Tag Archive: grammatical

Did the archaic nominative and/or genitive singular feminine ending in ja/ya in Mycenaean Greek derive from the Minoan language?

teal banner feminine nominative or genitive

In the glossary below of:
A: masculine Mycenaean Linear B words ending in jo
B: feminine Mycenaean Linear B words ending in ja
C: Minoan Linear A words ending in ja

These are the keys:
nom. = nominative
gen. = genitive

All Linear B entries are drawn Latinized as is from Chris Tselentis’ Linear A Lexicon. 
A: Most Linear B nouns in jo are nominative:

A-da-ra-ti-jo Adrastios nom.
ai-ki-a2-ri-jo aigihalios = coastal, of the coast gen.
a-ka-ta-jo Aktaios nom.
a-ke-re-wi-jo Agrevios nom.
akorajo= used for communal purposes + for the marketplace gen.
a-mi-ni-si-jo Amnisos nom.
a-pi-no-e-wi-jo ethnic name of Amphinoevioi gen.
arejo = areios (divine epithet)nom.
a-te-mi-ti-jo = Artemitios nom.
da-ja-ro = Daiaros nom.
da-mi-ni-jo = Damnios nom.
da-ta-ja-ro = Dataiaros nom.
da-wi-jo = ethnic name of Davios gen.
de-u-ka-ri-jo = Deukalion nom.
di-ka-ta-jo = Diktaios Cf. Linear A nom.
di-u-jo + diwijo = belonging to Zeus gen.
du-ni-jo = Dynios nom.
dwo-jo = of two gen.
e-to-ni-jo = etonion = free-hold nom.
e-wi-ta-jo = ethnic name of Evitaios nom.
kakijo = made of copper gen
ku-te-se-jo = kyteseios = made from ebony gen.

B: Most Linear words in ja are nominative:

a-ko-ra-ja= used for communal purposes + for the marketplace gen.
a-mo-te-wi-ja armothevia = description of a pot (gen. sing.?)gen.
a-ne-moi-ere-ja = priestess of the winds nom.
a-ni-ja = ania = reins (neut. pl.) nom.
a-pa-ta-wa-ja = ethnic name of Aptarfaia nom.
a-ra-ka-te-ja = alakateiai = weavers nom.
a-ra-ru-ja = ararya = bound, equipped nom.
a-re-ja = areia (divine epithet) nom.
a-si-ja-ti-ja = Asiatiai nom.
a-si-wi-ja = Asivia nom.
a-te-re-wi-ja = Atreivia nom.
da-wi-ja = ethnic name of Davia gen.
de-di-ku-ja = dedikyia = being apprenticed adjectival
di-pi-si-ja = ethnic name of Dipsia gen.
di-u-ja = diyia = priestess of the god Zeus nom.
e-qe-si-ja = related to a follower gen.
e-ru-mi-ni-ja = elymniai = roof beams nom.
e-sa-re-wi-ja = Esalevia nom.
e-to-ki-ja = entoihia = fittings for insertion in walls nom.
e-wi-ri-pi-ja = ethnic name of Evripia gen.  
i-je-re-ja = priestess nom.
i-ni-ja = personal name = Inia nomm.
i-pe-me-de-ja = personal name =Iphemedeia nom.
ka-da-mi-ja = somee product related to garden cress nom.
ka-ki-ja/ka-ke-ja = made of copper = khalkia gen.
ka-pi-ni-ja = kapnia = chimney nom.
ke-ra-me-ja = personal name = Kerameia nom.
ke-ro-si-ja = geronsia = council of elders nom. + gen.
ke-se-ne-wi-ja = xenwia adjectival
ko-ki-re-ja = kolhireia = shell=shaped, spiral adjectival
ko-no-si-ja = Knosia = ethnic name of Knossos gen.
nu-wa-i-ja = numfaia = kind of textile of water-lily colour nom. + gen.
pa-ta-ja = paltaia =  arrow nom.
po-si-da-e-ja = Posidaeia nom.
pu-ka-ta-ri-ja = type of cloth nom.
pu2-te-ri-ja = phuteria = planted, cultivated adjectival
qe-ra-si-ja = Kerasia (name of goddess) nom.
ra-e-ja = laheia = made of stone gen.
ra-ja = Raia nom.
ri-ne-ja = lineiai = flax workers nom.
ro-u-si-je-wi-ja = Lousieveia = originating in/from Lousos gen.
se-to-i-ja = Setoia nom.
si-to-po-ti-ni-ja= sitopotnia = goddess of grain nom. + gen.
te-o-po-ri-ja = Theophoria = religious feast nom.
ti-ri-ja= tria = three nom.
we-a-re-ja = vealeia = made of glass adjectival + gen.

