Spelling variation and the Voynich manuscript

In the past I have argued that we must take account of spelling variation when we study the Voynich manuscript. Many people fail to realise how common it was for mediaeval scribes to use a variety of different spellings even for the same words on the same line. Standardised spelling conventions are a modern obsession which we mustn’t apply to the Voynich.

Here is a good example of the kind of spelling variation I’m talking about. Look at this image (below) from the wonderful 14th century Occitan manuscript I have discussed before.

occitan_sun_variation

Look especially at the words for ‘sun’. Remember that the Voynich manuscript has similar images of the sun (and moon) with words around them which might mean ‘sun’ (or moon). When we look at these words in the Voynich manuscript we might assume that there will be ONE clear word for sun and ONE for moon. That would be a mistake. This example shows that we need to think more flexibly, and expect variation.

The language in the image above is Occitan, but if you speak French you will recognise two variants of the word ‘sol’, each starting with a  different variety of the letter ‘s’, a full one like a modern capital ‘S’ (numbered 1 in the picture above), plus the word ‘sol written with a smaller ‘s’ looking rather like an ‘f’ (number 2]. That is two variants already.

Then in the ring around the sun you will also see words resembling the French ‘soleil’ (highlighted in purple).  This word is itself written in a number of different ways: one version written with a large S – Solhelh (at about 6 o’clock, number 3), plus others written with a small ‘s’ resembling an ‘f’: solelh [number 4], solhelh [number 5], solhel [number 6], and one version broken into so- and –lelh [number 7].

By my count that is a total of 7 different written variants, all meaning ‘sun’, written on the same page presumably by the same scribe. To me this is an interesting example of typical mediaeval spelling variation.

What does this mean for the Voynich manuscript? Simply, we must be prepared to find spelling variation, possibly a lot, with the same ‘word’ spelled in a number of different ways even on the same page or the same line.

 

 

 

 

73 Comments

  1. FILIP

    Now on the scans of high definition is clearly visible that in Figures 4 and 5 is written “o with hook” and not “4o”. This glyph also on Figure 6 is involved in the ligature, together with the * P *.
    There is a symbol vertical line? And as part of ligatures?

    • FILIP

      There is a symbol of the ” sickle ” code 140 (figure 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23) and the symbol ” short sickle” (“sickle” without the bottom horizontal line) figure 25, 26, 28, 29, 31, 35, 36.
      Ligatures: EVA code: 140 (sickle)+v. line = 206 (sickle with a handle) figure 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 : v. line +197 = 212 (figure 9, 10);
      S +v. line = 141 ; n + ” short sickle” = 208 (figure 32)
      v. line + “o with hook” = figure 11, 12, 13, 14. c + ” short sickle” = 164 (figure 30, 33)
      o + ” short sickle” = 158 (v 101) f 27. o + sickle = f 21.
      Perhaps!!! i + ” short sickle” = r. e + sickle = S. e +” short sickle” = b (f 34).

  2. FILIP

    Colleagues. It may be necessary to adjust the EVA alphabet?
    If there is a symbol “line with the point” (code 158, Figure 12) and is the symbol of a “point” (Figure 13a), then there is a single character, “horizontal line”.
    There are glyph (ч) = line + (Figure 1, 3, 4, 5, 9 …) and line with the point + (Figure 13.14, 15.19)
    Glyph = + line (figure 5, 6, 20, 21).
    Glyph (blue) EVA (п) = + line +
    The ” horizontal line “can change their position in the line. Top line (figure 4, 5, 6, 7…). The middle of the line (figure 2, 8, 18). Above the line figure 17 and EVA code 173. Bottom line figure 11, 20, 21. In the latter two cases, is lowered into the Interlinear.
    In this case, there is an explanation of the existence of glyphs: code 131 = bracket + line. Code 204 = line + bracket. Code 170 = line + i +line + point. Code 209 = S + line.
    Uppercase glyphs P*, H*, *H*, *P* does not exist. These symbols are not letters, and work either on the principle of musical signs, indicating the length or of timbre sound … , or define the part of speech the main word .
    If these signs are regarded as letters, how to explain the code 215 (112r) or writing (*P*co2) on page 116r (code 183?)?
    Sorry for bad English.

