The Linguistic Instrumentation of Existence

Version: 0.3.0

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400.06 "Thought is systemic. Cerebration and intellection are initiated by differential discernment of relevance from nonrelevance in respect to an intuitively focused-upon complex of events which also intuitively suggests inherent and potentially significant system interrelatedness."

321.04 "Universe is a scenario. Scenario Universe is the finite but nonunitarily conceptual aggregate of only partially overlapping and communicated experiences of humanity."

-- Synergetics [1], R. Buckminster Fuller

        Roots of Instramentation

The Glyph of Instrumentation with basics

Table of contents:

  1. Abstract
  2. Introduction
  3. Theory of Operation
    1. Development of the Ideology
    2. Expression of Ideas
    3. Thought Creation
    4. Thought Description
    5. Thought Articulation
    6. Thought Specialization
    7. Sentence Construction
  4. Conclusion
  5. Appendix I - Pronunciation Guide
  6. Appendix II - Basic Vocabulary
  7. Appendix III - Keyboard design
  8. Appendix IV - Hand-held Devices
  9. Appendix V - The Instrumentation font
  10. Appendix VI - Data Storage format
  11. Appendix VII - Numbers
  12. Appendix VIII - Instrumentation as an Index
  13. Appendix IX - Collaborative Glossopoeia
  14. Appendix X - The Circular Desk
  15. Appendix XI - The Games of Instrumentation
  16. Appendix XII - Projected Demographics
  17. Citations
  18. Suggested Reading
  19. Revision history
  20. Copyright and Disclaimers

An attempt to develop an efficient and effective language.


"High thoughts must have a high language."

-- Aristophanes

An efficient language [8] would convey the largest amount of information in the shortest amount of time. An effective language would provide complete coverage of all possible meaning without semantic overlap. Instrumentation provides a graphic interface to a comprehensive set of terms that describe common situations and to a set of operators that provide a flexible grammar.

Instrumentation is a human language with a built-in combination of ontological data base design and information exchange protocol. It is based on a very simple semiotic data schema for a generic fuzzy knowledge base which is reapplied to winnow meaning at each stage of thought expression.

The language is called Instrumentation because it is a tool for the symbolic assessment and manipulation of reality. It is an exercise in poetic engineering (where poetry is the practice of choosing and arranging words precisely).


"If you decide to go with the same tools and technology as everyone else, you make sure that you won't fail any worse than they do. However, you also ensure that you won't succeed any better."
-- James Robertson

An Exploded Glyph

Figure I

The glyph (or ideogram) in Figure I is composed of a central circle which is either filled or unfilled and Thirty Two surrounding line segments which may be present or absent. This gives us 2^33 (two to the Thirty Third or 8,589,934,592) potential arrangements or states. This should provide enough bandwidth to implement a vocabulary which can contain all the subjects, actions, objects and modifiers (i.e. number, tense, degree, case, voice, mood, etc.) that comprise human languages.

A glyph is simple enough that it is possible to distinguish its current state from similar yet differing states at a glance, with practice. Since all permutations are variations of a single pattern one can quickly learn the 'alphabet' or 'syllabary'.
Terminology and Graphic Conventions
The line segments (elements) within a glyph are further classified as radial spokes or circumferential laths in inner or outer layers, and are aligned in eight distinct directions (octants). Within each layer the elements are also grouped on either the right or left side. The central circle (hub, not an element) is positive or true when filled (plugged, the triangular plug is an element) and negative or false when empty (unplugged). These classifications are used to provide a symbolic superstructure which help a viewer to associate the state of the glyph (aspect) with its meaning (term).

The hub is always printed. This provides a reference for the placement of the other elements. Without a hub it is difficult to tell if a single spoke is above or below the center and whether it is an inner or outer spoke. The plug within the hub is a triangle that 'points' to the left (the actual value is 1.6180). This is intended to show the orientation of a glyph (in case it is viewed upside down). The triangle points to the 'beginning' (the left inner spokes) of a glyph.

More, less, major, minor, active and passive (Yang and Yin) are common principals across the mental, social and physical realms. By tying these binary principals to the classifications described above, we hope to associate a glyph's aspect with an engram of an individual's experience and thereby imbue it with meaning.

