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Transcription Ramble: was - Re: Re: Re: VMs: Thoughts about Roman numbers in the VMS

Elmar wrote:

> And thanks for shedding some light on the reasoning behind your
> which now I understand way better.

Hey Elmar,
don't think we've been properly introduced.  "Tallyho"?  Are you from Texas
like Jonathan Higgins?  Maybe we've met! :-)  My sense of humor is most
often misinterpreted by others, and it's even worse in person, because I can
tell a joke with a straight face.  The up-side of that is that I take very
few things personally.  I'm my biggest critic, and you simply don't want to
get in the middle when I get into an argument with myself. :-)

Forgive me, but I'll answer the remainder of your questions under another
heading, while I turn this into a transcription ramble.  It's time to do
both, but in their proper place and order.  This will take awhile, so I'll
get to your questions tomorrow.

I should not be nearly as critical of EVA as I am, but that is mostly due to
frustration that the language is currently inadequate to communicate
advanced ideas.  I really need to say that EVA is a big advancement over
Currier, the transcription that formed our original basis of understanding.
Gabriel and Rene should be commended, have been commended multiple times,
and even gained a nod or two from me in the process.  They deserve it, and I
certainly hope that no one takes my criticism as an attempt to demean the
massive effort they put into the VMS and the EVA transcription.  My respect
for the two of them is immense, and my understanding that "at the time",
EVA was the right thing to do is something I do not mention often enough.  I
simply forget that there are new people coming in and out of the VMS-list on
a constant basis, and when you walk in a room in the middle of a discussion,
you miss all the conversation that passed before.  Gabriel and Rene's work
is some of the finest out there.  They're true Voynichologists, dedicated
and professional in all that they do.  Rene's site is the definitive source
for anyone who wishes to delve deeply into the Voynich, and Gabriel's
contributions are very hard to match in his mental clarity and
professional presentation.  How these two have put up with me for so long is
somewhat of a mystery.

To be perfectly honest, it was not the EVA transcription that set a fire
under my boiler, but the interlinear file compiled by Jorge Stolfi.  This
file transliterated all previous transcriptions into the EVA transcription
language, but didn't portray the actual transcriptions of the individuals
concerned.  A computer program was offered to translate these back to their
original transcriptions, but the impression was made nonetheless that
"every" researcher wrote <daiin>, when this is not the case.  There is a
vast conceptual difference between <daiin> and {8am).  <daiin> allows for a
relatively accurate portrayal of the written text, to be certain, but in EVA
the proper transliteration of Currier is not <daiin>, but <daIIn>.  This
distinction does not exist in Takahashi's complete EVA transcription, nor in
the interlinear, so we're left with the idea that Currier viewed strokes,
and not a complete and contiguous "m".  You,  as a nuggee (new guy), troll
along and pull up the interlinear, only to find that all the various
transcriptions are represented in EVA, and you don't see that there is a
wide variance of opinion reflected by previous students on what constitutes
an actaul glyph or VMS character.  Some of you actually try to run
statistical analyses on EVA, when it was never designed for that purpose.

EVA filled a void when it was created, and provided the list with a method
for discussing a higher order of glyph representation that the previous
transcriptions were able to accomplish, no doubt about it.  "Discuss" is the
operative word here however.  EVA even allowed for many of the differences
that I commonly point to, so where's my gripe?  Firstly, Currier never said
<daiin>, so don't misquote someone who put a lot of time and effort into
what they did.  The transliteration into EVA destroys his conceptual
analysis of glyph construction for the sake of interlinear continuity, and I
think that's very wrong.  I've read Shakespeare in Russian, and it simply
sucks.  Secondly, EVA has the ability to reflect the connectivity lost by
Stolfi's interlinear, but no complete EVA transcription to date makes use of
these mechanisms.  All of this information is lost - simply gone - and
anyone walking in on the conversation never knows that it ever existed.
Error on error compounds the problem.  It's not the EVA transcription itself
that gets my goat, but the consistent misuse of it.

This frustration rises to the surface because anyone here who's been at it
awhile will tell you that you can't get anywhere until you have an accurate
representation of the VMS script.  With a few modifications EVA is uniquely
capable of reflecting perceived variations in the script, even my own, but
hardly a single one of the existing EVA mechanisms have been brought into
play, even years later.   The quality of our images has progressed
dramatically in the last five years, and our understanding should have moved
forward, but the information in the EVA transcription has remained stagnant.
Nothing has changed, and the interlinear still sits there, an automated
Republican beacon, repeating disinformation time and time again, until the
majority finally accept it as fact.  Flawed from the beginning, flawed to
the end, and too often defended at the expense of the labor exerted by every
member of this list, old and new, in other more inquistive directions.