    • Stephen Bax

      Sorry Filip, I cannot follow what you mean. Can you try to explain your idea more clearly, step by step?

      • Travis McGeehan

        I think he is trying to say that the gallows letters may not be different letters but rather multiple letters whose independence is obscured by cursive ligatures. I would guess that this is irrelevant because you can make a transcription by just calling each ligature an independent character. Is there evidence that individual strokes of the gallows letters are similar to unique characters?

        • MarcoP

          I guess the “codes” Filip is referring to are the ASCII codes here?

      • The problem is a real one. Anyone who has ever done any transcription effort will understand it.
        Normally, i.e. with regular manuscripts, one can read and understand what one transcribes, and one has help in deciding which character is meant. There is some possible confusion with ligatures and abbreviations, but that can be solved with the right level of expertise.
        With the Voynich MS, we don’t really know for certain which are the characters, and most importantaly: which variations are just due to handwriting variations and which are ‘real’.
        While representing the handwritten text by a set of digital units (ASCII codes), one makes decisions of this nature all the time. A user working just with the transcription file inherits all these decisions and cannot undo them. The fewer decisions taken, the better.
        In old transcriptions, such as by Currier, the entire MS has been mapped to a set of 36 characters. In the newer transcriptions, a much larger character set is used. See http://www.voynich.nu/transcr.html and elsewhere.

        W.r.t. the interpretation (i.e. what all the characters mean), this has to be a second step. The less interpretation done during the transcription, the better. It may be that a high horizontal stroke has a different meaning than a lower horizontal stroke. For this type of questions, the scans seem to be the only possible source.

        I do see a need (or at least a good use) for the next level of transcription, as I already briefly indicated at the last page of my web site, but it would be both a large and complicated effort.

        • FILIP

          Supposition!? The gallows letters are analogous to musical signs. They define the length (time) of the sound or timbre of the sound (phoneme).
          The symbol “е” falls in Interlinear not only in Figure 20, 21 but also a in Figure 23, 24. The “e” is written specially with vertical gap. This ligature is not in “Voynich 101”. No there and double apostrophe Figure 25.
          PS Mr. Bax thanks for proofreading posts. I saw very late. h= (ч) = line + e, c = e + line, ch=(п) = e + line + e, (*P*co2) =peor.

          • FILIP

            Among the rare symbols of the manuscript there are characters like Greek letters.
            Figure 26 = τ ( not to be confused with a capital letter “ h“)
            Figure 27 = ς , f27 = χ , f 28, 29, 30, 36 = Λ, f32, 33, 34, 35 = φ , f37, 38, 39 = ε
            Separately f 116v. Figure 40 = δ , f41 = η, f42 = letter nude , f43 = old letter Koppa.

            • FILIP

              figure

  3. You appear to be picking up on the same phenomenon that Torsten Timm did when he explained that “the partially complete lines seem to copy each other, always slight modifications were woven into the copying process, so that never or very rarely arose same, but only similar strings.” Jürgen Hermes chalks this up to the use of an Autokopisten to generate gibberish for an elaborate hoax. In fact, you are all picking up on a dynamic that can be found in both Karelian rune charms and Sami joiks. Finno-ugric words tend to be built from root prefixes with varying suffixes. This makes for a strong tendency for beginning rhymes. Highly alliterative trochees with repetition and depth symmetry distinctly spell charm songs. Again, this is in stringent keeping with what the graphics are already telling us. http://voynichbirths.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-voynich-and-water-drumming.html

    • Linda Snider

      Funny, multiple people journeying on horses fits in with the migration idea I just posted elsewhere in regard to your theory.

  4. Derek Vogt

    I believe I’ve found a “new” word with no known cognates but some good indication of its meaning from context, which, if these are actually the same word, appears in more than one written form…

    http://stephenbax.net/?p=1267#comment-161118

  5. So, finally, the language of Voynich manuscript is Khwarezmian.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khwarezm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khwarezmian_language

    • Daniel White

      Sergei, that language died in the 14th century – VM was written in the 15th.

