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Re: VMs: just another newbie

On Wed, 27 Jul 2005, Heikki Qvist wrote:
> I am checking one possibility for VMS. It means splitting the EVA
> alphabet. An example: a=>c+i or c+i+3 This requires seven more symbols
> for use. I just call them 1,2,3,4,5,6,7. These are depended characters
> because they cannot be used as they are, only with another symbols as a
> combination. There is also 9 symbols which works independly like o and
> i.

I believe you are on the right track, but I have nothing but intuition to
support this.  If you wish, search in the archives of the list under
keywords like "flourish"  or "abugida" for various ideas in this line that
I've been advocating.  I believe Jorge Stolfi, John Grove (may be
confusing people and names?) and others have looked at this approach, too,

It would clearly alter the statistics of the text significantly if the
process of dissociation association wasn't one to n or n to one.  (There
must be a term in function theory for this, but I don't know it.)  What
you suggest, both generally and also specifically, e.g., a => c i (or e i)
has been discussed in the past on the list.  It is a bit hard to know what
keywords to search under to retrieve it, however.  The ones I've suggested
are mainly useful in connection with my own discussion of the matter, I
think, and others may have had better insights.  I don't know what would
be useful for retrieving earlier suggestions.  Perhaps "EVA" or "glyph."
Maybe also "weirdo" and "variant."

Unfortunately, I don't think anyone has been particularly successful yet
in following through with the subanalysis approach.  One difficulty is
whether and how to match the non-i parts of i-based glyphs with the non-c
parts of c-based glyphs, assuming this is needed.  Another difficulty is
divining what and where to divide.  For example, so far I've felt I was
getting better results (a more likely-looking number and alternation of
characters) not dividing a, even though it does obviously resemble c + i.

As a result, using "continuity of ink" (or, conversely, discreteness) to
define characters remains the preferred approach and the EVA romanization
of the implied characters remains the standard scheme for presenting VMs
data on the list.  Some people seem to prefer to think in terms of the EVA
romanization itself, instead of the actual "Voynichese" shapes signified,
which seems to be missing the point entirely.

I'm not sure what you meant by a=>ci3, though a=>ci is clear enough.  I'm
also not sure what you mean by seven more symbols.  Perhaps you are using
numbers to refer to what I've been calling "flourishes" for want of a
better term.  (However, I believe the term has been in circulation in this
sense for a long time.)

If you do refer to the flourishes, my suggestion for those would be to
represent them with the letters that EVA uses to represent the presumptive
combinations of them with preceding i or e, e.g., if EVA n is to be
analyzed into i + something, call the something n, e.g., aiin => ciiiin or
eedy => cccdcy.  This is useful mnemonically, but can be confusing without
adequate contextualization.

It seems to me that if you carry very far with this subanalysis you end up
not with more characters, but with fewer.  However, this approach also
leads to many sequences of i and c (or e), which strongly suggests
treating sequences of i and c of different lengths as characters, not
sequences of characters.

Again, though this explains many of the observed "micro-patterns" of the
Voynich script, including

- much of the "glyph syntax" of Voynich words (though some of that must
also be due to the underlying canonical form of words)

- the impression that the script involves a roman numeral-like scheme
(essentially it does)

- the impression that the script involves "stroke" harmonies or represents
an analysis of a Roman script into sequences of strokes (roman numerals
exhibit stroke harmony)

- the odd statistics of the EVA glyph sequences.

Since it seems that most of the i- or c- plus flourish combinations
resemble characters in use in various European scripts and systems of
abbreviation, I tend to suspect that this was deliberate and intended to
mislead the uninitiated reader.  The resemblances might, however, be
entirely accidental.

Still, I am not aware that this approach has gotten anyone anywhere.  Not
me, anyway!  Good luck!

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