Theory of Operation:

"The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas and throw the bad ones away."
-- Linus Pauling

We need a set of universal memes that can be used to provide a symbolic landscape within which meaning can be synergetically derived from an aspect of a glyph. Our strategy is to adapt a polished and highly esteemed ideology whereby significance and form can be quickly and easily associated.
Development of the Ideology
The I Ching [2] presents a pervasive nuanced philosophical continuum. The I Ching uses eight trigrams to provide the symbolic basis for its vocabulary. The I Ching is in the public domain. We can use the 'Types' of these trigrams to qualify the octants in a glyph. These trigrams are shown in Table I in western binary order with the first digit on the left instead of on the bottom.

0 000 Khwan
Yin Submission Earth
1 001 Kane
Yang Resisting Mountains
2 010 Khan
Yang Peril Moving Water
3 011 Sun
Yin Flexibility Wind, Wood
4 100 Kan
Yang Moving Thunder
5 101 Li
Yin Elegance Sun, Fire
6 110 Tui
Yin Pleasure Standing Water
7 111 Khien
Yang Supremacy Heaven

Table I

There is no correspondence between the binary representation of the trigrams in Table I above and the 'Ordinal State' Types assigned to them in Table II below, because the I Ching assigns meaning to its trigrams using an aesthetic system that does not correspond to a (western binary) numeric interpretation of the individual lines within the trigram. Furthermore, the mnemonics in Table I may have helped students to assign an existential impression to each of the Types, but they do not necessarily represent the physical embodiment of the Types as instrumentation uses them.

Instrumentation uses the 'Type' and 'Mode' from Table I as a continuum of contiguous situational memes to provide a map to the available informational real estate. This 'real estate' consists of bandwidth within the eight Giga-glyph vocabulary more than physical landscape, but the concept of arranging complementary as well as related functions (as in zoning for manufacturing or residential) enhances both the efficiency and the effectiveness of the language.

We arrange the Types as follows:

The cycle of mammon

Figure II

The upper left Types (Pleasure, Elegance, Supremacy and Moving) denote states with more control while the lower right Types denote states with less control. Within these four subdivisions (from active-more-control to passive-less-control) we can further classify the nodes as stable and transitory as shown in the 'Ordinal states' of Table II. Within Table II we have abbreviated more-control to 'more' and less-control to 'less' to save space.

Since Instrumentation includes a facility for negating any concept (by unplugging the hub), the true negative of Submission is 'not-Submission' rather than Supremacy. Submission and Supremacy are complements rather than opposites. This is also why we are using less-control rather than 'negative' to describe the Types.

The Types are shown in Table II below with their states and examples of other graduated continua which can be aligned with our existing strategy. They are listed in clockwise order (according to Figure II) starting with Supremacy. This is not the final expression of the ideology. This is an intermediate step to help define and internalize the natural progression of the Types.

Type Societal Nature Color
Age Ordinal State
Supremacy dominance fire white
young adult 7 active more stable
Moving expansion Spring violet adulthood 6 active more  transitional
Resisting conservatism earth blue
middle age 5 active less  transitional
Peril upheaval Winter green old age
4 active less stable
Submission collapse water black
dotage 0 passive less stable
Flexibility acceptance Fall red
infancy 1 passive less  transitional
Pleasure learning air
childhood 2 passive more  transitional
Elegance mastery Summer yellow
adolescence 3 passive more stable

Table II

This sequence aligns reasonably well with a cyclic historical view of the states in the Societal column, but less well with the natural progression of the Color, Age and State columns. This is not a problem because the glyphs are circular rather than linear and there are multiple ways to perceive a given aspect. These multiple perspectives will allow different regions of the glyph to be imbued with different situational connotations as the language matures and people internalize and personalize the language through fluency.

The colors are aligned chromatically with the numeric values of the 'Ordinal States'. This will hold true for other semantically neutral scalar phenomenon such as sound, size, weight or duration. It also holds true for age, except that zero is taken as the end of the series rather than the beginning.

Note also that the elements of nature in Table II do not correspond to the mnemonics in Table I.

