Tag Archive: language



Is the Minoan language proto-Altaic or proto-Japanese? The vast bulk of current diachronic linguistic research stacks up squarely against this hypothesis:

According to Ms.Gretchen Leonhardt of: 

Konosos.net

and I quote:

While there has been much debate about the underlying language of Linear A, I disagree that LinA does not resemble a known language. Despite its similarities to Japanese, historical linguists dismiss a correlation for at least two reasons: (1) the apparent lack of genetic evidence and (2) the universally held belief that LinA is an Indo-European language. Regarding the first justification, if linguists are looking to mainland Japan for genetic evidence, they are looking too far north. By whatever means, it appears that, around 1000 BCE, the Minoans entered Japan from the southern islands, and gradually moved north. Regarding the second justification, Minoan scholarship generally agrees that the Minoans migrated from the Anatolian region**, which suggests an Altaic origin or influence. Likewise, Japanese scholarship suggests that the Japanese language belongs to the Japonic-language family, which is believed to have an Altaic origin or influence.

General consensus dates the demise of the high Minoan civilization as late as 3,500 years ago, with the widespread destruction of the palace centers, while Neil Gordon Munro dates the commencement of the Yamato culture, which is the presumed progenitor of modern Japanese civilization, as early as 3,000 years ago. According to Munro, the origin of the Yamato culture is unknown but had arrived in a highly advanced state. The culture is notable for its grave goods–bronze arrowheads, bells, and halberds. The culture is also notable for its wheel-thrown pottery, which employed “restrained” decoration with “subdued color” [1908:4].

Comment:
Munro was writing in 1908, when linguistic assumptions about Altaic languages were in their infancy! Modern scholarship has all but refuted the assumptions about Altaic languages in vogue at the beginning of the twentieth century, i.e. 100 years ago!

She continues:
The Okinawan (Uchina’a) Japanese remain culturally, genetically, and linguistically distinct from the mainland (Yamato) Japanese, although the two cultures are believed to share a common proto language. This forum will provide support–through disciplines such as archaeology, architecture, art, genetics, and language–for my dual theories that LinA is proto Japanese and that the Minoan civilization provides a rich backdrop for Japanese history, which, for millennia, has been shrouded in mystery.

I hasten to add that in the preceding passage, Ms. Leonhardt has made egregious errors with respect to Minoan Linear A. These are:
1. On the one hand, she claims to disagree that LinA does not resemble a known language.
2. and then goes straight ahead to flatly contradict herself by decrying “the universally held belief that LinA is an Indo-European language. Universally held? Very far from it. The controversy over the origin and language class Linear A purportedly belongs to still rages on, as attested by innumerable studies on academia.edu alone which contradict one another with respect to the language family or class to which Linear A purportedly belongs.  All this after she has just lament the fact that Linear A does not resemble any known language (1.)
3. She goes on... it appears that, around 1000 BCE, the Minoans entered Japan from the southern islands, and gradually moved north. Regarding the second justification, Minoan scholarship generally agrees that the Minoans migrated from the Anatolian region** (Does it? Perhaps in 1908, but I sincerely doubt this is the case today), which suggests an Altaic origin or influence. But what she obviously overlooks in this statement is the distinct probability, and indeed strong likelihood that the Minoan language almost certainly had already existed for some 1,200 years before the Minoans migrated to the southern Japanese islands, if they ever did so in the first place... which is a highly contentious claim. Moreover, while a few researchers still claim that the proto-Japanese dialect she is referencing belongs to the Altaic class of languages, the majority of current researchers number are convinced that this cannot be so.

And I quote (all italics mine):

Altaic Wikipedia TI

Micro-Altaic includes about 66 living languages,[9] to which Macro-Altaic would add Korean, Japanese and the Ryukyuan languages for a total of about 74. (These are estimates, depending on what is considered a language and what is considered a dialect. They do not include earlier states of languages, such as Middle Mongol, Old Korean or Old Japanese.)
Opponents maintain that the similarities are due to areal interaction between the language groups concerned. The inclusion of Korean and Japanese has also been criticized and disputed by other linguists.
The original Altaic family thus came to be known as the Ural–Altaic.[13] In the "Ural–Altaic" nomenclature, Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic are regarded as "Uralic", whereas Turkic, Mongolic, and Tungusic are regarded as "Altaic"—whereas Korean is sometimes considered Altaic, as is, less often, Japanese.