      • It is official meaning. Why couldn’t rest a single native speakers, at least for next 50-100 years from official die date? Languages cant die at one moment. And, I’ve found now, that it died at XIV-XV.
        https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Хорезмийский_язык

        • Linda Snider

          Hi Sergei,

          It was an interesting coincidence when I went to the wiki links you provided, there was an older Keltiminar Culture c. 3000 BC mentioned, when I looked into that:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelteminar_culture

          I found this:

          Scientists hold that Kelteminar culture is related to the Pit–Comb Ware culture and belongs to the Finno-Ugric peoples.[6]

          The coincidence being that I’m seeing connections between the people you have identified and those which Claudette Cohen’s theory is in relation to.

          http://voynichbirths.blogspot.ca/2014/05/transcription-alphabet.html?view=flipcard

          The reason I think it’s relevant is that I think the manuscript contains information which is extremely old. From that perspective the idea that a language or culture is dead does not apply, and in fact it may not be an old enough version of what we’re actually talking about.

          Just a thought, carry on 🙂 By the way, I’d love to see a translation of a page from quire 13. Have you had the chance?

          Regards,

          Linda

          • The first line onto f77r sounds like that:
            “Tseshgyrylresh wekesh kheea wetskheega wetskheega gashkheeb eshkeega shesha.”
            The last word I’ve translated is something like “sixth”.
            Others not clear.

            • Ts-‘o-sh-g-e-r-e-l-r-‘o-sh….v-‘o-k-‘o-sh….x-i-i-a….v-‘o-ts-x-i-i-g-a….v-‘o-ts-x-i-i-g-a….g-a-sh-x-i-i-b….’o-sh-k-i-i-g-a….sh-‘o-sh-a

              I’m not sure by 100% on sound ‘ts’. It can be ‘Z’ or ‘M’ or something else…If we’ll find a plant name from f9v page in some mentioned landuage (first 2 words), we’ll be sure on it.

              pocco2 oPo2o89 oP9 c’co2 8aiiU – I read it now as
              [p-‘o-x-i-‘o-r….’o-ts-‘o-r-‘o-g-a….’o-ts-a….x-u-‘o-r….g-e-n-d]
              with possible translation: viola tricolor cures many diseases.

              • orun rubacı

                hi Sergei , acoording to leaf stuation, leaf axis and other morphological specificities f9v is from Caryophyllales family
                my prediction:
                Agrostemma githago L.

                • To my mind, it’s more conformed to viola tricolor at all…

        • D.N. O'Donovan

          Sergei
          This is very interesting. The region is noted for its contribution to western astronomical learning, and many Voynich researchers, myself included, believe that the Vms – though inscribed as we have it in the early fifteenth century – copies older works. Perhaps ones which took their present form in the thirteenth century.
          Wilfrid Voynich was only the first to say that the manuscript looked like a thirteenth century Franciscan work, and by comparison with examples of Franciscan handbooks of that time, it does.

          I’ve posted a couple of examples recently on voynichimagery (my wordpress blog).

          Cheers

  6. Hello! I’ve made an transcription of month’s names onto f67r2 (a calendar page) using my transcription system. Looks amazing!
    1. 4oHoca2 = vʌtʌwər (vʌtʌjər?) (In albanian – ‘viti er’ is new year)
    2. 8cco8a2 = gçwʌgər (gçjʌgər?)
    3. 9Sax8ax = abəʂgəʂ
    4. 9Ho8ax = atʌgəʂ
    5. Hox8aiiU = tʌʂgənd (Tashkent? A capital of Uzbekistan)
    6. oHa289 = ʌtərga
    7. cco8axcj = çwʌgəʂ(y?) (çjʌgəʂi?)
    8. 9Hcco8x9 = tçwʌgʂa (atçjʌgʂa?)
    9. ocHc9S = ʌçtwab (ʌçtjab) = october? (russian oktjabr’)
    10. 9Hoha2 = atʌkər
    11. oHoxo2 = ʌtʌʂʌr (ʌtʌʂ – is fire on f77r)
    12. oho8a2 = ʌkʌgər

    • Daniel White

      Sergei, your month names don’t have cognates. If they don’t have cognates in other languages, that means they probably aren’t correct.

