Linear B Syllabograms, Logograms & Ideograms Compared with Modern Chinese Ideograms: Click to ENLARGE

Modern Chinese and Linear B in common

While I know nothing of modern Chinese, and consequently cannot understand what any of the ideograms on this sign mean, I decided to compare either whole Chinese ideograms or components of them with their Linear B counterparts, simply to illustrate how similar writing systems from two cultures as remotely spaced both in time and space can and often do make use of very similar, and even occasionally almost identical strokes to create their characters. It so turns out that my own boyfriend, Louis-Dominique, took this photo just for me, when he was in China at the end of September and beginning of October this year (2014). I have no intention of analyzing any of the characters or ideograms in either Linear B or in Chinese, except in so far as I am able to translate those that are in Linear B. The photograph pretty much illustrates the similarities without need for further comment, but some similarities leap right out.

For our Oriental visitors who are unfamiliar with the first 2 scriptural phenomena, a syllabogram is merely a syllable consisting of one consonant followed by one vowel, as in YA, MO, NE, PO, QE, RE, SO & TO, all of which appear on the photograph. Logograms in Linear B & other syllabic scripts are a combination of two syllabograms, one superimposed on the other, as in MERI = “honey”, which appears in the previous post.  In both Linear B & Chinese, an ideogram is an ideogram is an ideogram. There are almost 150 ideograms in Linear B, which is a considerable number, considering that Linear B is primary a syllabary. In fact, there are more ideograms in Linear B than there are both syllabograms and logograms!

To highlight just a few of the more remarkable similarities:
[1] Especially striking is the Linear B syllabogram RE [2] on the photograph, which looks exactly like the four signs, two on top and two underneath the Chinese ideogram at the far right top of the sign. It also appears upside down on the Chinese ideogram immediately underneath.
[2] Variants of the Linear B syllabogram MO appear as components 4 in Chinese ideograms, all tagged [9]. For those of you who are Chinese, if you refer yourself to the Linear B words tagged with [9] & [13], bottom left, you can actually see for yourself that the syllabogram MO closely resembles the ideogram component I have flagged.       
[3] Likewise, a minor variant of the Linear B syllabogram TO [13] appears on one Chinese ideogram & in the Linear B word, bottom left. So that makes two components of Chinese ideograms incorporating elements strikingly alike Linear B syllabograms.
[4] The component at the centre bottom of Chinese ideogram [24] closely resembles the Linear B syllabograms PO & SO in the 2 counterpart Linear B sentences [24], bottom right.
[5] The Chinese ideogram component [19] looks exactly like the Greek alphabetic lambda (L), upside down. This is the sole instance in which a component of a Chinese ideogram looks like a Greek alphabetic letter rather than a Linear B syllabogram. Anyway, there are no L+vowel syllabograms in Linear B. 

My whole point is simply this, that Chinese ideograms frequently use strokes which incorporate elements which are (almost) identical, primarily to Linear B syllabograms, and sometimes Linear B logograms or ideograms. Thus, a component of an ideogram in Chinese can either closely resemble or actually be almost identical to a Linear B syllabogram, which are two different scriptural phenomena in two entirely unrelated languages. Likewise, an entire Chinese ideogram, as for instance, that for “elephant” in the previous post can be, and in that instance, is practically identical to the Linear B logogram for “honey”. Finally, the Chinese ideogram for “month” is the mirror image of the exact same ideogram (“month”) in Mycenaean Linear B, again as seen the previous post.    

Those of us who are Occidentals are going to draw own own conclusions reflecting the values of the West from the observations I have made above, while those who are Orientals will doubtless see things from a somewhat different perspective. I welcome any observations, comments or corrections from anyone fascinated by these correlations, especially from our Oriental friends who can translate the Chinese ideograms where these are (almost) identical to their Linear B counterparts. The stark differences in meaning can sometimes be hilarious, as for example in the previous post the logogram for “honey” In Mycenaean Greek looks almost identical to the Chinese ideogram which means “elephant”.

This phenomenon recurs in alphabetical scripts, where for instance, both the Latin and Cyrillic alphabets are offshoots of the Greek alphabet. While most letters in these three alphabets are strikingly different, a number of letters are (almost) identical. I do not intend to illustrate these (dis)similarities here, since we are not concerned with alphabetic scripts. 

Richard