Tag Archive: glossaries

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. 

Minoan Linear provides significant evidence of the presence of proto-Greek or even (proto) – Mycenaean in its vocabulary:

Minoan Linear provides significant evidence of the presence of proto-Greek or even (proto) – Mycenaean in its vocabulary, as attested by this Table (Table 2a & Table 2B), which I have had to divide into two parts because it is so long. So we have

Table 2a Minoan words of apparent proto-Greek origin… or are they in the pre-Greek substratum? A-M:


Minoan Linear A apparent proto-Greek Table 2 a 620

and Table 2b: N-W:

Table 2b minoan apparent proto-greek 620

It is readily apparent from this Table in two parts that all of the words listed in it may be interpreted as proto-Greek or possibly even (proto-) Mycenaean. But the operative word is may, not certainly. This is because (a) Minoan Linear A, like Mycenaean Linear B, makes no distinction between Greek short and long vowels and (b) like Mycenaean Linear B, the Linear A syllabary is deficient in representing a number of Greek consonants, which otherwise might have been the initial consonants of the successive syllabic series, e.g. da de di do du, ka ke ki ko ku, ta te ti to tu etc. The following Greek consonants, first illustrated in this table of the ancient Greek alphabet including the archaic digamma, which was in widespread use in Mycenaean Linear B, are tagged with an asterisk * :


ancient Greek alphabet with digamma

and here Latinized for accessibility to our visitors who cannot read Greek, i.e. b, g, eita (long i) , ksi, fi (pi), chi (as in Scottish loch), psi and omega. Because of these lacuna and the notable ambiguities which arise from it, it is not possible to verify that the so-called proto-Greek or (proto-) Mycenaean words listed in Tables 2a & 2b are in fact that. However, chances are good that they are proto-Greek. Additionally, it is not possible to verify whether or not a few, some or even all of the words in Tables 2a and 2b, which appear to be proto-Greek actually fall within the pre-Greek substratum. If the latter scenario is true, then it is more likely than not that a few, some or even all of these words are in fact Minoan. There is no way to verify this for certain. Nevertheless, numerous international researchers into Minoan Linear A, most notably, Urii Mosenkis, one of the world’s most highly qualified linguists specializing in diachronic historical linguistics, including, but not limited to Minoan Linear A, who stands in the top 0.1 % of 40 million users on academia.edu:


Urii Mosenkis academia.edu

have provided significant convincing circumstantial evidence that there are even hundreds of proto-Greek words in Minoan Linear A, which begs the question, is Minoan Linear A proto-Greek? But the answer to the question is not nearly so obvious as one might think, as I shall be demonstrating in my second article, Current prospects for the decipherment of Minoan Linear A”, which I will be submitting to the prestigious international annual journal, Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) by no later than April 17 2017, the deadline for submissions.

There is no positive, indisputable proof that there are any number of proto-Greek or proto-Greek words in Minoan Linear A, any more than there is any positive proof whatsoever that, as Gretchen Leonhardt would have us believe, that there are any number of proto-Altaic or proto-Japanese words, if any at all, in the Minoan language. As for her hypothesis, for which there not even any substantive circumstantial evidence whatsoever, it is my firm belief and contention that she is, to use the common expression, wasting her time and energy barking up the wrong tree.

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.


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


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.

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:


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:


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.

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.

6 more Minoan Linear A putative proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean words: DA-DI. But are they proto-Greek at all?


As we forge our way through Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon, in which he Latinizes the orthography of Minoan Linear A words,  we now arrive at Linear A words beginning with the syllabograms DA through to DI.  It is absolutely de rigueur to read the Notes in the table above; otherwise, my tentative decipherments of 6 more Minoan words in Linear A as being possibly proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean will not make any sense at all.  The table also draws attention to those words which are of moderate frequency (MF) on Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments, with the far greater proportion of them appearing on mere fragments. I cannot emphasize this point enough. In view of the fact that the vast majority of Minoan Linear A extant remnants are just that, remnants or fragments and nothing more, it is of course next to impossible to verify whether or not the 6 words I have extrapolated (or for that matter any other so-called proto-Greek words)  as possibly being  proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean are that at all. 

Add to this caveat that researchers and linguists specializing in ancient Greek often hypothesize that, and I quote verbatim:

It is possible that Greek took over some thousand words and proper names from such a language (or languages), because some of its vocabulary cannot be satisfactorily explained as deriving from the Proto-Greek language (italics mine). Among these pre-Greek substratum words we find Anatolian loanwords such as:
dépas ‘cup; pot, vessel’, Mycenaean di-pa, from the Luwian = tipa = sky, bowl or cup, one of the pre-Greek substratum words right in the table above! 
+ eléphas ‘ivory’, from Hittite lahpa;
+ kýmbachos ‘helmet’, from Hittite kupahi ‘headgear’; 
+ kýmbalon ‘cymbal’, from Hittite huhupal ‘wooden percussion instrument’; 
+ mólybdos ‘lead’, Mycenaean mo-ri-wo-do, from Lydian mariwda(s)k ‘the dark ones’ etc.

But there is more, significantly more. Wikipedia, Greek language:


has this to say about Greek vocabulary.


Greek is a language distinguished by an extensive vocabulary. Most of the vocabulary of Ancient Greek was inherited, but it includes a number of borrowings from the languages of the populations that inhabited Greece before the arrival of Proto-Greeks. (italics mine) [25] Words of non-Indo-European origin can be traced into Greek from as early as Mycenaean times; they include a large number of Greek toponyms. 

Further discussion of a pre-Greek substratum continues here:


Where, in addition to the pre-Greek substratum words I have already cited above, we find, and again I quote verbatim:

The Pre-Greek substrate consists of the unknown language or languages spoken in prehistoric Greece before the settlement of Proto-Greek speakers in the area (italics mine). It is thought possible that Greek took over some thousand words and proper names from such a language (or languages), because some of its vocabulary cannot be satisfactorily explained as deriving from the Proto-Greek language  

Possible Pre-Greek loanwords
Personal names: Odysseus; 
Theonyms: Hermes; 
Maritime vocabulary: thálassa = sea; 
Words relating to Mediterranean agriculture: elai(w)a = olive & ampelos = vine 
Building technology: pyrgos = tower; 
Placenames, especially those terminating in -nth- : Korinthos, Zakynthos
& in -ss- : Parnassos & in and -tt- : Hymettus

And, to ram my point home, one of the pre-Greek substrata identified is the Minoan language itself. It is on this basis and upon this foundation, among others, that I posit the following hypothesis:

Pre-Greek substratum words are both proto-Greek and not, simultaneously!

The assumption that certain Minoan words in Linear A appear to be proto-Greek or even proto-Mycenaean (if we wish to stretch the notion one small step further, which I believe is entirely justified) does not in and of itself necessarily imply that some or even quite possibly most of them are de facto actually of proto-Indo-European proto-Greek origin, when quite plainly (so) many of them are not of such origin. In other words, we find ourselves face to face with an apparent contradiction in terms, a dye-in-the-wool linguistic paradox: some, many or even most of the so-called pre- + proto-Greek words we encounter in Minoan Linear A are likely to be proto-Greek, but only insofar as they crop up again and again in later ancient Greek dialects, right on down from the earliest East Greek dialect, Mycenaean, through Arcado-Cypriot on down to Ionic and Attic Greek and beyond, while simultaneously being of non-Indo-european origin, if you can wrap your head around that notion... which I most definitely can.  

So if anyone dares claim that all of those words in Minoan (of which there seem to be quite a substantial number) are de facto proto-Greek, that person should think again. Think before you leap. It is much too easy for us to jump to spurious conclusions with respect to the supposed proto-Greek origin(s) of many words in Minoan Linear A.

To compound the matter further, let us consider the situation from the opposite end of the spectrum. It is widely known, by both intellectual non-linguists, i.e. intelligent native speakers of any given language, and by professional linguists alike, that pretty much every modern language borrows not just thousands, but tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of words from prior languages. The one modern language which exemplifies this phenomenon par excellence is non other than English, in which we find hundreds of thousands of loanwords from ancient Greek, Latin and Norman French.

