2010年12月26日

medieval French would be a good candidate

2001/4/26, posted by Dennis Stallings

Jorge once said, "Many of us believe that Voynichese is a monosyllabic language in a complex script". To that I add, it may be such a representation of a common European language broken into syllables, ie. the words are actually syllables of a common European language.

I think medieval French would be a good candidate for this. Consider:

1) In spoken medieval and modern French, words are not distinguished separately; the stress on each syllable is about the same.

2) French poetry is not the weak-STRONG, weak-STONG, etc. iambic pentameter of English, nor the LONG-short-short, LONG-short-short, etc. dactylic hexameter of ancient Greek (and ancient Latin under Greek influence); no, a French verse is a fixed number of *syllables*! The alexandrine verse, the rough equivalent of heroic couplets in English, is a rhymed couplet of two lines of eleven syllables.

3) Louis XIV'x Royal Cipher was never broken in his lifetime, and records of it were lost afterward. When the late-19th-century crippie Ètienne Bazeries finally broke the cipher, which was expressed in groups of three numerals, he found that French *syllables* were enciphered, not single letters.

4) I believe that by the time of the VMs' origin (ca. 1480), French had become the language of communication of Europe's upper classes. In 1290, Marco Polo dictated his story of his travels - in French.

Of course, it could be a dialect of Italian. After all, the Renaissance was going on there at the time. René noted that the Vat. 1291, showing the nymphs Voynich-style, was in northern Italy at about the time. Toresella suggests Venice because of the prevalence of the "alchemical herbals" around there. Certainly Venice was a crossroads of many cultures then.

Jorge has done admirable work on the structure of all Voynich words. But let's not forget that Tiltman came up with a paradigm that explains 55-60% of Voynich "words". Even better, Robert Firth came up with a paradigm that explains 75-80% of Voynich "words":

http://www.research.att.com/~reeds/voynich/firth/24.txt

So. Choose three French texts of ca. 1480 (Rabelais and Montaigne are later, ~ 1550, so perhaps Marco Polo?), manually break them down into syllables, and get counts of the syllables. Then compare the top 280 syllables to the 280 Voynichese "words" that fit the Firth paradigm.

Yes, Voynichese may be homophonic, offering several alternatives for a given number of syllables; thus the top 280 Voynichese words may represent the top 100 French syllables. Yes, 8000 other Voynichese words represent the remaining 20%. But, instead of an empty volume, what I suggest might give us a piece of Swiss cheese whose holes we could fill later.
posted by ぶらたん at 17:43| Comment(0) | 書かれた言語
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