I am posting some comments I've written on blogs about invented language. They are being used as notes, which I may condense in the future, extracting a few of the clearest points that seem to come from the texts. When my external harddrive broke down, I realized that I could lose information rather easily. So I'm posting this on my website as a backup, so to speak.


Aug 18 2008

Sign Language and Tapissary

I had a defining realization this morning before arising from bed. Tapissary's relation to Sign Language of the deaf goes deeper than certain vocabulary ties. Sign language (gesticulated) takes on an acrobatic air with directional and timing cues (pauses or extensions). It makes use of a space/time mix.
Tapissary (conceptual) rides along cycles that are the inherent and circumstantial parts of sentences. It shows the condition of relative time.

Sign Language = [gesticulated] space/time
Tapissary = [conceptual] condition/time

So what's the relation? Organic sequence. Sign Language dances in time, while Tapissary glides into time.


Aug 17 2008

The photo above is from a story I am beginning to translate into Tapissary. Alice in Wonderland is listed in the Project Gutenberg as being public domain, and so there should be no problems with copyright issues. However, I want to investigate this further just to make sure.

The colored stickers accompanying some paragraphs are easily spotted reference to the coordinates of a cycle. As I progress in the story, I want to make the cyclic transitions smooth and sensible.


Aug 16 2008

Why I conlang

There was an interesting question on the conlang group today that I wanted to respond to. But as I tend to leave long comments, I decided to add this to my own page, and maybe make a condensed version for the conlang post so I don't come across as a blabber mouth. The question was asking why you conlang. (Conlang means to 'construct' or invent your own language). Here's an answer I'm working on:

I started conlanging when I was a little kid building brightly painted 'countries' with broken bricks, twigs and mud in the yard. I desperately wished to travel to far off lands, such as India, Egypt, Japan, Israel, Italy, France, Arabia, Indonesia, etc... My painted mud creations and invented alphabets made me feel like I was really at the other side of the world. I played with matches for exotic festivals, being very careful my parents didn't find out. I like sci-fi on occasion, but my languages have never been influenced by it ...or by Tolkein, though I understand that Tolkein was an exceptionally creative man, through posts I've read about him on the internet. Perhaps there's a bit of the social anthropologist in me, since my interests revolve around world cultures, philosophy and their art. Another strong pull to languages is my love of systems. I might have become a mechanic, biologist, or physicist as well. As years go by, my curiosity and involvement with systems deepens. I relate to what James posted. It seems to have held true in my case these many years, that the journey takes precedence over the destination. While Tapissary has sat comfortably as a completed language several times during its existence, it gets a grammatical transfusion every so often, to keep the journey in motion. The irony is that my search for the exotic has led me full circle back to my own roots in English. It's not surprising that I came up with a cyclic grammar. I am fascinated with the invisible elements of language. For many years, I've been infusing English with a system that spotlights the physicality and effect of time. I'm thinking of 5 trials: 1. How far can I go beyond the confines of English without crippling it? 2. How much discreet grammar may I add to these 'English' patterns so as to describe Tapissary? 3. Keeping it balanced, so that the grammar doesn't become more 'interesting' or 'central' than the communication itself. 'What' is being said is as important as 'how' it is being said. 4. Keeping the forms simple for linguistic economy. 5. Allowing just enough impracticalities and hypocrisies in the grammar to keep the system spicy.

Aug 8 2008
8 8 8

I didn't realize until late this morning that today is a date composed of a row of eights. 8/8/8. I always like to do something special on interesting numerical dates. Last year, on 7 7 07, I'd made a large adjustment to the cyclic grammar, and called it "Sevens" to commemorate that day. As for the simplified grammar of Tapissary, I came up with the name Base Coat Tapissary, this morning. Then later in the day, taking account of the numerical coincidence, I decided to name the simplified grammar: "Eights".

Recently, I've been writing my entries in Sevens. But for a change, today I'm writing the text in Eights.

Aug 10 response:

Your question was very helpful :) I have a weakness and preoccupation for interesting and unique dates such as 7/7/07, 8/8/08, etc... They line up in mysterious replication, almost like a winning slot machine. But logically speaking, Sevens and Eights have nothing to do with Tapissary, except that I made some major adjustments to my language on those dates. The language itself was invented well before these dates. Tapissary began in 1977, and I created the cycles for it a decade later in 1987, so they've been around for quite a while.