In other words, proto-Japanese, including the dialect with which Ms. Leonhardt is concerned, may not be (proto-) Altaic at all.

Altaic Wikipedia sometimes

4. Moroever, the following timetable seems to be the most realistic for the appearance of written Japanese (italics mine):



(3) Timetable:

To illustrate the prehistory of Japan, I'd put two lines on the timetable. The first line comes around 400 to 300 BC. This is the time when wet rice culture and iron processing came to the Japanese Islands, and the way of life there changed. Yet an older form of the Japanese language started to be spoken from that time. I'd call this phase of the language "proto-Japanese", which later evolved to our Old Japanese.

Comment:
Now it is clear from this diachronic timeline that proto-Japanese appeared at least 1,800 years after the first attestation of the Minoan language ca. 2200 BCE. 

And again (italics mine):

Japan

Along with the foreign faith, Japan establishes and maintains for 400 years close connections with the Chinese and Korean courts and adopts a more sophisticated culture. This new culture is essentially Chinese and includes literature, philosophy, art, architecture, science, medicine, and statecraft. Most important is the introduction of the Chinese writing system, revolutionizing Japan, which heretofore had no writing system of its own, and ushering in the country’s historical period.  (Comment: in other words, writing appeared in Japan only after 500 AD, some 2,700 years after the advent of the Minoan civlization.

5. Leonhardt continues, Minoan scholarship generally agrees that the Minoans migrated from the Anatolian region**, which suggests an Altaic origin or influence. after asserting in 1. above that LinA does not resemble a known language. and in 2. above, touting the universally held belief that LinA is an Indo-European language.  Good God, can she make up her mind? Is it 1. 2. or 5.?
6. Leonhardt then cites research a century old! (again, italics mine) She states, “According to Munro, the origin of the Yamato culture is unknown but had arrived in a highly advanced state. The culture is notable for its grave goods–bronze arrowheads, bells, and halberds. The culture is also notable for its wheel-thrown pottery, which employed “restrained” decoration with “subdued color” [1908:4].

For confirmation of the general span of dates of his publications, see:

Japanese race

Munro was writing in 1908, when linguistic assumptions about Altaic languages were in their primitive infancy! Modern scholarship has all but refuted the assumptions about Altaic languages in vogue at the beginning of the twentieth century, i.e. 100 years ago! And he wrote in this very journal.

7. But the most damning evidence against her thesis comes from (italics mine):

Paleoglot: How NOT to reconstruct a protolanguage

how not to rcon a

Paleoglot: ... So let's go through my cheeky list of important strategies that we can follow (using examples from the Tower of Babel project) if we want to isolate ourselves and be rejected by all universities around the world.
1. Use "phonemic wildcards" obsessively! Cast the net wider and you might catch something!

The abuse of mathematical symbols like C, V, [a-z], (a/é/ö), etc. are an excellent way to make your idle conjecture look like a valid theory. It might be called "reconstruction by parentheses" since parentheses are either explicitly shown or hidden by a single variable. An example of this is *k`egVnV (claimed to be the Proto-Altaic word for "nine" in the Tower of Babel database). Obviously, if V represents all possible vowels in this proto-language and there are, say, ten of them possible in either position, then the fact that there are two wildcards in the same word means that the word represents a humungous, two-dimensional matrix of ONE HUNDRED possible permutations (10*10=100):

*k`egana, *k`egena, *k`egina, *k`egüna, *k`egïna, etc.
*k`egane, *k`egene, *k`egine, *k`egüne, *k`egïne, etc.
*k`egani, *k`egeni, *k`egini, *k`egüni, *k`egïni, etc.
*k`eganü, *k`egenü, *k`eginü, *k`egünü, *k`egïnü, etc.
etc. language

Since no single form is actually being posited when wildcards are present, any claim of regular correspondence by such a theorist can be easily identified as fraud. If such linguists can't take themselves seriously enough to hypothesize a structured and testable theory, why then should we take them seriously in turn? 

