Tag Archive: Centum



CRITICAL POST: The active middle voice template, akeomai = I repair or I make amends for...  in the five major tenses in Mycenaean Linear B & ancient Greek:

In all of the ancient East Greek dialects, right on down from Mycenaean Linear B to Arcado-Cypriot, its closest cousin (ca. 1100-400 BCE), through to Homeric Greek (ca. 800 BCE, a hodgepodge amalgam of various early ancient Greek dialects), to Ionic and Attic Greek (ca. 500-400 BCE), right on through to Hellenistic Greek (ca. 300-100 BCE) to New Testament Koine Greek (ca. 100 AD) and even to modern Greek, the active middle voice was extremely common, playing an indispensable role in the expression of verbal actions. In fact, it was probably even more common than the standard active voice, which we have already covered under the verb kauo = to burn.

In Mycenaean Linear B and in all subsequent ancient Greek dialects, the template for active middle voice is here represented by the verb, akeomai = I repair -or- I make amends (for myself). The 5 major indicative active tenses represented are, once again:

the present active middle voice
the future active middle voice
the imperfect active middle voice
the aorist (or simple past) active middle voice
the perfect active middle voice

all conjugated in full in this table:

mycenaean-linear-b-active-middle-verbs-akeomai-620

What is the function of the active middle voice in Mycenaean Linear B & ancient (as well as modern) Greek?

It is a very good thing to ask — in fact, it is crucial to the proper understanding of the critical difference between the standard active voice and the middle voice of verbs in Greek. The two voices are simply not the same. The standard active voice, as in the verb, kauo (present), kauso (future), ekauon (imperfect), ekausa (aorist or simple past) & kekausa (perfect) simply indicates something that someone does, will do, was doing, did or has done, with no further qualifications.

The active middle voice is quite another kettle of fish. It is much more active (quite literally!) and much more dynamic. The active middle voice denotes any of the following activities:

1. Any action undertaken by the subject, in which the subject takes a powerful personal interest in whatever action he or she is undertaking;
2. Any action undertaken by the subject, in which the subject acts strictly on his or her own behalf, without any direct influence of or consideration of whatever anyone else may think or adjudge about said action;
3. Any action undertaken by the subject, in which the subject acts independently, of his or her own volition, regardless;
4. Any action undertaken by the subject, which is of a reflexive nature, ie. by means of which the subject does something for or to oneself.

It goes without saying that an active present voice as so utterly complex as the active middle voice exists in no modern language, except for the fourth (4th.) application. The middle voice was of primal importance to the ancient Greeks because they were highly individualistic and egocentric (as opposed to being egoistic, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the active middle voice, except in rare instances). Reflexive verbs (4) are common in practically all modern languages. Thus, we have:

in English: I wash myself, you wash yourself, we wash ourselves etc.
et en français : je me lave, tu te laves, nous nous lavons – et ainsi de suite,
to cite just two examples.

On the other hand, the strict emphasis on personal responsibility for one’ s actions which is the preeminent characteristic of the active middle voice in Mycenaean Linear B and in ancient and modern Greek is nowhere to be found in modern Centum (Occidental) Indo-European languages such as English, French, Italian, Spanish, German etc. etc. In order to express the emphasis on direct personal responsibility innate to the active middle voice in ancient and modern Greek, modern languages have to resort to (sometimes cumbrous) circumlocutions. For instance, to express the first (1.) function of the active middle voice in ancient Greek, English has to resort to this circumlocution:

I am taking a powerful personal interest in repairing... etc.

And for the second (2.) function, this is what English has to resort to:

I am acting strictly on my own behalf in repairing (regardless of what anyone else thinks of it)

And for the third (3.) function:

I am acting entirely on my own (or independently) to repair etc.

Quite the circumlocutions in comparison with the active middle voice in ancient Greek, which is always so compactly and eloquently expressed by a single word, regardless of tense!

Consequently, it is virtually impossible to grasp the several meanings (at least 4) inherent to the active middle voice in ancient Greek, unless one has a firm grasp on the 4 principal functions I have outlined here. I repeat, the distinction between the simple active voice and the active middle voice in both ancient and modern Greek is fundamental to a proper understanding of the divergent functioning of these two active tenses, the simple active and the active middle.

