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Added to academia.edu: The Role of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B: Click to VISIT

role of supersyllabograms academia.edu

The Role of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, talk on July 1 at the Third Interdisciplinary Conference, Thinking Symbols, Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, Poland -  my talk centred on the role of what were previously – and erroneously – called “adjuncts” in Mycenaean Linear B. With 35 in total, there are for more of them and they fulfill a role far more significant than had previously been assumed. In the majority of cases, one syllabogram replaces entire phrases and even sentences.  No one had identified, isolated and classified them all until I did so in 2014-2015.
   


Just added to academia.edu: A Significant Breakthrough in the Decipherment of Linear B: The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, Presentation by Richard Vallance Janke at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, Pultusk, Poland, July 1, 2015.

To read the full text of my talk, with its comprehensive bibliography of 147 items related to this ground-breaking discovery in Mycenaean Linear B, click on this LINK:

breakthrough in decipherment ofx Mycenaean Linear B title
Of particular interest is item 139 in the bibliography:

139. Vallance Janke, Richard.  “An Archaeologist’s translation of Pylos Tablet TA 641-1952 (Ventris), with an introduction to supersyllabograms in the vessels & pottery Sector in Mycenaean Linear B”, TBP in Archaeology and Science = Arheoologija I Prirodne Nauke (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448, February 2016. approx. 30 pp.

ABSTRACT
In partnership with The Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens), our organization, Linear B, Knossos & Mycenae (WordPress), conducts ongoing research into Mycenaean archaeology and military affairs and the Mycenaean Greek dialect. This study centres on a  fresh new decipherment of Pylos tablet TA 641-1952 (Ventris) by Mrs. Rita Roberts from Crete, who brings to bear the unique perspectives of an archaeologist on her translation, in all probability the most accurate realized to date. We then introduce the newly minted term in Mycenaean Linear B, the supersyllabogram, being the first syllabogram or first syllable of any word or entire phrase in Linear B. Supersyllabograms have been erroneously referred to as “adjuncts” in previous linguistic research into Mycenaean Linear B. This article demonstrates that their functionality significantly exceeds such limitations, and that the supersyllabogram must be fully accounted for as a unique and discrete phenomenon without which any approach to the interpretation of the Linear B syllabary is at best incomplete, and at worse, severely handicapped.
Keywords: Mycenaean Linear B, syllabograms, logograms, ideograms, supersyllabograms, adjuncts, Linear B tablets, Pylos, Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris), decipherment, translation, pottery, vessels, tripods, cauldrons, amphorae, kylixes, cups, goblets

which is as you can see the abstract of my own article about to appear in the February 2016 issue of the prestigious international peer-reviewed journal, Archaeology and Science = Arheoologija I Prirodne Nauke (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448

Richard 

Full PDF text of  “The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B” for the talk I gave at The Third International Disciplinary Conference ‘Thinking Symbols’ at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, Poland, July 1 2015

Thinking Symbols

This is the full PDF text (Click to READ):

The Role of SSYLS in Mycenean Linear B

of the ground-breaking talk I gave at  The Third International Disciplinary Conference ‘Thinking Symbols’ at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, July 1 2015. This presentation constitutes the most significant breakthrough in the further decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B since the genius, Michael Ventris, realized a successful decipherment of the Linear B syllabary in June-July 1952. In this paper, I isolate, identify and classify all 34 supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, previously and largely erroneously referred to as “adjuncts”  in the field of linguistic research into Linear B. The discovery of supersyllabograms is of such critical import to the full decipherment of Linear B that they simply cannot safely be ignored, to the peril of misinterpretation or even total misreadings of some 700-1,000 intact Linear B tablets from Knossos alone. In fact, it staggers the imagination to find that fully 34 of 61 syllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B alternatively function as supersyllabograms on hundreds of tablets. Actually, it is more accurate to say that syllabograms specifically identified as supersyllabograms are no longer simple syllabograms at all, as my talk makes perfectly clear. Read on, my friends, and stand as amazed as I was (and still am) at the discovery,  isolation, identification and classification of supersyllabograms in Linear B.

Furthermore, my presentation includes an extremely  comprehensive bibliography of 147 items on prior research into any and all phenomena related to syllabograms leading (in)directly to my own discovery of supersyllabograms as a phenomenon it is own right. This  bibliography even references (item 139) the upcoming publication of a major article by myself, which is to appear in the February 2016 issue of prestigious peer-reviewed European journal,

Archaeology and Science = Arheoologija I Prirodne Nauke (Belgrade) ISSN 1452-7448,
February 2016. approx. 30 pp.

