pre-Greek substratum? If that is the case, are they Minoan, even if none of them appear on any extant Minoan Linear A tablet or fragment? Who is to say they are not?

For instance, there is another so called Mycenaean or proto-Greek word, kidapa, which may very well mean “(ash) wood” or “a type of wood”, found only on Linear B tablet KN 894 N v 01. This word has a suspiciously Minoan ring to it. Just because it does not appear on any extant Minoan Linear A tablet or fragment does not necessarily imply that it is not Minoan or that it at least falls within the pre-Greek substratum.

CONCLUSIONS:
It must be glaringly obvious from all of the observations I have made on the Minoan Linear A terms in the table above that the more we try to make any sense of the syntactic and semiotic structure of the Minoan language in Linear A, the more and more mired we get in irresolvable contradictions in terms and paradoxes. Moreover, who is to say that the so-called proto-Greek words which surface in Minoan Linear A are proto-Greek at all, since they may instead be pre-Greek substratum words disguised as proto-Greek. We can take this hypothesis even further. Who is to say that the several so-called proto-Greek words we find in Mycenaean Greek, all of which disappeared completely from the ancient Greek lexicon in all Greek dialects after the fall of Mycenae ca. 1200 BCE, are also not proto-Greek but are instead in the pre-Greek substratum or even, if they fall into that substratum, that they are instead Minoan words or words of some other non Indo-European origin? We have landed in a real quagmire.

So I find myself obliged to posit the hypothesis that, for the time being at least, any attempt at the putative decipherment of Minoan Linear A is inexorably bound to lead straight to a dead end. I challenge any philologists or linguist specializing in ancient languages to actually prove otherwise even with circumstantial evidence to the contrary.



Archaeology and Science annual: the Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, the last & most formidable frontier in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B:

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For the past 65 years since Michael Ventris first deciphered Linear B, one phenomenon has eluded historical linguists and philologists. This is the supersyllabogram, which is always a single syllabogram, being the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of a particular Mycenaean word in any one or more of the major economic sectors of the Mycenaean economy: agriculture, military, textiles and the vessels and pottery sector, along with a few religious supersyllabograms. Supersyllabograms are always independent; they always stand alone on extant Linear. My discovery, isolation and classification of supersyllabograms represents the final frontier in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B. Some 800 tablets from Knossos alone contain primarily supersyllabograms, with a subset of these incised with supersyllabograms and nothing else. It is difficult to decipher the former, and impossible to decipher the latter without fully accounting for the presence of supersyllabograms. The decipherment of supersyllabograms accounts for the last and most difficult remaining 10 % of Mycenaean Linear B to be deciphered.

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You may also download The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B here:

archaeology-and-science-download

This article is 35 pages long (pp. 73-108) in a 29 cm. x 22 cm. format, which is far oversized compared with the standard north American format for research journals (ca. 20 cm. vertical), meaning that if it had been published in the standard north American format, it would have run to some 50 pp., which is the size of a small book.

The Editorial Board consists of 21 peer reviewers, all of them matriculated professors and researchers at the Ph.D. level or higher, from Ancona, Belgrade, Belgium, Bologna, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A., Moscow, Münich, Philadelphia, U.S.A., Rome, Warsaw & Trieste. Every author must pass muster with the majority of these peer reviewers if his or her article is to be published in Archaeology and Science. That is one tall hurdle to overcome.

Note also that I am ranked in the top 0.5 % of all researchers and publishers on academia.edu

richard-vallance-on-academia-edu

 


Revisiting & deciphering 2 (TE & DA) of the 27 supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A in light of the decipherment of 69 additional Minoan words:

Last year (2016), I isolated and categorized all 27 supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A. This was an extremely exhaustive task, as I had to scan through all the extant Linear A tablets and fragments in order to tally them all. This took at least a month. It is important to understand that the Minoans, and not the Mycenaeans, invented supersyllabograms. A supersyllabogram is defined as the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of any given specific Minoan word, economic sector dependent. In other words, when we cross from one economic sector to another, the meaning of any single supersyllabogram can and often does change. The exact same phenomenon recurs in Mycenaean Linear B. For the past year and a half, I have thoroughly covered and deciphered all 36 supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, and I have as well tentatively deciphered 9 or 33 % of the 27 supersyllabograms in Minoan Linear A. Yet in spite of my initial attempts at decipherment, I was unable to assign any proto-Greek significance to any of them.

But since I have now deciphered 69 new Minoan Linear A words of putative proto-Greek, proto-Hebrew, proto-Semitic and proto-Scythian origin, I have been able to revisit at least 2 of the 27 supersyllabograms, namely, DA & TE & I have discovered that a proto-Greek reading of them on at least one Minoan Linear A tablet, HT 133, makes perfect, unified sense in translation, as seen in this table:

adu-te-da-tenai-to-cut-dainai-to-distribute

The only observation I should make is the following: the supersyllabogram TE, which is the first syllabogram of the middle voice TENAI = archaic Greek teinai, appears first in the list, because the 55 standard units grains or wheat must be cut down first before they are distributed. For this reason, the middle voice DAINAI (of which the ultimate NAI is identical with that of TENAI), meaning “they are distributed” (i.e. the 55 standard units of grains or wheat). So the word order is entirely rational, and intuitive to the Minoan language. Cut the 55 units of grains or wheat first, and then distribute them. In short, the word order is identical to English. This should come as no surprise in view of the fact that both Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B generally read from left to right, just as does modern English.