Now it goes without saying that all languages, ancient and modern, follow the same pattern of accumulating some and even as many as thousands of loanwords. Ancient Latin did so with ancient Greek. And here lies the rub. So must have Mycenaean Greek with the Minoan language. In Chris Tslentis Linear B  Lexicon, we find many words which cannot possibly be accounted for as being proto-Greek, but which must be of some other origin. And one of the most likely origins for a relatively large subset of these words is probably the Minoan language itself. Allow me to cite just a few of the more glaring examples:

adete = binder 
Akireu = Achilles
Aminiso = Amnisos harbour (Cf. Linear A, Uminaso)
Damate = Demeter (Cf. Linear A, Idamate)
dipa = cup (Cf. Linear A, depa)
erepa = ivory
kama = a unit of land
kanako = safflower, saffron (Cf. Linear A, kanaka)
kidapa = (ash) wood?
mare/mari = wool (Cf. Linear A, maru)
opa = workshop?
serino = celery (Cf. Linear A, sedina)
tarasa = sea

Now if even most of the so-called Mycenaean Greek terms listed here are actually Minoan, then it is stands to reason that Mycenaean Greek inherited them from the Minoan language itself, and ergo, that they are not necessarily proto-Greek words at all.  It is as if we were in a flip-flop. Either way, whether or not any of the words which we have flagged (and shall continue to tag) as possibly being proto-Greek in the Minoan language or the other way around, whether or not certain words in Mycenaean Greek are not proto-Greek at all, and not even of proto-Indo-European origin, we find ourselves floundering in a Saragossa Sea of linguistic incertitude from which we really cannot extricate ourselves.

So to all those researchers, past and present, into the Minoan language who make the claim, categorical or not, that much of the vocabulary of the Minoan language is proto-Greek, I say Beware! lest you fall into a trap from which you cannot reasonably hope to extricate yourselves.

Tentative confirmation of 10 possible proto-Greek words out of 18 under the first vowel, A, in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon:


When I subjected the first alphabetical entries under A in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon to rigorous analysis in order to determine whether or not any of the entries under A just might have been proto-Greek, or more likely than not, proto-Mycenaean. I was able to extrapolate tentative archaic Greek “definitions”, if you like, for no fewer than 10 of the 18 entries under A. That is quite a staggering return! However, in spite of these encouraging findings, we must exercise extreme caution in assigning proto-Greek significance to any number of Minoan words.

Of course, the discovery right fro the outset of 10 words which might possibly be proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean, is highly tempting. One could, if one were so inclined, that as a consequence of this discovery, the Minoan language must have been proto-Greek. But I would warn us away from such a rash assumption, for several cogent reasons, all of which will become clear as we run alphabetically through the Reverse Linear A Lexicon. One of the most obvious roadblocks to accepting, even on a tentative basis, a proto-Greek reading of words such as the 10 I have isolated under A above is the extreme paucity of consecutive, running text and, what is even worse, the even rarer instances of extant Linear A words providing sufficient context on the tablets for us to be able to extract any real meaning at all from the tablets. This is the brick wall we run up against again and again in any endeavour at deciphering any Minoan word, taken as a single entity.

There is one tenet at least which bears out confirmation or abnegation, and it is this: if we continue to discover a considerable number of potential proto-Greek under subsequent initial syllabograms alphabetically from DA on through to ZU, then there might very well be a case for concluding that either (a) the Minoan language was entirely proto-Greek or (b) the Minoan language was pre-Greek and very probably non Indo-European, but which contained a great many proto-Greek words, for reasons which will become apparent as we proceed through our extrapolative analysis of Minoan words from DA to ZU.

This is bound to be one exciting journey of discovery!

Is the Minoan Linear A labrys inscribed with I-DA-MA-TE in Minoan or in proto-Greek? PART A: Is it in the Minoan language?

In my previous post on the Minoan Linear A labrys inscribed with I-DA-MA-TE, I postulated that the word Idamate was probably either the name of the king or of the high priestess (of the labyrinth?) to whom this labrys has been ritually dedicated. But in so doing I was taking the path of least resistance, by seeking out the two most simplistic decipherments which would be the least likely to prove troublesome or controversial. In retrospect, that was a cop-out.

No sooner had I posted my two alternate simplistic translations than I was informed by a close colleague of mine in the field of diachronic historical linguistics focusing on Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B that at least two other alternative decipherments came into play, these being:

1. that the term Idamate may be the Minoan equivalent of the Mycenaean Linear B Damate, which is apparently an early version of the ancient Greek, Demeter, who was the goddess of cereals and harvesting:



2. that the term Idamate may be Minoan for Mount Ida, in which case, the word Mate = “mount”, such that the phrase actually spells out  “Ida mount(ain)” :


Since both of these decipherments make eminent sense, either could, at least theoretically, be correct.
But there is a third alternative, and it is far more controversial and compelling than either of the first two. 

3. It is even possible that the four syllabograms I DA MA & TE are in fact supersyllabograms, which is to say that each syllabogram is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of a word, presumably a Minoan word. But if these 4 supersyllabograms represent four consecutive Minoan words, what on earth could these words possibly signify, in light of the fact that we know next to nothing about the Minoan language. It appears we are caught in an irresolvable Catch-22.

Yet my own recent research has allowed me to tease potential decipherments out of 107 or about 21 % of all intact words in Prof. John G. Youngers Linear A lexicon of 510 terms by my own arbitrary count. Scanning this scanty glossary yielded me numerous variations on 3 terms which might conceivably make sense in at least one suppositious context. These terms (all of which I have tentatively deciphered) are:

1. For I: itaja = unit of liquid volume for olive oil (exact value unknown)

2. FOR DA: either:
daropa = stirrup jar = Linear B karawere (high certainty)
datara = (sacred) grove of olive trees
data2 (datai) = olive, pl. date = Linear B erawo
datu = olive oil
daweda = medium size amphora with two handles

3. For TE:
tereza = large unit of dry or liquid measurement
tesi = small unit of measurement

But I cannot find any equivalent for MA other than maru, which seemingly means “wool”, even in Minoan Linear A, this being the apparent equivalent of Mycenaean Linear B mari or mare.  The trouble is that this term (if that is what the third supersyllabogram in idamate stands in for) does not contextually mesh at all with any of the alternatives for the other three words symbolized by their respective supersyllabograms.

But does that mean the phrase is not Minoan? Far from it. There are at least 2 cogent reasons for exercising extreme caution in jumping to the conclusion that the phrase cannot be in Minoan. These are:    
1. that the decipherments of all of the alternative terms I have posited for the supersyllabograms I DA & TE above are all tentative, even if they are more than likely to be close to the mark and some of them probably bang on (for instance, daropa), which I believe they are;
2. that all 3 of the supersyllabograms I DA & TE may instead stand for entirely different Minoan words, none of which I have managed to decipher. And God knows there are plenty of them!  Since I have managed to decipher only 107 of 510 extant intact Minoan Linear A words by my arbitrary count, that leaves 403 or 79 % undeciphered!  That is far too great a figure to be blithely brushed aside. 

The > impact of combinations of a > number of Minoan Linear A words on their putative decipherment:


To give you a rough idea of the number of undeciphered Minoan words beginning with I DA & TE I have not been able to account for, here we have a cross-section of just a few of those words from Prof. John G. Younger’s Linear A Reverse Lexicon:
which are beyond my ken:


For I:

For DA:

For MA:

For TE:

But the situation is far more complex than it appears at first sight. To give you just a notion of the enormous impact of exponential mathematical permutations and combinations on the potential for gross errors in any one of a substantial number of credible decipherments of any given number of Minoan Linear A terms as listed even in the small cross-section of the 100s of Minoan Words in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon, all we have to do is relate the mathematical implications of the  chart on permutations to any effort whatsoever at the decipherment of even a relatively small no. of Minoan Linear A words:

CLICK on the chart of permutations to link to the URL where the discussion of both permutations and combinations occurs:


to realize how blatantly obvious it is that any number of interpretations of any one of the selective cross-section of terms which I have listed here can be deemed the so-called actual term corresponding to the supersyllabogram which supposedly represents it. But, and I must emphatically stress my point, this is just a small cross-section of all of the terms in the Linear B Reverse Lexicon beginning with each of  the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE in turn.

It is grossly obvious that, if we allow for the enormous number of permutations and combinations to which the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE must categorically be  subjected mathematically, it is quite out of the question to attempt any decipherment of these 4 supersyllabograms, I DA MA & TE, without taking context absolutely into consideration. And even in that eventuality, there is no guarantee whatsoever that any putative decipherment of each of these supersyllabograms (I DA MA & TE) in turn in the so-called Minoan language will actually hold water, since after all, a smaller, but still significant subset of an extremely large number of permutation and combinations must still remain incontestably in effect.