      • This is a moon calendar of unknown nation (probably khwarezmians). Did u check a Turkmen or Uzbek language? But it’s not all. We also have a correlations with Albanian, Gypsy, Georgian (Alvanian?), Armenian in some words’ bases. The only language, that fits to all these facts, is khwaresmian (look at the area of Khwarezm), or chagatay tili (most close to khwarezmian).

      • And, please, read my transcription more carefully, I wrote a comments to some words! =)

        • I found the word ‘beshgesh’ in modern turkmen, with meaning ‘a gift’.

  7. Daniel White

    Hello everyone,
    I think I have discovered a possible word and meaning from the second paragraph of f1r. The word immediately below the first strange red shape appears to have the pronunciation from Stephen’s scheme of “nxon.” From basic knowledge of Hebrew I can see that this is quite similar to the word “nachon”, which means “right” or “correct”. So perhaps this is what is means.

    – Daniel White

    • Hello! I read this word as ‘axwea’ or ‘axwua’ or ‘axua’ (if ‘c’ is W, then ‘cc’ must be U)

  8. Hello, friends! I’ve just obtained an average pronounce of the first 6 words on the first folio (fachys ykal …)
    ” P-ae-ch-we-a-b….a-k-ae-sh….ae-r….a-t-ae-n-d….kh-we-oe-sh….kh-we-oe-r-a ”
    ” Pejab akesh er atend xwash xwara ”
    possible translation is “Punjab: description and applying poisons for healing…” the word ‘xwara’ means ‘disease’, but I wrote ‘for healing’ because it’s conformed to context. We should try to identify other words from this sentence to reconstruct the whole meaning of it.
    P.S. The word ‘xwara’ completely fits to russian or ukrainian ” khvorat’ ” – to be sick, ” khvor’ ” – a disease.

    • Also, we have a word ‘khvosch’ (хвощ) as a name for this poison plant —> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equisetum

      • Daniel White

        The first page has no illustrations. It is highly unlikely that it would speak of a particular plant without illustrating it.

        • Oh, not a plant, but a poison (like armenian word ‘xash’ with the same meaning).

    • Daniel White

      Your pronunciation differs strongly from mine. What I got looked more like this:
      puhans nkush ur ugwur xar jros

      Also: Why would the first paragraph talk about “poisons for healing?” I would think it would be more of a summary, or an introduction.

      • Yes, it is summary. The first part (plants chapter) is actually talks about this

      • I’m developing my own transcription system for voynich symbols based on five main magical elements which are shown on f77r at the top. Seems, I’ve been right.

        • Here are the clarificated names of elements:
          8сс89 – [ g..h..ie..g..a ] – earth (solid)
          oHc89 – [ ‘o..t..ie..g..a ] – water (liquid)
          oHox – [ ‘o..t..’o..sh ] – fire (flame)
          oxhccS – [ ‘o..sh..k..h..ie..bw ] – air (steam / fog)
          oHo2h – [ ‘o..t..’o..r’..k ] – ether (outter space / spirit / electro-magnetic?)

          I’ve took an whole line with elements (as is, written in row on f77r page) and, as is, put it onto a pentagram. And what I’ve got in result made me shocked!
          It is fully conformed to Om Namah Shivaya mantra!
          Na = Earth,
          Mah = Water,
          Shi = Fire,
          Va = Air,
          Ya = Ether.

          Just check it!

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Om_Namah_Shivaya

          • But be careful! Seems, this thing can realize/materialize your dreams/thoughts!