This new development raises the number of Minoan Linear A supersyllabograms tentatively deciphered from 9 to 11 or 40.8 % of all 27 Linear A supersyllabograms.


3 Minoan Linear A words under TA of possible, even probable proto-Greek origin + 1 word in the pre-Greek substratum:

3-more-linear-a-words-under-ta-of-proto-greek-origin-1-in-the-pre-greek-substratum

In this table, we find 3 Minoan Linear A words under TA of possible, even probable proto-Greek origin + 1 word in the pre-Greek substratum. The 3 words of possible or probable proto-Greek origin are [1] TAKU = “quickly, soon” + [2a] TAMIA = “someone who cuts” or “a distributor”. Think of it! When someone is distributing items or merchandise, he or she is in fact cutting them into different categories for distribution + [3] TANI, which is an exact match with (proto-) Dorian for “this or that time of day”.

On the other hand, the Minoan Linear A word TAPA, which is identical to its Mycenaean Linear B equivalent, is NOT proto-Greek, but rather sits in the pre-Greek substrate, meaning of course that the Mycenaean Linear B is also in the pre-Greek substratum. This should really come as no surprise, since Mycenaean Greek contained a number of archaic words which never resurfaced in any later East Greek dialects. In other words, they were archaic and anachronistic right from the outset even in Mycenaean Greek. The Mycenaean Greek word tapa is in fact the exact same word as its Minoan Linear A forbear, implying that both are in the pre-Greek substratum. As I have already pointed out in previous posts, there are in fact a few other (Minoan Linear A?) words in the pre-Greek substratum in Mycenaean Linear B.

This brings the cumulative total number of new Minoan Linear A words to 50, increasing the 107 Minoan Linear A words = 21.5 % of the total lexicon of extant 510 Minoan Linear A words in my original Minoan Linear A Glossary to 157 or 30.7 % of the total Linear B Lexicon. This is a significant leap in the number of Minoan Linear B terms I have already deciphered since I set out on the journey to REVISE the original Minoan Linear A Glossary of 107 words.

And I still have yet to extrapolate further decipherments as far as the syllabogram ZU.


2 Minoan Linear A words under SI-SU of possible proto-Greek and 1 of probable proto-Semitic origin:

2-minoan-linear-a-words-under-si-su-of-proto-greek-origin-1-of-proto-semitic-origin

In this table, two of the words are quite likely of proto-Greek origin, while the third, SURIA, probably means “Syria”, especially in light of the fact that since approximately 10,000 BC, Syria was one of the Neolithic centres of culture (known as Pre-Pottery Neolithic A), where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world. 

This brings our cumulative total of Minoan Linear A words of proto-Greek, proto-Hebrew and proto-Semitic origin to 46.


Under the syllabogram RU in Minoan Linear A, there appears to be only one word of possible proto-Greek origin, but it is speculative:

1-minoan-linear-a-word-under-ru-of-possible-proto-greek-origin

Hence, I am not adding to the cumulative total of Minoan Linear A words of putative proto-Greek origin.



Under the syllabogram RE in Minoan Linear A, there appears to be only one word of possible proto-Greek origin and it is...

minoan-word-rea-of-possible-proto-greek-origin

This table is self-explanatory.


7 more Minoan Linear A words under PA-PAI, 6 of possible proto-Greek origin & 1 of proto-Scythian origin:

minoan-linear-a-words-under-pa-pai-of-possible-scythian-and-proto-greek-origins

Of these 7 new Minoan Linear A words under PA-PAI, 6 are of possible proto-Greek origin, while 1 [5] is, surprisingly, probably the (proto-) Scythian infinitive pata = the ancient Greek infinitive, kteinein = “to slaughter, slay”. Of the remaining 7, 2 [1] & [6] are very likely variant spellings of the same word Paean, which may mean “physician” or “saviour”, but since the attributed meaning “physician” is not standard Greek, the decipherment is surely open to question. The standard Mycenaean Linear B word for “physician” is iyate, equivalent to the ancient Greek iater (Latinized). [2] PAKU may possibly be an archaic Minoan Linear A word equivalent to ancient Greek pakhos (Latinized), but since the Minoan Linear A ultimate U, while attested everywhere, can only speculatively be linked with the ancient Greek ultimate OS (Latinized), PAKU may not be a valid proto-Greek word at all. But if it is , [2a] PAKUKA may very well be the feminine singular for the same. [3] PARIA is so close to the ancient Greek, pareia, that it is quite likely it means “the cheek piece (of a helmet)”, especially in view of the fact that military terminology is very common in Mycenaean Linear B, and may thus have been so in Minoan Linear A. But this is not necessarily the case. [4] PASU, once again terminating in the commonplace Linear A ultimate U, may possibly be the Minoan Linear A equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B paso, which is neut. singular for “everything”, but this decipherment is speculative. [7] PAIDA is possibly an archaic proto-Greek form of the ancient Greek paidia =  “children”. [8] PAISASA may be an archaic form of the second pers. sing. aorist (simple past tense) of the Greek verb paizo = “to play, to engage in sport”, which is itself in turn the verb corresponding to [7] the putative noun, PAIDA = “children”.