The mathematics of the aforementioned equations simply stack up to a very substantial degree against any truly convincing decipherment of any single Minoan Linear A term, except for one small consideration (or as it turns out, not so small at all). As it so happens, and as we have posited in our first two alternative decipherments above, i.e.
1. that Idamate is Minoan for Mycenaean Damate, the probable equivalent of classical Greek Demeter, or
2. that Idamate actually means “Mount Ida”,

these two possible decipherments which do make sense can be extrapolated from the supersyllabograms I DA MA & TE, at least if we take into account the Minoan Linear A terms beginning with I DA & TE (excluding TE), which I have managed, albeit tentatively, to decipher.

However, far too many putative decipherments of the great majority of words in the Minoan language itself are at present conceivable, at least to my mind. Yet, this scenario is quite likely to change in the near future, given that I have already managed to tentatively decipher 107 or 21 % of 510 extant Minoan Linear A words, by my arbitrary count.  It is entirely conceivable that under these circumstances I shall be able to decipher even more Minoan language words in the near future. In point of fact, if Idamate actually does mean either Idamate (i.e. Demeter) or Ida Mate (i.e. Mount Ida), then:
(a) with only 2 possible interpretations for IDAMATE now taken into account, the number of combinations and permutations is greatly reduced to an almost insignificant amount &
(b) the actual number of Minoan Linear A words I have deciphered to date rises from 107 to 108 (in a Boolean OR configuration, whereby we can add either  “Demeter” or “Mount Ida” to our Lexicon, but not both).  A baby step this may be, but a step forward regardless. 

Can quantum computers assist us in the potentially swift decipherment of ancient languages, including Minoan Linear A?



No-one knows as yet, but the potential practical application of the decryption or decipherment of ancient languages, including Minoan Linear A, may at last be in reach. Quantum computers can assist us with such decipherments much much swifter than standard digital supercomputers.



Here are just a few examples of the potential application of quantum computers to the decipherment of apparently related words in Minoan Linear A:

kireta2 (kiretai) *
kiretana *
kuro *
maru (cf. Mycenaean mari/mare = “wool” ...  may actually be proto-Greek
maruku = made of wool? 
pajai (probably a diminutive, as I have already tentatively deciphered a few Minoan Linear A words terminating in “ai”, all of which are diminutives.  

All of these examples, with the exception of  * kireta2 (kiretai), kiretana & kuro *, each of which I have (tentatively) deciphered, are drawn from Prof. John G. Youngers Linear A Reverse Lexicon:


It is to be noted that I myself have been unable to decipher manually on my own any of the related terms above, with the exception of the 3 words I have just mentioned.  The decipherment of kuro = “total” is 100 % accurate. I would like to add in passing that I have managed to (at least tentatively) decipher 107 Minoan Linear A words, about 21 % of the entire known lexicon. But everyone anywhere in the world will have to wait until 2018 to see the results of my thorough-going and strictly scientific research until the publication of my article on the partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A in Vol. 12 (2016) of Archaeology and Science (Belgrade), actually to be released in early 2018. But if you would like to get at least a very limited idea of what my eventual decipherment is all about, you can in the meantime consult this preview on my academia.edu account here:


Academia.edu DRAFT PAPER = Preview and brief summary of the article, “The Mycenaean Linear B ‘Rosetta Stone’ to Minoan Linear A Tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) Vessels and Pottery”, to be published in Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448. Vol. 12, 2018. (approximately 40 pages long), with some excerpts from the article to whet your appetite.


This article represents the first major breakthrough in 117 years in the partial, though far from complete, decipherment of Minoan Linear A.

Even this preview, with excerpts running to 9 pages from the actual article, will give you a quite clear idea of exactly how I managed to finesse the decipherment of 21 % (107/510 words) of Minoan Linear A lexicon, more or less accurately. Anyone the least bit interested in the ongoing struggle to decipher Minoan Linear A, even partially, is definitely going to want to read this preview and brief summary, with a few excerpts from the article, which is to appear sometime early in 2018. It quite literally represents by far the most significant development in any attempt to decipher even a relatively small subset of the Minoan Linear A lexicon.

Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in K = 85!/Total = 199

In this post we find 85 derived (D) infinitives in K in natural Mycenaean Greek, of which there are far more than with any other letter in the Mycenaean dialect and all other later ancient Greek dialects alike, with the possible exception of verbs beginning with P (or PI in ancient Greek). This is because many more words in both ancient and modern Greek, for that matter, begin with the letter K. Why so? The prepositional prefix KATA is prepended to more verbs in Greek, ancient and modern alike, than any other prepositional prefixes, with the possible exception of PERI and PRO, which we will encounter soon.

Here is the table of attested thematic and athematic infinitives starting with the Greek letter K in Mycenaean Greek. As you can see, the number of verbs I have selected from a far larger vocabulary of verbs beginning with KATA stands at 85:


It is absolutely essential that you read the notes on the Mycenaean Linear B orthography of ancient Greek verbs; otherwise, you are bound to misinterpret the spelling of Mycenaean verbs in Linear B. The two most important characteristics of verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, regardless of the letter with which the first syllable or syllabogram starts (let alone K), are as follows:

1. It is impossible for two consonants to follow one another in any Mycenaean verb in Linear B, because Linear B is a syllabary, and all syllabograms must end in a vowel. See the table for K above for concrete examples.
2. It is impossible for Mycenaean present infinitives in Linear B to end in ein, because once again, this is a syllabary, and no syllable can ever end in a consonant. For this reason, ancient Greek thematic present infinitives which always end in EIN must end in E in Mycenaean Greek. See the table for K above for concrete examples.
3. For the other two so-called rules for Mycenaean Greek spelling of thematic present infinitives, see the table for K above for concrete examples. 
The 4 sentences following Greek verbs in K make it perfectly clear that we are dealing with natural Mycenaean Greek as it was actually spoken. Note that the natural plural in OI is to found in spoken Mycenaean, rather than the singular in O we find almost (but not always) exclusively on the extant Linear B tablets. See infinitives in D for a further explanation for this phenomenon.

It is also highly likely that official documents, poetry (if any) and religious texts were written in natural Mycenaean Greek on papyrus. However, the moist climate of Crete and the Greek mainland meant that papyrus, unlike in the arid climate of Egypt, was doomed to rot away. So we shall never really know whether or not there were documents in natural Mycenaean Greek. But my educated hunch is that there were.

The total number of natural Mycenaean Greek derived (D) infinitives we have posted so far = 199, of which 85 or 42.7% fall under the Greek letter K alone! I shall indicate the running total as we proceed through the alphabet.

Progressive Linear B Grammar: Verbs/Derived (D) Infinitives: A = 24

Beginning with this post, we shall be constructing a Lexicon of Derived (D) Infinitives in Mycenaean Linear B. This post lists all 24 derived verbs I have selected classed under A. The methodology whereby we reconstruct derived verbs, not attested (A) anywhere on any Linear B tablets, is termed retrogressive extrapolation, by which I mean that we draw each entry in alphabetical order from an ancient Greek dictionary, accounting for throwbacks to archaic East Greek, since that is what the Mycenaean dialect is. The dictionary we are using is the Pocket Oxford Classical Greek Dictionary. Since the entries in the classical dictionary are in Attic Greek, they frequently require readjustment to reflect their much earlier orthography in archaic Greek. I have also taken the liberty of selecting only those verbs of which the spelling is identical or very close to what would have been their orthography in Mycenaean Greek. This is because Mycenaean orthography is often problematic, insofar as it frequently omits a consonant preceding the consonant which follows it. Additionally, since Mycenaean Greek is represented by a syllabary, in which each syllable must end in a vowel, it is impossible for the spelling of a great many words (let alone verbs) to accurately correspond to the orthography of the same words in later ancient Greek dialects. So I have decided to omit such verbs for the sake of simplicity. Finally, since there are so many verbs under each letter of the Greek alphabet, I have had to be very selective in choosing the verbs I have decided to include in this Lexicon, omitting scores of verbs which would have qualified just as well for inclusion as the verbs I have chosen.