Progressive Mycenaean Linear B derived (D) grammar, Phase 2: the future infinitive

In the table below you will find the future infinitive form of thematic (so-called regular) verbs in ancient Greek along with their counterparts in derived (D) Mycenaean Greek. The Mycenaean Greek is said to be derived (D), since there are no attested (A) forms of future infinitives on any extant Linear B tablets. However, the future infinitive is so easily formed from the present that it is certain that the Mycenaean forms I have provided below are correct:

future-infinitives-in-mycenaean-linear-b-620

Here, the future infinitive is provided only for verbs of which the stem of the present infinitive terminates with a vowel. Thus, damauein => damausein, eisoraiein => eisoraisein etc., and the shift from the Mycenaean Linear B present infinitive to the future is identical, thus:

damaue => damause, eisoraie => eisoraise etc.

It is imperative that you read the three notes at the end of the table above; otherwise, you will not understand why ancient Greek resorted to future infinitives when it was strictly called for. Since ancient Greek is the mother of all modern Centum (Occidental) languages, it contains every possible variant in conjugations and declensions to be found in the latter, except that modern Occidental languages never contain all of the elements of ancient Greek grammar. The lack of a future infinitive in modern Centum languages (at least as far as I know) bears testimony to the fact that ancient Greek contains more grammatical elements than any modern language. Each modern language borrows some, but never all, grammatical elements from ancient Greek. The upshot is that ancient Greek grammar is significantly more complex than ancient Latin and all modern Occidental languages. This will become painfully obvious as we progress through each grammatical element, one after another in ancient Greek, including Mycenaean. For instance, the next grammatical form we shall be addressing is the aorist or simple past infinitive, another one which does not appear in any modern Western language.


Mycenaean Linear B Progressive Grammar: Derived (D) Verbs/Infinitives in O = 254 + 36/Total = 290

In this post we find derived (D) infinitives in O. Here is the table of derived (D) thematic and athematic infinitives starting with the Greek letter O in Mycenaean Greek:

mycenaean-derived-infinitives-in-o-620

Be absolutely sure to read the extensive NOTES I have composed for the vowel O, as  there a a number of issues surrounding this vowel (O).

We are also introducing the middle voice, which never appears on any extant Linear B tablet. This voice exists only in Greek (ancient and modern), a centum (Occidental) and Sanskrit, a satim (Oriental) language. Greek and Sanskrit are essentially the Western and Eastern versions of the same proto-Indo-European language from which they both derive. Hence, the middle voice exists in both these languages, but in scarcely any other language in the world, ancient or modern.

But what is the middle voice? The middle voice is essentially self-referential, meaning that the person(s) any middle voice verb represents is or are acting of his or their own accord or in her or their own interest or that they are actively involved in the action the verb signifies. The middle voice is also used in reflexive verbs, such as dunamai, oduromai, onomai etc. etc., whereas the present indicative is found in Greek verbs such as oarizein, odaien, hodeuein = Mycenaean oarize, odaie, odeue. It is not the same thing as the present indicative, which is much simpler. Ancient and modern Greek both contain thousands of middle voice verbs, probably as many as thematic verbs, of which the infinitive always ends in ein in Greek and e in Mycenaean. READ ALL of the NOTES in the chart of Mycenaean verbs in O. Otherwise, what I am explaining here will not make much sense.  The complete conjugation of middle voice verbs in Mycenaean Linear B appears in the chart above.     

The 4 sentences following Greek verbs in O make it perfectly clear that we are dealing with natural Mycenaean Greek as it was actually spoken. Note that the natural plural in OI is to found in spoken Mycenaean, rather than the singular in O we find almost (but not always) exclusively on the extant Linear B tablets.

It was highly likely anyway that official documents, poetry (if any) and religious texts were written in natural Mycenaean Greek on papyrus. However, the moist climate of Crete and the Greek mainland meant that papyrus, unlike in the arid climate of Egypt, was doomed to rot away. So we shall never really know whether or not there were documents in natural Mycenaean Greek. But my educated hunch is that there were.

