The Principle of Cross-Correlation in Progressive Linear B Grammar:


1 If you are not familiar with the fundamental principles of linguistics and/ or you cannot understand ancient Greek, it is highly advisable that you do not read this post, since it is almost certain it will leave you completely baffled even before you get half way through it. This is in no way a reflection on your intelligence, only on my native ability even to get all of what I am about to say across in a manner even approaching clarity. It is not critical to your learning the grammar of Linear B, as I will be expoundinig it, since all you really need to know is the grammar of Mycenaean Linear B itself, and nothing more. Mercifully, Mycenaean Linear B grammar will prove to be much simpler than classical Greek grammar. But the upside to this is that you will be in a much better position to learn ancient Greek once you know Mycenaean Greek, rather than the other way around. Doing it the other way around is liable to drive you half mad, as ancient Greek is notoriously difficult to get a handle on.

2. If you are a linguist or you do know ancient Greek, it is advisable to print out this entire post, so that you can read it at your leisure. Even for me, it is a bit of a “mind blower”.

That said, we are about to make the first GIANT leap in the refinement of the Theory of Progressive Linear B Grammar & Vocabulary. To date, I have enumerated the following 3 basic principles underlining the theory I am in the process of expostulating. Before we can move on to explaining the Principle of Cross-Correlation in Progressive Linear B Grammar, it is imperative that we understand as fully as possible all the principles leading up to it. Since the original post for each principle antecedent to the The Principle of Cross-Correlation has been posted on this blog, I am cross-referencing to that post, so that you can review my explanation of each principle, step by step, from the first to the fourth. These steps are:

1. The first, the Principle of Regression:

whereby I proceed from a particular standard ancient Greek grammatical form, for instance, the conjugation of the present tense of the verb e1xein (to have) using it as my point of reference or departure to apply retrospectively (i.e. in reverse chronology) to the quasi- “identical” grammatical form in Mycenaean Greek in this instance, the present tense of the Mycenaean verb EKO (to have) in order to reconstruct the conjugation of its present tense, in so far as I possibly can, by applying the conjugation of the present tense of its chronologically much later ancient Greek grammatical equivalent, here being the verb e1xein but only in those instances where it is patently clear that the much more ancient Mycenaean grammatical form is in fact (quasi-) identical to its chronologically much later equivalent. You will forgive me for repeating my terminology over and over, but I do so simply because it was a struggle for me to delineate this principle in the first place. So I suppose it will be the same for you. Still, once you have grasped this, the first Principle of Progressive Linear B Grammar, all subsequent principles should (hopefully) fall neatly into place.

In the application of the Principle of Regression, the chronologically much later ancient Greek grammatical form (in this case, the present tense of present tense of the verb e1xein (to have) thereby becomes the paradigm or template of its equivalent in Mycenaean Linear B, the verb EKO (to have).

2 The second Principle of Progression (covered in the same post above) is the actual reconstruction of the same grammatical form in question, here the present tense of the Mycenaean Linear B verb EKO from its much later ancient Greek conjugation, in so far as this is even feasible and practical. In the event, we soon discover that I am able to reconstruct all persons of the present tense of EKO, except the second person singular, for the reasons I postulated in the post referenced above, as we can see here:

Regressive Extrapolation Verb EKEE to have

In so far as the first two principles are concerned, the chronologically much later grammatical form which serves as the point of reference or departure, i.e. the template or paradigm, is called the source, while its Mycenaean Linear B counterpart is known as the target. I will be using these terms henceforth in any discussion of grammatical forms transferred from ancient Greek to their Mycenaean Linear B equivalents, so please bear them in mind at all times.

NOTE: where it is practically impossible to reconstruct the (presumed) Mycenaean target grammatical form from the sparsity of evidence from extant tablets, I shall not even venture to make such an attempt, since to do so would simply invalidate the procedure.

