Semitoid, PIE, Tyrrhenian, etc.

From: Glen Gordon
Message: 7384
Date: 2001-05-24

John Croft:
>I was of the opinion that the applications of phonetic values of
>Linear B to Linear A was showing that the underlying language was
>related to the Greek script inscriptions of EtoCretion. I'll try to dig
>out the web source for you.

No need. I'm resourceful like the Borg. I believe I've found it:

Unfortunately, it says little. In fact, it says:

"The most important artefacts of Praisos are three Eteocretan
inscriptions on limestone in Greek letters. The Greek letters
testify the fact that the Minoan language was Greek. The
inscriptions belong to the 6th, 5th and 4th centuries BC."

Rather a hasty conclusion, I suspect. I have many silly questions
like "How does the fact that EteoCretian is found 'in Greek
letters' prove that Minoan is Greek?" Doesn't something in
Greek letters mean that it is _Greek_, not EteoCretian??
>:( And, how do we get from the equation "EteoCretian=Greek" to
"Minoan=Greek"??? Can you help me with this logic, John? I think
I'm missing something :) Perhaps it would help if we establish
the exact definition of EteoCretian. I know of EteoCypriot which
is a script distinct from Linear A. Is EteoCretian synonymous
with Linear A?

Personally, I was of the opinion that Linear A is still a big fat
mystery with a whole bunch of theories still on the table.

>Regarding the "many languages to match" - the classical writers list
>and Dorian

That is, as far as we know, or as far as it was known by the
classical authors, not mentioning others that could have survived
as religious languages perhaps (much like Latin or Coptic today),
or less popular languages.

>We know the last two are Greek dialects. Circumstancial evidence
>would suggest that Pelasgian is related to Tyrrhenian,

Pelasgian is just a vague term for non-Greek Mediterranean peoples.
While Tyrrhenian seems like it might account for a chunk of the Pelasgian
presence, it probably isn't the whole of it. There
were other non-Hellenic IE languages in the area too, like

>[...] which leaves Etocretian as the indigenous language. Given that
>archaeology shows no real movement of new people into Crete between the
>neolithic and the coming of the Achaeans (at which time Pelasgain may also
>have arrived), it would seem that there was quite possibly only one Cretian
>language (albeit >perhaps with regional dialectical differences).

However, the first settlement of Crete is quite early (7th mill.)
and I don't think that these first peoples could have ever been Tyrrhenian.
I'm currently thinking that Tyrrhenian hunter-gatherers
or pastoralists moved into Greece and the Balkans starting around
5500 BCE (from a position further north and west of the
IndoEuropeans) and then the whole homogeneous Tyrrhenian territory
quickly adopted agriculture (Cris, LBK), but I need to plop my
head in a good book of archaeology before I can be more assertive.
Perhaps, as someone else has mentioned on this list (sorry I forgot
who :(), such a linguistic movement could have something to do with
that teensy flood that must have affected the original
Mediterranean economy over the long term. Perhaps there was a brief
"competition of resources" period that altered the linguistic
balance and sent Tyrrhenians southwards for some reason.

At any rate, it would be more appropriate, if we need to confine
ourselves to my strange personal theories, that Semitish be the
language that you're looking for, based on the timing. These first
Cretians are said to be likely from Asia Minor, afterall.

This still doesn't speak of the mysterious, underlying "linear
script language" for which I'm currently investing my time in
exploring a possible answer - a crazy answer perhaps, but an
interesting one nonetheless. There may be another Cretian
language to add to your list, although probably well
extinct in the area long before the classical writers were old
enough to hold a chisel.

In summary:

Achaean (IndoEuropean:Hellenic)
Dorian (IndoEuropean:Hellenic)
Pelasgian (Tyrrhenian, Anatolian, etc.)
Linear A (AfroAsiatic:Semitoid?)
Eteo-Cretian (Is this another term for Linear A?)
Cydonian (?)
"Proto-Linear" (I daren't say, lest you think I'm mad)
Eteo-Cypriot (?)

- gLeN

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