The total number of natural Mycenaean Greek derived (D) infinitives we have posted so far = 290.


Astounding Discovery! NASA: Interstellar Communication & Linear B Part 2: The Geometric Economy of Linear B. This is a Mind-Blower!

For the original article by Richard Saint-Gelais, click here:

NASA
Before I even begin to address the possibilities of interstellar communication based on the fundamental properties of the Linear B script, I would like to refer you to a sequential series of very early posts on our Blog, in which I formulated the basic thesis that, in fact, the Linear B script for Mycenaean Greek is based on the fundamental principle of Geometric Economy, a highly unusual, if not outright exceptional characteristic of the Linear B central construct of a syllabary+logography+ideography:

linearbgeometriceconomy 2014

And moving onto Numerics:

1-10-100-113 2014
Extended Set: Linear & Circular:

allgeometricbasic 2014
Application of the Extended Set to Linear B Syllabograms and Supersyllabograms: Click to ENLARGE

Rectangular Syllabograms in Linear B

Note that, even though Michael Ventris and Prof. John Chadwick, his intimate colleague & mentor, successfully deciphered some 90% of the Mycenaean Linear B syllabary, neither was aware of the existence of Supersyllabograms, of which there at least 30, all of them a subset of the basic set of Linear B syllabograms. Moreover, even though I myself hit upon the hypothesis and the principle that Supersyllabograms do indeed exist, some of them still defy decipherment, even at a human level, let alone extraterrestrial, which only adds further fuel to the raging fire that awaits us when we take even our first baby steps into the putatively impossible task of interstellar communications reliant on syllabaries similar to Minoan Linear A, Mycenaean Linear B & Arcado-Cypriot Linear C. For my initial post announcing the existence of Supersyllabograms in Linear B and their profound ramifications in the further simplification of the syllabary, click here:

Linear B Previous Post   

At the time I first posted these Paradigmatic Tables of the Geometric Economy of Linear B, I already suspected I was onto something really big, and even that the very hypothesis of the Geometric Economy of Linear B might and indeed could have potentially colossal ramifications for any operative semiotic base for devising altogether new scripts, scripts that have never been used either historically or in the present, but which could be successfully applied to dynamically artificial intelligence communications systems. However inchoate my musings were at that time that Linear B, being as geometrically economic as it obviously was, at least to my mind, might and could also apply to extra-human communication systems, i.e. communication with extraterrestrials, the thought did pass through my mind, in spite of its apparent absurdity. That is how my mind works. I have repeatedly asserted in this blog that I am forever “the doubting Thomas”, extremely prone not to believe anything that passes before the videographic panorama of my highly associative intellect. Put another way, I recall a fellow researcher of mine, Peter Fletcher, informing me that I had a “lateral mindset”. I had never considered it from that angle before, but even with this truly insightful observation, Peter had not quite hit the mark. Not only does my reasoning process tend to be highly associative and lateral, but also circular, with all of the tautological implications that carries with it.

I devised this paradigm chart of (approximately) rectangular syllabograms and supersyllabograms in Linear B to illustrate how such symbols could conceivably be transmitted to interstellar civilizations in the implausible hope that we might, just might, be able to transmit something vaguely intellgible, however miniscule, to such imagined aliens. But as you might easily imagine, even from a chart of only a small subset of the 61 syllabograms alone in Linear B (another herculean task not yet completed), the dilemma is fraught with almost insurmountable difficulties, even at the theoretical, conjectural level.

