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Re: con-translation (was: Semitic/Celtic Ties)

From:Raymond A. Brown <raybrown@...>
Date:Monday, March 22, 1999, 7:35
At 6:12 pm -0500 21/3/99, Steg Belsky wrote:
>On Sun, 21 Mar 1999 22:26:30 +0000 "Raymond A. Brown"
>>[? = aleph; H = heth; T = teth; ` = ayin; S = tsade] > >[Hh = heth; Tt = teth in my capitalized way of writing roots]
OK - I don't think there's a standard ASCII transliteration for email, is there? Pity :=(
>>Gordon read it thus: >>h-ptH = the engraved monument >>z-jtnt = which I have set >>`-nHt-j b-?rS jpj = over my resting place in Land of Beauty > >Ah, that makes a bit more sense....the root PTHh "open" can be used to >mean carving letters on stone, like in the Biblical description of the >High Priest's clothes.
Right - except the Greek letters are 'epioi', not 'epiTi' as Gordon read it. [snip]
> >>Hope my transcriptions above help. > >Well, i don't see how they got the Semitic consonants out of Greek >letters which include vowels....unless my extremely limited knowledge of >the Greek alphabet is messing me up here...
No, I don't think it is. I assume these gentlemen are assuming the "Semites" of the Lassithi plateau are showing the actual vocalization of their language as it was in the 3rd cent. BC. I guess they try to look at the consonant stems 'behind' the vocalization and then quote the Semitic consonants they assume undelie the Greek letters. In the case of Cyrus Gordon, he seems to have had an almost missionary zeal to 'prove' that the early inhabitants of Crete were Semites. He claimed to have deciphered the language of the old Linear A Script as an early form of Semitic. His decipherment has not generally been accepted. The criticism often labeled against Gordon is that his translations were forced and that he combined elements from quite different periods and different Semitic langs just to 'prove' his point. So I guess, given that outlook, Cyrus wasn't going to let a few Greek vowels spoil things for him :) I know little about Steiglitz - I get the impression he was trying to tidy up some of Gordon's "translations". [snip]
> >So it's not known what sounds the symbols stood for?
>Where did the >previous conlang 'translations' get the sounds for the symbols from?
The unkind answer would be "from the imagination of the 'translators'". In fact, that is not the whole truth. If, as in the case of Gordon, they thought they knew the values of the old Linear A signs, they looked to them. Most scholars, however, still regard Linear A as undeciphered; and the more cautious look to Linear B and the Cypriote syllabary (IIRC the first two symbols are similar to two Linear B symbols) and then let their imaginations work on them. [snip]
> >>Ah - so their resemblance to the Linear A & Linear B scripts is purely >>co-incidental. Or maybe the Rokbeigalmki script is ultimately related >>to >>the early Aegean scripts? > >Well, it isn't exact :) - The actual Rokbeigalmki character for [O] is a >circle bisected by a vertical line, so it's not exactly the same as the >second inscription symbol. Although the first one is exactly the same as >the [&w]. The last one was a bit of a stretch, though :)
Ah, you've got the idea! That's the way other 'translators' have used Linear B & the Cypriote syllabary :) [snip]
> >>Just as I was getting used to the idea that it was proto-Elet-Anta - >>darn >>it! I'll have to revise things again - and look into the possibility >>of a >>connexion between the Aegean scripts of the 2nd millennium BC and the >>Rokbeigalmki script. No rest for us researchers :) > >The Aegean scripts would have to be descendents of the Rokbeigalmki >alphabet, since it can be traced all the way back into pre-pre-history :) >(hmm..."traced back into pre-history" that an oxymoron?) >
'proto-history' I think is the term. It refers to a period when writing is used so, in theory, we have historic evidence - it's just that can read the stuff so it might as well be pre-history - if you see what I mean :) Ray.