        • Here are the clarificated names of months of calendar (f67r2):
          1. 4oHoca2 = vʌtʌiər (In albanian – ‘viti er’ is new year. Old armenian calendar starts from month ‘Navasard’ with the same meaning – new year)
          2. 8cco8a2 = gxiʌgər (‘xiʌga’ [cco89] seems to be ‘a plant’ as in gujarati – choda. But this month name have an ending ‘gər’ which I consider ‘a woman’… so, not clear yet.)
          3. 9Sax8ax = abəʂgəʂ (In turkmen – ‘beshgesh’ is ‘a gift’. then, this is a month of gifts. In most cases, initial ‘9’ is probably used as an article ‘a’ in english.)
          4. 9Ho8ax = atʌgəʂ (???)
          5. Hox8aiiU = tʌʂgənd (Tashkent? A capital of Uzbekistan. Possible meaning – the warmest month)
          6. oHa289 = ʌtərga (???)
          7. cco8axcj = xiʌgəʂç (in the last symbol I’m not sure for 100%, but the same endings – ‘ʂç’ we can see in ukrainian or polish words. Meaning – something connected with plants)
          8. 9Hcco8x9 = atxiʌgʂa
          9. ocHc9S = ʌxtiab (Seems, our october derived from this name (in russian we have [oktiabr’] for this month) – but our october is 10th)
          10. 9Hoha2 = atʌkər (???)
          11. oHoxo2 = ʌtʌʂʌr (ʌtʌʂ – is ‘fire’ as we can see on page f77r)
          12. oho8a2 = ʌkʌgər (probably, something connected to womans. Google gives to me this: yal takibasu ukuger-un siinesiin tiilebesii – can anybody try to identify this language?)

          http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f67r1_f67r2/0.751/0.393/3.70

          • The prefix ‘4o’, seems, shows an antonym-word or a negation, as in mingrelian language:
            moko – I want;
            vamoko – I don’t want;
            miork – I love;
            vamiork – I don’t love.

          • Can anybody explain an etimology of an albanian ‘viti er’ for ‘new year’?
            With ‘er’ all is clear – it is ‘year’ analog, but what does mean ‘viti’? actually, particles ‘vi’ and ‘ti’? It is important for understanding the voynichese grammar.

        • Derek Vogt

          You’ve posted several times with results from your transcription system, but not about exactly what the system is letter-for-letter, or what your methods were to arrive at it. In some cases I can’t even tell where in the Manuscript a word you’re referring to is located. And you sometimes seem to be using a Voynich symbol set that isn’t phonetic but isn’t EVA either, without telling us what other system that is or listing which Voynic letters each other symbol in the system represents. (Some like 8 and 9 are obvious, but not others like H.)

          Do you plan to post this missing information so others can start reading the Manuscript the way you read it?

          • Stephen Bax

            I must say that I agree with Derek. Sergei, could you perhaps prepare a full outline of your proposed system? Otherwise it gets a bit confusing?

            Thanks

          • “And you sometimes seem to be using a Voynich symbol set that isn’t phonetic but isn’t EVA either, without telling us what other system that is or listing which Voynic letters each other symbol in the system represents. ”
            I wrote a full copy of voynich labels using standard keyboard set (I’m not able to post it with voynichese font here).
            for example:
            1. 4oHoca2 = vʌtʌiər —– The first word (in voynichese) written here, as the others words of months’s names – in that circle. You can follow this link to see it –> (in the center of page)
            http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f67r1_f67r2/0.653/0.347/5.00
            The second (after equation sign) – is a probably sounding of the 1st word. So, if you want, you can make this conversion table by yourself, it’s not so hard! =)

    • Clarificated first line of VMS:
      ” P-e-x-i-a-b….a-k-e-sh….e-r….a-t-e-n-d….x-u-‘o-sh….x-u-o-r-a….x-t-i-r-i-b….a….k-‘o-r ”
      Possible translation: Panjab writings of apply poisons for diseases curing at home.
      Why I think so:
      pach – five (oordoo);
      ab – river (caucasian langs mostly)
      akash – write (gujarati);
      atend – (portugal – entendo – to understand);
      xash – poison (armenian), hwosch (poison plant Equisetum in russian);
      xwor’ , xwora – disease in ukrainian, russian, belorussian
      xtirib – not clear yet (to cure?)
      kor, ker, k’or, k’orinda – house, home in gypsy, tatar, bashkir langs.

      Seems, voynichese was an international language of middle Asia.

