References to the f77v labels in bio section


Page f77v of the Voynich manuscript has five figures of naked women standing in "bathtubs", with water to their knees and their hands stuck into "tubes" from where "water" flows.

(The bathtubs actually look more like organs, and the tubes could be veins or bowels. In particular, the top figure is reminiscent of an uterus, complete with Fallopian tubes and ovaries. But who knows...)

Some of the figures have labels, which are barely readable in the scanned image I got. Jim Reeds provided the following transcription into Currier:

    Currier      FSG          HOP          Comments
    -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------------------------
    OFAN/AFOE    ODAN ADOE    oHam aHoe    North figure; NE of left lady
    OPOE/ZC89    OHOE SC89    oHoe zcc8a   North figure; under left vein
    OEFS8OE      OEDT8OE      oeHcc8oe     North figure; NE of center lady
    OPOEOR       OHOEOR       oHoeor       North figure; under right vein
    ORSC8AE      ORTC8AE      orccc8ae     North figure; NW of right lady
    2ORORAE      2ORORAE      zororae      West  figure; above lady
    OECOC8N      OECOC8N      oecoc8m      West  figure; on bathtub
    OFA          ODA          oHa          East  figure; above lady

The FSG and HOP translations are mine; the latter is the error-tolerant encoding which I happen to be using these days.

I have searched for references to these labels in the main text of the biological section (f75r--f84v; Currier's language B, hand 2). Below is a report on what I have found.


For each label word, and for some similar words, I have printed: the word, the total number of occurrences in the "bio" section, and a string of digits. Each digit is the number of occurrences of the word in each block of 100 consecutive words, as in the word distribution map that I posted previously. The corresponding VMs page numbers are indicated above the digit string. Keep in mind that the figures are on page f77v.


I view these statistics as mildly encouraging: most of the labels can be found in the text, and in several cases there is a cluster of occurrences on page f77v or soon thereafter.

On the positive side, I think this data supports the hypothesis that Voynichese is a natural language (as opposed to a complex cypher or random text), and that the "words" are indeed words (i.e. units of meaning).

On the negative side, I am worried by the apparent inconsistency in spelling and word spacing in the manuscript itself. These observations give some more weight to the "ignorant scribe" hypothesis (that the Beinecke VMs is a copy, made by one or more scribes who could not understand the original).

Last edited on 97-08-08 by stolfi