2018-02-02 05:28:45 UTC
Two computer scientists at the University of Alberta say they believe the Voynich MS is written in Hebrew.
As part of a project to investigate ambiguities in human language they decided to compare the V MS with samples of 400 different languages into which the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has been translated into.
Their first "guess" was Arabic but they've settled on Hebrew and have published a translation of the first sentence which sort of makes sense:
“She made recommendations to the priest, man of the house and me and people."
They claim the MS in encoded using alphagrams, a technique used to construct puzzles, in which one phrase is defined by another.
As a check they plan to apply the algorithms they have developed on other, already successfully translated ancient texts. They have achieved 97% accuracy on modern texts.
The actual paper can be accessed from here (no paywall):
Is it fair to compare alphagrams to the elliptical ways alchemists would describe their recipes- "white feather" to indicate oxide of tin or "yellow flowers" for elemental sulfur, and so forth? (Yes, I still think there's an alchemical connection.)