Explanation of the approach to translating the Voynich manuscript
This page shows the results of the translation using this approach. These pages are intended as proofs of concept rather than full translations. The first page analyzed is 106-Verso. Please scroll down to the second page analyzed which will be 76 recto. Other pages may follow.

Folio 106 Verso:
This folio is fairly typical of about two dozen folios in the Voynich manuscript which are without accompanying drawings. The great majority of the other pages have illustrations of objects suggestive of alchemy, astrology, botany, or even indecipherable other-worlds. On the other hand the grouping of the manuscript that includes Folio 106-Verso appears to treat the phonology, morphology, and syntax of the language of the manuscript itself, contrasting them with corresponding features of kindred languages. The drawings in this section are few, being limited to the left side of the folia and serving in some cases as paragraph indicators. These pages seem to have a linguistic focus, and they have proved to be the most accessible to linguistic analysis.

This folio contains segments with Germanic cognates of content words operating with 'little' words such as prepositions, conjunctions, and particles to make plausible sentences.

The folio, like the other two dozen folios without drawings, is full of such relationships. This analysis will first show the transliteration of the original character set followed by the possible translation, for example (goθar ŕiðã) meaning "Goths say", and in another example (goθeṇ oã oθeṇ) meaning "in Gothic and in Jute". Repetitions of these and similar sets, buttressed by the format in which lines of text need not completely fill available space and at least some spacing is provided to separate words, provide convincing evidence that this line of analysis is valid.

To be sure the glosses are a highly limited sample but their frequent appearance in this folio suggest some kind of linguistic description of two or even several dialects may be involved, specifically members of the Germanic family referred to as (Gotar) and (Otar). In the enclosed material these have been tentatively glossed, respectively, as "Goths" and "Jutes" without any certainty as to the historical correctness of the citations. The Goths had pretty much disappeared from history by 700 C.E. and the Jutes are, at best, peoples barely mentioned by historians, e.g. "Angles, Saxons, and Jutes" or contained in the geographic term such as "Jutland".

The syntactic frame of the analysis of this folio, see lines six and seven, may be valid. The second and third words in line six (teiṇ ŕtar) appear to make up an adjective-noun phrase as a masculine plural subject, close to Old Norse. The fifth and sixth words in line six (θah ŕθã) have the form of a direct object phrase, though the gender suffix for the plural noun is closer to Old Saxon than to Old Norse. Two points of major interest in this passage have to do with the stress patterning on the one hand, the fifth through seventh words in line seven (ŕoh teṇ ŕotei?) and the eighth and ninth words in line seven (goθei?) and the syntax of comparison on the other hand, the first and second words in line eight (or eiṇ).

The question of stress

There is good reason to suppose that the fifth to seventh words in line seven (ŕoh teṇ ŕoteiṇ) the writer is contrasting an initially stressed phrase with one having a final stress (ŕoh teṇ) versus (ŕoteiṇ). The original script includes the symbol for "h" following "o" in the first example whereas it has an "i" following the "e" in the second example. These apparently are used as lengtheners for back vowels and front vowels, respectively, as well as having the status of letters. It seems likely that it is a question of either the relative loudness of the stressed as against the unstressed syllable or the differences in pitch.

Detailed concordance

The line by line analysis of the 47 lines of this folio will be presented as they become available.


Folio 76 Recto:

This folio contains three paragraph-like segments in which the final line of each does not extend to the right-hand margin. Of special interest is the fact that the first of these 29 lines is accompanied by nine symbols on the left-hand margin of folio which appear to be alphabetic, with eight resembling consonant letters and one vowel letter. Within these lines most of the letters are repeated in the text suggesting a linguistic treatment of the characters in some kind of context.

The two remaining paragraphs are much shorter but like the first set appear to treat linguistic topics. Each of these three paragraphs is headed by what appears to be a particle resembling a preposition which is then cojoined with a longer string of letters, presumably forming nouns. These introductory phrases are on the order of English phrases such as "regarding...", "as for...", and the like. The author or authors of this codex intended to discuss the characters mentioned above as letters representing consonant and vowel sounds of at least one Germanic idiom.

The paragraphs begin with the same two characters which could be a preposition meaning "for" or "as to" followed by a governing noun, perhaps a word having to do with a letter or sound or even a grammar part in the language being described.

The first line of this folio (foθĺ otar ĺifĺðã of ŕðã gohf ĺfãiã) offers a skeletal syntax several elements of which are reminiscent of certain Germanic languages. The second and third words appear to show agreement between a plural noun and a past participle, such as the English cognate "-ed". The fourth word seems like a preposition common in Germanic "of" with the meaning of "from" seems to govern a plural noun in the accusative case, i.e. a direct object form in a nasal "a" or "ã", represented by . This accords quite well with Gothic and Old Norse parallels. Word six is perhaps one form of a preposition, and prefix, very common in the manuscript meaning "with" or "through the agency of". In the Germanic language family the cognate forms "ga-" and "ge-" are usually verbal prefixes with perfective force, while less commmonly these forms are markers for collective nouns, such as the German "machen" (to make), "hat...gemacht" (made), "halten" (to hold), "Gehalt" (contents).

The 14th line beginning with the sixth word (gotar ŕiðã ŕiðã hŕiðã gohĺiðã oθiðã h) shows a patterning of two adjoining words identical in form and a subsequent third word very similar in appearance which may be the main reason students of this manuscript have dismissed the possibility of its having been written in a natural language, yet a case can be made for a showing this to be a meaningful sentence. See the this expanded in the line section on this folio. This line is an excellent illustration of the author's practice of citing word forms for their spelling or pronunciation. It brings out an interesting feature of the Germanic language family whereby some languages have the initial consonant cluster "hr" while some lose the "h", for example Gothic "hrains" and German "rein".

While this folio has a number of syntactic frames similar to the one just described, the main point of interest is the author's linguistic analysis, presumably written in his own language, of another Germanic language or dialect.

Detailed concordance
The line by line analysis of the 47 lines of this folio will be presented as they become available.