Tag Archive: perfect tense



CRITICAL POST! The 4 major tenses of the derived (D) optative mood of thematic verbs in Mycenaean Linear B:

Here is the paradigm of the 4 major tenses of the optative mood in Mycenaean Linear B, based on the derived (D) template verb, naie (ancient Greek, naiein) = to dwell in, inhabit:

paradigm-of-the-optative-mood-in-linear-b

Note that we have provided two examples of derivative (D) sentences in this table of the paradigms for the 4 tenses of the optative mood in Mycenaean Linear B and ancient Greek in order to facilitate a better understanding of its functionality.

As can be seen from the table above, there are only 4 primary tenses for the optative mood of thematic (and indeed for athematic) verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, as well as in ancient Greek. These are:

the optative present
the optative future
the optative aorist (or simple past)
the optative perfect

There is no optative imperfect. It is a contradiction in terms. How is it possible that something was in fact happening, kept on happening or used to happen, when it is readily apparent that the optative mood always runs contrary to reality. The optative mood only and always refers to potentialities or possibilities, never to actual situations, which of course strictly call for the indicative mood. 

The optative mood has no equivalent whatsoever in any modern Centum or Occidental language, including modern Greek. It lapsed out of use before the advent of modern Greek. The optative mood sometimes plays a similar role to the subjunctive mood in ancient Greek, but by no means always. As a matter of course, we shall not be deriving a table of the tenses of the subjunctive mood in Mycenaean Linear B, for two conclusive reasons:
1. The subjunctive mood occurs nowhere on any Linear B tablets, i.e. it is not attested, or so it would seem so... because...
2. The subjunctive mood is virtually indistinguishable from the active in Mycenaean Linear B, whether or not we are dealing with thematic or athematic verbs, for the simple reason that Mycenaean Linear B cannot distinguish between short and long vowels. In other words, while ancient Greek allows for the subjunctive mood, which calls for the lengthening of the vowel in any person of the present tense, this is impossible in Mycenaean Linear B.

So there would simply be no point in attempting to reconstruct a mood which could not even be observed on Mycenaean Linear B tablets, even it were present. But it never is to be found on any extant tablet, i.e. it is nowhere attested (A), because Mycenaean Linear B tablets almost exclusively deal with inventories, which are by nature factual, thereby automatically calling for the indicative, and precluding the subjunctive.

It may seem counter-intuitive to find the optative on at least one Linear B tablet, but there is a tenable explanation for this phenomenon. Since the tablet in question deals with religious matters, it makes sense for the optative to be present. For instance, it is possible to say in Mycenaean Linear B,

May we all worship the Goddess of the Winds.
-or-
If only they believed in the gods!

These sentences make perfect sense in Mycenaean Greek.

But this still leaves us with the burning question, what on earth is the optative mood?

This is no easy question to answer. But I shall do my level best. To begin with, it is highly expedient to consult the Wikipedia article on the optative mood in ancient Greek:

wikipedia-optative-ancient-greek

since doing so will expedite your understanding of the functions of the optative. Essentially, these are as follows:

1. to express a wish on behalf of the welfare of someone, e.g.:

May you be happy.
May you live long and be prosperous.

2. to express the wish or hope,... if only (which is contrary to reality, as it never happened anyway, no matter how much or how dearly one might have wished it had happened), e.g.:

If only the Mycenaeans had not conquered Knossos.
If only Donald Trump had not won the U.S. Election! (Fat chance of that!)

3. The potential optative expresses something that would or could happen in a hypothetical situation in the future, e.g.

I wouldnt be surprised if the fortress of Mycenae were to fall in the next few years.
I wouldnt be surprised if Donald Trump were impeached. (Good luck for that one!)

4. Potential in the aorist or the past tense, e.g.     

The king of Knossos fled the city for fear that he might be caught and imprisoned.

5. For purpose clauses in past time, the optative can follow the conjunction so that:

The king has brought us all together so that we might discuss the situation regarding the possibility of an outbreak of war.

6. After verbs expressing fear: 

I was afraid that he had gone out of his mind.

7. for formal benedictions or prayers (primarily in the New Testament), e.g.:

May the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
May the Lord grant you mercy.