  9. Derek Vogt

    I can’t find it at the moment so I can’t give the specific examples, but I posted once before that we might already have a couple of likely examples of spelling variations back then, even with the limited knowledge available then. One involved a couple of words that could have been versions of the same word using EVA-CH in one and EVA-SH n the other. And another was a set of three pages which showed what could be the same plant, two of which started with exactly the same word, whereas the third started with the same word with one letter switched from EVA-K to EVA-T.

    In both of those cases, the letters that would seem to have been replaced not only looked similar to their replacements, but are also assigned similar sounds in my sound system (^h^ & ^x^, and ^k^ & ^g^) . That kind of thing is probably easier to do, and thus more common, with letters that both look and sound similar, rather than just looking similar or sounding similar (or neither).

  10. Diane

    Comments don’t always appear where one expects. I hope it was clear that the “peculiar list” I referred to is the one in a book that Marco had just mentioned:

    quote
    Ayeen Akbery Or the Institutes of the Emperor Akber (Persia, XVI Century).
    unquote

    • MarcoP

      Thank you Diane, I saw your comment and I agree: that “Greek” list of the Mansions of the Moon is actually made up of corrupted Arabic names.

      • Marco
        re lunar mansions: One of the best standard lists – standard orthography and conservative comment – is in Emilie Savage-Smith’s study of Islamicate celestial globes. Some time ago someone told me that it is now available online – if so, I expect it may prove helpful for people looking into that topic.
        On a more personal note, I’m always surprised by the number of people who refer to a Spanish copy of the Picatrix. It is hopelessly jumbled, with images attached to wrong manazil etc.

  11. Johannes Klein

    Dear All,
    I have done some rough and quick comparisons between the single-paged herbal illustrations and the section with multiple plants per page. In my view, I could find two unambiguous cases, in which two illustrations in these sections are dealing with the same plant.
    The first case:
    http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f101v1_f102r1_f102r2/0.906/0.196/4.57

    http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f32v/0.608/0.509/2.43

    I would say this is pretty straight-forward as there are flower, leaf and root on both pages. Unfortunately the recipe one bears no obvious label and I could not make out any “word” that seem to appear in the text left-hand below and on the single-page from the herbal section.
    Second case:
    http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f101v1_f102r1_f102r2/0.758/0.742/4.71

    http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f18v/0.781/0.521/2.43

    Unfortunately, the recipe one shows only the “root” but I think the resemblance is uncanny. Now, there is one label above, EVA: koldarod. Trying to match this to the single-page illustration, the closest matches are either the first word, EVA:toldshar, or the last word, EVA:ykoldom, of the single paragraph.
    I am aware that this is a very small dataset, but would it be fair to conclude that either the word alongside some (not all) plants depicted in the recipe section or the first word of the single-paged herbal illustrations may not qualify as labels per se.
    Furthermore, the only two single-paged herbal pages that in my mind are very similar real plant species, f17v and f96v, also have quite distinct first words: EVA:rchodol and EVA:rsheassheeor. But that does not have to mean much, because even at present common names of similar species can vary drastically. However, a very similar plant in the recipe section on f99r, bottom, again has a quite different “label” EVA:tolsasy. So we may keep in mind that neither the single-paged herbal nor the recipes may contain labels referring to the actual plant name (whatever language it may be).
    http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f17v/0.382/0.517/2.43

    http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f96v/0.633/0.462/2.15

    http://www.jasondavies.com/voynich/#f99r/0.393/0.771/3.00

    Could anyone try to give me the possible translations or pronounciation of the “labels”.
    Cheerio

    • Hello! It sounds something like this:
      EVA: koldarod – koshgerog
      EVA: toldshar – toshghuer
      EVA: ykoldom – akoshgo(?)
      EVA: rchodol – rhiogosh
      EVA: rsheassheeor – rhuiebhuiior
      EVA: tolsasy – toshbeba

      the word base ‘tosh’ derived from ‘otosh’ without first ‘o’. otosh = fire.

      • And again, google search on ‘toshbeba’ gives an oordoo phrase:
        ســــابـــاتــى هــه مــوان alim chon bu awa tosh beba sar.

