Stephen Bax, a Professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Bedfordshire, has posted a paper online giving his partial and provisional identification of 14 of the symbols/clusters of the Voynich alphabetoid thingy and ten words. His guess is that the language is a dialect from the Caucasus region of Western Asia.

He identified the letters by comparing the names of things that can be reasonably clearly identified from the pictures and are obviously labelled. Using as many languages as possible he believes he has found correspondences with some names and the words in Voynichese. The Arabic name for juniper being an example given by New Scientist.


An explanatory video can be found here and the 62-page paper here. I haven't read it or watched the other yet but I may be back to comment on this when I have. I was rather dismissive from the New Scientist article as their picture does not look anything like coriander or Centaurea. Seems like they got the wrong picture as illustration since the picture above from Stephen Bax is clearly a Centaurea.

Stephen Bax is planning on organising a Voynich conference in London in June 2014. "I found this work much more interesting and potentially solid than I expected to," said linguist Claire Bowern of Yale University. The amount of data in the book to work on makes it a hopeful prospect for decoding. "There's oodles of it," said Bowern.