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 Post subject: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 9:45 am 
Smeric
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I've heard that there was some on social media about some new discovery about the document. What happened exactly?

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:16 am 
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I don't know and couldn't find anything about it having been deciphered (only this, but it's been debunked already), but I'm so glad you made a thread about it because the Voynich manuscript is one of the most interesting things ever and I'd almost forgotten about its existence. Once upon a time, for some reason I thought it might've been made by Dante, which I apparently wasn't the first to consider, but it almost certainly wasn't unless it's a copy of an original that has been lost. Anyway, I like that there are so many theories about it and how some of them are straight-up WTF material; if it turns out to be nothing more than random scribbles, that's kinda disappointing, but at least then it would open up the possibilities of conlanging using its script without it later becoming cringeworthily nonsensical, if someone's into that kinda stuff (I would be if it was included in Unicode, but that's never going to happen... which reminds me of the unoriginal idea I had to use Linear A for a conlang, but since its phonetic characteristics have supposedly been deciphered but not publicly released, that's kinda off-putting tbh...) or if it was proven to be a cypher used to sell trade secrets like some theorised and found a few somewhat convincing indications of (there was an overly dramatic documentary focusing on just that theory on TV once), that'd be kinda boring too.

Still, it'd be awesome if it was deciphered entirely and it turned out that several of the theories were true at the same time. That'd have taken some serious effort to pull off, but wouldn't be impossible. I'm not sure why there's apparently so much buzz about it this week all of a sudden, though, unless there has been some new discovery that I just can't find because I only checked the first few results on Google that seemed to suggest something has been solved and go on a long ass quest for said new information.


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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:05 am 
Smeric
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The Voynich manuscript is so delightfully bizarre. A part of me wants to know what it is; a part of me would be disappointed to lose the mystery.

Vlürch wrote:
Linear A for a conlang, but since its phonetic characteristics have supposedly been deciphered but not publicly released, that's kinda off-putting tbh...

I've heard of linguists plugging Linear B's phonetic values into Linear A, but I was under the impression that that resulted in unreadable gibberish. Considering cracking Linear A would open up the Minoan language for study and would be an achievement on par with deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs and the Mayan syllabary, it's a little odd that they'd keep it under wraps...

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:24 am 
Smeric
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As far as I know, Linear A is undeciphered. I saw the article and skipped straight to the debunking without reading the original page. They said that the premise, that the document is about women's health, is already widely assumed by scholars. Is that true?

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 11:48 am 
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Zaarin wrote:
I've heard of linguists plugging Linear B's phonetic values into Linear A, but I was under the impression that that resulted in unreadable gibberish.

I meant said unreadable gibberish hasn't been published anywhere, but turns out I was wrong. Somehow, I hadn't been able to find that before even though I once spent hours trying to search for romanised Linear A texts... nevermind. Is there a Linear A thread? The search doesn't find one, at least, but it would be interesting. If not, maybe one should be made?
mèþru wrote:
I saw the article and skipped straight to the debunking without reading the original page. They said that the premise, that the document is about women's health, is already widely assumed by scholars. Is that true?

Never heard of that assumption, but then again, I'm neither a scholar nor a woman... and I haven't kept up with Voynich manuscript theories for a few years, and even before then I mostly found the ones about aliens or secret societies most interesting, so it's possible that I had seen "women's health" as a theory, gone "nope, that's not cool enough" and instantly forgetting about it. :P


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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 2:21 pm 
Smeric
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I can't understand how that isn't an interesting idea: women's health is a bit of a taboo subject in the modern west and isn't of much interest to the male-dominated society of that time. It could have a cultural impact on modern day society.

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 6:05 pm 
Smeric
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What exactly is the basis of that assumption? The bizarre and fascinating illustrations don't seem suggestive of that topic.

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:02 am 
Avisaru
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I couldn't find the original claim, but apparently the hypothesis had something to do with the drawings of baths and fountains.
There are large sections dedicated to botany and astrology, which is suggestive of a medical or alchemical text.

I still prefer this theory, though: https://xkcd.com/593/


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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:38 am 
Smeric
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Ars Lande wrote:
I couldn't find the original claim, but apparently the hypothesis had something to do with the drawings of baths and fountains.
There are large sections dedicated to botany and astrology, which is suggestive of a medical or alchemical text.

I still prefer this theory, though: https://xkcd.com/593/

Ha! Brilliant! But yeah, some sort of alchemical or magical text seems most likely to me, or else some kind of elaborate glossolalia.

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:52 am 
Smeric
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Zaarin wrote:
Ars Lande wrote:
I couldn't find the original claim, but apparently the hypothesis had something to do with the drawings of baths and fountains.
There are large sections dedicated to botany and astrology, which is suggestive of a medical or alchemical text.

I still prefer this theory, though: https://xkcd.com/593/

Ha! Brilliant! But yeah, some sort of alchemical or magical text seems most likely to me, or else some kind of elaborate glossolalia.


