Please pardon my dust, this page is under HEAVY construction…


All languages have grammar, but Tapissary has two layers of it, the basic shown here, and the cyclic is shown on another page. For an understanding of how the language functions, it is a good place to start here.

As I build this basic grammar page, explanations of various parts of speech will be described. One of the elements that may stick out is how concerned Tapissary is with space. This is natural, as I began creating it in 1977 while learning American Sign Language.

“An Interesting Word in a Book”

Questions in Tapissary do not reverse the verb and subject as they do in English. “But what is that word? What does it mean?” become ‘But that word be what? It mean what?’

There! Oh! Is it a fly? becomes ‘There! Oh! It be a fly?’

My thanks to the guys in German class who posed for the sketch above.

NOTE: as I construct this page, I’m posting some of the more advanced features first. If you are looking for the most basic things such as how to set up a simple sentence, my goal is equally to address that. In the meantime, here’s a teaser: you don’t have to worry about verb conjugation. I read, you read, he read, she read. I be, you be, she be, it be, etc… The only case present in Tapissary is the genitive (showing possession such as the teacher’S book, YOUR car, etc). No other cases exist, not even for the pronouns, such as in English, you say ‘I like HIM’. In Tapissary, you say‘I like HE’, and ‘please help ME’ becomes ‘please help I’. With this said, there is a semi-exception called the ‘Deputy Accusative’. It does not function along traditional lines of the accusative case. It is described lower down on this page.

Here are some more simple phrases:


To hear the 7 sentences above spoken in Tapissary, click the video.




Before getting into the features of space, I will describe a device present in Tapissary that requires a little bit of dissection. Many languages use prefixes and suffixes, but here you will see that Tapissary often enjoys digging right into the core of the vocabulary words and creating infixes. I like to think of it as an anatomical approach. This is evident in prepositions, verb tenses, the negative, and the plural. To construct an infix, the accented syllable of the word becomes the starting point. As far as finding the accented syllable, Tapissary is very regular in its rules. The tonic accents fall at the end of each word, unless there is a doubled consonant. In such cases, the vowel before the double consonant is accented. I’ll use some English words as samples to make it easier for you to see what is actually going on. First, I highlight the accented syllable “perFORmance”, “HElicopter”, “RUby”. To make the plural, a W is placed after the accented vowel. This gives performances = perFOWRmance, helicopters = HEWlicopter, and rubies = RUWby.

Now for some examples in Tapissary:

Helicopter = xelicopptra Helicopters = xelicowpptra

Ruby = rubi Rubies = rubiw

The infixes for verb tenses and prepositions follow a similar pattern to the plural, but there will be an additional step. As mentioned above, the first step is to find the accented vowel. Let’s use the word xépballo, which means gift. The accent comes before the double consonant, so that the A is the accented vowel. The next step is to pull apart the word at that vowel, retaining the accented A on both the first part and second part of the divided word. The operation looks like this: xépba + allo. The preposition from the chart above can then be inserted between these two parts of the word, giving this result: xépba + pr + allo. The pr is the preposition meaning for. In other words, this is a gift FOR someone. Notice how the 3 parts of the word come into one finished word, retaining the accented syllable before the double consonant: xépbaprallo. Another example using ruby. That is rubi in Tapissary, and as there are no double consonants, the tonic accent comes on the last syllable, which is i. Splitting the word at the accented syllable, we get: rub + i, but remember that the accented i is attached to both ends of the split, giving rubi + i. The preposition will fit snuggly into the middle, and if we use FOR again, which is PR, the formula renders this word: rubi + pr + i. Rubipri, a ruby that is for someone or something. The accent falls on the last syllable. Here’s the finished formula: ACCENTED VOWEL + infix + SAME ACCENTED VOWEL. Let’s use it with the construction AT. In Tapissary, prepositions are always expressed in pairs. I am who is at someplace, and the school is that someplace that receives me. The infix for AT is ‘t’. The infix for CONTAINING/RECEIVING is ‘h’.