I have just finished the first draft of the article, “Pylos Tablet Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris), the ‘Rosetta Stone’ for Linear A tablet HT 31, vessels and pottery, which is to appear in Vol. 12 (2016) of the prestigious international annual, Archaeology and Science (Belgrade)  ISSN 1452-7448,


and I fully  expect that I shall completed the draft Master by no later than Oct. 15 2016, by which time I shall submit it to at least 5 proof-readers for final corrections, so that I can hopefully submit it to the journal by no later than Nov. 1 2016.   This article is to prove to be a ground-breaker in the decipherment of at least 21.5 % = 116 terms of the extant vocabulary = 510 terms by my count, of  Minoan Linear A, although I cannot possibly claim to have deciphered the language itself. Nor would I, since such a claim is unrealistic at best, and preposterous at worst. Nevertheless, this article should prove to be the most significant breakthrough in any partially successful decipherment in Minoan Linear A since the first discovery of a meagre store of Linear A tablets by Sir Arthur Evans at Knossos 116 years ago.

A Glossary of 134 Minoan Linear A words more or less accurately deciphered to date (the largest ever glossary of Linear A) accounting for 26.7 % of all intact Minoan Linear A terms in Prof. John G. Youngers Linear A texts in phonetic transcription = 510:

Minoan Linear A Glossary134 


Minoan Linear A words deciphered with a high level of certainty (75-100%) are in BOLD.
Minoan Linear A words deciphered with a moderate degree of certainty (60-75%) are in italics.
Minoan Linear A words for which the decipherment is uncertain (< 50%) are in plain text.

All terms in Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Linear B have been Latinized for ease of access to persons not familiar with these syllabaries. 

NOTE that words which share the same prefix, suffix or internal syllabograms have these underlined. Such words are clearly inter-related.

*47nuraja = “ to all the gods”? (See also iqa*118) – 1 of these may mean the same thing as pasiteoi “to all the gods” in Mycenaean Linear B
adaro = barley = Linear B kirita
adu = so much, so many, all (persons, things, esp. grain/wheat), referencing all  accounts relevant to them. In the case of grains & wheat, adu would refer to all the “ bushel-like” units of wheat accounted for. In the case of the men measuring the wheat, it would appear that they are surveyors or comptrollers. Cf. Linear B, toso, tosa.
adureza = unit of dry measurement (grain, wheat, barley, flour)
aka = wineskin (two syllabograms overlaid)
akipiete = (in) common, shared, allotted, allotment = Cf. Linear B kekemena ktoina = small plot of land
akii = garlic
apu2nadu = grain workers/measurers? Cf. dadumata = Linear B sitokowo
ase (plural) = bushels?
asasumaise = cattle-driver or shepherd = Linear B qoukoro -or- qorokota 
atare = grove of fig trees -or- figs overseer -or- fig gatherer (See also, datara & uta2 (utai) ?  = Linear B opisuko
atade = gold? leaves? gold leaf? = Linear B kuruso? (See also, noja)
awapi -or- tasaza = silver Cf. Linear B akuro
dadumata = grain/wheat measurer? = Linear B sitokowo
daminu = messenger? = Linear B akero?
darida = large vase  
daropa = stirrup jar = Linear B karawere
daru = scales?
datara= figs overseer -or- fig gatherer (See also, atare & uta2 (utai) – 1 of these 3 = Linear B opisuko
datu = small olives See also qatidate = olive trees = Linear B erawa
daweda = medium size amphora with two handles
dikise = a type of cloth = Linear B any number of types of cloth
ditamana = dittany (medicinal herb)
dumitatira2 (dumitatirai) = right or inner spindle wheel on one side of the distaff
dureza = unit of measurement (unknown amount)
iqa*118 = “to all the gods”? (See also *47nuraja) – 1 of these may mean the same thing as pasiteoi “to all the gods” in Mycenaean Linear B
jedi = man/men = Linear B atoroqo. See also kupa3nu = kupainu 
kadi = next (in a series) (Zakros ZA 15)  
kana = first (in a series) (Zakros ZA 11)
kanaka = saffron = Linear B kanako
kapa = follower or (foot) solder = Linear B eqeta
karopa3 (karopai) = kylix (with two handles & smaller than a pithos) 
keda = cedar
kidaro = municipality? = Linear B damo -or- watu? 
kidata = to be accepted (for delivery to) = Linear B dekesato
kidema*323na = type of vessel (truncated on HT 31)
kireta2 (kiritai) = delivery = Linear B apudosis
kiretana = (having been) delivered (past participle passive) = Linear B amoiyeto
kireza = unit of measurement for figs, probably 1 basket
kiro = owed = Linear B oporo = they owed 
kita2 (kitai) = scented olive oil?
kukani = (deep) red wine Cf. Linear B wono mitowesa
kunasa = (honey) wine?
kunisu = bushel? (Cf. ase)
kupa -or- sa*301ri = planter = Linear B pu2te/pute  
kupa3nu = kupainu = person =  See also jedi. Linear B atoroqo. 
kura = large amount of wine = Linear B pithos+ wono?
kuro = total
kuruku = crocus
idamate = king or god? Or may be the name of said persona Cf. Linear B wanaka
maru = wool (syllabograms superimposed) = Linear B mari/mare
mitu = a type of cloth 
nasi = a type of cloth
nere = larger amphora size
nipa3 (nipai) or nira2 (nirai) = figs = Linear B suza
noja = gold? leaves? gold leaf? = Linear B kuruso? (See also, atade)
nudu*331 = flax? = Linear B rino?  
orada = rose 
pa3ni (paini) = amphora for storing grain?
pa3nina = grain or wheat stored in an amphora for grain
pajare = in pay, hired = Linear B emito
pazeqe = small handle-less cups = Linear B dipa anowe, dipa anowoto
pimitatira2 (pimitatirai) = left or outer spindle wheel on one side of the distaff
pitakase = harvested or field of = Linear B akoro
puko = tripod = Linear B tiripode (100 % certain)
qajo = double-edged axe or labrys = Linear B dapu
qaqaru = crop yield?
qapa3 = qapai = large handle-less vase or amphora 
qatidate = olive trees See also datu = small olives = Linear B erawa
qareto = Linear B onato = “lease field
quqani = medium size or smaller amphora
ra*164ti = approx. 5 litres (of wine) 
rairi = lily 
reza = 1 standard unit of measurement
sajamana = with handles = Linear B owowe
samaro = bunch of (figs, grapes etc.)
sa*301ri -or- kupa = planter = Linear B pu2te/pute  
sara2 (sarai) = small unit of measurement: dry approx. 1 kg., liquid approx. 1 litre
saru = large olives
sata = a type of cloth
sedina = celery
supa3 (supai) = small cup = Linear B dipa mewiyo
supu = very large amphora
tarawita = terebinth tree
tasaza -or- awapi = silver Cf. Linear B akuro
tejare = a type of cloth
teki = small unit of measurement for wine @ 27 1/2 per tereza
tereza = larger unit of liquid measurement (olive oil, wine)
teri = offering -or- being delivered (to the gods) = Linear B dedomena, dosomo, qetea (due to the gods)
tesi = small unit of measurement
tisa = description of pot or pottery = Linear B amotewiya/yo
ti?redu = spice(s) (coriander)
udimi = a type of cloth 
usu = a type of cloth
uta2 (utai) = figs overseer -or- fig gatherer (See also, atare & datara) – 1 of these 3 = Linear B opisuko 


Asasumaise = name of cattle-driver or shepherd
Idamate = king or god? Or may be the name of said persona (bis)
Kaudeta? (See also toponyms)
Sirumarita2 = Sirumaritai


Almost all the toponyms do not require decipherment as they are either identical or almost identical in Mycenaean Linear B:

Akanu = Archanes (Crete)
Dawa (Haghia Triada)
Dikate = Mount Dikte
Idaa = Mount Ida
Kato = Zakoro (Linear B)
Kaudeta? (See also eponyms)
Kudoni = Kydonia
Meza (= Linear B Masa)
Paito = Phaistos ( =Linear B)
Radu = Lato (= Linear B Rato)
Setoiya = Seteia (= Linear B) 
Sukirita/Sukiriteija = Sybrita
Winadu = Linear B Inato


This Glossary accounts for 26.7 % of all intact Minoan Linear A terms.

The principle of cross-correlative cohesion operates on the assumption that terms in Minoan Linear A vocabulary should reflect as closely and as faithfully as possible parallel terms in Mycenaean Greek vocabulary. In other words, the English translations of Minoan words in a Minoan Linear A Glossary such as this one should look as if they are English translations of Mycenaean Greek terms in a Linear B glossary. I have endeavoured to do my best to achieve this goal, but even the most rational and logical approach, such as I take, does not and cannot guarantee reciprocity between Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B terms. It is precisely for this reason that I have had to devise a scale of relative accuracy for terms in this Linear A Glossary, as outlined in KEY at the top of it.