It is this very method, if you can call it that by any yardstick of scientific methodology that Ms. Leonhardt indulges in:  

Leonhardt kira kiro kura juro

Wiktionary Proto-Japonic

as we can see all too clearly from this chart of her derivations of Minoan words from so-called Altaic roots:

To summarize, Ms. Leonhardt has seized herself in a web of self-contractions, severely outdated research and claims with respect to the authenticity of southern proto-Japanese as a so-called proto-Altaic language which cannot possibly stand the test of valid scientific methodology. I short, her pretensions that southern proto-Japanese is at the root of the Minoan language are just that, presentions, and egregious to boot.

So what are the alternatives? What language family or class might the Minoan language fall into? We shall address that question head on in the next post.


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

d-wave-natural-languages-hypotheses

quantum-computing-applictions-cryptographya

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.

austronesian-phylogenetic-tree-b-l

austronsian-sphylogenetic-tree-zoom-in

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

dide
didi
dija
dije
dusi
dusima
ida
idamete
japa
japadi
japaku
jari
jaria
jarinu
kireta2 (kiretai) *
kiretana *
kuro *
kuru
kuruku
maru (cf. Mycenaean mari/mare = “wool” ...  may actually be proto-Greek
maruku = made of wool? 
namikua
namikudua
paja
pajai (probably a diminutive, as I have already tentatively deciphered a few Minoan Linear A words terminating in “ai”, all of which are diminutives.  
qapaja
qapajanai
raki
rakii
rakisi
sati
sato
sii
siisi
taki
taku
takui
etc.

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:

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:

preview-of-mycenaean-linear-b-tablet-rosetta-stone-for-minoan-linear-a-haghia-triada-ht-31

CRITICAL Links to KEY PERSEUS/Tufts ancient Greek pages for persons knowledgeable in ancient Greek:

1. Homer, Iliad, Book II, The Catalogue of Ships:

homer-book-ii-catalogue-of-ships-introduction

If you are wondering why I have deliberately zeroed in on Book II, the Catalogue of Ships of Homers Iliad, as I am sure you are, wonder no more. Only Book  II alone, the Catalogue of Ships of Homers Iliad, can provide us with sufficient examples of Homeric grammar with distinctly Mycenaean characteristics, from which we can thereby retrogressively extrapolate numerous examples of grammatical forms in many of the major categories of Homeric Greek to their putative, and in fact, actual, Mycenaean ancestral roots.
 

2. Jeffrey A. Rydberg-Cox, Overview of Greek Syntax:

rydberg-page

is a superb source for the study of ancient Greek grammar. The link is parsed into the major sub-categories of ancient Greek grammar, i.e. nouns, verbs, participles etc. etc., and is thus an extremely valuable and highly practical source for ancient Greek grammar, all but eliminating the necessity of having to buy a hard-copy or e-book publication on ancient Greek grammar. In short, it is a perfectly sound source for ancient Greek grammar aficionados.


Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in N = 235 + 19/Total = 254 + Dative Singular

In this post we find derived (D) infinitives in N and the combinatory Greek consonant ks in natural Mycenaean Greek.

Here is the table of attested thematic and athematic infinitives starting with the Greek letters n & ks in Mycenaean Greek:

mycenaean-derived-infinitives-in-n-620

Be absolutely sure to read the extensive NOTE I have composed for the combinatory Greek vowel ks, as it embodies an entirely new principle in the Mycenaean orthographic convention for combinatory vowels. This convention must be firmly kept in mind at all times.

Dative Singular Masculine introduced for the first time ever: 

Note also that we introduce here for the first time the masculine dative singular in Mycenaean Greek. The sentence Latinized with Knossos in the dative reads:

Aikupitiai naumakee kusu Konosoi etoimi eesi.

In this sentence, the word Konosoi must be dative, because it follows the Mycenaean  Linear B preposition kusu. This is the first time ever that the masculine dative singular has ever appeared in Mycenaean Greek. Note that the ultimate i for the masc. dative sing is never subscripted in Mycenaean Greek, just as it was not in most other early ancient Greek alphabetic dialects.

The 4 sentences following Greek verbs in M 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.

We have managed to come up with some really intriguing sentences for the letters N and KS. One of them could have been lifted from the Mycenaean epic (if ever there was one) corresponding to the Iliad. It was highly likely anyway 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 = 254. I shall indicate the running total as we proceed through the alphabet.


							

Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in D = 12:

In this post we find 12 derived (D) infinitives in natural Mycenaean Greek.

