Although not a subscriber to Cham’s Curve-Line System, in which he proposes that the strokes which look like [e] and [i] are fundamental to the Voynich script and text, there is an underlying nature of those strokes which is unexplained.
Consider some basic points, true for both the [e] and [i] glyphs:
- They can freely occur in sequences of two or more. Other glyphs are rarely doubled and never tripled.
- They rarely occur at either the start or end of words.
- Many other glyphs seem to be composed of [e] or [i] with another stroke added.
- They rarely occur before glyphs containing each other. So [e] is unlikely to come before a glyph containing [i] and [i] is unlikely to come before a glyph containing [e].
- They appear in the same word less than might be expected.
Yet, of course, they appear in totally different “slots” in words. Apart from a handful of places where they both occur (ostly after [o]) and a number of places where neither occurs, they’re almost in complementary distribution. I would be interested in discovering if any common words contrast [e] or [i], or whether they’re quite predictable on context alone.