Actually, if I felt compelled to apply a number to the grammar, it would make more sense to bring in 'six'. That is because there are six coordinates which compose each cycle in Tapissary. Their general qualities are:

1. material
2. construction / interaction
3. completion (result) / pose
4. usage / wear
5. history (memory) / shadow
6. void

The enjoyable part of working with a cycle is how the 6 coordinates intermingle throughout a communication. They can be coupled, giving 36 pair, and they can also reverse direction, doubling the count. Though I refine my understanding and usage of the cycles over the years, they have remained 6 in number and have retained their essential qualities since 1987.

Aug 13 response

I really got a lot out of writing a response to your question... I’ve been writing and rewriting for two days now. But I keep hitting the same wall. My explanations are too technical. And that won’t do, because the cycles are simple, and they should be described in a like manner. I will keep making more drafts. A short, clear text will be necessary when I create my final lessons.
In the meantime, just below this paragraph is the work I’ve done in response to your question. It may be no clearer than my original answer to you, because I get so carried away with detail and abstraction... love the stuff. I really enjoy writing about cycles whether I can use it for my lesson project or not. You don’t have to read the whole thing. It’s kind of long, and one of my goals is to cut the length down considerably as I continue my edits.


In order to answer your question about why there are 6 coordinates in a cycle, I should first show what a cycle means in my language.


Time exists in everything we do, think, or feel.

The passage of time contains events.

The events are in a certain order of when they occurred.

Events are naturally linked to each other in the thread of time, and certain clusters of them may be more closely related.

A related cluster of events will include a beginning, a middle, and an end. (such as: going to the store, buying groceries, returning home with groceries).

A related cluster of events is called a cycle.

Therefore, everything we do is part of a cycle.


In Tapissary, there are 6 coordinates that compose each cycle. While inventing this system, I was looking for the least number of coordinates that would let me represent all the basic parts of any cycle. The first six digits satisfied the qualification. Notice the progression from the first coordinate to the sixth. 1 through 3 build up to a result, while 4 through 6 wind down to an end.

1. material
2. construction / interaction
3. completion (result) / pose
4. usage / wear
5. history (memory) / shadow
6. void


(This paragraph got a little wordy again. You can skip it if the technicalities get in the way.)

Cycles denote relative time, and are not specifically the past, present or future tenses. Rather, they depend on the conjugated verbs you place inside of them to determine the “when” of an event. For example, if a cycle is aligning with the phrase “went to the store”, you know you are in the past tense. If the phrase is “will go to the store”, you are in the future tense. That kind of specific time notation is the role of verb tenses, not the cycles.
A cycle expresses a different aspect of sequence: that of the physicality and effect of time. With this unification of time and effect, time begins to take on form, by virtue of the cycles. Because Tapissary is a glyphic language of pictures, it was only natural to devise an application capable of molding grammar into conceptual shapes. The form I speak of is the way one orchestrates strings of sentences into their cycles. There are smooth choices or dissonant ones. It is also a little like music, where ‘keys’ progress throughout a piece in a harmonic manner, (correlating to the orientation coordinate that can last for many sentences), and the ‘notes’ (coordinates that fluctuate with the details of each sentence) which carry the melody. So much for parallels. What I’m actually hoping to convey, is that the relative time of the cycles is more than grammatical. It has conceptual shape as it travels.


The cycle of reading a post on LJ:
1. You have arrived on an LJ page, and there is text before you.
2. You read the text.
3. You finish the portion of text that interests you.
4. You think about, or analyze what you have read.
5. Perhaps later, you think back on certain points you'd read about.
6. At some time, the text is pretty much forgotten.

From here, the cyclic grammar expands into pairing and modes, but that’s for another day :)

Aug 10 post to conlangs group

Halloween deadline
I've just begun to write an outline for teaching Tapissary by way of a story. By Oct 31, I'm hoping to have the outline completely filled in, so that I may assemble the book in November and December of this year. As the story evolves chapter by chapter, Tapissary's grammar will be examined. I also plan to accompany each chapter with a short film if my software holds up.

The story will most likely entail 12 chapters. In each chapter, there will be several lessons, addressing grammar. Exercises will be included for practice. The story will present a form of my language that is called Simplified Tapissary. It is a 'base coat', though stands fully functional as a language on its own. If there is an interest in the 12 simple chapters, then I plan to add onto it with another story where I examine Tapissary's cyclic grammar which spins into the 'base coat'. That is more involved both grammatically and conceptually, so the project would take longer to create with more detailed lessons.

The awkward phrases in the examples shown below (please note that these are exercises and not the text of chapter one) are due to the limits I set for chapter one. At this early stage, I am only using one verb, TO BE, and it is in its 3rd person singular form 'IS'. The article 'THE' is absent at this point, as it is a multi-formed entity in Tapissary, which will be offered in chapters 3 and 5. Lesson One's focus is on nouns, the plural, and adjectives. But I still wanted to start telling the story from the very first page regardless of such limitations.

