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Analysis of the text

Introduction

The main mystery of the Voynich MS is of course its (so far) unreadable text. This has been analysed in many different ways over the last 100+ years, in order to either decipher it, or to understand its properties. The purpose of the present section of this web site is to present these analyses. It has been subdivided into five 'areas' each with a dedicated page. The present page is more an overview.

1. Introductory information
2. Character statistics
3. Word structure
4. Word statistics
5. Sentences, paragraphs, sections

I need to start with some disclaimers: it has not been possible for me to read everything that has been written on this topic, and this part cannot therefore be complete. I will always be grateful for information about additional work that has been done.

It is also difficult to present the multitude of analyses that have been performed in an orderly fashion. There have been observations on the properties and distribution of individual characters, others on those of words and others again on the combinations of words. Furthermore, it has been observed that the apparent words in the Voynich MS appear to have some type of structure. There are also studies that cannot be classified so easily.

The five areas of analysis introduced above are now summarised briefly.

1. Introductory information

This part introduces the concepts used in the analysis section: Currier languages, entropy, Zipf law, etc. The reader is reminded that the analysis of the script of the MS is investigated on a separate page. This page also has a section dedicated to the MS transcription.

Some additional words about transcription

The transcription alphabet used in this part of the site is the EVA alphabet, for which a more detailed description is given on a dedicated page. In some places, I will use small graphic files for the Voynich characters. In the present analysis section, the Voynich characters are rendered by the "Voynich EVA Hand 1" True Type font created by Gabriel Landini. This is demonstrated below, using the first paragraph of text on folio 1r of the manuscript:

The following figure was created using the EVA True Type font. The EVA text representing this section is given below it. It is then repeated, but using the EVA True Type font for the rendition .

fachys ykal ar ataiin Shol Shory cThres y kor Sholdy
sory cThar or y kair chtaiin Shar are cThar cThar dan
syaiir Sheky or ykaiin Shod cThoary cThes daraiin sa
o'oiin oteey oteor roloty cTh*ar daiin otaiin or okan
sair y chear cThaiin cPhar cFhaiin    ydaraiShy
fachys ykal ar ataiin Shol Shory cThres y kor Sholdy
sory cThar or y kair chtaiin Shar are cThar cThar dan
syaiir Sheky or ykaiin Shod cThoary cThes daraiin sa
o'oiin oteey oteor roloty cTh*ar daiin otaiin or okan
sair y chear cThaiin cPhar cFhaiin    ydaraiShy

If the third part does not look like the Voynich script in the first picture, please see here.

The choice of the transcription alphabet will have an impact on numerical analysis done on the Voynich MS text. This is most obvious for the calculation of the word length distribution, since the number of charcters to represent one 'glyph' of the Voynich MS text is different for each alphabet.

2. Character statistics

This includes, among others:

3. + 4. Word statistics

When people talk about a 'word' in the Voynich MS, they refer to a string of characters separated from other such words by a space in the writing. Whether these strings of characters actually represent words as we understand it, is not certain.

The analysis of the apparent words in the Voynich MS is discussed in two separate sections. The first treats the word struture, a unique property of the Voynich MS text.

The second section includes:

5. Sentences, paragraphs, sections

This includes topics like:

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Copyright René Zandbergen, 2014
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Latest update: 18/08/2014