Weights and Measures & Regex

[regex correction]

For those interested in the text as a technical one, possibly filled with rote or set forms, in which weights and measures might figure (medical, pharmaceutical, commercial, geographic, alchemical, astronomical etc.), I might refer to the work done by Don Hoffman Hoffmann.

Our lines of research have not intersected – at least not yet – but his interpretation of the text does run along that line.


I’m curious about how this might intersect with the ‘word-generation formula’ which Philip Neal mentioned recently in describing his transcription of Quire 20 on the Voynich mailing list. I assume it a result of his own observations. It is, undoubtedly, Neal’s original work.

If you have time and inclination to join the list, you’ll may be able to see these messages in full.  They are partly visible online, published through gameszoo.org. The main post is dated July 30, 2013 2:52 PM

For reader’s convenience, here are the two paragraphs where Neal describes his posited regex:

[… The transcription is a variant of EVA..]

The regular expression is something like

(C =3D, ch S =3D, sh E =3D, ee KTPF =3D, the complex gallows)

correction: the last line, above, is how the passage appears online. I think it is meant to read(C =ch; S =sh; E =ee; KTPF = the complex gallows)

In other words, you chose any one character from each set in square brackets and rewrite the_ as zero, for instance qo_k_Ed__y -> qokeedy. The null character _ can occur anywhere: I would not interpret it as an unwritten vowel. I should admit a serious difficulty with the regex, namely that it generates most Voynichese words but also a great many words which do not occur, but I still think this is the basic pattern.
Philip Neal


click to see the whole table.

script Voynichese EVA

There are others.

There is also the VIB, ‘VOYNICH INFORMATION BROWSER’  where Elias Schwerdtfeger offers a full transcription for each folio, with a few notes.  Here’s a link to his transcription for f.3v. (not from Quire 20).

For the image on folio 3v, I’ve already published a lengthy – (probably over-lengthy) analysis. ( Part 1 and Part 2.) Just in case it may be useful. But I’m increasingly inclined to think the text complements the imagery, rather than the latter’s being ‘illustration’ of the text.  Compression, condensation, polyvalency appear to me the key to this ms, so that illustrations as ‘duplication’ of written text are less likely. For the same reason, I find arguments for verbose cipher do not sit well; highly condensed ‘shorthand’ forms would better suit.   But who knows? The manuscript is nothing if not one which confounds expectation.

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