School = jcoulli I = yë I at = yëtë I am at the school = yëtë ir tö jcouhoulli.

Library = citabiñ I am at the library = yëtë ir tö citabiñhiñ.

The same with the verbs. The future tense is the infix ‘J’. Again, I’m using English words so it’s easier to see the internal changes of the word.

I will remember it = I remejember it. You will believe me = You beliejieve me.

The infix for the past progressive is the infix ‘ND’.

I was memorizing it = I mendemorize it. You were believing me = You beliendieve me.

And some examples in actual Tapissary:

remember = tonamos I will remember it = yë tonamojos il.

believe = bishvil You were believing me = siñ bishvindil yë.

Note: the formula: vowel + H + vowel, can be simplified to: vowel + vowel. Therefore, citabiñhiñ becomes citabiiñ. When this vowel + vowel structure comes at the end of a word, such as the example here, then the h sound which is not written, comes at the very end of that word and is pronounced. It would sound like: citabiiñh.


There are two ways to form the negative.

1) You can add sy or syë at the end of a verb. This older style (historically an added s at the end of a verb) is becoming outdated.

2) The more commonly used negative is formed by way of a‘broken infix’. The rest of this section addresses its formation.

A negative part of speech in Tapissary has its accented syllable broken. Since the negative negates whatever word it describes, be it a verb, noun, or adjective, you kind of break it apart then reassemble it into its new form. Take the accented vowel (or diphthong) of the word and exchange its place with the consonant or consonant cluster that follow it. If the word ends in a vowel as in the examples here, then the preceding consonant (or consonant cluster) is that which is switched.

Negated words ending with an accented vowel:

Have – xa

Not have – ax

Car - thota

No car - thoat

Book - cipbiñ

No book - ciiñpb

Notice - ilañ

Not notice - iañl

Happy - ënë

Unhappy - ëën

Unhappily - ëënla

Negated words ending with a consonant:

If two or more consonants come together and if they may be too hard to pronounce in their new positions, add the ë at the joint. For instance, pie is purtarj. If you want to say no pie, then you break the word apart like so, purt+arj > purt+rja > purtjra. While this might not present a problem of pronunciation for some people, it is a rather heavy consonantal cluster. By placing the ë between the two clusters seen in this example, it is easier to pronounce and hear. Purtrja would yield purtërja.

Other infixes do not conflict with the negative. On this word for pie, for instance, you can add the plural, and a preposition. The same rules described about other infixes apply without any modification to their position. It is entirely regular.


A) on accented vowels on the last syllable.

Pie – purtarj

No pie – purtërja

No pies – purtërjaw

No pies at – purtërjataw

… … … … … …

B) On accented vowels that are not the last syllable.

Picture - pittour

No picture - pëttiour

No pictures - pëwttiour

No pictures in - pëydrëwttiour


Squeeze – caddig

Not squeeze – cëddaig

Did not squeeze - cënëddaig

Will not be squeezing - cëjdëddaig



Explanation in the making…


explanation texts in the making…


Prepositions come in pairs. There is the user of the preposition, and the receiver or container of that user. For instance, “I sit on the chair”. I am the one who is atop something, and the chair is what receives me from its position below me. “You go to the library”. You are the one who is headed toward someplace, and the library is the place that will receive your arrival. “The cat is in the cabinet”. The cat is who is inside something, while the cabinet contains her. One applies any of the prepositions in the chart above, onto the user of the sentence, and the receiver for all of them is CONTAIN seen on the graph. You may notice that there are only 16 prepositions above, and the 17th being CONTAIN. These are some of the most common, however, for the remaining prepositions, you use TO for instances when movement from one place to another is used, plus the other preposition which is not on the chart. “The cat went around the house”. Around is not in the chart above, but you will use TO in the phrase because a motion going from one place to another is indicated. This gives: “The to-cat went AROUND the contain-house”. How about “The cat sat around the house”. We are still using the word AROUND, however this time, it does not show movement from one place to another, the cat is just sitting there. So, you would say “The in-cat sat AROUND the contain-house”. While the preposition TO is used to show movement from one place to another in conjunction with those prepositions not on the chart, the preposition IN is used in conjunction with prepositions which do not move from one location to another.