There are even more uses of the optative, but I do not wish to belabour the point. Suffice it to say, this mood is extremely flexible in ancient Greek. It always references actions or situations contrary to reality. It is often quite difficult for us in this present day and age to really get a grip on the various functionalities of the optative tense in ancient Greek, but get a grip we must if we are ever to really, clearly grasp what ancient Greek sentences relying on the optative actually mean, once we have embarked on that most challenging of journeys, to learn ancient Greek, to easy matter, let me tell you from personal experience.

Reduplication in the perfect active of the verb pine = to drink, derived (D) from the attested (A) perfect active of kaue = to burn in Mycenaean Linear B:

The attested perfect active of the Mycenaean Linear B verb, kaue = to burn, serves as the template upon which any number of derived (D) verbs in the active perfect may be extrapolated. This table illustrates this process:

mycenaean-linear-b-kekausa-pepoka-perfect

In order to form the active perfect tense, the ancient Greeks usually (but not always) resorted to the technique of reduplication, whereby the first syllable of the verb is prepended to the initial syllable of the conjugation of the same verb in the aorist (simple past), with this proviso, that the orthography of first syllable, or in Mycenaean Linear B, the vowel of the first syllabogram, is morphed into e from the initial vowel of the first syllable of the aorist, which is usually a or o in the aorist, prior to reduplication. Thus, in Mycenaean Linear B, the first syllabogram must reflect the same change. Hence, ekausa (aorist) = I burned (once only) becomes kekausa (perfect) = I have burned, while epoka (aorist) = I drank (once only) becomes pepoka= I have drunk. This transformation is critical, since both the aorist and the perfect active tense are very common in ancient Greek.

For the first time in history, the conjugation of athematic MI verbs in 5 active tenses in Mycenaean Linear B:

We now continue with the conjugations of 5 active tenses for athematic MI verbs in Mycenaean Linear B, represented here by the athematic verb, didomi (Latinized), which was  extremely commonplace right on down from Mycenaean Greek through to Attic and Hellenistic Greek and beyond, to New Testament Greek. We can safely confirm that the conjugation of athematic MI verbs underwent almost no perceptible changes (if any at all) from the Mycenaean era to the New Testament. The reason for this is apparent. Since the conjugation of athematic MI verbs was already cemented, in other words, fossilized, by as early as the Mycenaean era, there would have been no need whatsoever to change, modify or supposedly improve on its conjugations. For this reason alone, regressive extrapolation of the conjugations of 5 active tenses of athematic MI verbs is a simple matter. So in the case of athematic MI verbs, the method of retrogressive extrapolation we normally apply to grammatical elements in Mycenaean Linear B derived (D) from later ancient Greek dialects does not apply. Since the conjugations  of MI verbs were already fully consolidated in Mycenaean Greek, it is quite beside the point. It The 5 tenses of the indicative active we have accounted for in our table of conjugations of athematic MI verbs are:

the present active
the future active
the imperfect active
the aorist active (both first and second)
the perfect active

as illustrated in this table of paradigms:

athematic-mi-verbs-in-linear-b-conjugations-in-5-tenses

As I have already pointed out in the previous post on thematic active verbs in 5 tenses, I  have deliberately omitted the pluperfect tense active, as it was extremely rare in all ancient Greek dialects. Note that it is assumed that scholars, researchers and linguists reviewing our tables of conjugations of verbs in Mycenaean Greek are well versed in ancient Greek, and hence familiar with the subtle distinction between the first and second aorist (simple past tense). For this reason, we shall not attempt to differentiate between the two. Should anyone wish to do so, that person can refer him or herself to the Wikipedia articles on this topic. As for those of you who are not yet versed in ancient Greek, most notably, the Attic dialect, you will have to learn ancient Greek in the first place before you can even hope to grasp the distinction between the first and second aorist, let alone understand so many other elements of ancient Greek grammar.