  12. MarcoP

    Hello Stephen,
    as I wrote in another comment, I think that EVA:okar (akur) possibly means “the Moon”. This is based on the occurrence of the word in both f68r1 (with the EVA:-dy suffix: akurtu / akurtn) and f68r2, and on the tentative identification of a label in the lower left circular diagram of the Rosettes f86v page with the Mountains of the Moon (EVA:okar.amal Akur U?ush).

    I found some support for this idea in ”A Dictionary in Oordoo and English” by Joseph T. Thompson. It gives “Nis-akur” for “the Moon”. Since “Nisa” means “woman”, possibly “Nis-akur” is “the female luminary”? The same dictionary has “Shahi-khawur” (the kingly luminary?) for the Sun.
    I find it interesting that this dictionary also contains a couple of the words that have previously been discussed here: atush for “fire” and akash for firmament.

    “Akur” also is the XV Mansion of the Moon in Ayeen Akbery Or the Institutes of the Emperor Akber (Persia, XVI Century).

    • Stephen Bax

      We are thinking along the same lines 🙂 I am currently exploring this word and related ones for a new post, so thanks for the ideas and especially the link to the dictionary.

      The prefix ‘nis’ could be related to the (originally) Arabic word for ‘women’, or simply to the Urdu word ‘nis’ for night on the same dictionary page you showed….. as for Akur, look at this search in the same dictionary , which I think is really interesting:

      https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=kynQ4fx6XOgC&pg=PA361&lpg=PA361&dq=akur+moon&source=bl&ots=UXakD2rn9L&sig=NrRzPQx2zv0JZe7etwbMR76Fd3Y&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Nd7AVJrjHM_iaID7gsAC&ved=0CDkQ6AEwBzgK#v=onepage&q=A-kur&f=false

      Note that besides the word for moon it also includes ‘Dib-akur’ for sun, which suggests that ‘akur’ in the Voynich manuscript, might not mean ‘moon’, but something more general related to both sun and moon.

      Could it be related to the Persian ‘ukra(t)’: meaning ball or globe?

      http://dsalsrv02.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/search3advanced?dbname=steingass&query=ukrat&matchtype=exact&display=utf8

      Possibly related to the Arabic word ‘kurra’ meaning ball or globe?

      https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=arabic%20word%20for%20globe

      So in the Urdu words ‘nisakur’ might mean ‘globe of the night’, with ‘dibakur’ for the sun meaning ‘globe of the day’? If so, ‘akur’ in the Voynich might mean globe?

      Fascinating, thanks!

      • Hello, Mr. Bax! There’s my thoughts:
        nis-akur – ночное светило – nochnoe svetilo (rus) – a luminary of the night
        dib-akur – дневное светило – dnevnoe svetilo (rus) – a luminary of the day
        день – den’ (rus) = доба (ukr) = doba – ‘a day’ in ukrainian
        дня – dn’a (rus) = дiб (ukr) = dib – ‘of a day’ – genitive
        ночь – noch (rus) = нiч (ukr) = nich – ‘night’

        seems, that Akur means ‘light’, an object, that is radiating light.
        it’s more and more fascinating!..

        • Neticis

          I see similarities in Latvian also.
          nakts — night,
          diena — day.
          “Akur” is more related to fire than light in Latvian.
          kurs, iekurs — item to create fire, kurināt — to fire, ugunskurs — bonfire.
          Gaisma — light, ausma — dawn — don’t have similar roots.

          • Stephen Bax

            Neticis and Sergei, when you mention links with Latvian and Russian, do you believe that the underlying language might be Slavic, or could these words have been borrowed from, say, Persian into those languages?

            • As I know, in ancient Russia was two or even three kinds of writing. First – is cyrillic, second – is glagolic and third – is persian graphic that used mostly to write tatar or other turk language.
              In my research I have found many word parallels in different languages from Portugal to India with the voynich well-known words, e.g. fire, water, firmament, earth, air (steam).
              The last, as I wrote earlier, can be georgian “oshch’ivari” but also can be derived from russian or ukrainian root “ошпар” (o-sh-p-a-r). There is a russian phrase “ошпарить кипятком”, (o-sh-p-a-r-i-t’ k-ee-p-ja-t-k-o-m), means ‘to scald with boiling water’. ‘to boil’ in russian will be ‘кипеть’ (k-ee-p-e-t’).
              ‘ee’ – sounds like in word ‘seen’. ‘e’ – sounds like in word ‘egg’.
              There are also meets an greek roots, armenian roots, georgian roots, albanian roots, oordoo roots, hindi/punjabi roots, persian roots, arabic roots, gypsies’s roots. It seems to me that the language of manuscript can be an ancient makedonian or baktrian or even proto-indo-europian. It looks for me like a mix of many modern languages.

