June 15–17, Budapest, Hungary
The language of the Rohonc Codex
Organizers: Levente Zoltán KIRÁLY, Gábor TOKAI
In 2018 Király and Tokai published an article in Cryptologia in which they announced a cracking of the code of the Rohonc Codex, or more precisely, the intrigung success of translating most of it in a word-by-word manner. They ignored the inner characteristics of the words (tokens) of the writing, and even the language of the text, using mostly the drawings in the manuscript, text boundaries and alleged numbers in the text for narrowing the semantic range of textual units down to the words’ (tokens’) level.
Their publication, although methodically relatable to the translation of ancient texts (say, Aramaic or Coptic), was duly mistrusted for multiple reasons.
First, the proposed solution, the “key”, which in our case is a dictionary of the codex’s translated words (tokens), has not been published, only a few samples of interlinear translations. This made the verification of their claim impossible.
Second, there is a justifiable general mistrust towards any translation which does not identify the language underlying the code beforehand.
The authors’ answer to the first objection is making the dictionary publicly available online. The link is going to be distributed in January 2020.
The second problem is of different nature. Even learning a foreign language without linguistic or cryptographic guidance is possible, if the context provides with enough support. For example, researchers of ancient languages have to rely on such a competence when interpreting monolingual ancient texts (i. e. untranslated to a better known language). Then it is the task of the linguists to discover and describe the rules that govern that language.
Király and Tokai claim to have learned the language of the Rohonc Codex to considerable extent. They have also outlined the basic phenomena of its grammar and syntax, which is being prepared for publishing. For those interested in this workshop a handout is to be circulated with all the significant grammatical observations that can be clearly observed throughout the whole writing.
The workshop will consist of the following parts:
More information about the workshop will be given in the end of January 2020.
Király, Levente Zoltán; Tokai, Gábor (2018). “Cracking the Code of the Rohonc Codex". Cryptologia. 42 (4): 285–315. doi:10.1080/01611194.2018.1449147
Last update 2019-12-19