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Sequential word repetitions in the VMS - Printable Version

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Sequential word repetitions in the VMS - Anton - 15-08-2015

Is there any work or resource where all sequential word repetitions in the VMS are listed? I mean not the "Timm's pairs" or "Jackson sequences" but exact repetitions, like
daiin daiin daiin

It occurred to me that these repetitions may be not as strange as they seem if "spaces" in the VMS are not real spaces and the text is to be read sequentially. Thus Voynichese "words" may be identical parts (or encoded parts) of plain text words.

In that case, three repetitions in a row are not weird. For a ready example, consider German "pur Purpur" (which means "pure purple").

Even four repetitions in a row are quite fine. Consider the following example:

"<blah blah> Purpur. Purpur <blah blah>"

Here "Purpur" is the last word of the first sentence and, at the same time, the first word of the second sentence. Because there is no punctuation in a XV century (or earlier) document, "pur" would appear four times in a row.

Let's develop this example further as follows:

"<This colour is called> Purpur. Pur Purpur <is difficult to obtain>"

Here we have "pur" five times in a row. Six times in a row is not difficult:

"<You should use only> pur Purpur. Pur Purpur <is very expensive>"

We can imagine even seven times in a row, if we append some word that begins with "pur", like "purren" or "purzeln".

This is just an example. Probably such examples can be constructed in many languages. This could explain repetitions both in plain text and in cipher, without involving any shuffling.

What do you think? Was this ever considered in this light?

Re: Sequential word repetitions in the VMS - david - 19-08-2015

We could have something similar in English if we consider such terms as "that that" or "so so" or (highly artificial but grammatical correct) constructions such as
That that is, is. That that is not, is not. Is that it? It is.
Or the old favourite
James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher.

But let us put aside the latter examples of lexical ambiguity and concentrate on the question Big Grin

The Voynich Reader program has a function to extract sequential repeated words. I get 318 repeated (2 or more sequential) words in the Takeshi transcription using this program. I did have a file somewhere listing them all but I can't find it right now, but I attach a.csv file generated from the Voynich Reader program in case you don't have it installed.
[Actually I won't because the forum won't allow me to upload a file with a txt, csv or doc extension so I'm stymied. Let me know if you want it and I'll email it, or if someone can change the settings?]

On another tack, repeated words in manuscript copying are very common, it's known as dittography, the error caused by eyeslip when a scribe's eyes skipped backwards or forwards in the original text and repeated the previous block of text without realising it.

Re: Sequential word repetitions in the VMS - Anton - 19-08-2015

Thanks David. Somehow I was unaware of this software. Now I installed it. Interestingly, most of repetitions are 2-word. There is only one 4-word repetition and 10 3-word repetitions. So the problem is not that the repetitions are too lengthy.

daiin seems to be the champion of all repetitions - it is featured in 21 repetitions which is 6,6% of the total. chol gives 20 repetitions which is 6,3% of the total. qokeedy gives 18 repetitions which is 5,7% of the total. chedy gives 14 which is 4,4%. So frequent words seem to tend to give more frequent repetitions. Nothing surprising.

I counted 114 unique words that can be repeated. It is only 1,7% of the total of 6818 unique words. Is that too many as compared with natural languages?

Is not the repetition issue too exaggerated?

Re: Sequential word repetitions in the VMS - david - 20-08-2015

Quote:Is that too many as compared with natural languages?
I have no idea. But those four words you quoted are some of the most famous Voynich words out there.
I also don't know how this compares to other handcopied manuscripts of the era. It could be a way into resolving the "original or a copy?" question.

Quote:Is not the repetition issue too exaggerated?

I think the issue is not direct repetition, but rather many similar words repeated, as in Timms pairs and [ah-hem] Jackson sequences, which are not features of written languages.

Re: Sequential word repetitions in the VMS - Anton - 20-08-2015

Quote:I think the issue is not direct repetition, but rather many similar words repeated, as in Timms pairs and [ah-hem] Jackson sequences, which are not features of written languages.

I would think of that not as an "issue", but as evidence against the natural language theory. (Honestly, this is not the single evidence against the natural language). If, for example, this is a cipher using some hidden numeric notation (referring to a nomenclator, for example), then similar words differing in one character are just as "similar" as, say, "2015" and "2025" are.