            • Neticis

              Stephen, I don’t believe Voynich manuscript is written in any of Balto-Slavic language. Voynichese is too different from both — Latvian and Russian (which I know) — to be closely related to them. Therefore Persian (which I don’t know) could be more related.
              I just wonder how many similar roots you can find in words of Indo-European languages.

          • But, in Latvian, ‘fire’ is ‘uguns’. That might have an parallel with ‘oHox’ near the fire drawing on f77r. But I more inclined to consider ‘oHox’ is atash or ae-t-ae-sh, like in most Indo-Aryan langs.

            • Neticis

              Probably “fire” in place of “light” was used in more archaic languages, because fire was only known source of light at that time. So “fire” and “light” were synonyms.
              If you are interested, you can look at somehow “archaic Latvian” in folk songs. E.g. about fire: http://www.dainuskapis.lv/meklet/uguns

        • orun rubacı

          about (akur): “akkor” is a compound word in turkish, means incandescent.
          ak – white
          kor- burning coal or wood that has become fire 🙂
          akkor-incandescent

      • And, maybe, not Akur, but ‘Alum’? From latin ‘lumos’, english ‘a luminary’? Or vice versa, Alum (Akur) has grown to ‘lumos’ and ‘a luminary’ ?

      • MarcoP

        Thank you Stephen! I had not seen Nis=night and Dib-akur=Sun. I agree: this suggests that “akur” is not simply “the Moon” as I initially thought. I have seen that the Indian name “Nishakar” is translated “lord of the night” or “maker of the night” (also in relation with the Lunar god Chandra). Tompson’s dictionary has kur-ta for “creator” and gur for “maker”.

    • This is a peculiar list. What is meant by “the Greeks” I could not say, since most of the names are poor transliterations from the Arabised star-names.
      It was common for writers in Arabic, within the Islamic empire, to refer to all Christians as ‘Greeks’, but even there the ‘Arab’ star-names aren’t seen until the medieval centuries, so I don’t think ancient Greeks are meant. Ptolemy used the Latin descriptive terms, some of which, ‘Arabised’ came back again.

      Also, the wikipedia article, ‘Lunar Mansion’ is pretty good, but I’d take the Nawaa column with caution. Many scholars have written on the anwa, and it is a non-trivial issue with many grey areas which may never be perfectly clear.

      Nineteenth and early twentieth century scholars, especially some from the German school, tended to be a little more dogmatic than the evidence warrants. Neugebauer is one of the scholars whose name is widely known, but whose conclusions are increasingly coming in for revision.

  13. Stephen Bax, I know we had differences in the past over the Voynich and I will be deleting the video regarding why I thought you were wrong, but aside from all the ego we should all work together when ever possible towards a decipherable code for the Voynich Manuscript.

    I have only found one document outside the Voynich which contains voynich letters after many hours searching. I have to do some heavy searching again to find out where I found it. The reason being is that the museum cite for Italian Documents and I remember this was and estate document drawn up by a layer centuries ago, has more documents associated with it in Grosseto.

    Please take a heavy look at this.

    https://fbcdn-sphotos-c-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpa1/t31.0-8/10014489_10202570412773336_540581508_o.jpg

    • Stephen Bax

      I confess that I don’t remember having differences with you, though you might have had some with me 🙂

      I’m sorry to say that to my mind it is not useful to find odd letters in other manuscripts which seem to look like some of those in the Voynich. Unless we can find a set of them representing a full system, such finds are most likely to be coincidence, unfortunately.

      • Daniel White

        Stephen, some of the letters in that text look similar to the “Michitonese” on f116v.

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