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Re: VMs: Re: Monkey authorship

22/09/2004 12:25:38 PM, J R Elliott <jre@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

>Natural languages do not 'grow' all the possible branches of self-similar
>combinations but rather, they only use a sub-set due to physiological
>constraints of production; possible reception ambiguity; efficiency in
>communication and the requirement to enable the language to be learnt in a
>child.s formative years during neotency: morphographemic recursion being
>employed whenever possible.  However, this is tempered at word level to
>avoid irresolvable ambiguity due to homographs and incognates.    Most
>branches of letter combinations would, in effect, be dead as these would
>'grow' non-words.

Nice, but I know of a possible counter-example. Alas, the one
who really knew, Donald Laycock ("The Complete Enochian Dictionary")
died 17 years ago. Don told me, several times, that some of the
languages he had learnt (he was a specialist of Papuan) seemed 
to have almost every possible allowable word. Many Papuan
languages are "syllabic", a syllable being a vowel or a consonant
followed by a vowel. "I am pretty sure" Don once told me, "that
language X (I don't remember, I think it was Buin) has 80%
of its possible words". For instance, take 3 syllables at
random, u, ba, go, you have an 80% chance that there is 
actually a word "ubago" in Buin (if it was Buin).

Although most Papuan languages are extremely simple 
phonologically (Rotokas is famous for having only 6 consonants 
and 5 vowels), they are all extremely complex in their grammar. 
Absolute nightmares. Don once gave me a example of a complex
verbal form consisting only of the syllables "ro" and "o".
It was something like "rororoororooooroororo...". And no,
that sequence of four o's in a row is not a mistake. Although
of course I do not remember this verbal form, I do remember
the four o's because Don drew my attention to them. No,
alas, I do not remember what it meant. Not that I mean
that the Voynich is written in Buin or in Rotokas. Only
that there are things in languages which seem impossible
and fantastic... until you stumble across a language
that has them. It is like the "Chinese hypothesis".
It does not mean that the VMS is written in Chinese,
only that it looks like written in a language with the
same phonotactic (combinatorial) properties as Chinese.

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