Tag Archive: pre-Greek substrate

Decipherment of the RECTO of Linear A tablet HT 86 (Haghia Triada):

Linear A Haghia Triada HT 86

It is possible to decipher this tablet and several others dealing with grain crops with a reasonable degree of accuracy and, in the case of some words, with complete accuracy. The Linear A word akaru is almost certainly the equivalent of akaro, and not of akareu, in Linear B, the latter interpretation of John G. Younger being utterly out of the question in context. The standard Old Minoan words for emmer wheat and “roasted einkorn” are kunisu and dideru. The second of these words, dideru, is equivalent to Linear B, didero, but neither word appears in any later ancient Greek dialect, leading me to draw the inference that dideru/didero is either archaic proto-Mycenaean Greek or that it falls within the pre-Greek substratum or alternatively that it is Old Minoan (OM). As for dame, it appears to be dative singular for damu (Linear A) or damo (Linear B), hence grains for the village wheat”. Finally, minute would appear to signify “and for one month”, te being enclitic, meaning “and”, with the entire phrase derived from mini = “month”. The actual case structure for the ultimate u has yet to be determined for Old Minoan. Unfortunately, it will be some time before I can tackle Old Minoan grammar (declensions and conjugations), as I must first decipher as many Old Minoan, pre-Greek substratum and Mycenaean-derived words as I can in Linear A. And these run to at least 300 out of 988 Minoan words I have isolated.

Linear A Nouns: ultimate o: Masculine/neuter nouns and adjectives:


KEY: OM = Old Minoan, Minoan substratum
NM = New Minoan, Mycenaean-derived superstratum
PGS = pre-Greek substratum

Since this list is intended merely to be indicative of what appears to be the Minoan ultimate o for masculine and neuter nouns and adjectives, with a few exceptions intended to be illustrative, I have not defined any of the words here. They will be defined in our Complete Glossary of Minoan Vocabulary, consisting of over 950 words. 

adaro NM = a type of grain, barley
asidatoi (pl.?) 5
ero NM
kairo 10 NM = due measure
kiro NM
kito 15
kuro NM = reaching, attaining, i.e. total
muko NM = corner, recess
murito 20
Paito PGS = Phaistos (= Linear B) 
potokuro NM = a full drink, a brimming drink 
puko 25 OM = tripd
qero 30
roiko NM = broken (= Linear B)
ruiko Cf. roiko
Rukito PGS = Lykinthos (= Linear B, Rukito)
ruko 35
simito PGS = mouse, attribute of Apollo, the Mouse God
siro NM? 40
utaro 45
witero 46

Comprehensive Linear A Lexicon of 969 words, the most complete Linear A Lexicon ever by far, with at least 250 terms more than Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon:

comprehensive Linear A Lexicon of 969 words

At this juncture in my ongoing endeavour to decipher Linear A, I have run across so many tablets with New Minoan Mycenaean derived superstratum words that I am confident I am well on the way to deciphering New Minoan. Such is not the case with Old Minoan, i.e. the original Minoan language a.k.a. the Minoan substratum. But even there I have managed to decipher at least 100 words more or less accurately, bringing the total of Old Minoan, New Minoan and pre-Greek substratum vocabulary to around 250 out of the 969 Linear A words I have isolated in my Comprehensive Linear A Lexicon, by far the most complete Linear A Lexicon ever to appear online, exceeding Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon by at least 250.

Since this new Lexicon is so large and I intend to publish it soon in its entirety on my academia.edu account, there is no point rehashing it here. Instead, I shall tantalize you with just a few excerpts, to give you at least a notion of how far I have taken this labour-intensive project.   


Excerpta from the Complete Linear A lexicon of 969 words:

This lexicon comprises all of the intact words in John G. Younger’s Linear A Reverse Lexicon (which is far from comprehensive) plus every last intact word on every single tablet at his site, wherever any of the latter are not found in the former. By my count, there are 969 words, some 250 more than in Prof. John G. Younger’s Reverse Linear A Lexicon. Words which are apparent variants of one another are listed as one entry, e.g.


The following entries have been deliberately omitted:
1 Words containing any syllabograms which are either partially or wholly numeric, since we do not know what the phonetic values of these syllabograms are.
2 Strings of syllabograms > than 15 characters.

