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Re: WG: average word length in VMS
> [Brian Farnell:] My problem with the syllabic idea is that we
> should see more 1,2 and 3 letter tokens than expected, not less.
> Of course that might explain all of the 'ain' and 'aiin's if
> they were nulls thrown in to obfuscate short syllables.
My interpretation is that many letters of the true Voynichese alphabet
are being written as 2 or 3 letters in our transcription systems.
I am fairly convinced that EVA <e> (Currier C) is part of the
preceding gallows or bench letter, and even the circles <aoy>
may well be letter modifiers or pitch indicators.
If this is true, then Voynichese words are actually a lot shorter
than what they seem to be. It is quite possible that, say, <daiin>
and <octhedy> are actually two-letter words.
> As far as Chinese proper, there are alot more Voynich tokens
> than modern Mandarin, I don't have the stats for other dialects,
> but I think most of them are still too small.
There are ways to squirm out of this difficulty.
For one thing, in the 1500s people writing in non-classical languages
(like English) were a lot less paranoid about spelling than
we are today. Even in the Lewis and Clark journals (19th century,
by army officers) there is an amazing amount of spelling variation:
five or six different spellings of "buffalo"s, and two spellings
of "ocean" in the same sentence. Also, if the tone is being indicated
by pitch level marks, these can be randomly placed within the word.
Perhaps unstressed and/or consonant-less syllables were attached
to the following or preceding word. Then there are all those "Grove
words", and an unknown amount of "crypto-Grove" words.
Finally, there are some East Asian languages that have a fairly rich
syllable structure. A while ago I quoted some syllable counts
from Crytal's Encyclopedia of Language: if I well remember,
there are a couple of East Asian languages with several thousand
All the best,