For the first time in history, the complete conjugations of 5 major derived (D) active indicative tenses of thematic verbs in Linear B progressive grammar:

The tenses of active thematic verbs are:
the present indicative active
the future indicative active
the imperfect indicative active
the aorist indicative active
the perfect indicative active

Here is are the 2 tables (A & B) of the complete derived (D) conjugations of these 5 tenses of the active thematic verb kaue = the archaic ancient Greek kauein (Latinized), to set on fire:
 
aa-present-future-imperfect

ab-aorist-pluperfect

The ability of a linguist specializing in Mycenaean Linear B, i.e. myself, to cognitively restore no fewer than 5 active tenses of thematic verbs by means of progressive Mycenaean Greek derived (D) grammar boils down to one impressive feat. However, I have omitted the pluperfect indicative active, since it was rarely used in any and all of the numerous dialects of ancient Greek, right on down from Mycenaean to Arcado-Cypriot to Aeolic, Ionic and Attic Greek, and indeed right on through the Hellenistic and New Testament eras. So since the pluperfect tense is as rare as it is, why bother reconstructing it? At least, this is my rationale. Other researchers and linguists specializing in Mycenaean Linear B may disagree. That is their perfect right.  

Is Mycenaean Greek in Linear B a proto-Greek dialect? Absolutely not!

There are still a few researchers and historical linguists specializing in Mycenaean Linear B who would have us believe that Mycenaean Greek is a proto-Greek dialect. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact that so many fully developed grammatical forms are attested (A) on Linear B tablets confirms once and for all that Mycenaean Greek is the earliest intact East Greek dialect. Among the numerous grammatical forms attested (A) in Mycenaean Greek, we count: [1] verbs, including infinitives active and some passive for both thematic and athematic MI verbs; a sufficient number of verbs either in the active present or aorist tenses; a considerable number of participles, especially perfect passive; and even the optative case in the present tense, [2] nouns & adjectives, for which we find enough attested (A) examples of these declined in the nominative singular and plural, the genitive singular and plural and the dative/instrumental/ablative singular & plural. The accusative singular and plural appear to be largely absent from the Linear B tablets, but appearances can be deceiving, as I shall soon convincingly demonstrate. Also found on the extant Linear B tablets are the comparative and superlative of adjectives, and [3] almost all of the prepositions to be found in later ancient Greek dialects. Taken altogether, these extant attributed (A) grammatical elements form a foundation firm enough to recreate templates for all of the aforementioned elements in a comprehensive derived (D) progressive Mycenaean Linear B grammar. If you are still not convinced, I simply refer you to the previous post, where examples of many of  these grammatical elements are accounted for.  Moreover, once I have completely recompiled ancient Mycenaean Greek grammar, you should be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mycenaean Greek was the very first true ancient Greek dialect.

What is progressive derived (D) Mycenaean Linear B grammar? 

By progressive I mean nothing less than as full a restoration as possible of the corpus of ancient Mycenaean Greek grammar by means of the procedure of regressive extrapolation of the (exact) equivalents of any and all grammatical elements I shall have reconstructed from the two major sources of slightly later archaic Greek, namely: (a) the Arcado-Cypriot dialect, in which documents were composed in the Linear C syllabary, a direct offshoot of Mycenaean Linear B (Even though the two syllabaries look scarcely alike, the symbolic values of their syllabograms are in almost all instances practically identical), and from so-called Epic Greek, which was comprised of diverse elements haphazardly drawn from various archaic Greek dialects, in other words yielding nothing less than a mess, but a viable one nonetheless.

At this juncture, I must emphatically stress that, contrary to common opinion among ancient Greek literary scholars not familiar with either Mycenaean Linear B or Arcado-Cypriot Linear C, the gap between the scribal Linear B tablets and the next appearance of written ancient Greek is not around 400 years (1200-800 BCE), as they would have it, but only one century. Why so? Hard on the heels of the collapse of the Mycenaean Empire and of its official script, Linear B, ca. 1200 BCE, Arcado-Cypriot Linear C first appeared in writing a mere 100 years after, give or take. The revised timeline for the disappearance and reappearance of written Greek is illustrated here:

revised-timeline-for-the-reappearance-of-written-ancient-greek    
If this is not convincing enough, Mycenaean Greek’s intimate cousin, Arcado-Cypriot, of which the syllabary is Linear C, is even more closely related to Mycenaean Greek than Ionic is to Attic Greek. In fact, you could say that they are kissing cousins. Now it stands to reason that, if Arcado-Cypriot in Linear C is a fully developed East Greek dialect, as it most certainly is (subsisting at least 700 years, from 1100 – 400 BCE), then it follows as day does night that Mycenaean Linear B must also be a fully functional East Greek dialect (in fact, the first). The two factors addressed above should lay to rest once and for all that Mycenaean Greek is merely proto-Greek. That is sheer nonsense.

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