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Ancient Cryptography » Ancient Texts » Voynich Manuscript » Voynich text analysis

Author Topic: Voynich text analysis  (Read 3687 times)

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Voynich text analysis
« on: September 17, 2013, 10:13:49 PM »

Lately it has been suggested (by me) and proposed (by Don Hoffmann) that Voynichese is neither prose nor poetry, but a technical notation composed of little or nothing but acronyms and numbers.

Don's model is pharmaceutical recipes; mine was 'recipes' in various types of textile production, but the same principle applies for scientific notations - e.g. in geography, surveying or maths.
Here's an example - non-std knit notation though.

Since it's not prose interrupted by Tironian notation,  I hesitate to call it an abbreviated text, but know no other term.

I realise that texts of that  kind would probably defy translation.  But I'd like to know how testing them as  Voynichese has been tested  (redundancy, entropy, n-grams) might change our view of the Voynichese statistics.

I suppose expectations about e.g. proportion of numerical to alphabetic signs might alter, and perhaps  expected  frequency of  consonants against vowels?

If I'm to understand any responses, it's probably a good idea to let you know that I learned the definition of  "n-grams"  a couple of hours ago.

« Last Edit: September 18, 2013, 09:23:02 AM by Diane »


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Re: Voynich text analysis
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2013, 12:27:15 AM »
So just to sum up your lengthy proposition:
Content analysis using different assumptions for the type of content definitely sounds important.

Even something as simple as which language something is written in can affect stuff like frequency analysis. If it's a full blown unique notation, then assuming a standard language would certainly put us way off the mark.

There is an alternative though: what if someone were to write something in a mix of 2-3 different languages? Or heck, a mix of language and notation? It's quite possible we're not looking at a single "consistent" language. I know there are several people out there who are multilingual and often freely interchange what language they are using mid-sentence so people have trouble overhearing them.


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Re: Voynich text analysis
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2013, 05:58:51 AM »
Hi Aaron,

Don Hoffmann assumes Voynichese is a technical notation.

 I fell over the idea after noticing Julian Bunn's grids look like a weaving pattern.

I tried other technical instructions which have the option of expression by condensed notation or with a  graph/tabular grid.   

These included
- certian types of medical prescriptions;
- systems for generating scents from a limited list of ingredients;
- weaving and (as you see)
- knitting.

What I'd be glad to know is whether the principle seems to others to suit the statistical properties of Voynichese as well or  better than a polyglot text would.

Either of those is possible; no objection from the internal evidence.

If the idea's important or not, I can't say, but if so Don Hoffmann is to be credited. He did the real hard work first (and most).

My interest  is in nothing much but the manuscript.   

I'm too old for ambition, too unglam to nod wisely on tv, and too easily disgusted by the  intellectually dishonest.

But back to the conundrum..   do  'words' of such a kind suit Voynichese' statistical properties?

(edited Sept 21st. 2013)
« Last Edit: September 21, 2013, 02:21:15 AM by Diane »


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Re: Voynich text analysis
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2013, 03:06:38 AM »
I've just seen this quote.

"Dr. Leonell Strong ...said that the solution to the MS cipher was a “peculiar double system of arithmetical progressions of a multiple alphabet”.

I thought I'd mention this in case any reader thought it informed my question.

Strong believed the "MS to be written by the 16th century English author Anthony Ascham, whose works include A Little Herbal, published in 1550"

impossible now we have the radiocarbon dating.


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Re: Voynich text analysis
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2013, 12:42:53 AM »
Here's an example of the same principle ~ this one might appeal to "Phil the Rodent".