The best and most reliable Linear B Lexicon is that by Chris Tselentis, Athens, Greece. If you wish to receive a  copy of his Lexicon, please leave a comment in Comments, with some way for me to get in touch with you.

Boolean chart of The 5 Principles of Cross-correlative Retrogressive Extrapolation from Mycenaean Linear B to Minoan Linear A:


Here we see a Boolean chart of The 5 Principles of Cross-correlative Retrogressive Extrapolation from Mycenaean Linear B to Minoan Linear A.  Before explaining the Boolean chart, it is highly advisable for us to review the 5 Principles of Cross-correlative Retrogressive Extrapolation from Mycenaean Linear B to Minoan Linear A, which you can read in full here:

The 5 principles applicable to the rational partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A:

5 Principles of decipherment of Minoan Linear A

for without a thorough understanding of these 5 principles, you will be unable to follow the novel methodology I have devised for the partial, not total, decipherment of Minoan Linear A à partir de (extrapolated from) Mycenaean Linear B.

Once you have carefully read over these 5 principles, the Boolean chart above should become pretty much transparent. For instance, the Minoan Linear A word puko is a perfect match for the Mycenaean Linear B word tiripode (= 100%). Likewise, the Minoan Linear A term sedina is a perfect match with Linear B selinon = celery. That is why the overlap between the two terms is illustrated as a circle within a circle (since displaying only 1 circle would not get the idea across clearly). Since Minoan Linear A qareto is very likely to correspond to Mycenaean Linear B onato = lease field, the overlap is > 75 %, and is mapped out as Sets A B & C completely overlapping in the Boolean chart. Likewise, saru = small olives in Minoan Linear A > 60 % and is again charted as Sets A B & C overlapping. On the other hand, tisa in Minoan Linear A, which apparently = amotewiya = description of pottery? in Mycenaean Linear B (though we can never be certain of this), comes in at a scalar value of < 50 %, mapped out in the Boolean chart as Sets A & B or A & C only.

In our Minoan Linear  A Glossary of 110 terms,

36 terms clock in a scalar value of > 75 %
58 clock in with a scalar value of > 60 %
16 clock in with a scalar value of < 50 %
TOTAL = 110

Thus, 84 or 76 % of all the terms in the Glossary of Minoan Linear A are either extremely reliable ( > 75 %) or reasonably reliable ( > 60 %).

The path towards a partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A: a rational approach: PART A

Before May 2016, I would never have even imagined or dared to make the slightest effort to try to decipher Minoan Linear A, even partially. After all, no one in the past 116 years since Sir Arthur Evans began excavating the site of Knossos, unearthing thousands of Mycenaean Linear A tablets and fragments, and a couple of hundred Minoan Linear A tablets and fragments (mostly the latter), no one has even come close to deciphering Minoan Linear, in spite of the fact that quite a few people have valiantly tried, without any real success. Among those who have claimed to have successfully deciphered Linear A, we may count:

Sam Connolly, with his book:

Sam Connolly Beaking the Code Linear A

Where he claims, “Has the lost ancient language behind Linear A finally been identified? Read this book and judge for yourself”. 

Stuart L. Harris, who has just published his book (2016):

Sam Harris Linear A decipherment

basing his decipherment on the notion that Minoan Linear A is somehow related to Finnish, an idea which I myself once entertained, but swiftly dismissed,, having scanned through at least 25 Finnish words which should have matched up with at least 150 Minoan Linear A words. Not a single one did. So much for Finnish. I was finished with it.

and Gretchen Leonhardt


who bases her decipherments of Minoan Linear A tablets on the ludicrous notion that Minoan Linear A is closely related to Japanese! That is a real stretch of the imagination, in light of the fact that the two languages could not be more distant or remote in any manner of speaking. But this is hardly surprising, given that her notions or, to put it bluntly, her hypothesis underlying her attempted decipherments of Mycenaean Linear B tablets is equally bizarre.

I wind up with this apropos observation drawn from Ms. Leonhardt’s site:    If a Minoan version of a Rosetta Stone pops up . . , watch public interest rise tenfold. ‘Minoa-mania’ anyone?”. Glen Gordon, February 2007 Journey to Ancient Civilizations.

Which begs the question, who am I to dare claim that I have actually been able to decipher no fewer than 90 Minoan Linear A words

Minoan Linear A Glossary

since I first ventured out on the perilous task of attempting such a risky undertaking. Before taking even a single step further, I wish to emphatically stress that I do not claim to be deciphering Minoan Linear A. Such a claim is exceedingly rash. What I claim is that I seem to be on track to a partial decipherment of the language, based on 5 principles of rational decipherment which will be enumerated in Part B. Still, how on earth did I manage to break through the apparently impenetrable firewall of Minoan Linear A?  Here is how.

In early May 2016, as I was closely examining Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada),

KURO = total HT 31 Haghia Triada

which dealt exclusively with vessels and pottery, I was suddenly struck by a lightning flash. The tablet was cluttered with several ideograms of vessels, amphorae, kylixes and cups on which were superimposed with the actual Minoan Linear A words for the same. What a windfall! My next step - and this is critical - was to make the not so far-fetched assumption that this highly detailed tablet (actually the most intact of all extant Minoan Linear A tablets) was the magic key to opening the heavily reinforced door of Minoan Linear, previously locked as solid as a drum. But was there a way, however remote, for me to “prove”, by circumstantial evidence alone, that most, if not all, of the words this tablet actually were the correct terms for the vessels they purported to describe? There was, after all, no magical Rosetta Stone to rely on in order to break into the jail of Minoan Linear A. Or was there?

As every historical linguist specializing in ancient languages with any claim to expertise knows, the real Rosetta Stone was the magical key to the brilliant decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics in 1822 by the French philologist, François Champellion

Francois Champellion Rosetta Stone Schiller Institute
It is truly worth your while to read the aforementioned article in its entirety. It is a brilliant exposé of Monsieur Champellion’s dexterous decipherment.

But is there any Rosetta Stone to assist in the decipherment of Haghia Triada tablet HT 31. Believe it or not, there is. Startling as it may seem, that Rosetta Stone is none other than the very first Mycenaean Linear B tablet deciphered by Michael Ventris in 1952, Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952.  If you wish to be informed and enlightened on the remarkable decipherment of Pylos Py TA 641-1952, you can read all about it for yourself in my article, published in Vol. 10 (2014) of Archaeology and Science (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448 

Archaeology and Science, Vol. 10 (2014), An Archaeologist's Translation of Pylos Tablet 641-1952. pp. 133-161, here: 

Archaeology and Sciene Belgrade

It is precisely this article which opened the floodgates to my first steps towards the partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A. The question is, how? In this very article I introduced the General Theory of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear A (pp. 148-156). It is this very phenomenon, the supersyllabogram, which has come to be the ultimate key to unlocking the terminology of vessels and pottery in Minoan Linear A. Actually, I first introduced in great detail the General Theory of Supersyllabograms at the Third International Conference on Symbolism at The Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, on July 1 2015:

Koryvantes Association of Historical Studies Athens

Role of SSYLs in Mycenaean Linear B

This ground-breaking talk, re-published by Koryvantes, is capped off with a comprehensive bibliography of 147 items serving as the prelude to my discovery of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B from 2013-2015.

How Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) serves as the Rosetta Stone to Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada):

Believe it or not, the running text of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) is strikingly alike that of Mycenaean Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris). So much so that the textual content of the former runs very close to being parallel with its Mycenaean Linear B counterpart. How can this be? A few preliminary observations are in order. First and foremost, Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) cannot be construed in any way as being equivalent to the Rosetta Stone. That is an absurd proposition. On the other hand, while the Rosetta stone displayed the same text in three different languages and in three different scripts (Demotic, Hieroglyphics and ancient Greek), the syllabary of Linear A tablet HT 31 (Haghia Triada) is almost identical to that of Mycenaean Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris). And that is what gives us the opportunity to jam our foot in the door of Minoan Linear A. There is not point fussing over whether or not the text of HT 31 is exactly parallel to that of Pylos Py TA 641, because ostensibly it is not! But, I repeat, the parallelisms running through both of these tablets are remarkable.

