Λαβύρινθος and word-initial lambdacism in Anatolian Greek
 
Miguel Valerio (University of Barcelona, mfgvalerio@outlook.com)
 
Journal of Language Relationship, № 15/1-2, 2017 - p.51-59
 
The lexical pair formed by Mycenaean da-pu(2)-ri-to- and later Greek λαβύρινθος presents a contrast between Linear B d and alphabetical λ in a position where one would expect to find a similar sound represented. This orthographic inconsistency has been taken as a synchronic fluctuation between /d/ and /l/, both optimal adaptations of what is assumed to be a non-Greek (Minoan) sound in da-pu(2)-ri-to-. In turn, it has been proposed that this “special” and wholly theoretical sound, which according to some suggestions was a coronal fricative, was behind the Linear A d series. Here it is argued that there is actually no evidence that /d/ and /l/ alternated synchronically in Mycenaean Greek, and that therefore the /l-/ of λαβύρινθος is more likely the result of a later shift. Starting from this premise, it is hypothesized that λαβύρινθος derives from a form closer to Mycenaean da-pu(2)-ri-to-, an unattested *δαβύρινθος, that underwent a shift /d-/ > /l-/ in Southern or Western Anatolia. The proposed motivation is the influence of some local Anatolian language that prohibited /d/ word-initially. The same development is considered for λάφνη and λίσκος, which Hesychius glossed as Pergaean (Pamphylian) forms of standard Greek δάφνη ‘sweet bay’ and δίσκος ‘discus, quoit’, and possibly also for the Cimmerian personal name Dugdammê/Λύγδαμις. Of course, this hypothesis has implications for our perception of the Linear A d series and certain open questions that concern the Aegean-Cypriot syllabaries.
 
Keywords: Mycenaean Greek, lambdacism, Anatolian languages, Lygdamis, Linear A
 
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