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VMs: [LONG] Voynich & semiotics (early notes)

Hi everyone,

I'm an old-time lurker of this mailing list, last time I posted something
was a long long time ago...
Last year I finished my 3-years university studies in Literature &
Communications and now I'm attending a new 2-years course in semiotics and
philosophy of language here in Bologna

Apart from a linguistic and historical point of view, the VMS is highly
interesting from a semiotic point of view.

One of my professors is Umberto Eco and, during a course about intersemiotic
translation and medioeval semiotics, I told him about the VMS. He's quite
interested in this subject and I agreed to write a short term-paper about
the main different decoding hypoteses that have been presented on this list.
As a matter of facts, I am not a cryptologist and I'm not going to suggest a
new decoding method, but I'm rather going to synopsize and comment from a
semiological point of view different existing theories.

I do believe in the "open source" approach of this group and I guarantee you
- my paper (for what it will be worth...) will be freely available online,
although translating it in English will require a little extra time
- I will acknoledge and thank all the people who will help me

It could also happen that (but it is really really not sure, just possible):
- professor Eco himself could have a look at the VMS and share with us his
- if Eco gets interested, he could sign for me a request for better images
at Beinecke Library (since I'd like to follow, among different others ideas,
a visual semiotic analysis of the VMS)
- my paper could get published (and, with it, my acknoledgements and thanks
to you all)

Now, I'd like to ask a few questions:
a) is there any other list members who has some knowledge about semiotics,
especially about Eco's interpretativist approach and the structuralist
visual analysis (Greimas, Fontanille, Floch...).

a-bis) is there anyone that has already tried a semiological analysis of any
kind of the VMS?

b) The Chinese theory (voynich is a phonetical transcription of a
non-indoeuropean language): is it abandoned? has a synopsis been written? if
so, where can I find it?

b-bis) If the vms is actually a phonetical transcription, it could be
completely not-understandable and definitely lost unless a pronounciation
guide is found (and only if the language transcripted can be recognized
phonetically). Is it true?

c) the "fake theory": someone believes that the VMS is actually glossolalia?
has a synopsis of such theory been written? is there any statistical
analysis proving or disproving this theory?

d) could the VMS be written in an artificial language? has anyone
investigated this possibility?

e) to Steve Ekwall or others: I don't understand the "folding-key theory".
Is it dealing with steganography? some king of "visual encoding", opposed to
logical/mathematical encoding?

f) has anyone investigated if there's any connection between the VMS and

g) To Dana Scott or others: do you have one text containing all the matches
you've found for the images in the VMS?

Thanks in advance to everyone who will help me :-)

Gabriele Ferri - gabriele.ferri@xxxxxxxxx

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