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Inspired by a question from JLee


You arrived at Siberia where, just one month ago, excavations discovered a civilization that existed and traded for hundreds of years, developing an elegant language system over time. Previous works show that their alphabet contains only 12 letters, but both their grammar and vocabulary are still unknown.

In this excavation, your team discovered important documents: three Birch Bark Manuscripts, believing to be translations of the Bible. Knowing which passage it refers to, you can easily translate the language.

However, you also know that many other teams of archaeologists were racing to be the first to translate the language and would do anything to thwart others' process, including inserting fake documents into the site. You know that at least one document is genuine. Forgery detection techniques such as carbon dating might help, but any lab works require you to fly to Moscow and slow down your progress. With only the manuscript content at hand, can you figure out which one is most likely to be genuine?

Document 1

AДUK UИ ХPUДД ДГИAP UГЯИ ШГAUХAB ДAUK UХOХГP UUP ЯГГИ ДOPO ДЯШ ДХKИД ЯЯХBA BДИГ AХШO AЯK ДKИ И UOO ЯГЯ AЯAГ UAДP ХИKШГA UOUA A BAAPKK AP И BГДA ЯШ ДГЯХ KДOЯЯХOUИ ДГP И POO ИДДOKB KХAOOГ Х K ГAДИ ГГХ OO ШAOЯU ГAU UДД OPИЯ UШИ UKBД ЯГU ЯДЯU KГPШШ ХЯХИ KДХ ШPB И PШO ГДK BГХ ГХPAP ДKГKU KШИK ИИUХ UЯДU OAГИ BAAХ Х BШ ЯOBГ AГХ ДЯP BШ AAO AДГЯU B BДГЯШЯИ Ш ИOГД B BШAШ UKUB KPB ГKPPOBBГШ ЯГOPP ГAХ ШOДK UД ШИBХB ГAU ЯШAГ BU KИИИK AU ХШИДЯ O BOBUA ЯЯPOХKШ BO ХШUХ ИUШAШ ШЯOИPД OГPBOХK ИШAД ХДД Х OOA ДK ХГШХK ЯB ДШШ ШKЯЯ ЯAХP ХГД ХШ AA ЯЯUKХ PBЯ ГЯKИPO ГOХ ХИД ИBХBB AШХB ГPШPUO ЯДU B OДГUИUДAU

Document 2

ШХAХ Ш ИA ЯГЯХИP A BГ ИA ЯШШAЯAAЯA Х ИA KШДШ ИХOХUA Ш ИГ ИAДAИA ИГ ИPBP Ш ИA ЯAДA UШИШХДШ ИA BГA ЯШХ Х KХХ AХ ИA ХДAХДA Ш ИA UPДAХИГЯAUA Ш ИAДAИA A PA ИPИAUA ХA ЯШХ ИA ГЯГДA Ш ИГ AШ Г ДШШ ХA ДA BAИA AХДAДA AKAP BГ ИГ ИPШИШA Ш ИA ШUГUШ A BГ ИA BAДAШ BГ ИA BAИAP ШUГ A AШUГ Г ЯШШKAХ ИAUAХBA ХA ИГ ИAДAИA Х ЯГUP ШUГ ХA ИAДA ЯAДA ЯГ ИAUAХBA BA ИГ ИAДAAХ APKPДХ A Х ШUГ BA ИГ ИAДAAХ BA AГДA Ш ДA APKPДХ Х ИA A Х ЯAДA ХA AХ AШUГ ЯШХ Г ЯШШХ ХA AИP ИA ЯШШKAХ BA UPДA Ш ИA ЯШШKAХ Г ИP AДA Х ИA A Х ЯAДA ХA AХ ИГ ИAUAХBA UA ДШA Х ДA ИAДAИA AKAP ИA ЯAAUГUГ AДA Х ИГUA APKPДХ ИГХA APKPДХ A BГ ИШДA APKPДХ ХЯШ A PA ДШA ИA ЯШХ AДA Х ИШДA APKPДХ

