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On Wed, May 15, 2019 at 3:35 PM Jörg Rhiemeier <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> I am puzzled
> how such a thing could pass the peer review board of a journal dedicated
> to Romance language studies!


One of the things that entered my mind when reading the abstract a few days
ago was how or why a competent peer review board would countenance
barbarisms like "quintiphthong" and "quadriphthong/quadraphthong" (it's
spelled both ways in the paper!), never mind the non-standard meaning
assigned to -phthong.  Admittedly, I am not an academic and do not know how
the peer review process works.

While looking into this, I find I am no longer able to locate the "who is"
web page for the author, Gerard Cheshire, on the University of Bristol
website.  I don't want to leap to an unwarranted conclusion, but I am sure
I saw it there.  From my memory, Cheshire was listed as a research
associate in evolutionary biology or something akin.  At any rate, it is
clear that this paper is destined for inclusion in the long list of
rejected attempts, and not a very notable attempt at that, as Latin/Romance
decipherments have already been tried.

As for the VMS itself, in general, it's sad to see a number of people
wasting so much of their time on approaches that are already well known to
be useless.  This goes not only for Cheshire but also the guy who thinks
it's in Turkish and all the rest.  As pointed out on the Wikipedia article,
especially useless is any straightforward single-alphabet substitution
attempt to decipher the text into a known natural language.  (From WP: In
1962, cryptanalyst Elizebeth Friedman described such attempts as "*doomed
to utter frustration*" [emph added].)

Here's the takeaway: with a degree of certainty approaching total, you are
not going to come in from the wings without any acquaintance of the history
of decipherment attempts or the peculiar nature of the text and still
single-handedly solve the VMS, like the Lone Ranger riding in with a
six-shooter and a lasso capturing the bad guy.  It's just not going to
happen that way.  Skimming the paper and watching the Turkish-attempt
video, I get no impression that these wannabe crackers have done any real
homework on the difficulty of the problem, such as understanding the
strange distribution of the characters in the words.  In fact, I see no
evidence that these interlopers have done so much as read the WP article.
They are entering territory about which they seem to be entirely clueless,
and then telling the world they have the solution in hand.

If you are fascinated by the VMS and want to contribute to the solution,
then I would start by talking to the Voynich online research community.
They have a basic knowledge that you should not summarily dismiss.  Study
the history of attempts and look at the weird results of statistical
analyses on VMS "word" structure and distributions.  In short, get up to
speed before charging in.

Best of luck, have fun, but don't bet the ranch on finding a solution.

-Mike