3 The third Principle of Correlation takes all other instances of the same grammatical form with the same root, to reconstruct them in Linear B, given the assumption that, if all grammatical forms of the source template are identical when their root is the same, then the equivalent target forms in Mycenaean Greek must also be identical when their root is either identical or equivalent to their source forms. This just so happens to be the case for the ancient Greek source verbs e1xein, a1gein, qh=kein and their Linear B equivalents EKEE, AKEE & TEKEE. All this is explained in excruciating detail here:

and hereby illustrated:

Mycanaean Verbs in KEE

What, you say?… if you happen to know ancient Greek. How can this be, when these 3 source verbs in ancient Greek do not share the same root?… or so it would appear. But in fact they do, because their roots, ending in e1x, a1g, qh=k respectively are all of the same class, in this instance, the gutturals x, g, k. The distinction between gutturals of the same source class simply vanishes in their Linear B equivalent, the target syllabogram KE, since it must do service for all three of the source gutturals. This is because Linear B has no way to distinguish between Greek variants of the same class, whether they be the gutturals, linguals or labials. But enough of that for now. Only people familiar with ancient Greek or the fundamental principles of linguistics will understand what I am talking about. So if are neither a linguist nor one who reads ancient Greek, just forget about it.

4 The Principle of Cross-Correlation:

The fourth Principle of Cross-Correlation takes the previous principle one step further, but this time it is a giant leap. Fortunately, it is a lot easier to explain, now that we have slogged our way through the mire of the first 3 principles. Starting with the specific case of the conjugation of all regular source verbs whose stem ends in x, g, k – xein, gein, kein in ancient Greek, we assume in principle that the same target verbs in Linear B with the same stem KE must all be conjugated just as they are in their source equivalents. The best analogy to this theoretical assumption may just well be Einstein’s Theory of Specific Relatively, although our theory hardly approaches Einstein’s in its complexity. The one thing the Theory of Progressive Linear B Grammar and Einstein’s Theory of Specific Relatively do have in common is that they are logically both mathematical constructs, at least to my mind.

Extrapolating from our example of the present tense of the aforementioned verbs with the same root in both ancient Greek (the source) and in Linear B (the target), we may now make the obvious leap from Specific Cross-Correlation to The General Principle of Cross-Correlation, whereby we claim that virtually all regular source verbs in ancient Greek with the same class of roots, regardless of class, must be conjugated the same way in Mycenaean Greek. Again, a comparison of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity helps us place the General Principle of Cross-Correlation into its proper context, but with one crucial difference. Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity is a theoretical system sufficient in and of itself, whereas the the General Principle of Cross-Correlation is merely one of several consecutive parallel principles all derived from the same theoretical construct, the General Theory of Progressive Linear B Grammar (and ultimately Vocabulary).

At this point in time, I am still a long way off from expostulating the General Theory of Progressive Linear B Grammar, but we have at last (and at least) arrived at the point where we can apply the General Principle of Cross-Correlation to absolutely any grammatical form in Linear B, whether verbal, adverbial, nominal, prepositional or modifying. Throughout the winter of 2014, I will be implementing the practical application of the first four principles, in their exact order in every case, to the reconstruction of every source verbal construct in ancient Greek for which it is possible to reconstruct the equivalent target construct in Mycenaean Linear B. Reconstructions will proceed from the present tense to the future, the aorist, perfect, optative, all the way through to the participles. A word of warning: it is far from possible to do so for a great many verbal constructs, for the simple reason that there are not enough examples of them on extant Linear B tablets to warrant any accurate reconstruction. In such cases, I simply won’t proceed. Reconstruction of the second person singular of the present tense of regular source (ancient Greek) verbs into their putative target (the second person singular) in Mycenaean Linear B is a case in point. I simply neither have enough evidence nor do I feel qualified “to go there”, as the saying goes. If any of you can crack it, all the more power to you. And if you can, please share your insights with me, because again, as the old saying goes, “two heads are better than one”, to which I would add, many heads are better than two.


In the reconstruction of any grammatical form in its target in Mycenaean Linear B, from its equivalent in its source, ancient Greek, it is necessary to follow each of these steps in order:

1 deconstruction on the Principle of Regression

2 reconstruction on the Principle of Progression

3 correlative reconstruction on the Principle of Correlation

4 complete reconstruction of an entire grammatical class on the Principle of Cross-Correlation

the last of which we no longer need to call the General Principle of Cross-Correlation, because that is what it is anyway.

Richard Vallance