We can now display two views of a glyph showing the symbolic basis for interpretation on the left and the example meanings assigned to each octant from Table II on the right. The outermost dashed lines are not part of the glyphs, but are included to help distinguish the octants. They indicate the endpoints of the laths for each octant.

Secondary traits

Figure III

After initial testing with the Instrumentation game, the glyph was rotated so that the spokes are vertically symmetrical (Yin on the left, Yang on the right). This makes reading the glyph simpler because the elements with comparative values are at the same height. The diagrams above are unchanged for the purpose of comparison.

Exploring the Symbolism
On the 'Ordinal states' side of Figure III we can see that the major/minor divisions alternate vertically but not laterally and that the numbers are arranged in two ascending sets. This creates neighborhoods of nuance within the overall schema to provide more conceptual texture to the simplistic architecture of a glyph.

The passive states may also be thought of as 'internal' while the active states are 'external'. Thus learning and pleasure are activities, but they are focused inward rather than outward.

It must also be noted that Age (clockwise) and the seasons (counter-clockwise) within Nature on the 'Secondary traits' side of Figure III are inescapable progressions, but Color and the Societal states are not.

It is true that expansion tends to require dominance, dominance requires mastery and mastery requires learning, but it is not guaranteed that an individual or society will always progress from one stage to the next. Moreover, the four less controlling states (conservatism, upheaval, collapse and acceptance) are available to anyone at any time with minimal barriers to entry.

It does seem that dominance is not a absolutely stable state and that expansion is not indefinitely sustainable [3], but it should be possible to exit to acceptance rather than proceeding through conservatism and upheaval (although concrete examples may be few).

This completes the selection and embellishment of our ontology. We will next show how it is applied to the development and transmission of a user's internal impressions.

Expression of Ideas
"Theoretically we need a spiral of expanding and contracting schemata that enable us to move freely and without discontinuity from varying degrees of abstraction to greater or lesser degrees of concreteness."
-- The Politics of Experience, R. D. Lang

Instrumentation forms thoughts from inside to outside. The first four stages of thought formation are Creation, Description, Articulation and Specialization. These stages correspond to the four layers of a glyph. An optional fifth stage is negation which corresponds to unplugging the hub.

Negation comes last because positive logic tends to be less confusing than negative logic. Thus ideas are first constructed of positive thoughts and then revealed to be false and disbelieved as needed.

Table III shows the 'Type' assigned to each octant for the first four stages of thought formation. These Types are presented in order of the descending Ordinal States.

Type Creation
Specialization Ordinal State
Supremacy self
intention science 7 active more major
Moving state dimension
interpretation business 6 active more minor
Resisting object absolute
law 5 active less major
Peril time
interrogation sport 4 active less minor
Elegance meaning *
sensation extrapolation art 3 passive more major
Pleasure thought
value *
interpolation education 2 passive more minor
Flexibility relation
recognition *
employment 1 passive less major
Submission number
leisure * 0 passive less minor

Table III

The Types marked with an asterisk (*) in Table III are the default if no elements are present at that layer. The default value for the hub is plugged, so these values are all in the positive form. The default meaning is true or yes. The default value is good. The default recognition is "apparently or now". The default leisure activity is casual conversation.

It is interesting to note that these default Types decline to the nadir of passivity as the default thought is formed. I suppose this illustrates the essentially submissive nature of just saying "Yes".
An Overview of the Layers
Creation forms the initial thought. This is sufficient for simple ideas such as "Good morning (current-time-period, actually)." Creation provides a basic vocabulary of 256 singular nouns. Creation is optional when the thought is an 'operator', an interjection or the words yes, no, true and false.

Description modifies the thought to provide other related nouns, adjectives and adverbs. Description provides 256 potential variations for each Created thought. A Described 'term' can also be a multiple word conversational phrase such as, "the feeling you get on the first cool morning in Fall".

The two inner layers of a glyph can supply 14848 unique singular nouns, 3072 conversational phrases, 4096 adjectives and 4096 adverbs. The nouns have plural forms and the adjectives and adverbs have degree indicators. (for comparative, superlative, etc.) This approximates the estimated vocabulary of the average educated, well read person [4]. Description is optional for simple positive thoughts such as "Good morning" (because good is the default Description).