Allow me to illustrate the cross-correlative cohesion between the two tablets right from the outset, the very first line. At the very top of HT 31 we observe this word, puko, immediately to the left of the ideogram for “tripod”, which just happens to be identical in Minoan Linear A and in Mycenaean Linear B. Now the very first on Mycenaean Linear B tablet Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is tiripode, which means “tripod”. After a bit of intervening text, which reads as follows in translation, “Aigeus works on tripods of the Cretan style”, the ideogram for “tripod”, identical to the one on Haghia Triada, leaps to the for. The only difference between the disposition of the term for “tripod” on HT 31 and Pylos Py TA 641-1952 (Ventris) is that there is no intervening text between the word for tripod, i.e. puko, on the former, whereas there is on the latter. But that is scarcely an impediment to the realization, indeed the revelation, that on HT 31 puko must mean exactly the same thing as tiripode on Pylos Py TA 641-1952. And it most certainly does. But, I hear you protesting, and with good reason, how can I be sure that this is the case? It just so happens that there is another Linear B tablet with the same word followed by the same ideogram, in exactly the same order as on HT 31, here: 

Linear A 19 confirmation that puko means tripod

The matter is clinched in the bud. The word puko in Minoan Linear A is indisputably the term for “tripod”, exactly parallel to its counterpart in Mycenaean Linear B, tiripode.

I had just knocked out the first brick from the Berlin Wall of Minoan Linear A. More was to come. Far more.

Continued in Part B.


Our new PINTEREST board, Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B: Progressive Grammar:

Our PINTEREST board, previously called Mycenaean Linear B: Progressive Grammar, has changed its name to Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B: Progressive Grammar:

Minoan Linear A Mycenaen Linear B progressive grammar PINTEREST

to better reflect the new aims of our primary site, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae.

We cordially invite you to join our new PINTEREST board by clicking on its logo above, where you can download to your heart’s content thousands of pictures, illustrations and photographs from our primary site, including all the newest ones on our ongoing decipherment of Minoan Linear A.
We need more followers at any rate, so please help us out. 

Comprehensive Architectural Lexicon, Knossos & Mycenae (Part B):

Architectural Lexicon Knossos and Mycenae Part B

Part B of our architectural lexicon in Linear B presents only a few little problems. First of all, pokironuka = decorated with different studs, would appear to refer to studs which are jutting ornamentations on buildings, but I cannot be sure of this. Ponikiyo is almost always translated as palm tree, but I suspect it also means Phoenician, i.e. an architectural style. For the three * asterisked notes, see the lexicon above. Just one more point on samara. Samara is an actual ancient city. One Linear B lexicon defines it as points, but I have not the faintest idea what that is supposed to mean. The alternative meaning is monuments, which is completely acceptable. But I have added the additional signification, burial mounds, because these appear in some numbers at Mycenae alone.

Did you know you speak Mycenaean Greek? You do!

Mycenaean Greek in Modern English: akero to kono: Click to ENLARGE

akero to kono


[1] The Mycenaean word “anemon” is genitive plural (“of the winds”) for “anemo” = “wind”, and like so many other Mycenaean words, it serves as the first part of English words dealing with various aspects of wind (generation), such as “anemometer”. All other entries with the tag [1] are of this type.
[2] The first syllabogram i.e. the first syllable of the Mycenaean word for “labyrinth” begins with “da”, since it is impossible for any Mycenaean word to begin with “la”, as they had no “l”. Normally, the “r” + vowel series of syllabograms replaces a Greek lambda, but in this case, the Mycenaeans opted for “da”  instead of “ra” (which would have been “rapuritoyo”). This is not unusual. 
[3] “at the teacher’s” = French chez le professeur, with is an archaic version of either the dative or the instrumental singular. 
[4] “duwo” is Mycenaean for ancient Greek “duo”. It must be expressed by the special syllabogram for “talent, scale or two”, which in fact does look like a scale.   
[5] A great many modern English words begin with the ancient Greek preposition “epi”. I have provided two examples here. 
[6] The original Mycenaean & Homeric meaning of the English word for “elephant” meant “ivory”, but the meaning gradually changed to the former by the time of Classical Athens. In the Attic dialect, the word meant “elephant”. Remember, Mycenaean Greek had no “l” series of syllabograms, using the “r” series instead. There is confusion in many languages over the liquids “l” & “r”, modern Japanese being a prime example of this phenomenon.
[7] Many English words begin with the Mycenaean and ancient Greek prefix “eu”, which always means “well” (healthy) or “positive” or similar notions. Hence the English word you see here.
[8] Mycenaean “kadamiya” is a pre-Greek, proto-Indoeuropean word. 
[9] The Mycenaean word “kono” omits the initial “s” in the ancient Greek word “schoinos”. This is very common in Mycenaean Greek. Since the ancient Greek work means “rush” (plant), the modern English scientific word is also a plant, although a different one.



An Introductory Glossary of General Linguistics Terminology: Part C: R-Z: This glossary is ostensibly not comprehensive in any sense of the term, but it serves as a solid baseline introduction to linguistics terminology.

introductory glossary of general linguistics terminology Part C R-Z 


recursive definition: a definition that refers to itself and thus defines an infinite set of things. = circular definition. Recursive definitions are all too frequently found in research, and they are a dangerous trap.

rhotacism: 1. an exaggerated use of the sound of the letter R 2. inability to pronounce the letter R. + 3. a linguistic phenomenon in which a consonant changes into an R, as in Latin flos, where flos becomes florem in the accusative case.

root: a morpheme from a lexical class, typically verbal, nominal or adjectival, from which a lexical word is built (by adding affixes). Examples: -song- in -songster- + -sing- in -singer- + -singing- See also, stem


segment: any discrete unit or phone (sound), produced by the vocal apparatus, or a representation of such a unit. 

semanteme: an indivisible unit of meaning. See also: semantics, semiology 

semantic role: the underlying relationship that a participant has with the main verb in a clause. Also known as: semantic case, thematic role, theta role (generative grammar), and deep case (case grammar). Semantic role is the actual role a participant plays in some real or imagined situation, apart from the linguistic encoding of those situations.

Examples (active & passive):
If, in some real or imagined situation, someone named John purposely hits someone named Bill, then John is the agent and Bill is the patient of the hitting event. Therefore, the semantic role of Bill is the same (patient=object) in both of the following sentences: John hit Bill. Bill was hit by John. In both of the above sentences, John has the semantic role of agent.

semantics: 1. (linguistics) the science of the meaning of words. 2. the study of the relationship between words and their meanings. 3. the individual meanings of words, as opposed to the overall meaning of a passage. 4. the study of meaning in language; in generative grammar: how the meanings of words combine to form complex meanings of phrases and sentences. 

semi-consonant: see semi-vowel (English only)

semiology: the study of meaning.

semiotics: the study of signs and symbols, especially as means of language or communication.

semi-vowel: speech sound produced with a little more constriction of the airflow in the oral cavity than a vowel. Semi-vowels in English = l & r, but not in any other modern Occidental Indo-European language, in which l & r are pure consonants. In English only, semi-vowels or semi-consonants are the result of the great vowel shift in the Middle Ages, which softened the harder consonantal pronunciation of l & r typical of French, German, Greek, Italian, Spanish, Russian and many other Occidental languages into a much softer l & r.

simulfix: a change or replacement of vowels or consonants (usually vowels) which changes the meaning of a word. Examples (English): -eat- becomes -ate - in past tense + -tooth- becomes -teeth- when plural.
speech community: a group of people sharing characteristic patterns of vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation. 

stative verb: a verb that expresses a state of affairs or being rather than action. Stative verbs differ from verbs of action not just in meaning but in formal structure and usage. Some verbs can be both stative, expressing a state of affairs, and active. Stative English verbs include: be, concern, have. The verb -become- is both stative and active. 

stem: a morphological constituent larger than the root and smaller than the word. Derivational affixes are inside of the stem, and inflectional affixes attach to the stem. Examples: root = run + stem = runner + word = runners & root = sing + stem = singer + word = singers

stress: a syllable having relative force or prominence.

substantive: (broadly) a word or word group functioning syntactically as a noun.

suffix: an affix that is attached to the end of a root or stem. Example (English): the past tense suffix -ed- attaches to the end of the verb stem -walk- to form the past tense -walked- Likewise, -ingest- to -ingested- & -transport- to -transported-.
syllabary: 1. table or list of syllabic letters or syllables 2. writing system where each character represents a complete syllable. Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot are all syllabaries.

