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VMs: Manchu theory
Regarding the Manchu theory: I have located the article (in Polish)
in the PAP site:
Rafal has kindly provided an execturive summary:
> He states that the VMS is a "shaman's manual" and was written
> between 13th c. BC and 3rd c. AD - most probably in the 4th c. BC.
> It is in Old Manchurian and Bansik says he has reconstructed the
> alphabet of 45 letters and over 50 words which are Old Manchurian.
The "over 50 words" bit is rather disappointing of course, but I am still
looking forwards to further news from Mr. Banasik.
In the meantime, let's not get too negative:
1) The Manchu *script* may have been created in the 14th-15th
century and died out soon afterwards, but of course the Manchu
*language* is much older and survived until quite recent times.
Unless this page
is complete fantasy, the language is still spoken, although its
speakers do not call themselves "Manchu"
2) Actually, the fact that the language did not have a script until
the 15th century only makes it easier to believe that an earlier
European visitor would have felt it necessary to invent one.
3) Although Manchu is an agglutinative language, its script
appears to have been influenced by the Chinese script and
hence writtem as separated syllables to some extent. To that extent,
it could match the wordlength statistics of Voynichese.
4) While Marco Polo is an exciting possibility, there are many, many
other visitors from Europe and the Middle East who visited that
region before and after him, and may be much better qualified for
the role of the VMS author. (It is not clear whether Marco Polo
could write, by the way.)
5) As for the "European" images, we went through that already --
the VMS at Yale could be a copy made in Europe, and/or the
illustration may have been invented from a text-only description,
All the best,
PS. As for the missing vmm-list messages: indeed it was a spam killer
(spamassassin) that I had installed a few months ago and programmed to
save all vms-list traffic to a separate file. That spam killer should
have been turned off last month, when the Institute switched to
webmail, but wasn't.
So the good news is that I didn't miss any VMS messages, they were all
neatly saved to that folder. The bad news is that the 200+ spam messages
that I am still getting every day are only those that managed to get
through the spam killer... 8-(
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