Tag Archive: neuter

Linear A Nouns: ultimate o: Masculine/neuter nouns and adjectives:


KEY: OM = Old Minoan, Minoan substratum
NM = New Minoan, Mycenaean-derived superstratum
PGS = pre-Greek substratum

Since this list is intended merely to be indicative of what appears to be the Minoan ultimate o for masculine and neuter nouns and adjectives, with a few exceptions intended to be illustrative, I have not defined any of the words here. They will be defined in our Complete Glossary of Minoan Vocabulary, consisting of over 950 words. 

adaro NM = a type of grain, barley
asidatoi (pl.?) 5
ero NM
kairo 10 NM = due measure
kiro NM
kito 15
kuro NM = reaching, attaining, i.e. total
muko NM = corner, recess
murito 20
Paito PGS = Phaistos (= Linear B) 
potokuro NM = a full drink, a brimming drink 
puko 25 OM = tripd
qero 30
roiko NM = broken (= Linear B)
ruiko Cf. roiko
Rukito PGS = Lykinthos (= Linear B, Rukito)
ruko 35
simito PGS = mouse, attribute of Apollo, the Mouse God
siro NM? 40
utaro 45
witero 46

Gender in Minoan Linear A

Gender in Minoan Linear A:

This is a tentative list of words in Minoan Linear A by gender, in so far as I have been able to determine gender to this point. I am not sure whether I am correct, but I would rather take the chance than not, as per my usual. Note that I am of the opinion that in the Minoan language, as in modern Italian, (almost) all words ended in an ultimate vowel. My reason for this tentative conclusion is simple: in the Linear A syllabary all syllabograms end in a vowel. When Mycenaean Linear B largely inherited the Linear A syllabary, with quite a few necessary adjustments, all of its syllabograms still ended in vowels, which made the syllabary (Linear B) awfully clumsy for representing even archaic Mycenaean Greek, in which most words, just as in later ancient Greek, probably ended in consonants. 

Minoan vessels


datu (HT 123-124) + ideogram for “olive(s)”
supu = very large amphora
tetu = large amphora


adureza = basic standard unit of dry measurement (barley share?)
daweda = 2 handled cup its contents = wine 
reza = basic standard unit (for linear?) measurement
tereza = basic standard unit for liquid measurement (of wine)

Feminine Diminutive:

kiretai2 = kiretai
dapa3 = dapai
sara2 = sarai (frequent!) + with grain + man
supa3ra = supaira (See supu masc. above) = smaller cups

Neuter (and Masculine?):

kuro = total
puko = tripod

Linear A KURO = Linear B TOSA = “total” POST 1 of 3

KURO = total HT 31 Haghia Triada

The Minoan Linear A word kuro unquestionably means “total”, primarily because it is always followed by numerics, sometimes in large numbers. It is of course the equivalent (though not exact) of the Linear B tosa = “so many”, i.e. “total”. I say not exact, since the Mycenaean Linear for “total” is plural, and I strongly suspect that the Minoan Linear A counterpart is singular. I am also of the opinion that Mycenaean Linear B inherited syllabograms which always end in a vowel directly from Minoan Linear A, because I am firmly convinced that Minoan Linear A words always ended in a vowel, never a consonant. Since the Mycenaean Linear B syllabograms all end in a vowel, whereas Greek words almost never do, terminating instead in consonants, it stands to reason that the Linear B syllabary is a direct calque on the Linear A syllabary. The newly ensconced Linear B scribes at Knossos simply took over a big chunk of the Linear A syllabary, without even bothering to account for Greek ultimate consonants. This may look weird or positively perverted to us, but we must recall that the scribes, many of whom worked in the transition period from Minoan Linear A to Mycenaean Linear B, would not have wanted to “re-invent the wheel”. After all, both the Linear A and Linear B tablets were first and foremost inventories, so why rock the boat?  The older Minoan scribes had to learn Mycenaean as fast as possible. They must have found Mycenaean very strange to their ears, since almost all of the words ended in a consonant. Be it as it may, it appears the younger scribes were quite willing to adapt the Minoan Linear A syllabary willy-nilly, and have done with it.

CONCLUSIONS: All of the Mycenaean Linear B syllabograms inherited from Minoan Linear A end in vowels, in spite of the fact that (even archaic Mycenaean) Greek words almost always end in consonants because, in short, Minoan Linear A words (probably almost) invariably ended in vowels. If this is the case, this amounts to an extremely important discovery over the nature of the Minoan language. As far as I know, no previous researchers in Minoan Linear A have ever taken this basic premise into account. But I stand my ground on this one.  Finally, since almost all Minoan Linear A words probably ended in an ultimate vowel, the word kuro is very likely to be either masculine or neuter, based on the (untested) assumption that gender in Minoan Linear A would have assigned O ultimate to masculine or neuter and A ultimate to feminine ultimate. However, fair warning! There are a great number of Minoan Linear A words which terminate in U ultimate, and these may be in the masculine, while those words ending in O may be in the neuter, or vice versa. I shall have to test this hypothesis over the next few years, as I attempt to gradually decipher at least some Minoan Linear A vocabulary. I shall also be addressing other key characteristics of Minoan Linear A orthography in future posts.

On the Mycenaean Linear B tablet tosa pakana = “so many swords” i.e. “the total” number of swords, tosa is in the plural, the exact opposite of kuro in Minoan Linear A, at least if my hypothesis is right.

Linear A tabletr An1938_706_o tossa pakana

Another consideration I would like you all to take into account is this: I personally do not care one jot what class of language Minoan Linear A falls into, whether or not it be Indo-European, for reasons which will become crystal clear in near future posts. In a nutshell, it is precisely because almost all philologists and specialists in Minoan Linear A try to pigeon hole the language into a particular class of languages that they are getting nowhere with its decipherment. Why not instead just accept the language for what it is( whatever it is!), by gradually deciphering as many words as we conceivably can, even if these amount to no more than a couple of dozen or so and, in addition, by reconstructing in so far as possible the grammar of Minoan Linear A, which may in turn provide further clues to other “undecipherable” vocabulary. You never know.

LinneaTanner.com - Apollo's Raven

LinneaTanner.com - Apollo's Raven

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