My private emails are filled with members old and new, that say they agree
with my basic premise and use something different than EVA in their own
analysis.  Many fall back to Currier for lack of something more unified in
glyph representation.  Currier is a natural fall-back because it reflects
more accurately the basics of what most of us see in the VMS, but the
simplistic nature of Currier notation doesn't get us there either.  If
you've ever seen some of the photographs of the type he was working with,
you'd understand why he was reluctant to expand his transcription to include
information we now know to be more than photographic or copyflo artifact.
(Funny, I just received an email from Barbara that echoes this hestitation
to move forward because of the possibility of misinterpreting photographic
artifacts.)  It has been a real concern to all of us before the sids, and I
can confirm that EVA was "state-of-the-art" when it was first conceived.
It's not in the design, but in the implementation and regular maintenance
that this particular transcription falls short.

The next logical question would be, if I think so much of EVA, why didn't I
work to correct its transcription and offer suggestions for improvement?
The utility of EVA was hyped as a transcription that was "pronounceable",
but I have yet to speak a word of it to another human being.  I don't
"speak" here, I write.  Which comes closer to what you see in the VMS, at
least in ASCII - <daiin> or {8am}?  Text is a visual medium, but <daiin> was
apparently designed to be spoken.  If I write {4ohcc89 8am 8oe}, you could
easily find the groupings similar to this representation in the VMS, but if
I write <qoteedy daiin dol>, you have to go to a translation table to see
what the heck I"m trying to say.  Sure, you have to learn what the mnemonic
is for {h} and some of the other glyphs, but the basic pattern is
immediately visually recognizable, text is a visual medium, and <qoteedy
daiin dol> does not even remotely reflect an understanding of effective use
of the visual medium we use to communicate on this list.  I never thought
<qoteedy> simplified the medium we deal with, rather complicated textual
communication.  Currier-type transcriptions maintain their private
popularity because Currier script has a much lower learning curve than EVA,
and maintains an element of easy visual association that EVA unecessarily
sacrifices in its attempt to provide flexibility in script definition.  EVA
clearly missed the mark in its attempt to allow for better communication by
not recognizing the medium we commonly use to communicate, and as worthy an
effort as it is, it lacks the elements necessary to gain my support.

I've made several critical observations here, many of the most significant
buried in my ramblings, so I'll try to bring it together.  The prolific use
of EVA within the interlinear files and on this list obliviates the history
of previous research on glyph identification, but this is the most important
research than can be conducted for those who would attempt to understand the
VMS rather than simply discuss it.  The effect of the implementation of EVA
has been that this research has been brought to a halt.  The only complete
transcription of the VMS to date is in EVA, but since few of the mechanisms
put in place to represent glyphs are employed in this transcription, it can
only be considered grossly flawed, even by EVA standards.  No attempt has
been made to correct this transcription or keep it up-to-date with new
information and modifications.

EVA is both counter-intuitive to a textual medium, and unsuited for
analytical purposes.  The first thing many inquirers want to do when they
sign on this list is to discuss their interpretation of the VMS script, but
even a careful scan of the archives doesn't give a clue as to the language
we routinely use in this forum  The second thing they want to do is download
a transcription and start running tests of their own.  Since EVA isn't even
individually representative of the glyphs most of us take for granted,
newbies are discouraged by the difference between EVA and real-life
representation of the script.  Is there really anybody out there that thinks
<ch> shouldn't be represented by a single character, or that the <s> in <sh>
has any relationship whatsoever to the standalone <s> in the EVA
transcripton?   I don't think even Gabriel or Rene would stand and
heartfully defend this representation as an accurate depiction of what is
written in the VMS  A newbie doesn't know that there are other more accurate
depictions of these glyphs, so must accept that this is how we approach the
VMS as a group.  EVA was never a group effort, and the group concept has
been too loose-knit to mount an effort to modify or correct the current
complete EVA transcription, which was in itself an action by an individual,
and not a group effort.

So as much as we like to speak of ourselves as collaborators toward a mutual
goal, the fact is that this group moves forward only by the action of
individuals, and not by any concerted group effort.  Jon Grove (no h - see,
I remembered) does his thing with the foliation and the alignment of the
folios, and in so doing he individually advances our collective
understanding of the manuscript's construction.  Rene gathers information
regarding the history of the VMS, and adds to our understanding many very
valuable observations and historical facts.  Each contributes from their own
area of study, but the key phrase key here is "on their own".  I study the
script, and I've been doing it for a long time.  Long enough to know that
EVA is not a study in the VMS script, and needs to be modified and updated
in a timely manner, or replaced. .Rather than wait for corrections and
updates that have never arrived, I'll continue "on my own", both out of
necessity and what has become a preference to the current scheme.  EVA
doesn't readily give you the tools necessary to be competitive in your
understanding and analysis of the VMS script, in fact it offers more hurdles
than necessary for discussion in a text-based medium, both to communication
and analytical critique.   I've said enough, I've exhausted this topic and I
really don't want to discuss this topic again.


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