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Re: VMs: Babelfish translation [plus question for Dana]

Hi Jacques,

At 07:20 15/11/2003 +1000, Jacques Guy wrote:
i -> "stump dot" (sd -- it's all right: there aren't any stump-dogs!)
n -> "stump awning" (sa)
m -> "stump awning awning" (saa)
u -> "hook stump" (hs)
Decipher this now: saasdsasdsaahssaa

*sigh* I've been trying to do this with VMs pairs all year, so...

saa.sd.sa.sd.saa.hs.saa = m.i.n.i.m.u.m

I'd actually find the word even harder to read in Gothic Latin than in verbose cipher - if you write a stroke transcription (using just r, i and u) it looks like


I'm sure that's how EVA appears to some people too. :-)

I leave you to apply a polyalphabetic cipher on it
and see.

My point exactly! :-)

BTW: one problem with pairifying the VMs is <o>, as it is such an incredibly multi-function glyph:-
* in <ol> and <or>, it looks like the left-hand half of a verbose cipher pair
* in <qo>, <cho> and <eo>, it looks like the right-hand half of a verbose cipher pair
* at the start of a word (typically before a gallows), it looks like a Greek omicron ("the")

However, (IIRC) these three basic cases capture the vast majority of instances of <o>: and these groups are also very distinctive of the Language A / Language B differences. Most relevant to this thread is that (perhaps surprisingly) only rarely are these three <o>-cases ambiguous.

My interpretation of this is that <o> appears to have been designed to have different meanings/functions in different contexts, to make the whole system appear more like a language (but without actually being one). Perhaps ciphers where <o> acts like a simple "shift" character would have been too obvious for our code-maker, and he/she wanted to go one better... :-)

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

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