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VMs: re: testing Dr. Rugg's theory of hoax

Gordon Rugg's opinion, in support of his hoax theory, that it (1) is unlikely that Voynichese is a natural language. He then proceeds to (2) produce, more or less satisfactory evidence that certain (most?) of the odd 'linguistic' properties present in the VMS can be reproduced in a replication of the script that closely resembles the original.

While avoiding altogether the issue of whether the Cardan grill method can produce a solid solution candidate,
it's interesting to check the different existing views on the first point - for a better definition of the controversy, here are some authors' statements on the subject (quoted in alphabetic order):

Preston Currier:
"It was hoped that by application of comparative techniques to the Herbal A and B texts, ostensibly dealing with identical subject matter, some clue to the nature of the two âsystems of writingâ might be forthcoming. The results were completely negative; there was no sign of parallel constructions or any other evidence that was useful in this regard. It was impossible not to conclude that (a) we were not dealing with a âlinguisticâ recording of data and (b) the illustrations had little to do with the accompanying text. Study of other sections of the Manuscript where âAâ and âBâ texts are found has produced nothing to alter this conclusion. Further, it has so far proved impossible to categorize or to classify grammatically any series of âwordsâ or to discern any use patterns that that would suggest any recognizable syntactic arrangement of the underlying text. Perhaps even more important, I have been unable to identify âwordsâ or individual symbols in either âlanguageâ to which I could assign even tentative numerical values. It seems quite incredible to me that any systems of writing (or a simple substitution thereof) would not betray one or both of the above featuresââ
Source:Some Important New Statistical Findings

Scott Daniels:
" From the data that I gathered from the Zipfâs Law analysis, for the most part; I can say that the Voynich Manuscript shows a strong relationship to human text. The second approach taken, the entropy and cross entropy calculations, made the Voynich Manuscript seem like a human language as well. "

Akinori Ito:
"I investigated the relationship between the word frequency N and HL. According to the information theory, when a word occurs N times, its entropy has upper limit of H where H = log 2 N (3) Then I plotted word frequency and HL to compare its theoretical upper limit. The results are shown in figure 4 and 5. The solid lines show the upper limit. From these results, it is found that HL of Voynich words are very close to its upper limit. This result means that most words, except very high frequency words, meet different word on its left side each time it appears. It looks quite abnormal for me, There seem to be several possibilities to explain the result. One might say VMS word order is completely meaningless, but a couple of character-based research tells us that VMS is very similar to a kind of natural language[4]. It seems quite impossible for me to make nonsense word strings in 1316th century whose character-based statistics is similar to natural language"
Source:"Observation of left and right entropy in Voynich MS", 2002/12/09

Gabriel Landini and Rene Zandbergen:
<x-tad-bigger>"In 1935 Zipf described a number of relationships in texts that he suggested were due to a "principle of least effort" in the use of language. He showed that in normal writing the frequency of a particular word is inversely proportional to its rank, once all the words have been sorted by decreasing frequency. Secondly that the number of infrequent words is inversely proportional to their frequency and finally that the number of syllables is inversely proportional to the frequency of use of a word. The first (and most important) characteristic is present in the Voynich manuscript text, as shown in Figure 3(see source). The first Zipf law is represented by a straight line with a slope of -1. The characteristic small deviation from this line found in natural languages is also observed for the Voynich manuscript language. "

Jason Morningstar:
"This study provided evidence to support the conclusion that the gallows characters, individually and as a group, are not null characters. The elimination of gallows variants from the transcription set changed the results of statistical queries on the Voynich manuscript in ways that are consistent with value-laden characters of the same rank and frequency.
It was hypothesized that the gallows variants in the Voynich manuscript alphabet are null characters, and that removing them would not have a statistically relevant impact on correlational power curves. This was not true. "
Source: "Gallows Variants as null characters in the Voynich Manuscript"

Mark Perakh:
"...based on the totality of the factual evidence, it seems more reasonable to conclude that 1) VMS isÂa meaningful text; 2) VMS-A and VMS-B are written in the same language, VMS-A constituting a version highly abbreviated by contraction. 3) The language of VMS has a very non-uniform letter frequency distribution (its entropy being though within the normal range for meaningful texts in 12 natural languages)."

Gordon Rugg:
"...the lack of pairs and triplets of words (e.g. ânext toâ, âon top ofâ in English) is also inconsistent with a real language, or with a word-by-word coding of a real language. The lack of corrections in the manuscript is also inconsistent with a real language or a code."
Source: Gordon Rugg's website FAQ, "Replicating the Voynich Manuscript"

"An example from folio 78R of the manuscript reads: qokedy qokedy dal qokedy qokedy. This degree of repetition is not found in any known language. Conversely, Voynichese contains very few phrases where two or three different words regularly occur together. These characteristics make it unlikely that Voynichese is a human languageâit is simply too different from all other languages. "
Source: "The Mystery of the Voynich Manuscript", Scientific American, p. 106, July 2004

Dennis Stallings:
"Tests show that Voynich text does not have its low h2 measures solely because of a repetitious underlying text, that is, one that often repeats the same words and phrases. Tests also show that the low h2 measures are probably not due to an underlying low-entropy natural language. A verbose cipher, one which substitutes several ciphertext characters for one plaintext character, can produce the entropy profile of Voynich text."

but also:

"The author's personal opinion is that the rigid internal structure of Voynich text accounts for the low h2 measures. The majority of Voynich "words" follow a paradigm. Robert Firth and Jorge Stolfi both have identified paradigms. Captain Prescott Currier identified several other kinds of internal structure in Voynich text."
"Understanding the Second-Order Entropies of Voynich Text" May 11, 1998

Jorge Stolfi:
"There is reason to believe that the text is meaningful:
â The letter, n-gram, and word statistics show a mixture of regularity, arbitrariness, and randomness generally comparable to what we see in natural languages.
â Occurrences of the most common "words" are distributed throughout the text, fairly uniformly. Relatively rare "words" tend to occur in clusters, and similar words often have similar distributions.
â The labels seen in the illustrations can often be found in the text, close to the illustration.
â The text is often visibly squeezed or stretched to fill the available space.
It is not clear how the VMs author could have produced a random meaningless text that long, with such "natural-looking" statistics."
Source: Top-down structural analysis of the Voynich manuscript

yet more recently:

"... these hints point towards Voynichese words being `numbers' rather than linguistic entities. Therefore, the encoding is probably a codebook-based cipher. (A nomenclator, is that the term?)"

Source:" On the VMS Word Length Distribution" (2000)

Anybody else?

Kind regards,

Note: The pioneering works of William Ralph Bennett (Scientific and Engineering Problem Solving with the Computer (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1976) and Jeffrey Krischer's elusive Harvard paper on the subject have not been quoted here as they were unavailable to me.