In fact, I am a firm believer in the precept that all human rational thought-process are in fact just that, tautological, which is the fundamental reason why it is so utterly perplexing for us as mere humans to even begin to imagine anything at all otherwise, i.e. to think outside the box. But we can if we must. Otherwise, any attempt to communicate on a semiotic basis with extraterrestrial intelligence(s) is simply doomed to failure. The reason is obvious: the semiotic ground and its spinoff framework of signifiers and signified of every single extraterrestrial intelligence (if indeed any such beast exists... see doubting Thomas above) is almost certainly and (inevitably) bound to be completely unlike, or to put it even more accurately, completely alien to any other. And this is precisely where we are on extremely slippery grounds. We may be skating on the surface of the ice, but the ice is thin and is bound almost certainly to crack, before any given extraterrestrial intelligence can even begin to decipher the semiotic framework of our own unique structure of signals, as Richard Saint-Gelais nicely points out in Chapter 5 of his study of the principles underlying the possible communication, however remote, with any single given extraterrestrial intelligence. I cannot stress this enough. The snares and traps we can so easily slip into far outweigh any practical framework even remotely potentially applicable to the (far-fetched) possibility of extraterrestrial communication. But this does not necessarily imply that such communication is impossible. Extremely improbable, yes, but impossible, no. See Infinite Improbability Drive in the Spaceship, Heart of Gold, Wikipedia:

Infinite Improbability Drive

If you have not yet read The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, I urge you to do so, at least if you have a sense of humour as nutty as mine. I swear to God it will leave you laughing out loud.

But I have not yet done with the possibility, however, remote, of extraterrestrial communication. There is another ancient syllabary, the younger cousin of Mycenaean Linear B, namely, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, of which the Geometric Economy is even more streamlined and considerably less complex than that of Linear B. I have neither the energy nor the time to even begin approaching that huge undertaking, but you can be sure that I shall eventually take a firm aim at the possibilities for extraterrestrial communication inherent in Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, probably sometime in the winter of 2015. Meanwhile, I would like you all to seriously entertain this notion, which has fascinated me to no end for years and years, namely, that the Greeks, brilliant as they were, were far beyond their contemporaries, including the Romans, by inventing the Linear B & Linear C syllabaries, and consequently the ancient Greek alphabet, all of which sported at the very least the five basic vowels. The whole point is that no other Occidental or Centum ancient writing system prior to ancient Greek, had even dreamt of the concept of vowels – although of course, Oriental Sanskrit, the Satem Indo-European cousin of Greek, had done precisely the same thing! No huge surprise there either, given that the Sanskrit scribes and philosophers were as intellectually refined as the Greeks.

For my previous discussion of The Present and Imperfect Tenses of Reduplicating – MI – Verbs in Linear B & the Centum (Greek) – Satem (Sanskrit) branches of ancient Indo-European languages, click on this banner:
Linear B Previous Post

Now let’s take my assumption one step further. What I am saying, to put it as plainly as the nose on my face, is that the invention of the ancient Greek & Sanskrit writing systems was as enormous a leap in the intellectual progress of humankind as were the equally astounding invention of printing by the Germans & Italians in the early Renaissance, and of computers & the spectacular explosion of the space race in the latter part of the twentieth century, to say nothing of the swift global propagation of the World Wide Web from ca. 1990 to the present. Each of these intellectual leaps have been absolutely pivotal in the advancement of human thinking from concrete to abstract to, we might as well say it out loud, to cosmic, which we are already the cusp of. Three greatest historical revolutions in the expansion of human consciousness, without which we would never have even been capable to rising to the cosmic consciousness which is dawning on humanity at this very moment in our historical timeline.

But, here lies the real crux: without the first great leap the Greeks took in their astonishing invention of Linear B, Linear C & the Greek alphabet, neither of the next two revolutions in human thought could possibly have manifested themselves. But of course, all three did, because all three were inevitable, given the not-so-manifest, but intrinsic destiny humankind has always had access to to, however little we may have been conscious of it “at the time”. But what is time in the whirlpool of infinity? Apparently, not nothing. Far from it. Time is a construct of infinity itself. Einstein is the password. Given this scenario, cosmic consciousness is bound to toss us unceremoniously even out of the box. What a mind-boggling prospect! But someday, possibly even in the not too distance future, we will probably be up to it. We can only hope and pray that we will. It is after all the only way out of the ridiculously paradoxical conundrums which presently face us in the herculean task of communicating at all with alien intelligences. 
 

Richard Vallance Janke, November 2014

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