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Re: VMs: [ha] [hb] not different languages
--- GC <glenclaston@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Every once in a great while (every other day for me,
> it seems), we make a
> post that invites the slings and arrows of
> outrageous fortune to rain down
> upon us. Here is mine for the week. (So it's been a
> slow week, what can I say?)
Happy to oblige :-)
> Currier referred to statistical differences in the
> Voynich as "languages",
> and to writing style differences as "hands".
Yes. Again, Currier was careful to point out that
the term 'language' could be misleading, and he
did not really intend language as in English vs.
> I've fallen into Rene's classification scheme,
> which identifies pages by their
> sections and "language", making an Herbal page in
> "language A" [ha], and an
> Herbal page in "language B" [hb]. The [h] is for
> "Herbal folio", the [a/b]
> indicates the statistical "language"
Like you, I've only looked at the 'language' issue,
not the hands, since the former are easily captured
in numbers we can manipulate and understand.
> Rene sought to put a better face on it,
> concluding (correct me if I'm wrong), that
> these could not be a difference in actual
> "language", but might instead reflect "dialect".
Like many other things, I am really not sure.
If the VMs is encoded using some kind of numbering
scheme, then both the classifications language
and dialect are misnomers. But it is always easy
to compare with languages. For example, Spanish
and Portuguese would differ more from each other
than HA and HB language. OTOH, written
British and American English would be closer to
each other than HA and HB. (This requires a
proper metric, but I think people understand
what I mean). And I don't mean to imply that
British and American English are two dialects :-)
> Again I offer the challenge to anyone to find a
> repetitive difference between the two "hands".
It would require an expert.
The only expert opinion we have is that it is by
one and the same person. Currier thought differently,
but he admitted that he's no expert.
> In the Herbal section, as I've reported, we have
> about 50% of the words shared between statistic
> A [ha] pages and statistic B [hb] pages. About 25%
> of the words are common only to [ha] or [hb], and
> the other 25% occur only once in the herbal section,
I'm still curious. In this figure of 50%, do
you count the word 8AM / daiin once, or each time
that it occurs (and similar for all other frequent
> Of the 25% of words exlusive to [ha] or [hb], all
> you need do is write a
> computer program to systematically change endings
> based on the beginning of
> the word, and you can produce [hb] pages from [ha],
> or otherwise. That's
> not a "dialect" in any sense I understand the term.
It is a very interesting statement you are making
It does require a demonstration of course,
or a counter-example, but this effort will
certainly lead to new insights.
At the same time, changing HA-words into HB
words will not make HA language into HB language,
in the Currier sense of the word.
How about introducing another acronym here:
CL for Currier Language. This acronym is
suggestive of class or classification, which is
also quite appropriate.
Anyway, word frequencies (word-initial character
sequences) are not the same in HA and HB, and
also different in other areas. Still: very,
very interesting indeed.
> The differences between the two are not that
> numerous, and through a little
> study they can all be matched up. What's
> interesting is that for every
> ending in [hb], there seem to be at least two
> endings in [ha] that match up.
> The assumption that [hb] is a later language comes
> to mind, given the order
> of the folio presentation, which would make this
> situation an "adaptation"
> on the part of the author. In [hb] for instance,
> c89 occurs 333 out of 335
It is very frequent, but there is also the
distinction between c89 and cc89 (many words
differ only by that much).
> Pages of raw data and evidentiary conclusions will
> be forthcoming, in an
> imagery I can deal with apart from the text base of
> this list.
Looking forward, though 'pages of raw data' may
be hard to digest...
> ... we can exclude the phrase "dialect" from our
> discussion of [ha/hb] as statistical entities, and
> once and for all conclude
> that these are not different "languages" at all,
> rather variations based on
> rather strict rules of substitution.
Another valiant attempt to eradicate a misnomer
or correct outdated information for once and
There will be future books about the
Voynich MS where Marci is called Rudolph's
physician (and one day I will learn to spell
the emperor's name correctly :-) ) and the
legendary author of the Voynich MS will still be
called Francis Bacon.
We can only keep trying.
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