LINGUIST List 3.94

Fri 31 Jan 1992

FYI: Voynich, Aborig. Documents, Reversing, IPA

Editor for this issue: <>


  1. Jacques Guy, A linguistic enigma
  2. David G Nash, AIATSIS Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive catalogue
  3. William Dowling, Unix wordsort
  4. Henry Rogers, New IPA font For Mac

Message 1: A linguistic enigma

Date: Wed, 29 Jan 92 14:28:10 ESA linguistic enigma
From: Jacques Guy <>
Subject: A linguistic enigma

In 1912 an American antique book dealer and collector by the name of
Voynich found in the Villa Mondragone near Rome a manuscript on vellum
in an unknown script. That manuscript, known as "the Voynich
Manuscript" has resisted all attempts at decipherment.

Following a multiple posting on the net by John Baez, a mathematician,
an interest group was formed last December with the avowed purpose of
solving the enigma and having a facsimile reproduction of the
manuscript published.

About half the manuscript is available in computer-readable form

Only one thing is almost certain about the Voynich manuscript: it is
not written in a cipher.

To find more, send a message to for Jim Gillogly
to put you on the mailing list, or explore the directory pub/jim by anonymous
ftp to, where you will find the transliterated corpus, archives
of our discussions, and assorted software tools, including a postscript font
for printing the Voynich characters, and a utility to display them in text
mode on PC's equipped with a VGA or an EGA.
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Message 2: AIATSIS Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive catalogue

Date: Wed, 29 Jan 92 17:16:03 ESAIATSIS Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive catalogue
From: David G Nash <>
Subject: AIATSIS Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive catalogue

Appended for the LINGUIST listserv is the latest version of the text
of the catalogue of machine-readable material held at the Australian
Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

The archive provides a service to researchers in the field of
Australian Aboriginal Studies. It offers a free service of secure
long term storage of electronic data. It is available to researchers,
subject to deposit and access conditions. For further information see
the catalogue on the listserv.

Contact: Nick Thieberger <>
 <> (within Australia)

[Moderators' note: The list of Australian aboriginal documents is
available on the server. To get the file, send a message to: (if you are on the Internet)
 listservtamvm1 (if you are on the Bitnet)
The message should consist of the single line:
 get aborig cat linguist
You will then receive the complete file.]
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Message 3: Unix wordsort

Date: Wed, 29 Jan 92 09:45:38 ESUnix wordsort
From: William Dowling <willuunet.UU.NET>
Subject: Unix wordsort

It is probably worth pointing out that the two proposals for "reverse sorting"
a wordlist:
(A) rev|sort|rev [contributed by (Tim F O'Donoghue)]; and
(B) sort -r applied to a sorted, uniq'ed wordlist [contributed by
Martin Wynne <>] differ in substance.
For example, if (A) is applied to a file that contains
it returns
while if (B) is applied to the same file, it returns
The -r option for sort reverses sort's collating sequence; it has no effect on
the sequence of characters within each word.
The (A) method seems to be what the author of the awk script
[Chris Culy <>] had in mind by "reverse sort."
Will Dowling (
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Message 4: New IPA font For Mac

Date: Wed, 29 Jan 1992 11:35:11New IPA font For Mac
From: Henry Rogers <>
Subject: New IPA font For Mac

PalPhon is an extension of the Palatino typeface to include phonetic
symbols. It includes two fonts: the basic one is PalPhon, and a secondary font
PalPiRoman contains additional symbols. PalPhon is arranged so that
you can type ordinary prose and phonetic symbols without changing
fonts. It includes all symbols from the 1989 IPA revision plus others
that linguists often use. A wide variety of diacritics is available--
in three sizes actually, to centre over characters of varying widths.
A number of symbols and diacritics used in speech pathology are also included.

PalPhon is available by anonymous ftp from the Michigan archives
( Look for the linguistics/fonts/macintosh
folder. At present only the Macintosh version is available (PostScript
and Truetype), but we hope to have the IBM and NeXT versions available
soon. Two text files are included to help you locate what where
symbols are found on the keyboard.

PalPhon is free.

I am still working on it in odd moments of spare time. If you have
problems or thoughts on improvement, please send me a message.

Henry Rogers
6072 Robarts Library
Department of Linguistics
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ont.
M5S 1A1
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