Also, of the RPG handbooks I have seen so far, none was written in a strange alphabet (though some at least use fancy typefaces). I agree with you that the Voynich Manuscript probably is a magical text of some sort. The venerable Dr. John Dee of Enochian fame has been considered a likely candidate for authorship, for instance.

I remember seeing a TV documentary according to which it was probably written in northern Italy in the 15th century, but I don't know how good the evidence is. It runs like this: The parchment has been C14-dated to the early to middle 15th century; and one drawing shows a castle with swallow-tail merlons, which at that time were only used in northern Italy.

An interesting question (from the standpoint of the conlang historian) is whether it is a genuine, self-contained conlang or just a cipher. I consider the latter more likely, but so far, nobody knows.

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 11:51 am 
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WeepingElf wrote:
Zaarin wrote:
Ars Lande wrote:
I couldn't find the original claim, but apparently the hypothesis had something to do with the drawings of baths and fountains.
There are large sections dedicated to botany and astrology, which is suggestive of a medical or alchemical text.

I still prefer this theory, though: https://xkcd.com/593/

Ha! Brilliant! But yeah, some sort of alchemical or magical text seems most likely to me, or else some kind of elaborate glossolalia.


Also, of the RPG handbooks I have seen so far, none was written in a strange alphabet (though some at least use fancy typefaces). I agree with you that the Voynich Manuscript probably is a magical text of some sort. The venerable Dr. John Dee of Enochian fame has been considered a likely candidate for authorship, for instance.

I remember seeing a TV documentary according to which it was probably written in northern Italy in the 15th century, but I don't know how good the evidence is. It runs like this: The parchment has been C14-dated to the early to middle 15th century; and one drawing shows a castle with swallow-tail merlons, which at that time were only used in northern Italy.

An interesting question (from the standpoint of the conlang historian) is whether it is a genuine, self-contained conlang or just a cipher. I consider the latter more likely, but so far, nobody knows.

Then there's also the possibility it's a natlang. I recall hearing it having some of the properties of East Asian languages, such as, iirc, full-word reduplication.


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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:15 pm 
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WeepingElf wrote:
Zaarin wrote:
Ars Lande wrote:
I couldn't find the original claim, but apparently the hypothesis had something to do with the drawings of baths and fountains.
There are large sections dedicated to botany and astrology, which is suggestive of a medical or alchemical text.

I still prefer this theory, though: https://xkcd.com/593/

Ha! Brilliant! But yeah, some sort of alchemical or magical text seems most likely to me, or else some kind of elaborate glossolalia.


Also, of the RPG handbooks I have seen so far, none was written in a strange alphabet (though some at least use fancy typefaces). I agree with you that the Voynich Manuscript probably is a magical text of some sort. The venerable Dr. John Dee of Enochian fame has been considered a likely candidate for authorship, for instance.

I remember seeing a TV documentary according to which it was probably written in northern Italy in the 15th century, but I don't know how good the evidence is. It runs like this: The parchment has been C14-dated to the early to middle 15th century; and one drawing shows a castle with swallow-tail merlons, which at that time were only used in northern Italy.

An interesting question (from the standpoint of the conlang historian) is whether it is a genuine, self-contained conlang or just a cipher. I consider the latter more likely, but so far, nobody knows.

An elaborate cipher would be in keeping with many other alchemical treatises of the period, though the Voynich manuscript obviously far outdoes any of them. From what I've read, though, authorship by Dee is considered dubious because he was an immaculate record keeper and his records don't mention it. Emperor Rudolf II of the HRE was the first recorded owner of the manuscript: has there been any investigation as to whether he or someone in his court might have penned the Voynich manuscript? Rudolf II was well known as a very eccentric collector, a patron of both the sciences and the occult, and possibly just a little insane.

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:26 pm 
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Wikipedia wrote:
The vellum on which it is written has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century (1404–1438
So John Dee is pretty unlikely, as he would have been negative a century old back then.

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:36 pm 
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Zju wrote:
Then there's also the possibility it's a natlang. I recall hearing it having some of the properties of East Asian languages, such as, iirc, full-word reduplication.

It could be, but there are words being repeated three times. No language known to have ever existed does that AFAIK. The only way I can imagine it making sense is if it was an onomatopoeia, but why would there be onomatopoeia in a book that seems to describe plants and shit? Maybe if it really does have magical formulas or something, it could make sense, I guess, but other than that...

...although now that I think about it, they could be adverbs like Japanese ぐるぐる and ゆらゆら, etc. They can be repeated three, four or even more times, so... hmm... if they were written with spaces, that would look similar to the repetition of words in the Voynich manuscript... hmm...


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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 4:56 pm 
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mèþru wrote:
Wikipedia wrote:
The vellum on which it is written has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century (1404–1438
So John Dee is pretty unlikely, as he would have been negative a century old back then.
Yeah but couldnt the paper have been old but still usable? I mean, it's still around today, right? I wouldnt count him out just because the paper he wrote on had been manufactured a century earlier.