After 30 years of working with Tapissary, and having made rushed or disjointed lesson plans for it on my website, it feels good to finally have a full plan in the works. The chapters are already plotted and paired with their grammatical subjects, so now I just need to fill it in, and be flexible with the occasional reorganization of the vocabulary and material. Therefore, the images you see here are drafts, and may or may not show up in the final version.

8 12 08 response:

Thank you, s_v! And as for my exhibit in June, it worked out well, considering it was on the 6th floor with a rather temperamental elevator. I was told that during the 3 week run of the show, around 200 people braved the barriers! It's surprising anybody showed up, since Chelsea is packed with far more easily accessible galleries, numbering about 300 or so, and the heat was really obtrusive in NY at that time. I'm still waiting to see if I can get some movie film of the exhibit while it was up in the gallery. I wanted to post it on YouTube. That's why I've been waiting to report. The guest book mailed to me was a treat. There were very nice comments about the show, but also some remarks in various scripts which I didn't understand in Arabic, Hebrew, Tamil?, Japanese (I could understand most of that one though), and a few people even used a couple Tapissary glyphs embedded in their comments. That was a real compliment! I consider a guest book to be the dessert after an exhibit closes. I love reading the feedback and the pictures people draw inside of it. I've noticed that putting up a conlang exhibit by its very nature, encourages this sense of freedom and experimentation by the visitors. People can become very playful and creative in their guest book entries when the exhibit they visit is itself composed of exploration.

aug 12 response:

A long time ago, I had been playing around with the concept of numbers, and came up with a system that describes a simple cycle. After some trial and error, I narrowed the lowest common denominator down to numbers 1 through 6. With these six attributes, a full range of description can be formulated. In 1987, I began embedding the concept of cycles into Tapissary. Basically, the cyclic grammar follows a sense of movement. Every thought you have, every sentence you speak or write fits into progression (whether it is active, reversed, or stale). Everything emanates from someplace within its own cycle; at the beginning, middle or end of it. In Tapissary, the cycle is segmented into 6 coordinates. Instead of limiting the scope to the temporal categories of beginning, middle and end, the coordinates expand on that same sense of time, coupled with the stuff of experience, relation, and identity. I translated this into a simple system. Here are the basic qualities of a cycle:

1. material
2. construction / interaction
3. completion (result) / pose
4. usage / wear
5. history (memory) / shadow
6. void

Applying combinations of the six coordinates will yield the sense of movement; the direction of the cycle. I am currently in a specific cycle as I write to you: 'the cycle of explaining what a cycle is'. Because I am interacting with you, and trying to construct a picture for you to understand, I would classify this in the second coordinate. While my whole entry is in the spirit of the second coordinate, you might notice that there are also accents, such as in the first line, where I am in the 5th coordinate of memory and history. There are actually several coordinate changes throughout these paragraphs, though it is not necessary to call on all of them unless the changes are significant. The basic principle is ‘construction’, and the other coordinate(s) should be utilized with a sense of restraint, so as not to become overworked or confusing. When dealing with the cyclic grammar, it is impossible to have a good style if you only deal with one sentence at a time. This would produce a disjointed and bumpy text or speech. Because movement is involved, the cyclic rhythm of the story or communication needs to make sense over its entirety. You might think of the cycles as ‘long grammar’, where a single coordinate in some stories, may last as the base (I call this a ‘key’) for several paragraphs in a row, or even 100 pages or more, dotted with accent coordinates.

I really enjoyed writing this response to your question, but I’m coming from a subjective understanding of my work, so it’s hard for me to judge if I’m explaining things clearly enough for others to understand. Hope my response makes sense.

aug 13 post:

S_v sorry, I'm not sure I understood your question about other conlangs. Prior to Tapissary, I'd made other invented languages that were spoken, such as Slavamazic and Alei. But that was over 30 years ago. I've been concentrating nearly exclusively on Tapissary since that time. There are a few versions of Tapissary, if that's what you meant, including the simplified one, the cyclic one, and two spoken versions (one based on a Franco-Slavamazic vocabulary, and the other on English vocabulary). But they all use the same 8,000 glyphs regardless of the different grammars and pronunciations. Actually, I take that back. Now that I think of it, I HAVE invented other languages in more recent years, but nearly all of them have been discarded. The cyclic grammar is an example of a rare survivor. It is one of my invented systems that was preserved, because in 1987 I grafted it into Tapissary. It has remained there ever since, somewhat recognizable to its original state, but also much evolved over the years as I refine it.

...This page begun Aug 17, 2008...



Reference Notes on Tapissary