ABSTRACT

In partnership with The Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens), our organization, Linear B,Knossos & Mycenae (WordPress), conducts ongoing research into Mycenaean archaeology and military affairs and the Mycenaean Greek dialect. This study centres on a fresh new decipherment of Pylos tablet TA 641-1952 (Ventris) by Mrs. Rita Roberts from Crete, who brings to bear the unique perspectives of an archaeologist on her translation, in all probability the most accurate realized to date. We then introduce the newly minted term in Mycenaean Linear B, the supersyllabogram, being the first syllabogram or first syllable of any word or entire phrase in Linear B. Supersyllabograms have been erroneously referred to as “adjuncts” in previous linguistic research into Mycenaean Linear B. This article demonstrates that their functionality significantly exceeds such limitations, and that the supersyllabogram must be fully accounted for as a unique and discrete phenomenon without which any approach to the interpretation of the Linear B syllabary is at best incomplete, and at worse, severely handicapped.

Keywords: Mycenaean Linear B, syllabograms, logograms, ideograms, supersyllabograms, adjuncts, Linear B tablets, Pylos, Pylos TA 641-1952 (Ventris), decipherment, translation, pottery, vessels, tripods, cauldrons, amphorae, kylixes, cups, goblets

Please note that this post shall shortly be supplemented with several more delving into the general application of supersyllabograms in Linear B, and into the specific application of them to every sector of the Minoan-Mycenaean economy, from agriculture to the military, from textiles to vessels (pottery) to over-arching realm of the religious in their society.

Richard


Prospectus on my Presentation, “The Rôle of Supersyllbograms in Mycenaean Linear B”, exactly one month from today.

Supersyllabograms by Richard Vallance Janke Pultusk Academy Humanities Warsaw
aka Surcharged Adjuncts, to be held at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, just outside of Warsaw, Poland, June 30-July 2,

Pultusk Academy and logo

Prospectus link

sponsored by the Department of Classics of the University of Warsaw and by the Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes (Athens), with particular acknowledgement of the superb research Marie Louise Nosch in the domain of textiles in Mycenaean Linear B, whom I have cited 12 times in the bibliography of the paper. See Section A, page 4, July 1, 2015

Prospectus July 1 20154

Richard


Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, near Warsaw, Poland: Click to ENLARGE

Pultusk Academy and logo
This is the venue where I shall be giving my lecture on The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B between June 30 & July 2 2015. I am ready and raring to go!

Richard


Thinking Symbols”, Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, University of Warsaw (June 30-July 2 2015):

Thinking Symbols Koryvantes 640

Table of All 32 Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B for my Presentation at the Conference: Click to ENLARGE

Table of SSYLS in Mycenaean Linear B

As of spring 2015, I have discovered, isolated and classified a total of 32 supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, having found no new ones since autumn 2014. Let us review supersyllabograms, what they are, the 2 different types & how they are classified & sub-classified.

What Supersyllabograms are:

In Mycenaean Linear B, a supersyllabogram is almost always the first syllabogram only, in other words, the first syllable only of a Mycenaean Greek word or phrase. There are only three (3) exceptions to this operative principle. The 32 supersyllabograms account for more than 50 % of all syllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B. That this is a very significant subset of this discrete set of syllabograms goes without saying.  

The 2 types of Supersyllabograms:

There are only two types of supersyllabograms:

(1) Independent supersyllabograms (i):

An independent supersyllabogram is one which stands alone, all by itself, on any Linear B tablet. There is just the one syllabogram, with nothing preceding or following it, except whenever several of them appear in a series, as on Linear B tablet Heidelburg HE Fl 1994. And even then, strictly speaking, they still stand alone, each one being a discrete entity naming only one thing, a city or settlement name. 

Most independent supersyllabograms were deciphered,

(a) first by Prof. John Chadwick, who deciphered the syllabograms NI = suko (figs) & SA = rino (flax), and the homophone RAI = kanako (crocus or saffron) in his ground-breaking book, The Decipherment of Linear B (1959,1970), in which he divulged to the world the arduous road over several years to the decipherment of Linear B in 1952 by the brilliant cryptographer, Michael Ventris.

It is essential to realize that these three independent supersyllabograms alone are the only ones for which the single syllabogram symbolizing the Mycenaean Greek word they each replace is not the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of that word, as we can clearly see with NI, SA & RAI. This being the case, the remaining 29 supersyllabograms of a total of 32 are, by default, the first syllabogram of the Mycenaean word or phrase each of them represents.

(b) The second person to identify independent supersyllabograms was Prof. Thomas G. Palaima, in his superb translation of Heidelburg tablet HE Fl 1994, here:

Heidelburg HE Fl 1994 800

In this case, all 5 of the independent supersyllabograms, KO, ZA, PA, PU & MU are the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of a Minoan or Mycenaean city or settlement name. While these 5 independent SSYLS appear in sequence, each one should and must be interpreted as standing alone in its own right.