That said, I wouldnt think that something like Enochian and the Voynich manuscript could have come from the same person. The Voynich manuscript looks like it took years of work to put together, whereas the Enochian language looks like something a 10-year-old scratched out in an hour during math class. (z always pronounced /zod/? Seriously?)

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:22 am 
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Vlürch wrote:
Zju wrote:
Then there's also the possibility it's a natlang. I recall hearing it having some of the properties of East Asian languages, such as, iirc, full-word reduplication.

It could be, but there are words being repeated three times. No language known to have ever existed does that AFAIK. The only way I can imagine it making sense is if it was an onomatopoeia, but why would there be onomatopoeia in a book that seems to describe plants and shit? Maybe if it really does have magical formulas or something, it could make sense, I guess, but other than that...

...although now that I think about it, they could be adverbs like Japanese ぐるぐる and ゆらゆら, etc. They can be repeated three, four or even more times, so... hmm... if they were written with spaces, that would look similar to the repetition of words in the Voynich manuscript... hmm...

For the three ttimes repetition thing, I've been thinking it could be a full reduplication followed or preceeded by the same word used in another phrase (maybe polysemy, maybe homonymy, maybe not even that). E.g. consider the sentences "I watch watches" - but with plurality being expressed by full reduplication, as in Indonesian - the sentences would then become "I watch watch watch". Or the buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo thing. Three and more times word in a row is definitely a thing to occur, even if rarely.


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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:09 am 
Smeric
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I'd say if it was a cipher for a natlang, it would probably already have been deciphered.


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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:17 am 
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@hwhatting
[url="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undeciphered_writing_systems"]There's plenty of undeciphered scripts that could possibly be for a natlang[/url]

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:00 am 
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mèþru wrote:
@hwhatting
[url="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undeciphered_writing_systems"]There's plenty of undeciphered scripts that could possibly be for a natlang[/url]

Yes, but with many of those the problem is that the natlang they're written in (if they really are scripts encoding languages, which is doubtful for several of the listed scripts) itself isn't known from other sources. Looking at when and where the manuscript was probably written (ca. 15th / 16th century Europe), the number of potential natlangs it could be written in is limited. I think the chance that it's written in some now-lost undocumented natural laguage is very, very small; my money is either on gibberish with some rules or on some kind of philosophical or magician conlang / secret language.


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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:32 am 
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Soap wrote:
mèþru wrote:
Wikipedia wrote:
The vellum on which it is written has been carbon-dated to the early 15th century (1404–1438
So John Dee is pretty unlikely, as he would have been negative a century old back then.
Yeah but couldnt the paper have been old but still usable? I mean, it's still around today, right? I wouldnt count him out just because the paper he wrote on had been manufactured a century earlier.

That said, I wouldnt think that something like Enochian and the Voynich manuscript could have come from the same person. The Voynich manuscript looks like it took years of work to put together, whereas the Enochian language looks like something a 10-year-old scratched out in an hour during math class. (z always pronounced /zod/? Seriously?)


That's not impossible, though I think the likelihood of a stack of vellum pages lying unused for 100+ years is rather small.

Another possible objection against the merlon argument is of course that the illustrator perhaps did not live in northern Italy but travelled there and noticed the swallow-tail merlons there, and found them noticeable enough to add them to the manuscript.

Yet, I am no expert on these matters, and I don't know how much weight these objections carry.

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:23 pm 
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Of course, it could all be a very elaborate joke...

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 1:32 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:15 am 
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My only curiosity is, here, why no one has brought up all the many arguments that the Voynich is a recent fake? In other words, a conlang. One with enviable production values?

I''m not a Europeanist, so I'm not speaking from intimacy so much as from scenting bullshit projected on others: the Voynich manuscript, to me, screams out its ~19th-century cleversticks origins.

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:12 am 
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kuroda wrote:
My only curiosity is, here, why no one has brought up all the many arguments that the Voynich is a recent fake? In other words, a conlang. One with enviable production values?

I''m not a Europeanist, so I'm not speaking from intimacy so much as from scenting bullshit projected on others: the Voynich manuscript, to me, screams out its ~19th-century cleversticks origins.

If fifteenth century vellum is unlikely to sit around unused for one century, don't you think it's fair to assume that it's even more unlikely to sit around unused for four? Carbon dating confirmed the age of the vellum; vellum was expensive and not the kind of thing you made and then just tossed aside indefinitely. I think the age of the vellum pretty absolutely rules out that it's a modern forgery, though it doesn't rule out the possibility that it was some sort of hoax or practical joke in its own time--though someone went to an awful lot of work for their joke if that's the case.

I maintain that the best evidence points to either a magical/alchemical text or glossolalia.

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 Post subject: Re: Voynich manuscript
PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 4:07 pm 
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Zaarin wrote:
I maintain that the best evidence points to either a magical/alchemical text or glossolalia.


Yes, it is probably a magical or alchemical text. But whatever it is, it may have inspired a similar work in the 1970s.

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