Clyde Winters response to Burlak’s Meroitic & Tocharian Part 4: Length of Meroitic Verbs are too short.
S.A. Burlak, in Meroitic and Tocharian: From the point of View of a Tocharianists (Sudan & Nubia, Bulletin 12: 99-103) disputes my decipherment of Meroitic: Winters, Clyde Ahmad. (1999). The inscriptions ofTanyidamani. Nubica IV und Nubica V., pp.355-388. Herein, I will discuss Dr. Burlak’s propositions and evidence.
3. Burlak (2008 p.99) claims that there are too many verbs that are only one character in length.
This is an unjustified criticism of my decipherment. Many verbs in Tocharian are a single character in length. Since Tocharian is the cognate language of Meroitic it is only natural that Meroitic would have a number of verbs of one character in length. Moreover, this is not surprising because Abdalla and Hintze (1979) had already noted the existence of Meroitic lexemes of one character in length.
The nature of Tocharian as the cognate language of Meroitic allowed me to translate many Meroitic verbs. Abdalla (Hintze 1979, 149) was sure that he detected several common verbs in Meroitic including:
Following this lead I searched the Tocharian language to determine if it possessed any verbs that might match the proposed hypothetical verbs of Abdalla in his “Commentary” (Hintze, 1979). A comparison of Kushan and Meroitic proved to be successful. We now know that he was absolutely right about his interpretation of possible Meroitic verbs.
Below is the interpretation of these Meroitic verbs based on Tocharian cognates. Many of these verbs were discussed by Burlak (2008) as part of the Tocharian language.
hr , to have dignity
the , to move
tk , to set in motion, to investigate
w-e , to give escort
pl , to boast, to praise
m-de , measure the offering
y i m-de , go make (full) measure of the offering
Recognition of these Meroitic terms as verbs gave us even more confirmation that Kushana was probably the Meroitic cognate language. This discovery of Meroitic verbs and nouns, and cognate toponomies in Central Asia and Upper-Nubia-Sudan (see Appendix) proved that Meroitic could be read using Kushana lexical items.
The Egyptian writing does not have vowel notations. The reality that Tocharian verbs and affixes are vowels may explain why the Meroitic script has vowel notations. They may have these vowel notations to indicate the fact that they represent lexemes.