Aegeus Society For Aegean Prehistory


5 November 2012

The Evidence for Lycian in the Linear A Syllabary

Nikolai N. Kazansky A virtual birthday gift presented to Gregory Nagy on turning seventy by his students, colleagues and friends. Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University online publications.


The correspondence between the ideogram АВ 21for “sheep” in Linear A and the syllabic interpretation of this sign as /qi/ in Linear B script allow us to suggest that Linear A was used for an IE language in which the initial laryngeal was reflected as a guttural (*H2wi- or *H3wi- > kwi). The phonological change *H2/3wi- > /kwi/ is attested only for Lycian, and this proves the interpretation of M. Finkelberg who has already read some Linear A texts as Lycian. The identification of the sign АВ 21with the IE word for “sheep” (*H2/3wi-) presupposes changes in IE reconstruction: only a dynamic paradigm for the root form *H3wican be reconstructed, and it seems plausible that Hitt. hulana goes back to the same root denoting “sheep”: *H2/3w-ĺ̥ H1-neH2 “sheep wool”.

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