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Re: VMs: One simple question

On Sat, 18 Sep 2004, Jorge Stolfi wrote:
> We cannot assume that the VMS used all possible words of Voynichese,
> not even those which would be fairly common in other contexts. For
> instance, H.G.Well's "War of the Worlds" has about a hundred
> occurrences of "brother", but not a single one of "brothers".

I guess this is not too surprising ... My understanding is that similar
gaps in the corpus present a major difficulty to students of Biblical
Hebrew.  The corpus is supposed to consist of only about 8000 lexical
items, including many hapax legomena and, no doubt, many items not very
fully exemplified.  I have much the same problem with the Siouan Omaha and
Ponca texts from the 1890s that I work with.  I can think of several
frustrating examples, but I will spare the list as they would be of
interest only to other Siouanists!  Let's just say that the critical
example to explain or confirm how something works is often missing, along
with many basic words and useful expressions.  Fortunately, in all these
cases, other materials are available.

I certainly appreciate the exposition on the reasoning behind the Stolfi
word grammar for the VMs, which has much in common with the theory behind
other, lingusitic generative schemes, though linguists tend to slip
readily from thinking of their schemes as approximations and working
hypotheses to imagining them to be divine revelation!

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