Document 3

ИOШХЯ ХИИ ИO ХOИO ДAO OИГХИИИ ДИШЯ OOИЯOИХИA P OA И OOAK ИPШ И ИЯИ ИХД ЯИХ A AИИ BЯ KИ UД PГХИ ГPO ДДOЯ OOХ ЯAИ Д A ГХ Г Я KKД ДPЯИИ ЯИИU OГГХД И ГИAИU ДХ ИK ИИД ИИХ ИИAUK ИK ГИO OИ ИU И ЯU ИИ ИЯИ ЯИИ AГЯ ИPГ ХИ K O И ГKД ЯИИO Г OХP ХГK ДAO PИ Ш ИШ ЯU ШГИИ И ИAИ ХДИ ДAO ИИХИ ИГ ИИP ЯU ЯГХ ХAДO ДХИ И ХИИ ЯХA ШЯИ ИK ИИГДД ХAДU KИO KГ ГPOИЯГЯ OИ ИХ И ИГ AШ Ш Х ЯU ИAД ДAO ИДИХДЯ Х ИOKГ ИU И И ГД ИГUИ ХИU O AДKД ДИ ДИИИ ШИ ИХГИЯ И ИШ OДИ ГUAA OЯИШOД ИU ГЯЯ ХДХИ ХOИP ИK UOГИ Ш AP И UХИ ЯOГ ЯOИ ИИХ Х ХKШ Д Х OA ИOГ ГOХЯИГ Я И ИХИO K OХХ И O ДГШГ ЯД K ИИ Г AO ХГШ OA OOOДХ OХU ИЯГИГ UO UИИГ O Ш OИ ХШOХД KХИИИ ГДИ Д И ИИГЯAOГO Г K Д ИХИ ИU OA OИ

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I think the real document is

Document 2

since

it has more repeated words than the others, which seems consistent with real text. Additionally, plotting word frequencies and ranks on a log-log plot shows a straight line, conforming to Zipf's law:
graph

The first document's letter frequencies are uniform which suggest that it was randomly generated.

The third document has reasonable letter frequencies, but the only repeated words are short ones composed from common letters, which makes it seem fake too.

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    $\begingroup$ I use cipher tag because to solve this puzzle requires knowledge usually related to cipher solving such as rot13(serdhrapl nanylfvf) $\endgroup$ – Minh Tran Jun 6 '18 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ That's what I was thinking, but I wasn't completely sure. $\endgroup$ – internet_user Jun 6 '18 at 20:36
  • $\begingroup$ I like this, it's probably more accurate than my guess. However, some semitic languages have one letter words. For example, "and" in both hebrew and arabic is a single letter, which may mean rot13(Qbphzrag Guerr) may be the correct document based on that logic. $\endgroup$ – Joe-You-Know Jun 6 '18 at 20:59
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My guess:

document 2

because:

both document 1 (line 7, word 3) and document 3 (line 1, word 6) have at least one word with three consecutive letters, which is highly unorthodox for most languages.

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I believe the most likely document to be authentic is

Document 1

Here is my reasoning

Document 1 is the only document to list all twelve characters of the alphabet more than once. Document 2 lists O only one time, and Document 3 lists B only one time. I don't think this is a coincidence.

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    $\begingroup$ In an average English sentence, the letter X will probably only appear once, if it does at all. $\endgroup$ – internet_user Jun 6 '18 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ Of course, that's assuming this language is English which it's not. $\endgroup$ – Joe-You-Know Jun 6 '18 at 20:16
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    $\begingroup$ @Joe-You-Know I think what he is trying to say is that just because an excerpt from the English language doesn't contain a certain letter, doesn't mean it's an invalid excerpt. For example, I didn't use the letter 'z' in this comment..until now that is XD. This would, of course, apply to any language (even a made up one). $\endgroup$ – Colton Jun 6 '18 at 20:57
  • $\begingroup$ I do see that point, which is why I like internet_user's answer better than my own. I just thought it was an interesting coincidence (or maybe not) that both documents only had one letter each that was hardly used. $\endgroup$ – Joe-You-Know Jun 6 '18 at 21:01

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