Articulation defines the context or purpose of the thought. This takes the place of things such as syntax, articles, prepositions, conjunction, case and mood in English sentence construction.

I realize that Instrumentation has an 'English Bias', but I am open to changes to both the vocabulary and the syntax. I hope to err on the side of RDF more than any 'natural' language, but I assume that I am blind to my own cultural biases. If you see problems, let me know.

Articulation qualifies Created or Described thoughts, but it doesn't change the meaning of the thought like Description can. Thus, Articulation functions mostly independently of the inner spokes and laths. Articulation provides 256 contextual variations for each described thought. Articulation is usually optional for a simple declarative thought (or statement).

Specialization adds technical jargon for fields such as medicine, linguistics or sports. Specialization indicates 256 fields. Specialization can modify all of the inner element Types according to internally defined schema. This allows specialists to create 16.7 Million terms such as 'Penicillin' for each field of Specialization. Specialization is optional for most conversations outside of a shared field of interest.

Specialization can also specify things such as 16.7 Million positive or negative integers or even Unicode characters for embedding proper names within a glyphic message. A 'proper name' is defined within Instrumentation as an explicitly rendered character label for a unique thing (such as a person named 'Bob').
Taken altogether, a single glyph can represent 256 * 256 * 256 * 256 * 2 ( = 8,589,934,592 ) terms or ideas. The final factor of two is the result of negation (provided by an unplugged hub) which can convert any concept from true to false.

Articulation and Specialization were loosely inspired by DOGMA [5], which was developed by Vrije Universiteit Brussel's STARLab. This is not to say that the good people of STARLab would recognize these concepts as they are used by Instrumentation.

Children and others learning Instrumentation should be able to start with a well defined initial vocabulary (of 256 nouns) and add small portions of succeeding layers as their fluency increases. The simplest combinations of the components at each layer correspond to the most basic terms and ideas within that layer of specification.

Thought Creation
"It is better to have 100 functions operate on one data structure than 10 functions on 10 data structures."
-- Alan Perlis

The inner spokes are a prefix that Create the type of thought as shown in Figure IV below. The prototype for the 256 basic Created terms with some examples of Defined terms are here.

Types of thoughts

Figure IV

An inner spoke, by itself, denotes the absolute of that Type. Inner spoke #7 means 'self' when plugged and 'not self' when unplugged.

Every unique combination of the inner spokes represents one or more nouns which can be considered the amalgam of the meanings of the spokes. Self plus time is life. Self plus thought is mind. Self plus time plus thought is agenda. Time plus thought is history.

We can further define the secondary (combinatorial) meaning of these Types as follows:

External ways of being
  • self - unique, human, personal or ownership
  • state - a type of thing: condition, position or opinion
  • object - a specific thing: animal, vegetable or mineral
  • time - action, change, effect or tempo
Internal properties
  • meaning - nuance, sensation, color, information, emotion and art
  • thought - autonomous, living, aware, learning or science
  • relation - comparison, association, groups, others
  • number - absolute measure, degree, scale
There are 256 possible unique combinations of these eight inner spokes including none and all.
  • No inner spokes with the hub plugged means 'yes'.
  • No inner spokes with the hub unplugged means 'no'.
  • All inner spokes with the hub plugged means 'all' or 'totality'.
  • All inner spokes with the hub unplugged means 'not all'.
In all of these cases, the elements that surround the initial thought will modify its meaning. 'No' with a Description lath from the action octant is 'be NOT'.

Next, we show how the eight inner laths can generate 256 additional differentiations of meaning for each combination of the hub and inner eight spokes.

Thought Description
"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone, "it means just what I choose  it to mean - neither more or less."
-- 'Through the Looking Glass', Lewis Carroll

Description is a suffix that evolves (or 'rings the changes' on) the meaning of a Created thought. This may change the base term so that 'domestic animal' becomes 'dog' or it may supply a related conversational phrase turning 'ratio' into 'this party has too few girls'. (Instrumentation combines common groups of 'foreign' words into single iconic terms within its capacious vocabulary to increase efficiency when storing and transmitting data.)