syllable: 1.a unit of spoken language that is next bigger than a speech sound and consists of one or more vowel sounds alone or of a syllabic consonant alone or of either with one or more consonant sounds preceding or following; 2. one or more letters (as syl, la, and ble) in a word (as syllable) usually set off from the rest of the word by a centered dot or a hyphen and roughly corresponding to the syllables of spoken language and treated as helps to pronunciation or as guides to placing hyphens at the end of a line.

synchronic: relating to the study of a language at only one point in its history. For instance, when a researcher limits his or her study to Mycenaean Linear B in the context of ancient Greek, the research is synchronic. Thus, synchronic linguistics is a key definition in the study of Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C & Homeric Greek.

syncretism: the fusion of different inflexional forms. 

synecdoche: a figure of speech in which the one of the following (or its reverse) is expressed either as: (a) a part stands for a whole (b) an individual stands for a class OR (c) a material stands for a thing. Examples (English): -fifty head- referring to -50 head of cattle- & -cat- referring to -lion-.

synonomy: the relationship between words (or expressions) of sameness of meaning in some or all contexts. Synonyms: words (or expressions) that have the same meaning in some or all contexts. Examples: car = automobile + house = residence

syntagma: syntactic string of words that forms a part of some larger syntactic unit; a construction. 

syntax: the study of the rules governing the way words and morphemes are combined to form phrases and sentences. 

synthetic: pertaining to the joining of bound morphemes in a word. Compare analytic  

synthetic language: a language with a high morpheme-per-word ratio, as opposed to a low morpheme-per-word ratio in what is described as an isolating language. Agglutinative languages tend to exhibit synthetic properties. Indo-European languages, Greek + languages of the Romance family (Latin, Italian, French, Romanian, Spanish etc.), of the Germanic family (English, German, Swedish etc.), of the Slavic family (Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, Czech, Slovak,Serbo-Croatian etc.) and of the Indoaryan family (Sanskrit, Hindi, Persian etc.) are all synthetic languages.

time deixis: time diexis refers to time relative to a temporal reference point. Typically, this point is the moment of utterance. Examples (English)= Temporal adverbs: now/then/yesterday/today/tomorrow = adverbial function.

tmesis: (prosody) the insertion of one or more words between the components of a compound word. Example: How bright (+the) chit (+and) chat, inserted into chit-chat 

trope: the figurative use of an expression. Tropes include euphemisms, hyperbole (exaggeration), irony, litotes (understatement), metaphor, metonymy, onomatopoeia and various other devices.  

typology: the systematic classification of the types of something according to their common characteristics.


unbound root: a root which can occur by itself as a separate word. Another morpheme need not be affixed to it to make it a word. Examples: root (instead of – roots- -rooted- - rooting- etc.) & think (instead of -thinks- -thinking- -think-tank- etc.)

univocal: 1. having only one possible meaning. -or-  2. containing only one vowel 

Ursprache: proto-language, such as the proto-language from ancient Greek and Sanskrit presumably arose. Although we can never know the actual structure, vocabulary etc. of a proto-language, we can attempt to re-construct it retrogressively. 


vocable: a word or utterance, especially with reference to its form rather than its meaning

vowel: speech sound produced without a significant constriction of the airflow in the oral cavity. 

vowel modification: an addition or alteration to the basic way that a vowel is articulated. For instance, in most languages, including English, most vowels can be articulated as long or short, as in: -a- in -father- (short) in -ate- (long), -e- in -set- (short) -meet- (long) & -o- in -got- (short) -goat- (long)

An Introductory Glossary of General Linguistics Terminology: Part A: A-G

introductory glossary of general linguistics terminology Part A A-G 

NOTE: This glossary is ostensibly not comprehensive in any sense of the term, but it serves as a solid baseline introduction to linguistics terminology.   


abstract noun: a noun that denotes something viewed as a non-material referent, as opposed to a concrete noun. Examples: abstraction, attitude, communication, constitution, dependency, language, linguistics, magic, proliferation, rectitude, telecommunications.

acrolect: the variety of speech that is considered the standard form. For example: the Attic dialect by the fourth century BCE.

affix: a functional bound morpheme, typically short and with a functional meaning. Example: re in re-write. 

ambiguity: the property of words, terms, and concepts (within a particular context) as undefined, undefinable, or without an obvious definition, thus having an unclear meaning. A word, phrase, sentence, or uttered communication is called “ambiguous” if it can be interpreted in more than one way. Ambiguity is distinct from vagueness, which arises when the boundaries of meaning are indistinct. See also, connotation

analytic language: language that conveys grammatical relationships without using inflectional morphemes. A grammatical construction can similarly be called analytic if it uses unbound morphemes, which are separate words, and/or word order. English, which began as a synthetic language, has become more & more analytic over time. Afrikaans & Hebrew are also analytic. Contrast with synthetic language (below). 

anaphora: anaphora is the co-reference of a second expression with its antecedent. For example: This lexicon of Greek terms is comprehensive; it is very useful.

anthroponymy: the study of personal names.

antonym: from Greek anti ("opposite") and onoma ("name") are word pairs that are opposite in meaning, such as -hot- -cold- + -fat- -skinny- & -down- -up-. Words may have different antonyms, depending on the meaning. Both -long- and -tall- are antonyms of -short-. Antonyms are of four types:
Gradable antonyms stand at opposite ends ends of the spectrum: Examples: -cold- -hot- +  -slow- -fast
Complementary antonyms are pairs that express absolute opposites, like mortal and immortal.
Relational antonyms are pairs in which one describes a relationship between two objects and the other describes the same relationship when the two objects are reversed, such as parent and child, teacher and student, or buy and sell.
Auto-antonyms are the same words that can mean the opposite of themselves under different contexts or having separate definitions. Examples:  to enjoin (to prohibit, issue injunction -or- to order, command) + fast (moving quickly -or- fixed firmly in place) + sanction (punishment, prohibition -or- permission) + stay (remain in a specific place -or- postpone) 

aspect: a grammatical category associated with verbs, which expresses the temporal view of the event or state expressed by the verb. Examples: she learns (simple present aspect + she is learning (progressive present aspect) + she has learned (present perfect aspect)

auxesis:  an exaggeration of the importance of a referent by the use of a referring expression that is disproportionate to it. Example: referring to a scratch as a wound. Synonym: exaggeration 

basilect: a variety of a language that has diverged greatly from the standard form. For instance, the West Greek Doric dialect is a basilect quite far removed from the standard East Greek Attic dialect of the fifth century BCE. Doric Greek is also a basilect of Mycenaean Greek, for the obvious reason that the latter was predominant prior to the Doric invasion of Greece. 

bound morpheme: a morpheme which cannot stand alone to make a word, but must be combined with something else within a word. Examples: the -s- in the plural for tree = trees is a bound morpheme. Similarly, -cran- in cranberry.  
See also, free morpheme.


case: the grammatical category determined by varying syntactics or semantic functions of a noun, adjective or pronoun. Case is a function of only those languages which indicate certain functions by the inflection of nouns, adjectives, pronouns, or numerals. Greek, German, Latin & Russian are inflected languages.
circular definition: definitions can be circular or recursive. The definition refers to itself, thus defining an infinite number of things. Example: a thing is an object and an object is a thing. Circular definitions are always self-referential, hence closed. They can be dangerous traps. See also, recursive definition.

classifier: is an affix (often a suffix) that expresses the classification of a noun. Examples: Italian -raggazzo, raggazzi - (boy, masculine, sing. & pl.) + raggazza, raggazze (girl, feminine, sing. & pl.), where nouns are classified by gender & number.

collocation: a grouping or juxtaposition of words that commonly occur together. Example: by me, on a, with & the. 

comitative case: this is the case expressing accompaniment, expressed in inflected languages such as Greek & Latin by a preposition with the meaning "with" or "accompanied by." In Greek, meta = with + para = by (plus other prepositions expressing subtle distinctions). The usage of the comitative case in Greek is complex, and must be determined by context.

concrete noun: a noun that refers to what is viewed as a material entity, i.e. a thing . Examples: box, car, flag, lumber, post, rock, stump, table.     