For çelloglpyphs that are made of two easily separable components that do not touch each other, the prepositions in the above chart are inserted right into the center of that çelloglyph. For those that are not so cleanly divided into two pieces, the preposition is placed next to the çelloglyph in the manner illustrated in the chart, where the X represents the indivisible çelloglyph.

As for the pronunciation, whether the written çelloglyph is divisible or not, the accented syllable will be the place to insert one of the prepositions in the above chart. Remember that the tonic accent always comes on the last syllable of a word unless there is a double consonant, in which case, the accent precedes the double consonant. Cat = xatoul. The tonic accent falls on TOUL. To split the tonic accent, split it in two right at the vowel: XATOUL becomes XATOU + OUL. See how the accented vowel is doubled, so that it remains on the first half as well as the second half? Now, you can insert the preposition from above. Let’s use IN, which is ydr in Tapissary. XATOU + YDR + OUL = XATOUYDROUL. The word for car is thota. The accented vowel is the A. THOTA + contain + A gives, THOTAHA. this is the car which contains the cat who is inside of the vehicle. The H by the way can be dropped for simplicity. THOTAA. The H is still pronounced but at the very end of the word. The AA is also lengthened, so it sounds like AAH. Here is the finished phrase for ‘the cat is in the car’. Ze xatouydroul i tö thotaa. (the in-cat is the contain-car).


The passive voice uses the prepositions BY and CONTAIN. Because the passive does not always show the instigator of the action, this is one of the cases where BY may not show up. “The cat was fed”. By whom? We do not know. This gives “The contain-cat fed”. There is no one mentioned as to who did the feeding. As in English, the agent remains a mystery and it is dropped. I refer to this dropping of the second half of a pair as an unfinished preposition. If you do mention the agent, then BY comes once more into play. “The cat was fed by my friend”. This gives : “The contain-cat fed my by-friend”. Another example: “She is being criticized by the press”. this gives: “Contain-she is criticizing the by-press”. The Deputy Accusative follows, where another instance of the dropped pair gives exception to the rule.


[Unpaired Prepositions]

There is no longer a traditional accusative case in Tapissary, however a particular usage of the ‘unfinished prepositions’ hooked onto the direct object makes it appear like one. While it does circuitously signal the direct object, its real function is to show that object in relation to a place which is yet unspecified. Using the deputy accusative is voluntary, it is not obligatory.

Here is how it works:

In a typical sentence with a direct object such as “I ate lunch”, there is no indication of placement included in the phrase. As Tapissary loves to show space, you have the option to add prepositions onto the direct object to show that a placement is suggested. The sentence would become something like “I ate lunch at”, or “I ate lunch in”, or “I ate lunch by”, etc… By adding a preposition, you allude to spatial placement, you just don’t complete the idea. The listener would simply imagine that you were somewhere for lunch, and if they wish, it’s a perfect opportunity to respond “and where did you eat lunch?” Here’s another example, “The professor will give an award”. Typically in Tapissary, you might say “The professor will give an award to”. End of sentence. The listener might ask, “To whom is the award going?” The unfinished prepositions may also be tagged onto the subject of the sentence if there are no objects. This is called the Deputy Nominative. “The cat is happy” may become “The in-cat is happy”. You don’t know where the cat is happy, but someplace is suggested.

In general, the deputy accusative is not used when a preposition is already applied to some part of the sentence. Example, “A man in the restaurant ate his lunch”. The word LUNCH is indeed the direct object, however, there is also a prepositional phrase ‘in the restaurant’, so there is no longer a need to suggest additional space. You can if you wish, but it is not considered very clean to say, “A man in the restaurant ate his lunch with”. In this case, just top off the sentence into a completed thought, for instance, “A man in the restaurant ate his lunch with his wife”. In other words, the deputy accusative is not a conspiracy against the direct object.