C: what are all the Minoan Linear A words below ending in ja supposed to represent? Are all or even some of them either nouns or adjectives? Just because they are in Mycenaean Linear B does not constitute proof that they are in Linear A. Nevertheless, they could be.    

NOTE that it is highly unusual, if not inexplicable, for there to be 57 words with the ultimate ja in Linear A, but none whatsoever ending in jo. This leads me to believe that it is extremely risky to assume that all of these Minoan words with ultimate ja are either nominative or genitive feminine singular. Just because they are in Mycenaean Linear B does not at all necessarily imply that they are so in Linear A. That would be jumping to conclusions. Nevertheless, there may be a case for assuming that Minoan Linear A words with ultimate ja may possibly be either nominative or genitive feminine singular, in which case it would appear that the Mycenaean nominative or genitive feminine singular words with the ultimate ja may possibly be derived from their Minoan precedents. But there is no way of proving this.

C: 57/988 Minoan Linear A words with the ultimate ja:

dija Cf. LB di-u-ja = diyia = priestess of the god Zeus
jadireja 10
kupa3rija *
masaja (of larger? L&S 426)
masuja 20
mireja (belonging to a sheep? L&S 443) 
nukisikija *
paja 30
pasarija *
radasija *
redamija *
reduja 40
sidija *
tikuja 50
waja (land)
zanwaija 57

These 57 Minoan Linear A words may be either:
1 the primordial nominative singular feminine
2 the primordial genitive singular feminine
3 neither

The last scenario is just as probable as the first two.

Minoan Grammar: Nouns & adjectives: Masculine: ultimate u, nominative masculine singular: Part 2: D-Z depu-tanirizu 86-150

teal banner

nisupu 90
sokanipu 95

dideru = emmer wheat 100
kaporu 105
koiru NM 110
koru NM
naru 115
ra2ru 120
terusi(declension) 125

kunisu = emmer wheat

siitau 130

nutu 135
rera2tusi (declined)
senu 140


duzu 140
nasuru 145
tanirizu 150

Linear A seals: Part 2 + Minoan grammar, nominative singular masculine in u:


Linear A seal HM 570.1g confirms beyond doubt that the word situ is New Minoan, i.e. Mycenaean-derived for “wheat”, a tight match with Mycenaean sito.     But it establishes a lot more than just that. Since there are well over 200 Minoan     words, whether Old Minoan or Mycenaean-derived New Minoan, all of which terminate in u, the circumstantial evidence is very strong that u is the nominative masculine singular of Minoan nouns and adjectives regardless.  I have no idea what jetana means, as it is clearly Old Minoan.

Linear A seals: Part 1 + Minoan grammar, enclitic ne = in/on:


On these Linear A seals we find the word patane, apparently a variant of patos (Greek) = path. But how can we account for the divergence from standard Greek spelling? In the Mycenaean dialect, the preposition “in” was proclitic and expressed as eni, hence eni pati (locative singular). But as I have already pointed out several times in previous posts, when any word is imported from a source superstratum language (in this case, Mycenaean) into a target language (in this case, the Minoan language substratum), its orthography must be changed to comply with the spelling conventions of the target language. This phenomenon also occurs in English, where 10s of thousands of Norman French and French words are imported, but where in a great many cases, the French spelling must be adjusted to conform with English orthography. To cute just a few examples of French orthography adjust to meet the exigencies of English spelling, we have:

French to English:

albâtre = alabaster
bénin = benign
cloître = cloister
dédain = disdain
épître = epistle
forêt = forest
fanatique = fanatic
gigantesque = gigantic
gobelet = goblet
loutre = otter
maître = master
plâtre = plaster
similitude = similarity
traître = treacherous

and on and on. This phenomenon applies to every last substratum language upon which a superstratum from another language is imposed.

Likewise, in the case of Old Minoan, it is inevitable that the orthography of any single superstratum Mycenaean derived word has to be adjusted to meet the exigencies of Minoan orthography.

The most striking example of this metamorphosis is the masculine singular. Mycenaean derived words in Minoan must have their singular ultimate adjusted to u from the Mycenaean o. There are plenty of examples:

Akano to Akanu (Archanes)
akaro to akaru (field)
kako to kaku (copper)
kuruko to kuruku (crocus/saffron)
mare (mari) to maru (wool)
Rado to Radu (Latos)
simito to simitu (mouse)
suniko to suniku (community)
Winado to Winadu (toponym)
woino to winu (wine)
iyero to wireu  (priest)

But these same words terminate in u in Minoan. And there are well over 150 in the extant Linear  A lexicon of slightly more than 950 words. 