OM = Old Minoan, the original Minoan language, denominated the Minoan substratum. Words are tagged OM only where I have been able to decipher any of them.
PGS = pre-Greek substratum, i.e. words, man of which are non-Indo-European, in existence before Mycenaean and ancient Greek, but which entered Greek and were probably present in Old Minoan, even if many of them do not appear on Linear A tablets or fragments. 
NM = New Minoan, Mycenaean derived or words of Mycenaean origin in Linear A

adara/adaro/adaru OM
ade/adu OM -or- NM = ades-, ados- sort of cereal 
adureza OM
aju 10
Akanu PGS = Archanes (Crete) 

... passim ...
dame/dami (sing. damai) PGS
danasi 80
daqera OM
darida OM
daropa OM
dasi OM
datapa 90
data2 OM
datu OM 
Dawa PGS (Haghia Triada) 
daweda OM

... passim ...

kanaka PGS
kapa/kapaqe/kapi NM 
kaporu NM
kapusi NM?
kara NM
karona NM?
karopa2 (karopai) OM 260
karu NM?
kasitero NM

... passim ...

mini/miniduwa NM
minute (sing. minuta2 - minutai)
mio/miowa 400
mita PGS

Paito = Phaistos
pa3a/pa3ana NM?
pa3kija 510

... passim ...

pimitatira2 (pimitatirai) OM
pita/pitaja 540
pitakase/pitakesi NM
posa NM
potokuro NM?
pu3tama 550
puko OM = tripod

... passim ...

rosa PGS = rose
rosirasiro PGS = planted rose (rose + hole sunk in the ground)
rotau 680
roti OM = a type of grain or wheat (Petras)
Rukito (topo) PGS
ruko NM?
rukue 690
ruqa/ruqaqa (common)
rusa (common/rusaka

... passim ...

saja/sajama/sajamana OM 700
saka NM
samidae PGS?
samuku OM
sara2 (sarai)/sarara PGS = sharia wheat 690 710

... passim ...

taikama OM PGS
tajusu 800
taki/taku/takui NM
tanate/tanati NM
tami/tamia/tamisi NM 
taniti 810 
tapa NM = Linear B

... passim ...

udami/udamia NM?
uju NM?
uki NM?
uminase OM 
unadi (common) 920
uro NM
utaro 930

waja NM
wanaka PGS
watepidu NM
watumare 940
wija NM
Winadu PGS (topomastics)
winu NM
winumatari NM 950
wireu NM
witero NM?

zapa 960
zute 969 

Complete decipherment of the Kafkania Pebble, ca. 1700 BCE. Is this the first ever inscription in proto-Greek?

Linear A Kafkania pebble 1700 BCE

This medallion is particularly striking, insofar as it actually appears to be inscribed entirely in proto-Greek. So even though this medallion dates from the Middle Helladic or Middle Minoan era (ca. 1700 BCE), the text appears not to be Minoan at all, but proto-Greek! If this is the case, this is by far the earliest inscription ever unearthed actually inscribed in proto-Greek. The decipherment makes perfect sense. Moreover, the presence of the king is clearly implied in this inscription. And what is even more astonishing is this: the Royal Seal of Malia, equally archaic, inscribed in Cretan hieroglyphics, appears to describe in no uncertain terms the word, wanaka!

the Royal Seal of Malia with wanaka inscribed

If this is true, then wanaka, which as we all know means “king” in Mycenaean Greek, in other words, in a language which came to the fore much later than the Minoan language, is in all probability either a Minoan word or, failing that, in the pre-Greek substratum. It is just as conceivable that all of the words on the Kafkania Pebble fall within the pre-Greek substratum, in other words, that all of these terms were to be taken over by the Mycenaeans at least a century later (ca. 1600 BCE at the earliest).

This is an amazing discovery, to say the very least.

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.

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

5 more putative proto-Greek or pre-Greek Minoan Linear A words, MI-MU & 1 is a winner!


The preceding table lists 5 more  putative proto-Greek or pre-Greek Minoan Linear A words from MI-MU.  Of these 5, [3] mita = “minth”, is by far the most compelling because it is identical to the Mycenaean Linear B word, right down to orthography. Both words may be either proto-Greek or part of the pre-Greek substratum. The next most convincing decipherment is [1] mini, which very likely means “month”, and which is probably proto-Greek or proto-Mycenaean. [4] muko = “recesss/corner”  also makes quite a lot of sense, in view of the fact that it appears to be an architectural term. Such terms are relatively common in Mycenaean Linear B; so it stands to reason that they may also be so in Minoan Linear A.  [5] musaja might possibly mean “shut/closed”, if it is an adjective, but this is a bit of stretch.

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


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

LinneaTanner.com - Apollo's Raven

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