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VMs: RE: Paradigms Regained (also VMS Transcriptions

> -----Original Message-----
> From: owner-voynich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> [mailto:owner-voynich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Jacques Guy
> Sent: Thursday, October 10, 2002 7:02 PM
> To: Voynich Ms. mailing list
> Subject: VMs: Re: Paradigms Regained
> 10/10/02 17:02:55, "GC" <glenclaston@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> >Dennis wrote:
Jacque wrote:
> >>A prefix,
> >> infix, and suffix might be, in each case, a "glyph".
> >>From a different angle, these "prefixes", "infixes", "and
> >>suffixes" may be composed of glyphs, not compose a glyph.
> I wish that this word, "glyph", would be avoided here.
> It conjures up the term "hieroglyph", so it is all right
> when discussing Maya, Egyptian, even the Phaistos disk.
> But dictionaries give "glyph" as "a symbolic figure,
> either engraved or incised; hieroglyph." Totally inappropriate
> for the VMs. Call them graphemes if you like, but not glyphs.

For the purposes of my meaning and usage, I see nothing wrong with
using the term 'glyph' over 'grapheme', since 'grapheme' may also
refer to sets of 'glyphs'.  I also have no problem using the term
'hieroglyph', since these are units of secret writing in its
truest sense.  None of this is any more inappropriate than saying
a linguist "deciphered" an unknown language, or someone "decoded"
the meaning of a certain passage, etc, our language being as
flexible as it has become.

The term 'glyph' has taken on another meaning in electronic
typesetting, (not yet in my Webster's either), especially with the
addition of so many non-character related symbols being added to
electronic fonts and the ability to represent virtually any
language or writing system electronically.  Where fonts used to
contain only a specific character-set of a given writing system,
each of these character assignments, whether they be standard or
non-standard, are now referred to as 'glyphs' and 'glyphsets' (one
word).  My motivation is to determine what makes up an individual
character or 'glyph' and represent it in electronic form as a
single 'glyph', so my use of terminology as relates to the
electronic representation of the VMS character-set is well within
the scope of my meaning and intention.  The term 'character' is
also appropriate to my meaning, but 'letter' is misleading and
'grapheme' is too broad.  I will stick with 'glyph', thank you,
and use 'character' as a synonym, as both are *quite appropriate*
in this context.

My purpose is to answer the questions necessary to determine what
constitutes an individual character, and record that character
electronically as a single glyph, important information that is
not encompassed by non-capitalized EVA transcriptions.  What would
be of help is if someone would be able to list for me the proper
capitalizations of the standard glyphs, such as <cth>, which I
take to be properly written <cTh>, etc.  (But by representing <T>
as a glyph with the joining horizontal bar through it, shouldn't
the transcription be <eTe>)?  I can then add these representations
to my database and automatically generate a proper capitalized
version of EVA from my transcription, while maintaining my
mono-glyph representation for those who prefer working with this
structure.  Does one transcribe a connected "ccc" as <EEe>?
Several of these are listed on Rene's page
http://www.voynich.nu/extra/eva.html, but not all of them, and we
will have some problems translating certain visual elements of the
VMS to capitalized EVA in any event.  Some agreement can probably
be reached that does not lose anything in the translation.

In response to Nick Pelling, under the heading - Re: VMS

Nick wrote:
> Also: the *intention* of a transcription has to be agreed by all
> involved. Is it to compile (a) the closest visual matches to the
> glyphs/strokes as they appear on the page, or (b) the most
likely set of
> glyphs/strokes, also based on the adjacent stroke context?
> Looking at the transcriptions we have already, ISTM as though
> intentions may have varied from time to time. :-O

Nick, sorry for not responding sooner.

D'Imperio noticed that every transcription is based on the
individual's prevailing theory and approach to the VMS, and I
doubt this will ever change.  Fortunately for us, each
transcription that incorporates a 'personal' theory adds greater
detail, and also adds something to our understanding of the VMS
script.  You for instance, have expressed the belief that {4o} is
a single glyph, and that belief is one that falls into the realm
of transcription detail.

It appears quite impossible to separate theory from transcription,
as is evident in all previous transcriptions.  My view of the VMS
glyphs is in line with that of Currier most especially, and with
others to some extent, that being that each combination of strokes
forms a single glyph or character, and when we count these and
find the same representation hundreds or thousands of times, this
must be true, and representing them as individual glyphs maintains
the author's intent.  I believe that writing <cth> or even <cTh>
instead of representing this as a single glyph is not conducive to
opening a debate on proper identification of the VMS script
elements, and since my purpose is to debate these matters, another
form of notation is required.

