Re: Odp: Linear A

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 208
Date: 1999-11-09

----- Original Message -----
From: markodegard@...
Sent: Tuesday, November 09, 1999 9:43 AM
Subject: [cybalist] Re: Linear A

Sleepless at 2:30 AM, I've reviewed this posting and see I have to follow-up to myself.

Disclaimer: This is just from what I've read.

Linear B is derived from Linear A. While we have yet to decipher Linear A, we have a few hints, mostly from Linear B.

Linear B was adapted to serve an IE-language. The changes from Linear A suggest this. The point is that Linear A was hopelessly inadequate to cope with an IE language.

Since Linear B has no closed syllables, we may assume Linear A had no closed syllables. A closed syllable is a word like 'cat' or 'soul'; a closed syllable can include a diphthong. Can you imagine an IE language without closed syllables?

Linear B was adapted from Linear A. The theory requires us to realize that B was major innovation, the taking of something totally unsuited to an IE language and making it minimally adequate to the task of representing an IE language.

Mark Odegard.  

Just a word of caution: The phonology of various IE languages is by no means typologically uniform, so it's not quite correct to speek generically of IE as a type of language. Before the invention of the alphabet all kinds of script were based, more or less directly, on Middle Eastern models; if syllabic, they were inevitably similar to scripts designed for various Semitic languages. The inadequacy of Linear A to record Greek is no proof that the language of Linear A was non-IE. After all, Linear B is only a little less clumsy and before Chadwick's decipherment was believed to be non-IE by most competent scholars. The Hittite cuneiform script, hieroglyphic Luwian or the Cypriot syllabary are all "hopeless" in their own ways. The truth is that we simply don't know at present whether the language of Linear A was IE or not. Such questions cannot be resolved by voting, so what the majority or minority of linguists believe is completely irrelevant -- there is hardly any ground for educeted guessing there. Only the successfull decipherment of Linear A will decide the issue.