connotation: 1. a meaning that is suggested or implied, as opposed to a denotation, or a literal definition. A characteristic of words or phrases, or of the contexts that words and phrases are used in. Connotations of the phrase, "You are a dog" = you are physically unattractive or morally reprehensible, not that you are a canine. 2. In semiotics, connotation arises when the denotative relationship between a signifier and its signified is inadequate to serve the needs of the community. A second level of meanings is termed connotative. These meanings are not objective representations of the thing, but new usages produced by the language group.

consonant: a speech sound produced with a significant constriction of the airflow in the oral tract. 

co-ordination: the linking of two or more elements as conjuncts in a coordinate structure such as -and- or -or- + in a list.   
corpus: a collection of writings, often on a specific topic, of a specific genre, from a specific demographic, a single author etc. 

co-reference: a reference in one expression to the same referent in another expression. Example: You said that you would come (English). Est-ce que vous me dites que vous viendrez? (French).  

corruption: word that has adopted from another language but whose spelling has been changed through misunderstanding, transcription error, mishearing, etc.  

continuous aspect: the imperfect(ive) aspect that expresses an ongoing, but not habitual, occurrence of the state or event expressed by the verb. Examples: he is running, he was running (English) + amant, amabant (they love, they loved: Latin). Ancient Greek & Latin cannot distinguish between continuous habitual & inceptive aspects in the present, future & imperfect tenses, and their compounds.    

copula: an intransitive verb which links the subject with an adjective, a noun phrase or a predicate. Examples: The book is on the table (English) Le livre est sur la table (French).    


definite pronoun: a pronoun that belongs to a class whose members indicate definite reference. Examples: the, this, that in English. The indefinite pronoun -the- is non-existent in Latin, in Mycenaean Linear B & in Homer but existent in Arcado-Cypriot, Classical Ionic, Attic, Hellenic & Koine (New Testament) Greek.

denotation: 1. The act of denoting, or something (such as a symbol) that denotes. 2. the primary or explicit meaning of a word, phrase or symbol. 3. something signified or referred to; a particular meaning of a symbol. 4. In semiotics, denotation is the surface or literal meaning encoded to a signifier, and the definition most likely to appear in a dictionary.

derivation: 1. formation of new words by adding affixes. Example: -singer- from -sing- + -adaptation- from -adapt- 2. derivation in linguistics is the process of changing the meaning and/or lexical class of a lexeme by adding a morpheme. 

derivative: 1. In a lexical database or lexicon, a derivative is sub-entry. Only irregular, semantic derivatives are entered as separate major entries. 2. a stem formed by combining a root with an affix to add a component of meaning that is more than inflectional. The meaning of a derivative is determined by its context, not its parts. Also known as: derived form, derived stem 3. A derivative is a stem formed by derivation, which is a morphosyntactic operation.
Kinds of derivatives:
1. Grammatical derivatives: Example:
nominalized stems, such as encouragement from encourage
adverbialized stems, such as courageously from courageous
2. Semantic derivatives such as generation from generate + isolation from isolate.  

diachronic linguistics: the study of language change over time, is also called historical linguistics. This is extremely important to research in ancient Greek, which was subject to significant changes in all of its dialects over time, especially when the time frame is extreme (i.e. a millennium, from Mycenaean to Attic Greek).   

diachrony: the study of change over time, especially changes to language.

dialectology: the study of dialects.

diphthong: a phonetic sequence, consisting of a vowel and a glide, that is interpreted as a single vowel. Examples: ai, ei, oi in English.

dummy word: a grammatical unit that has no meaning, but completes a sentence to make it grammatical. Examples: It is raining + Do you understand? 


elision:  the omission of sounds, syllables, or words in spoken or written discourse. Unstressed words are the most likely to be elided. Examples: camra for camera + evry for every in English. Elision is very common in ancient Greek, but not in Mycenaean Linear B or in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, since the latter are both syllabaries, in which all syllabograms must end with a vowel, making elision impossible.

enclitic: a clitic (suffix) that is phonologically bound to (i.e. inseparable from) the end of a preceding word to form a single unit. Examples: can’t, won’t & shouldn’t in English. Aminisode & Konosode (towards Amnisos, towards Knossos) in Mycenaean Greek. Enclitics are very common in ancient Greek.
epigraphy: from the Greek: epi-graph, literally "on-writing", "inscription" is the study of inscriptions or epigraphsas writing + the science of identification, classification, dating & drawing conclusions about graphemes.

epigrapher: person using the methods of epigrapher or epigraphist, who studies inscriptions, most of which are brief. 

epistemic modality: a modality that connotes how much certainty or evidence a speaker has for the proposition expressed by his or her utterance. Examples: We will  come (certainty) + She must have come + He may have come (uncertainty) + They might come (uncertainty) (English). The subjunctive expresses uncertainty in several languages, including English (rarely), German, French, Italian, Latin & Greek. Greek also has the optative to express uncertainty. In a lexicon as general as this one, it is not expedient to attempt to express the distinctions between the optative and the subjective in ancient Greek, as the relationship between the two is complex. In other words, you have to know ancient Greek very well to understand these distinctions and their several applications. 

etymology: 1 the study of the historical development of languages, particularly as manifested in individual words. 2 an account of the origin and historical development of a word. 3. the study of the origins of words. Through old texts and comparison with other languages, etymologists reconstruct the history of words — when they entered a language, from what source, and how their form and meaning have changed. From Greek: true meaning = etymos (true) + logos (word). Etymology is extremely important in the archaic in Mycenaean and Arcado-Cypriot, which in turn determine the etymology of a number of words in several later ancient Greek dialects.

extraposition: the movement of an element from its normal place to one at the end, or near the end, of a sentence.


family: a group of languages believed to have descended from the same ancestral language, e.g. the Indo-European language family from Proto-Indo-European.

finite verb: a verb form that occurs in an independent clause, and fully inflected according to the inflectional categories marked on verbs in the language. 

fossil: in linguistics, a fossilized word or term is extremely old, extinct, or outdated. Some words in Mycenaean Greek were already fossilized by the time Homer wrote the Iliad, and a much more significant number of Mycenaean words completely disappeared from later ancient Greek dialects. On the other hand, a number of Mycenaean words, such as apudosi (delivery) were never fossilized. 

free morpheme: 1. a grammatical unit that can occur by itself. Additional morphemes such as affixes (prefixes, suffixes) can be attached to it. Examples: berry, blue, cat, colour (hence: colourful, colourless), dog, elephant, green (hence: greenery), house, intern (hence: internship), orange, red, white, yellow. 2. a morpheme which can stand alone to make a word by itself. Example: -blue- in -blueberry- See also, bound morpheme.  

function word: a word which has little or no meaning of its own but which has a grammatical function. Examples in English: a, of, on, in, the. Function words play a key obligatory role in all languages. They are the glue that hold languages together syntactically.


gender. See, grammatical gender

gloss: A gloss (from Koine Greek glossa, meaning 'tongue') is a note made in the margins or between the lines of a book, in which the meaning of the text in its original language is explained, sometimes in its own language, sometimes in another language. Glosses vary in comprehensiveness and complexity, from simple marginal notations of difficult or obscure words, to entire interlinear translations of the original text and cross references to similar passages.

glossary: 1. a collection of glosses is a glossary 2. a collection of specialized terms with their meanings. Example: An English-Mycenaean Linear B Glossary 3. a list of terms defined in a particular domain of knowledge. Glossaries often appear at the end a book and often include either newly introduced or uncommon terms. 

glottochronology: the study of languages to determine when they diverged from being the same language. For instance, the divergence of Italian from Latin.

glottogony: 1. the genesis of language, i. e. the emergence of a system of verbal communication from proto-linguistic or non-linguistic means of communication 2. the study of language origins.

grammatical gender: a class system for adjectives & nouns, composed of two or three classes, whose nouns have at least human male and female referents and in some languages an inanimate referent (neuter). In many languages, gender is very often not classed by any correlation with natural sex distinctions. The genders of nouns classified in this fashion (masculine, feminine, neuter) do not necessarily refer to the masculine (male gender), feminine (female gender) or inanimate (neuter gender). In many cases a masculine noun can also be feminine or even neuter, or any other combination of genders. Genders for the exact same word may differ in different languages.  Examples: il mare (sea, masculine Italian) + la mer (sea, feminine, French), mare (sea, neuter, Latin) le tour (walk, stroll,  run, e.g. le Tour de France) + la tour (tower, French) etc. Examples of languages with two genders are French, Italian & Spanish & with three genders: German, Greek & Latin.

by Richard Vallance Janke, 2015

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