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VMs: Re: Question from a newbie

Hi Kevin,

Hi, everybody!  I'm quite new to this forum, and am enjoying the discussions

That's the way we like it. :-)

Please forgive what must be an ancient question, but I haven't availed
myself of any archived messages (if indeed, such an archive exists - ???) to
see if it has been answered already.

Archives up to 2001 are out there somewhere, 2002 I'm not sure about at all (though the question has been asked again recently). Sorry for not answering this better, but 2001 was a kind of year of flux for VMS-related Web presences, everything's been on the move. :-/

The question is this:  Has any thought
been given to the prospect that the 'codons' or glyphs represent a syllabary
rather than an alphabet?  This could explain the terseness of many of the

With such a small alphabet (roughly 23 unique characters per page, IIRC), the question is "how"?

I think that a lot of the VMS may in fact be a number code (similar to the Vatican number codes), but that would rely on figuring out how numbers are represented in the VMS... which is still a very much open question. :-/

Syllabic analysis was certainly an idea that was "out there" roughly at the time of the VMS - Leonardo (for one) certainly included a table of {syllables + vowels} in one of his notebooks. But I don't recall any actual encoded texts built on a syllabic basis, until (IIRC) a one-off 16th Century Spanish cipher (whose name escapes me). Bischoff's list of non-nomenclatura encoded medieval documents (that Philip Neal very kindly put up on his site) doesn't list any either.

So: it's not the most promising of places to start, but who knows? There are many sequences where a pair-structure can be seen emerging from the text... which may in fact be cipher-like replacements for other consonant-vowel pairs... but that's very hard to pin down rigorously. :-|

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....