Heading each of the six charts above are the six words for THE in Tapissary. The malleable form [ze] is used before flexible objects such as paper, rubber, skin and therefore animal and human life, as well as plants. The liquid form [la] is used with any kind of liquids from water to molten silver. The form of gasses [ré] include air, fire, as well as time such as days, hours, seasons, etc. The solids form [ji] takes in rather hard surfaces such as wood, stone, metals. The abstract form [sö] is used for things without a physical form, such as a thought, the heat, desire, etc. The composite form [tö], listed above as the combinations form, describes when two or more of the categories listed above apply. For instance, if you say you are going to stay at the hotel, that building is certainly a solid, but the comforts inside are malleable, as well as the people there. You have the freedom to interpret the categories. For instance, you could use the solids form of THE to say: The (solids) air pollution made me tired. This is like saying the air was so thick it was like a rock. Take the case of the computer. When you purchase the device, it is a box, solid and hard so that the computer = ji conon. However, when you are using a computer, the airspace around you melds into the virtual space where your brain may feel that space on the flat computer screen has depth. Therefore, you would say ré conon for the computer. The same goes for a book which has malleable pages rendering the book as ze cipbiñ. However, when you read a text, your mind is carried into the airspace of the story or article, and the book becomes ré cipbiñ. There is some degree of flexibility in choosing which form of THE you need.

In addition to the article THE describing the physicality of the noun, it can also show spacial placement.

THE is the only article which describes space. There are 186 words for THE, however you will see on the graphs that they are regular once you understand the pattern. All the other articles can pair with the article THE if you wish to establish placement. If you say, I see a rabbit, and wish to state that the rabbit is right in front of you but at a mid distance, you will need the article ZET which is one of the 186 forms of the word THE. The article A has only one form, so if you wish to say A RABBIT, but indicate it is in front of you at a medium distance, you place ZET before A RABBIT. So it would be like ‘I see the a rabbit’ where the form of THE is zet. In Tapissary, this gives ‘Yë den zet biñ lapiñ’.

To Note: The blue-green X’s on the graphs represent the words that may follow the article.


The rabbit (facing, or in front of the speaker, at a mid distance) the article ZET is written flush with the rest of the celloglyphs on that line of script. See how the X’s are in line with the character for ZET. However, let’s say the rabbit is below the speaker at a close distance, the article ZAZAC would be used, and notice how the article and the word for rabbit would physically be lowered from the rest of the sentence. In the sample on the chart, the first X after zazac represents the rabbit, and the two other X’s above right represent the placement of the rest of the sentence. The spacial distance is somewhat reflected in the physical script. If it is lower, then lower the article and object as described in the charts above.

Here is an example of layering where the article written in its BELOW form is literally shown below the rest of the sentence. It is repeated twice in this text, it looks like a capital E knocked over onto its back and having grown a long tail. It is the article THE in its solid form. The charts above are in the forward form, but the following text is in the backward form. If you go to the tab BACKWARD SCRIPT, you will find the backward forms of the article THE. They are used in the same way as the forward forms shown above.

Translation: “Prophetic question: Why did the chicken cross the road? Answer: To get to the other side”.

Note: using the spatial forms of THE can convey other types of subtleties in addition to indicating where on the grid the object is located. Take for instance wearing something on your body. Usually, by default, you could choose these two coordinates from the graph: FACING and TOUCHING (as it is touching your body). “You are wearing the a shirt” becomes “Siñ tradaggë zeç biñ bëthiz”.

However, say you are wearing a coat because it is cold outside. The purpose of the coat is to keep you warm. I don’t know if everyone is the same here, but for many, when they take a dip in the cold ocean, their backs are more sensitive than their fronts, legs, arms or head. Therefore, with wearing a coat in the context of a cold day, one might choose from the graph BEHIND and TOUCHING. Behind means the back part of the body, because this is where the coat is most appreciated. “I wear the coat” becomes “Yë traggë zaç mañto”. The same can be said for jewelry. “I wear the bracelet” where that is on the SIDE (of the body) and TOUCHING (the wrist). “Yë traggë zenoç vxaxiolli”.