Thoughts from France

For some odd reason, my blog seems to attract mostly people not from the US, and here’s what Michel Travers from France sent me lately regarding the VM. It’s not really a “theory” but a few notes which deserve attention.

I’am a new comer in the Field but eventually it occured to me that too little attemps has been seriously done about identifying numbers. EVA alphabet has assigned all of the Voynich characters to letters and not even to one single number ! Some researchers have tentatively suggested a 2, an 8, a 9, eventually a 4, but that’s all.
In that respect the choice of your main page with the drawing from 69r is probably not a coincidence: between the arms of the starfish we have 6 different characters with apparent counter characteristics. Then we have 22 radius-like, clearly identified sentences/sequences and another 16 on the brim the wheel, mostly all of them ending with one of those characters… The radius at “2 o’clock” seems to be a starting index. Interesting… Have you worked on this page ?

Michel, you seem to be the victim of a misunderstanding regarding EVA. EVA is not a suggested decipherment, but it is simply a transcription, that is, a rendering of the Voynich characters in a digital, computer-readable format. The idea is no more and no less than to always designate the same transcription character to identical VM characters, and different transcription characters to different VM characters. (Of course, this is a delicate enough task difficult.) The purpose is to allow communication through email with the transcription, and to be able to start computerized statistics on it, so that two researches on the VM list can exchange their ideas, “I’ve noticed that ‘qo’ seems to be always word-initial, while ‘dy’ is word-final.”

But which transcription symbol is used for any VM character is completely arbitrary, provided your system is consistent. Some researchers have chosen to include numbers into their transcription, because, well, it’s a fairly obvious thing to do to transcribe a character which looks like “8” or “9” with — you guessed it “8”, and “9”, respectively. In the case of EVA, the visual similarity was relegated in favour of a representation which allowed researchers to pronounce the VM transcription, ie, most VM words can be spoken when transcribed into EVA,*) so two researchers can’t only exchange mails about it, but even literally talk about EVA words.

But in no way was the EVA transcription be meant to be a translation. EVA doesn’t assume any special meaning behind the VM letters; the EVA letters were simply codes chosen to represent the VM letters, much like ZIP codes are used to represent cities, but of course aren’t the cities.

Does that clear up the misunderstanding?

(As for 69r, I haven’t done particular work on it, but Rich SantaColoma has, and I like his ideas…)

*) I think I (and others) have mentioned before that the fact that this is possible at all is most remarkable, but nobody really knows what to make of it.