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A Hidden Markov Model for the Linguistic Analysis of the Voynich Manuscript

Instituto Universitario de Matemática Multidisciplinar, Building 8G, 2o Floor, Camino de Vera, Universitat Politècnica de València, 46022 Valencia, Spain
Math. Comput. Appl. 2019, 24(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/mca24010014
Received: 23 November 2018 / Revised: 14 January 2019 / Accepted: 19 January 2019 / Published: 23 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mathematical Modelling in Engineering & Human Behaviour 2018)
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Abstract

Hidden Markov models are a very useful tool in the modeling of time series and any sequence of data. In particular, they have been successfully applied to the field of mathematical linguistics. In this paper, we apply a hidden Markov model to analyze the underlying structure of an ancient and complex manuscript, known as the Voynich manuscript, which remains undeciphered. By assuming a certain number of internal states representations for the symbols of the manuscripts, we train the network by means of the α and β -pass algorithms to optimize the model. By this procedure, we are able to obtain the so-called transition and observation matrices to compare with known languages concerning the frequency of consonant andvowel sounds. From this analysis, we conclude that transitions occur between the two states with similar frequencies to other languages. Moreover, the identification of the vowel and consonant sounds matches some previous tentative bottom-up approaches to decode the manuscript.
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Keywords: Hidden Markov models; mathematical linguistics; Voynich Manuscript Hidden Markov models; mathematical linguistics; Voynich Manuscript
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Acedo, L. A Hidden Markov Model for the Linguistic Analysis of the Voynich Manuscript. Math. Comput. Appl. 2019, 24, 14.

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