In short, every last one of these decipherments of  6 Minoan Linear A words of possible proto-Greek origin (excluding [5], which is (proto-) Scythian, is speculative.

However, if all of them are on target, which is doubtful, the potential total number of Minoan Linear A words of putative proto-Greek and Scythian origin rises to 42 (or less).


2 more Minoan Linear A words under O of probable, possibly even certain proto-Greek origin:

minoan-linear-a-words-under-o-of-possible-proto-greek-origin

These entries are self-explanatory. This brings the total number of Minoan Linear A words of potential proto-Greek origin to 35.



KEY POST: A significant advance in the decipherment of Minoan Linear A: 7 new Minoan Linear A words under NE of possible, even probable proto-Greek origin for a total of 140 terms to date:

minoan-linear-a-words-under-ne-of-possible-proto-greek-origin

Under the syllabogram NE in Minoan Linear A, we find no fewer than 7 new Minoan Linear A words of possible proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean origin. Of these 7 terms, 4 [1] [3] [6] & [7] are probably of proto-Greek origin. [2] & [3] may be on target, but they are less convincing than the previous 4.  [4] may also be valid, but since the Mycenaean Linear B equivalent to nemaruja, which is epididato, is not a match, this casts some doubt on the decipherment of “distributed” in Minoan Linear A, especially in light of the fact that I have already posited an alternative decipherment of this exact word in my current version of the Glossary of Minoan Linear A terms, that word being kaudeta. While [5] nesa is almost a perfect match with the ancient Greek for “duck”, this decipherment is rather fanciful, even funny, as I have to wonder what possible interest Minoan Linear A, let alone Mycenaean Linear B, scribes would have had in ducks! But you never know. Perhaps they kept track of the number of ducks served at royal feast for the king and queen and company.  Weird, but hey, why not?

The most striking thing about the cumulative effect of the total number of Minoan Linear A words of putative proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean origin, already tallied at 33, even though we have only arrived at the syllabogram NE in Minoan Linear A (the last being ZU) is this:
The cumulative number of Minoan Linear A terms in our REVISED Minoan Linear A Glossary has already reached 140, i.e. 27.5 % of all 510 attributed Minoan Linear A terms by my arbitrary count, up from the original count of 107 or 21.5 % of 51o. Since this trend is bound to result in a somewhat exponential increase in the summative total of all Minoan Linear A terms I am bound to extrapolate by the time I reach the syllabogram ZU, it is well within the realm of reason that we will end up with at least 160 terms or about 31.5 % of all 510 extant Minoan Linear A terms. That would represent a substantial chunk of the Minoan Linear A lexicon. Potentially, this implies that we shall be able to posit the conclusion that we shall have deciphered, more or less accurately, not just a relatively small portion of the Minoan language, but almost 1/3 of it!

This would account for a substantive leap in the potential decipherment of Minoan Linear A.  And as everyone will see by the time I publish my second article on the partial, though significant, decipherment of Minoan Linear A, to be published in the prestigious international annual, Archaeology and Science in around 2018 or 2019, I shall have made signal inroads into the eventual almost complete decipherment of Minoan Linear A.  


Are there any proto-Greek words under the syllabogram NA in Minoan Linear A?  It is doubtful.

minoan-linear-a-words-under-na-of-possible-proto-greek-origin

The 3 words of putative proto-Greek origin in Minoan Linear A I have flagged under the syllabogram NA are all doubtful. So I cannot in good conscience add them to the revised Glossary of Minoan Linear A words.


3 more Minoan Linear A words of possible proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean origin. But are they really?

minoan-linear-a-words-in-ma-of-possible-proto-greek-origin

One of them definitely is not of proto-Greek origin; nor is it pre-Greek. It is manna, which is (proto-) Hebrew. The Hebrew word manna lasted right on through classical Greek to New Testament Greek.  Mannafii may be instrumental plural, meaning “for (the storage of) grains”, but only if the Minoan instrumental plural (if there was one) was similar to the instrumental plural in archaic Greek, which is unfortunately doubtful. The word maru definitely means “wool” in Linear A, corresponding to Mycenaean Linear B mari. It appears that both the Minoan and Mycenaean words are in the pre-Greek substratum. Masi, which is Doric Greek, is probably not a Minoan word, unless the Doric Greek word is in the pre-Greek substratum, in which case it could have co-existed in both Minoan and proto-Doric Greek. But it is rather doubtful. 

The Minoan Linear A word, kuruku, almost certainly means “crocus” :

minoan-linear-a-kuruku-crocus-or-saffron

Moreover, it is more likely than not pre-Greek and not proto-Greek. This implies that the Mycenaean Linear A word, kuruku or kuroko, is also pre-Greek.

Nothing surprising there at this point.

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