RE: Sequential word repetitions in the VMS - voynichbombe - 09-01-2016

I recently read that certain constructed languages feature sequential repetitions, more of similar, but also same words due to their gramatical structure, which aims at being machine-readable. So you could think of the repeated words as "closing braket, closing braket, etc.." Like in programming source code ")))".

Let me know if this is besides the point, but I can't stop thinking about a certain Polymath being active around the time of the "finding" of the VMS, namely Giuseppe Peano, who constructed an interlingua called "latino sine flexione" (low internal structure) and also toyed with encoding information into fractal functions (see Peano spacefilling curve).

RE: Sequential word repetitions in the VMS - david - 10-01-2016

Peano (stops to look him up) is 19th century.
It's certainly not something that would be within the scope of 15/16th century linguistic ability.
In fact, to talk of "linguistics" for the era is ridiculous, such a concept simply didn't exist.
In brief, the generally accepted European ideal of languages in the early Renaissance was biblical. There was a True Language (as spoken by Adam and Eve) and this language was taken away from humans at the time of the Tower of Babel episode.
All known languages were thus assumed to be mere replicas of this perfect divine language, of which all humans could understand. The ancient languages were assumed to be closest to this first language.
Linguists thus tried to recreate this perfect natural language, glimpses of which were seen everywhere.
Our old mate Kircher summed up this search by saying:
Quote:“I have seen a complete crucifix in an agate-stone [..] in tufa rock I have seen a whole alphabet whose letters were formed of the veins in the stone [..] I once caught a butterfly on whose wings nature had accurately imprinted the face of our Saviour”.
This was the difference in language that the early moderns had. They considered their day to day languages to be inferior human made constructs that were only temporary; God had a secret universal communication that he had hidden from us until we were wise enough to use anew, and they hoped to be able to discover it. It was the doctrine of signatures written into linguistic communication. The idea of deconstructing their vernacular and rebuilding it into an artificial language – such as Esperanto, for example – would have to wait until the 18th and 19th centuries.

I wrote an article on early artificial languages as seen through the eyes of Kircher You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view..

RE: Sequential word repetitions in the VMS - voynichbombe - 10-01-2016

This opens up new possibilities to your solution space:

- Divine or sacred language
- Constructed language that tries to emulate or get as close as possible to the "first language" of god

Why then not consider "Chhokey", the sacred language of You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view. (You are not allowed to view links. Register or Login to view.) .. does sound familiar.

Surely the Voynich should mostly be an account of Garden Eden, The Golden Aera, then..

Sometimes I find it hard to think about the text as a "whole body". Different scribes, hands, use of (alphabet, abjad, cipher,etc) and sometimes very differing appearance of form. My guess is that different solution spaces would be necessary for certain parts of the text. These differing parts are well documented.

I understand that you stop when touching voynich-non-mainstream. This goes a little OT here, but just to clarify my motivation, I am not a believer or follower of any theories, be they mainstream or not. In this case my motto (which I nicked from someone working in a much more difficult field) is: "I don't believe in anything, but I will take a look at everything". I hope the meaning comes through in english..

I'll try to outline why I mentioned Giuseppe Peano in a different post.

RE: Sequential word repetitions in the VMS - -JKP- - 12-01-2016

The problem isn't the repetitions in themselves...

There are many examples of repetition in old manuscripts and many more that would result from certain methods of encoding the text.

One of the enigmas of the Voynich manuscript is that many plausible explanations for the repetition (particularly those related to encipherment) carry a "price" in terms of reducing the "working set" of characters or words within the manuscript to a number that appears inadequate for expressing most known natural languages.

RE: Sequential word repetitions in the VMS - Emma May Smith - 12-01-2016

The direct repetition of words could be explained in a few different ways, such as:

1) reduplication as a grammatical feature, where a word or part of a word is repeated in order to express some meaning, like plurality or intensiveness;

2) an incorrect understanding of word or phrase division on our part, so that two words in sequence in the text we see are not sequential grammatically (a new sentence or new clause), or that two word in sequence are actually grammatically different (like in the English sentence, "See the ape ape my actions!");

3) an imperfect script which makes words appear the same in writing despite having different pronunciations (Book Pahlavi is a notorious example); and

4) a restricted sound or syllable structure which causes a high rate of homophony, so that many words sound the same because there is a limited number of possible syllables.

The last two points may not only exacerbate one another, they would also explain the odd repetitious phrases involving only small changes to words. Such phrases may have vastly different, and wholly unconnected meanings.