There are thus a total of 3 + 5 = 8 independent supersyllabograms (i). However, it is absolutely essential to understand that some of these 8 SSYLS are also dependent (d).

I am obliged to point out that neither John Chadwick nor Thomas G. Palaima recognized or identified these 8 supersyllabograms as such, since after all, one of them (Chadwick) discovered only 3 syllabograms which fit this description, while the other (Palaima) hit upon only 5 more. In retrospect, we have to be honest with ourselves and admit that it would be unrealistic, if not downright disingenuous, to expect them to have isolated supersyllabograms in the first place, given that they only just happened to stumble upon these 8, all of which are independent SSYLS, and none of which fit into the default paradigm of the rest of the supersyllabograms, all of which are dependent (d). In a word, neither of them could conceivably have even identified a phenomenon one could call the supersyllabogram, because they did not find any others. And it was the others, of which there are so many, that were, as we say, the real McCoy.

(2) Dependent supersyllabograms(d):

A dependent supersyllabogram (d) is one which always appears as a single syllabogram, but which is also always immediately adjacent to (da) or inside (di) an ideogram. It is the dependent supersyllabogram I discovered early 2014, and which has given true meaning to the term as I have come to define it. The basic formula for the layout of the dependent supersyllabogram on any Linear B tablet is:

SSYLa (left) + ideogram (right) -or-
ideogram (left)+ SSYLb (right) -or-
SSYLc on top of an ideogram -or-
SSYLd under an ideogram -or-
SSYLe inside an ideogram.

If there is only one (1) dependent supersyllabogram (d) adjacent to only one (1) ideogram, that ideogram, upon which that SSYL depends, determines the exact meaning of the SSYL. Change the ideogram, change the meaning. In other words, the meanings of all dependent supersyllabograms (d) are determined by the specific ideogram to which they are adjacent. The meaning of any adjacent dependent SSYL must therefore be strictly contextual (dc).     

More than one dependent supersyllabogram can be adjacent to one or more ideograms, and in any order. However, the order in which the SSYLS & the ideograms appear together is never random. It is always structurally contextual. Change the order, change the meaning.

Sub-classification of Dependent Supersyllabograms:

Dependent supersyllabograms are sub-classified as either associative (as) or attributive (at).

(1) Associative dependent supersyllabograms (as) are those which are immediately adjacent to the ideograms upon which they depend. An associative SSYL is one which informs of us of some external element, for instance, the factor of land tenure relating to the ideogram itself, or one which circumscribes its environment, especially in the livestock raising sub-sector of the agricultural sector. For instance, in the Table of All 32 Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B above, the supersyllabogram O adjacent to the ideogram for sheep + the number of sheep accounted for in the inventory of any particular tablet, informs us that the sheep are being raised on a lease(d) field, more specifically a usufruct lease field (i.e. a lease field which a farmer tenant cultivates for the use of his own family and village neighbours, with a taxation imposed by the overseer). In other words, the supersyllabogram O = onato (lease field) is associated with the raising of x no. of sheep.

(2) Attributive dependent supersyllabograms (at) always appear inside the ideogram which they qualify, never adjacent to it. They always describe an actual attribute (usually known as an adjectival function) of the ideogram. For instance, the syllabogram PO inside the ideogram for “cloth” is the first syllabogram, i.e. the first syllable of the Mycenaean word ponikiya = “purple”, hence the phrase = “purple cloth”.  Likewise the syllabogram TE, when it appears inside the ideogram for “cloth” is the supersyllabogram for the Mycenaean word tetukuwoa, which means “well prepared” or if you like, “well spun”. Hence, the syllabogram TE inside the ideogram for cloth must mean one thing and one thing only, “well-prepared cloth”. I have discovered, identified & classified well over a dozen examples of associative supersyllabograms.

The first person to identify and correctly translate two of the most frequently occurring supersyllabograms was Chris Tselentis, who deciphered the two SSYLS ZE & MO on Knossos Tablet KN So 4439, in the appendix TEXTS of Linear B tablets of his excellent Linear B Lexicon. On this tablet, which is strictly military, these syllabograms each appear immediately adjacent to the ideogram for chariot wheel, ZE appearing after the ideogram, and MO before it. It was obvious to Chris Tselentis that, in the military context of this tablet, the syllabogram ZE could mean one thing and one thing only, “a pair of (wheels)”, while MO could only mean “a single wheel”. And he was bang on. Unfortunately, he had his hands full just compiling his comprehensive Lexicon, and so he never got around to a thorough examination of a large enough statistically significant cross-section of Linear B tablets, to ascertain whether there were any more like this one.