As we can clearly see on Linear A seal HM 570.1a, the word patane is typical of several Minoan words, all of which also terminate in ne. These are:


It distinctly appears that all of these words are in the Minoan dative/locative case, and that the enclitic ultimate therefore means “in” or “on”. This will have to be substantiated by further research, but for the time being, let us assum that this conclusion is at least tentatively correct.

Rational partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 117 (Haghia Triada)  & the first real glimpse of Minoan grammar actualized:

LinearA tablet HT 117 Haghia Triada 620

This albeit partial decipherment of Minoan Linear A tablet HT 117 (Haghia Triada) incorporates an approximately equal admixture of Old Minoan, i.e. the original Minoan language, also known as the Minoan substratum (of which I am unable to decipher most of the words) and of New Minoan, i.e. the superstratum of words of probable Mycenaean provenance, most of which I have been able to decipher with relative ease. While some of the New Minoan translations obviously appear to break the grammatical rules of Mycenaean Greek, such as mitu for “mint”, which is after all mita (and feminine) in Mycenaean Greek or daminu for “in 1 village”, which is damo in the nominative in Linear B, these adjustments can be readily accounted for by the fact that Old Minoan grammar is not at all the same beast as Mycenaean grammar. Although we are not yet familiar with much of Old Minoan grammar, which is after all the grammar of Minoan, just the same as modernized Anglo-Saxon grammar is the grammar of English, in spite of the enormous superstratum of French, Latin and Greek words in the latter language, this tablet alone perhaps affords us a first glimpse into the mechanics of Minoan grammar. Thus, it would appear that mitu may be the Minoan accusative of mita, and daminu may be the locative of damo in Minoan. Although there is no scientific way for me to substantiate this claim, I believe I am onto something, and that I may be making the first cracks in the obdurate wall of the grammar of the Minoan language substratum.  If this is so, then I may be actually pointing the way to unravelling at least a subset of Old Minoan grammar.  To illustrate my point, let us take a look at these phrases in English, as adapted from their Norman  French superstrata.  In French, the phrases would read as follows: avec la menthe”& “ dans le village”, whereas in English they read as “with mint” & “in the village”. Take special note of the fact that, while the Norman French superstrata words in English, “mint” and “village” are (almost) identical to their Norman French counterparts, the grammar of the phrases is entirely at odds, because after the grammar of French, which is a Romance language, and of English, which is a Germanic, cannot possibly coincide.  But here again, I must emphatically stress that English grammar is an entirely different matter than English vocabulary, of which the latter is only 26 % Germanic, but 29 % French, 29 % Latin and 4 % Greek, the latter 3 languages, namely, the superstrata, accounting for fully 64 % of all English vocabulary! We must always make this clear distinction between English grammar, which is essentially Anglo-Saxon modernized, and English vocabulary, which is only minimally Germanic.

If we carry this hypothesis to its logical outcome, we can readily surmise that the same phenomenon applies to the Linear A syllabary. Where grammar is concerned, the Linear A syllabary is Old Minoan, i.e. the original Minoan language or substrate. Where vocabulary is concerned, Linear A represents an admixture of Old Minoan vocabulary, such as uminase, kuramu, kupa3nu (kupainu), tejare and nadare (all of which I cannot decipher) and of New Minoan Mycenaean derived vocabulary, such as makarite, mitu, sata, kosaiti and daminu on this tablet alone. The orthography of the latter words is not actually consistent with Mycenaean grammar, because constitutionally it cannot be. Once again, the grammar is always Minoan, whereas the vocabulary often falls into the New Minoan (Mycenaean derived) superstratum.

In the case of makarite, it would appear that, if the word is dative in Minoan, the Minoan dative is similar to the Mycenaean, ending as it seems to in i. The ultimate te in makarite appears to be the Mycenaean or ancient Greek enclitic te (and). In the case of mitu, which is mita and feminine in Mycenaean Greek, it would appear that the Minoan word is either masculine or that in this case at least, it is instrumental, meaning “with mint”, in which case the Minoan feminine instrumental appears to terminate with u. The word kosaiti appears to follow the same lines. The first two syllables, kosai, apparently are Mycenaean, but the ultimate ti is Minoan, and once again, instrumental (plural). Again, daminu appears to repeat the same pattern. The word damo is masculine (or neuter) in Mycenaean. But the ultimate is inu here, which appears to be the Minoan locative, inu. To summarize, we must make a clear-cut distinction between any New Minoan vocabulary on any Linear A tablet, and its orthography, which must of necessity follow the orthographic conventions of the Minoan language, and not of the Mycenaean, from which any such words are derived. I intend to make this abundantly clear in subsequent posts.  

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