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VMs: RE: [ha] [hb] not different languages


	FWIW, the (modern browsers only) view of the vmsquires layout
that I posted a while back is located at

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-vms-list@xxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:owner-vms-list@xxxxxxxxxxx]On
Behalf Of GC
Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2003 10:51 PM
To: VMS List
Subject: VMs: [ha] [hb] not different languages

hey all,

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

(Before I get started, John Grove - can you point me to your *new*
allocations of proper bifoliaton?  I think I'm ready to incorporate those
data at this time.)

Currier referred to statistical differences in the Voynich as "languages",
and to writing style differences as "hands".  In the Herbal section, there
are two Currier categories, "language A, hand 1", and "language B, hand 2",
the abbreviations for which I've used in earlier posts as "A1" and "B2".  It
is a given that the differences in writing style exist, and that in the
Herbal section all "A" pages can be relatively classified as being written
in "hand 1" and all "B" pages written in "hand 2".  These are then
relatively unnecessary markers, and the styles are somewhat ambiguous in
sections, making them a subjective determination in some instances.  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", the only factor I'm concerned with,
since my study is confined to the initial herbal pages of the VMS.

My focus here is then on the term "language", as it applies to these two
statistical differences as defined by Currier.  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".  Nick
picked up on the term "dialect", which added further confusion to he whole
"language" and "hands" mess we've been handed down from Currier.  If you
know what I mean when I say "language A" or "hand 1", it's not that
difficult.  It's when others don't know and assume you're speaking of
"actual" language or "different" hand, that things get confusing to the
majority.  Add "dialect", and we're down another happy trail.

Let me clear this all up for those who are as confused as I can be when I'm
off my lithium - [ha] is a statistic, [hb] is another statistic, and neither
has to do with real "language", rather the way the VMS "words" (apparent
groupings) are written.  The "hands" Currier sees are evident in many pages,
but in some others not so evident.  They are "transitional" artifacts, that
can easily be explained by the writing of the same author over time, through
sickness, or a variety of other occurrences.  Again I offer the challenge to
anyone to find a repetitive difference between the two "hands".
 Conclusion - one author, long time, Charlie.  (That's not the only evidence
we have of an extended time period in writing.)

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, a statistic that at first makes them unworthy of

I'm willing to step out on a limb (call it a concrete runway with steel
structured support beams) that these are not different "languages", not
"dialects", but selective differences, for reasons to be determined.

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.

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
times.  You can counter this and arrive at similar statistics in [ha] by
replacing the same [ha] word structures with the ending cc9 or 089.  You can
effectively offset most [hb] words ending in 89 by changing the ending to
c9, thus making it an [ha] word.  am is common to one specific group, and
has specific replacements in the other, as well as a select few word
beginnings. Other worthy representations I can't present in text because I
don't speak EVA.

The thing is, you don't have to deal with the 50% that are common, but only
the 25% that are different and exclusive.  When you then apply this this
knowledge to many of the "unique" words, not that many are unique any more.
It's funny that even these "dialects" are mathematically driven, but to what
purpose?  (If you know the answer, does this make it a rhetorical question,
or simply a question with an obvious answer?)

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.  The bottom
line is, if you can program it, it's an algorithmic solution of one sort or
another, and since no language I know of has dialects based on simple
algorithmic replacement, 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.

BTW Larry, if your 'grins' were directed at me for my need to re-transcribe
the VMS, I'm happy for the compliment.  If not, I'm proud of the person you
refer to who has taken it upon him/herself to feed their own interpretation,
without relying on the willingness of others to shape their opinions.


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