But there were – plenty more, in fact some 700 of 3,000 Linear B tablets I meticulously poured through from the corpus at Knossos. If it weren’t for Chris Tselentis in particular, or for John Chadwick and Thomas G. Palaima before him, I would never have followed my intuition to ferret out more examples of the same phenomena, only to be so richly rewarded for taking this decisive step in the first place in the winter of 2014. There was no guarantee that anything concrete would come out of my year-long investigations. But it did, to say the very least. The ultimate result of my painstaking search through 3,000 tablets from Knossos, and the meticulous research which ensued were to pay off in droves. The Table you see above is the true fulfillment of a hard-won struggle.     

To read a detailed account of the function of dependent supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, please refer to this post:

Associative Versus Attributive


Richard


Photos of Michael Ventris (1922-1956) & Richard Vallance Janke (1945 - ): Click to ENLARGE each composite

Here is a composite of 2 photos, one of Michael Ventris (1922-1956) just before his tragic death in a car accident in 1956, and one of myself, Richard Vallance Janke, still younger, at age 23, upon my graduation for my first degree, Honours Bachelor of Arts in Latin and French (majors), English and German (minors) from Sir Wilfred Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, 1968.

Michael Ventris age 30 & Richard Vallance Janke age 23

I have no hesitation whatsoever in declaring that I consider Michael to be my patron saint, and that I pray to him instead of to God, because he is the greatest inspiration in my entire life. I shall do so until God informs me otherwise.

And here is another composite of myself, first as a Reference Librarian, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, taken at the age of 43 in 1988, and the second of a lovely couple and  myself at the age of 63, taken while I was on holidays in Quebec in the summer of 2008.

Richard 1989 and 2008

I will be using these photos for my talk on The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Linear B at the Pultusk Academy of the Humanities, University of Warsaw, Poland, June 29 – July 2, 2015.


Richard


 


Breaking NEWS: Conference “Thinking Symbols”, University of Warsaw, Pultulsk Academy of Humanities, June 30 – July 2, 2015: Click to ENLARGE

Thinking Symbols Pultusk University of Warsaw June 29-July 2 2015

Richard Vallance Janke, the moderator of this blog, has been cordially invited to give a talk on The Rôle of Supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B at the Conference “Thinking Symbols”, University of Warsaw, Pultulsk Academy of Humanities, June 30 – July 2, 2015. His talk will serve as the official public announcement of his discovery of some 30+ supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B throughout 2014 and early 2015.

This is the probably the most significant breakthrough in the decipherment of Mycenaean Linear B in 63 years since the genius, Michael Ventris, first deciphered the vast majority of the syllabary in 1952-1953. Although Michael Ventris and his mentor Prof. John Chadwick were able to decipher almost all of the syllabary, and there have been significant developments in further decipherment since then, one very large chunk of the syllabary (consisting of some 700/3,000 or 27 % of intact tablets from Knossos I meticulously examined in the course of 2014) have remained recalcitrant to decipherment for the past 63 years. From my intensive analysis of these 700 tablets, I have come to the conclusion that there has been no serious concerted effort in the past 63 years to thoroughly inspect the 3,000 or so tablets which I took the trouble to examine so closely. No doubt the task was not undertaken, since to do so would have required a team effort on the part of several specialists in Linear B linguistics.

But I could not wait on the problem any longer. So I took it upon myself alone to meticulously examine that many tablets! And what an exhausting job it was! But the pay-off in the exciting discovery I made was more than well worth the effort, to say the very least. When the Association of Historical Studies, Koryvantes, in Athens, Greece, happened upon our blog late in 2014, they were immediately impressed by the extensive research I had carried out, and very soon asked me whether I would like to participate in the Conference “Thinking Symbols”, at the Pultulsk Academy of Humanities, University of Warsaw, between June 30 & July 2, 2015. Of course, I accepted.

I shall be giving a 20 minute talk, more like a presentation, on the discovery of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B, and the significant rôle they play in the decipherment of at least 700 tablets which had previously proven recalcitrant. This talk is to serve as the premier public forum for the official international announcement of the rôle of supersyllabograms in Mycenaean Linear B. The University of Warsaw will consequently be publishing the presentation in its entirety, along with those of all the other speakers at the Conference. The University of Warsaw is in the ideal position to publish our book, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, likely to run to 200 pp. or more, sometime late this year or early in 2016. This would be a huge feather in their cap, as the book itself represents the most significant breakthrough in the further decipherment of Linear B since 1952. Cambridge University Press had the honour of publishing the original book by Prof. John Chadwick, The Decipherment of Linear B (1958, 1970). So the University of Warsaw has much to celebrate in the publication of the second major book, The Decipherment of Supersyllabograms in Linear B, which takes the inspiration of its title directly from the title of the original.


Richard

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