Here is the table of attested thematic and athematic infinitives starting with the Greek letter D in Mycenaean Greek:

d-derived-infinitives-620

The 4 sentences after the 12 verbs in D make it absolutely clear that we are dealing with natural Mycenaean Greek as it was actually spoken. 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.

Thematic Verbs:

Active Voice:

These are the so-called standard verbs, which are by far the most common in all ancient Greek dialects. Thematic verbs are sub-classed into three voices, active, middle and passive.

Middle Voice:

The middle voice is unique to ancient Greek, and is self-referential, by which we mean the subject acts upon him- or herself or of his or her own volition. The middle voice also includes reflexive verbs. I am posting the first person singular of verbs in the middle voice, as it is far more common than the infinitive.

Athematic Verbs:

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

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

NOTES:
[1]There are two (2) verbs in the middle voice under D. These are dekomai and dunamai.
[2] There are no athematic MI verbs under D.
[3]In the natural Mycenaean Greek language, the nominative masculine plural always ends in oi, e.g. tosoi. This is in contrast to the formalized, fossilized Greek of Linear B inventories, which very rarely give any words in the nominative masculine plural. Instead, the extant Linear B tablets simply give the words in the singular, e.g. toso.
[4]In the natural Mycenaean Greek language, the nominative feminine plural always ends in ai, e.g. heketai (which is actually a masculine noun with feminine endings). This is in contrast to the formalized, fossilized Greek of Linear B inventories, which very rarely give any words in the nominative masculine plural. Instead, the extant Linear B tablets simply give the words in the singular, e.g. heketa.

There are exceptions to attested plurals on the tablets. The nominative masculine plural of teo (god) is teoi, exactly as it appears in natural Mycenaean Greek. This is because the word teo is not a word found in inventories, but rather in religious texts, mimicking the natural language. It is the template upon which the nominative masculine plural of all words in natural Mycenaean Greek is formed.  

The total number of natural Mycenaean Greek derived (D) infinitives we have posted so far = 24 A + 12 D for a TOTAL of 36. I shall indicate the running total as we proceed through the alphabet.


The so-called (invalid) relationship between the markings on the Neolithic Dispilio tablet and some of the syllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B:

dispilio linear B

The Dispilio tablet is a wooden tablet bearing inscribed markings, unearthed during George Hourmouziadis's excavations of Dispilio in Greece and carbon 14-dated to 7300 ± 40 BP or 5260 ± 40 BC. [1] It was discovered in 1993 in a Neolithic lakeshore settlement that occupied an artificial island [2] near the modern village of Dispilio on Lake Kastoria in Kastoria, Greece. 

Source: Wikipedia: Dispilio Tablet

wikipedia dispilio

Almost all the markings (Are they even writing?) on the Neolithic Dispilio Tablet (at least 5,200 years old) cannot conceivably be correlated with either the Minoan Linear A syllabary (some 3,200 years later) and the Mycenaean Linear B syllabary (some 3,500 years later). Even the markings on the Dispilio tablet which look remarkably like syllabograms in either Minoan Linear A and Mycenaean Linear B are almost certainly an accidental quirk. I simply cannot take seriously the so-called “correlations” the author of this bizarre tablets leaps upon. His imagination is clearly overactive, while his faculty of reasoning is sadly under-developed. Unfortunately, such so-called “correlations” between tablets in remotely ancient so-called “languages” and much later syllabaries which are the writing scripts of actual languages such as Minoan and Mycenaean Greek  recurs much too often with all to many “researchers” who indulge in such clearly illogical leaps of the imagination. I have marked with an X in BOLD all such clearly invalid correlations. I might just as well have marked every last one of the markings on the Dispilio tablet with an X in BOLD, for that matter. All such correlations are merely accidental. No professional researcher would ever be caught making such outrageous assumptions.

I shall demonstrate this sort of “cracked” reasoning made by certain “researchers” with other remotely ancient “languages” over and over. Of course, there are exceptions to such poor correlations. Some markings on some tablets in much more ancient “languages” (imagined or real) than Minoan Linear A or Mycenaean Linear B may conceivably be cross-correlated, at least to some extent, though never fully.  


LBK&M has just joined several major literary LinkedIn Groups!

LBK&M has just joined several major literary LinkedIn Groups! These are:

My LinkedIn Groups

And this is my welcoming message:

Hello from Richard Vallance Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae

We expect to see many more visitors to Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae now that we have hooked up with so many great LinkedIn literary groups.

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