loasAtas éeelas doas êos éapéA t éeas éas oméA

DFS346

New Member
Greetings, fellow scholars.

I see that the rules of the forum require the subject to be the first line of the text to be translated. I have only one line. You will object that it's not Latin. True. Here's the context.

A colleague has given me the assignment to translate (into English) the first line of folio f6v of the Voynich manuscript. The assumptions are that:
(a) the text is in a language descended from Latin and used in the 15th century in the Mediterranean area, probably in southern Italy
(b) the characters can be transliterated by means of a key which my colleague has provided
(c) the text refers to a common plant which was harvested for food in the Mediterranean at that time.

In terms of letter frequencies, the key is at variance with classical Latin, in the following respects:
* a, e, o and s are greatly over-represented
* i, t and u are greatly under-represented
* b and c are absent.

Taking the key as provided, my first attempt at a raw transliteration is (as shown in the subject line) as follows:
loasA t as éeelas doas êos éapéA t éeas éas oméA
where:
* A (which looks like 9 or q, and generally is a terminal character) denotes "free a"
* a (which looks like a) denotes "trapped a" (an "a" within a word)
* e (which looks like c) is a short e
* é (which looks like ct) is a long e
* t is probably a full stop (UK) or period (US)
* ê is a long e with a superscript that looks like a 9.

I am considering the possibilities that:
* the é could alternatively be et, ec or ei, in which case the transliteration might read:
loasA t as eteelas doas êtos etapetA t eteas etas ometA
loasA t as eceelas doas êcos ecapecA t eceas etas omecA
loasA t as eieelas doas êios eiapeiA t eieas eias omeiA
* the terminal s could be the Latin suffix -is or -us
* the terminal A could be the Latin enclitic -que or possibly a catch-all for the Latin accusative or genetive suffix.

I would welcome any ideas from speakers of Latin or modern Romance languages (I speak French and Romanian and can read Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and a few words of Neapolitan).

VMS f6v line 1.jpg
 

DFS346

New Member
Many thanks for the comments. The approach to a Hebrew translation looks very interesting.

In order better to match the letter frequencies in Latin, I have experimented with the following adjustments to the key:
* A (which looks like 9 or q), if an initial character, is Latin "ab"; if a terminal character, is Latin "i"
* é (which looks like ct) is Latin "cu"
* ê (which looks like ct with a superscript that looks like a 9) is Latin "cui".

This results in the following correspondences in the frequencies:
VMS Latin
i 10.4% 9.8%
e 10.9% 9.8%
a 7.6% 7.6%
u 8.9% 7.3%
t 1.3% 6.9%
s 7.1% 6.5%
r 4.6% 5.7%
n 5.9% 5.4%
so with the modified key, among the common letters only t is under-represented. That suggests that A, if a terminal character, could be Latin "it". (But now c is over-represented.)

The modified key generates the following transliteration:
loasi tas cueelas doas cuios cuapcui t cueas cuas omcui
or:
loasit tas cueelas doas cuios cuapcuit t cueas cuas omcuit

Makes any sense?
 

Quasus

Civis Illustris
Or maybe Aztecan. :D http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue100/hg100-feat-voynich.html?ts=1602669179&signature=b3929d510b4d9834164b2d4defca104f

Seriously, what's the point of the Voynich manuscript? It's just a curiosity. If I were you, I'd better decipher Harappan script. That would shed light on a mysterious ancient civilization. The language is presumably related to Dravidian, though of course there's a gap of some two thousand years between these inscriptions and Old Tamil. Just imagine that the language could be a missing link between Dravidian languages and Elamite! That's what I call fascinating.
 

DFS346

New Member
I have experimented with modifications to the key, the better to match with the frequencies of letters in Latin, as initial letters and as terminal letters. For example, the glyph "9", which in the VMS occurs 1828 times as an initial letter and 14516 times as a terminal letter, could represent in Latin the prefixes "qua", "qui" or "quo", and also the suffixes "it", "et" or "at" (or even all the verb suffixes). With this and similar assumptions, the first four lines of f6v could read:

loasittas selas doas sos sapsit. seas sas comsit
coaet sos slit doelsat seat conaius lseit sos saus
doais lit soe coosolit selsoit lit oloe titsot
quaslit quamsoit. ot quananit nsit neit olonit quamonit.

For sure, this is not Latin as we know it. What I wonder is, could a 15th century language descended from Latin have read something like this?
 

Serenus

legātus armisonus
Seriously, what's the point of the Voynich manuscript? It's just a curiosity. If I were you, I'd better decipher Harappan script. That would shed light on a mysterious ancient civilization. The language is presumably related to Dravidian, though of course there's a gap of some two thousand years between these inscriptions and Old Tamil. Just imagine that the language could be a missing link between Dravidian languages and Elamite! That's what I call fascinating.
Deciphering the Rongorongo script is perhaps less linguistically interesting than Harappan, but is also potentially less challenging since a lot is known about Polynesian languages now, and some of the inscriptions may or may not shed any light on what the hell happened in Rapa Nui.

That said, considering the awful work that gets published on the Voynich manuscript all the time (you may have gotten a word that it was found to be in "Vulgar Latin" last year, in a paper that the journal later on even tried to retract!), perhaps it's good that it exists to divert better efforts to the more obscure stuff...
 

DFS346

New Member
And if we allow the Ɂ glyph to represent the Latin suffix "ius", the first four lines could be:

reaisi taius etaeraius deaius esteius etapeti. etcaius etaius οmeti
οaet etei etrei decretat etcait οnauus retci eteius etaius
deaus rei etel οeeterei etcretei rei οrel tietet
quaestrei quametei. οt quanani neti nci οreni quameni

VMS f6v 1st 4 lines.jpg
 
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DFS346

New Member
Alternatively, if we treat the "9" glyph as a variable prefix or suffix, or even a punctuation mark, which we provisionally denote by *, the first four lines could read:

roaius* taius etccraius doaius estoius etapet*. etcaius etaius οmet*
οcct etoius eteret* docretaius etcaius οnauus retc* etoius etaius
doaus eret* etol οoetoeret* etcreto* eret* οrol ius*etot
*esteret* *meto*. οt *nan* net* nc* οron* <> *mon*

It's also possible that the glyphs presented here as "m", "n", "r" and "t" have not been correctly transliterated.

Maybe some intuitive Latin scholar can detect some meaning therein, or alternatively identify it as gibberish.
 
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