Currier defined this <cth> as a single glyph, {Y}, and FSG defined
it as a combination of the gallows and another standard glyph, by
representing it {HZ}.  That may not seem that there is much
difference between {Y}, {HZ}, and <cth>, but the difference in
concept and approach is astoundingly apparent.  FSG recognized
that this was a combination of two distinct glyph forms and
recorded it as such.  Currier went one step further in noting that
since this combination appeared  so frequently, it must be a glyph
in its own right, and he recorded his observations by making this
a single glyph in his transcription scheme.  We move forward in
theory evolution to EVA, and find that Currier's {Y} is now
represented as <cth>,  more properly <cTh>, and I find that very

One can record FSG's {T} or Currier's {S} as <ch> without much
problem, but when combining this glyph with <t>, you ignore the
fact that neither <c> nor <h> are frequent or standard characters,
and that it is retrograde to divide <ch> in such a way as to cause
it to stand for two very uncommon VMS elements.  Theory should
move forward toward simplification, not backward toward
obfuscation.  This is of course only my opinion.

A capitalized EVA transcription would be a move toward removing
many of my basic disagreements, to be certain, but even then a
discussion on glyph identification is still avoided by an extended
representation set that encompasses most aspects of glyph
construction without answering the question of glyph unity or
author intent, questions obviously asked by FSG and Currier
transcriptions.  After troubling over this for the last three
years or so, I've come to the conclusion that the only way to open
a line of communication concerning the questions nulled by EVA
transcription is to produce a more detailed Currier-type
transcription, one that directs the reader to questions of glyph
unity and author intent.  This will of course be translated to EVA
at one point or another, something I'm more than willing to do
myself to facilitate different theories and approaches, but the
transcription itself, embodying concepts not apparent in EVA, has
to be in a form that directs the reader's attention toward glyph
identification and author intent.

Your concerns that this transcription effort is "a moving target"
does apply to font representations of glyphs, at least until the
first reading is completed.  I'm currently working on the pages
that define in detail calligraphic theory and glyph construction
theory, which will ultimately allow each reader to determine on
their own whether this effort suits their needs, and if so,
whether or not they should participate.  Frogguy and EVA are not
for those who seek clearly defined information or statistics in
the VMS, just as my transcription is not for those who view the
VMS as a language, and seek to make this language 'pronounceable'.
{4oIc89} does not need to be pronounceable to exactly represent
the individual glyphs in a mnemonic fashion.  Pronounceability
requires an unnecessary expansion of notation, and that expansion
is, in my view, detrimental to discovery and the development of
more precise theory.  I have no doubt that EVA will persist, and
that even my transcription will be translated to EVA, but I simply
don't see it as asking the questions that need answered if the VMS
is to be solved.  Something different is required, even if the
effort is an opening shot.

I would have to say that the question of whether or not all
parties must agree on the purpose of a transciption effort is
mediated by many factors, not the least of which is that none of
us can seem to come together and agree on any given thing at the
moment.  The list of glyphs that EVA and I concur with is pretty
extensive, and includes <q>, <o>, <d>, <y>, <s>, <l>, <r>, <t>,
<p>, <k>, <f>, <a>, <e>, <i>, <g>, <j>, <x>, and <v>.  Judging
from the tables on Rene's page, the EVA authors seem to have
reached the conclusion (at least in common representation) that
other standard forms, such as <cTh> are also glyphs in their own
right, but fall short of commitment in this respect.  My business
here is to make those commitments and offer them up for
discussion.  Questions like the {4o} is a very good example of a
glyph assignment that requires discussion.  Theory has to move
forward, in my view.

As I have noted before, there appears to be a defined method of
glyph construction and variance, similar to the the majority of
fictitious alphabets found in Trithemius, Porta and Vigenere.  A
close examination of these three books reveals that 'alphabets'
tend to be thematic and schematic in construction, not unlike the
VMS.  There are calligraphic rules in force, not unlike western
Latin calligraphic rules, as noted by John Grove's definition of
terminal strokes.  There are variants related to calligraphy and
the writing instrument employed, which can be concluded to be
simple variants.  There are variants of variants, true, but these
are commonly "wierdos".

The bottom line is that my theory and approach may be based on
Currier, but it incorporates elements that come from a long period
of study, and the simplest of these elements are not enunciated in
current EVA transcriptions.  Because of this I need offer no
explanation of why I choose not to conform to EVA in my effort,
other than to acknowledge that we have been at odds on purpose and
intent for some time, and our basic points of contention have yet
to be satisfactorily resolved.  Hey, just view it as the
difference between TV and HDTV.  You can still pick up the TV
signal, but HDTV has higher detail and resolution, all packed into
the same screen.  The equipment can automatically translate from
one form to another, but translating HDTV to regular TV will lead
to some loss of definition.  This is the situation between EVA and
VGBT in a nutshell.