Description can then turn this evolved thought into an adjective or adverb. Thus 'positive' can become 'good' or 'goodly' and 'negative' can become 'bad' or 'badly'.

Unplugging the hub negates the subject rather than reversing the Description. Thus "Good dog!" becomes "Good not dog!" rather than "Bad dog!". A 'dirty smelly sad old blue dog' would require several glyphs to be rendered accurately (unless 'dirty smelly sad old blue dogs' become common enough to rate their own aspect).

'Derivation' might be a more technically accurate name for this layer than Description, but I decided to go with the broader and less threatening term. The Types below are types of Description rather than actual 'descriptions'. For example, the 'description' lath makes a noun plural. One would not say, "dimension dog", one would say, "dogs".

Description laths

Figure V

External Descriptions
  • action - create action nouns and adverbs from entity nouns and adjectives
  • dimension - plural for nouns, comparative for adjectives and adverbs
  • absolute - "Non-Descriptive" for nouns, superlative or "less positive" for adjectives and adverbs
  • time - related to time or frequency such as old, fast, color, pitch or duration
Internal Descriptions
  • sensation - a personal impression such as curious, smell, warm or like
  • value - a judgment such as good, beautiful or expensive
  • relative - measured against something else such as bigger, older
  • format - create adjectives and adverbs from entity and action nouns
How Descriptions break down
Described thoughts are first divided into action nouns, which have the action lath and entity nouns, which do not. An action noun is usually a person, place or thing that creates, uses, or embodies the entity noun. Adding the format lath turns entity nouns into adjectives and turns action nouns into adverbs. For most nouns, adding the dimension lath creates the plural (see 'non-descriptive nouns' below).

For adjectives and adverbs, adding the dimension lath creates the comparative degree and adding the absolute lath creates the superlative degree. The absolute lath without the dimension lath creates adjectives and adverbs of a less positive degree. Here is a trivial example. Not all degree progressions sound this natural in English.

Degree less positive positive comparative superlative
less trivial trivial more trivial most trivial
less trivially trivially more trivially most trivially

Variation on the meaning of the noun is controlled by the 'time', 'sensation, 'value' and 'relative' laths. These four laths provide sixteen terms (or a 'bank' of terms). The action lath and the absolute lath further multiply these nouns into four groups that are combinations of active, passive (or 'entity'), descriptive or non-descriptive.

This means that each Created term will be the parent of 64 singular nouns (or multi-word terms) and 32 of those nouns will be the parents of either adjectives or adverbs. The remaining 32 singular nouns will not have descriptive forms. These non-descriptive nouns will have the absolute lath without the format lath.

Six of the non-descriptive nouns for each Created term are actually common conversational phrases (multi-word terms) such as "meet us at the usual place for drinks", or "I have to work late, I'll see you some other time, sorry". This simplifies everyday communication by reducing standard social interactions to single glyphs.

For lists of absolute entities such as '1500 hours, 1530 hours' the non-descriptive nouns use the dimension lath to indicate another singular noun instead of the plural. In this example 1530 is the 'plural' of 1500.
Description without Creation
The 255 Descriptions of 'True' (or 'False' when unplugged) have no inner spokes and are therefore 'short words' (or valuable real estate). These elements can be used in the imperative mood and as a pidgin language within Instrumentation for very simple communications (such as with a small child, with someone unfamiliar with Instrumentation or with a trained animal). They are used to provide things such as Personal Vocabularies, Block Pointers, Data Pointers, 'fundamental operations', animal noises (for entertaining a small child) and interjections.

The fundamental operators are also known as "Dog Verbs". They are the only transient verbs used in Instrumentation. Unlike the regular verbs, the Dog Verbs have a present tense. This simplification is based on the assumption that you will not be transmitting glyphs to dogs in foreign countries, so the mechanics of global conversational time lag can be ignored.

Disclaimer: The table below has been superseded, but I am keeping it for historical purposes.

Dog Verbs
are specified with the action lath, so they run from #8000 to #BF00. The operators are shown below with their tenses, laths and indices. Each index can be determined from the row and column. For example, 'Gave' has an index of 9600.

present past many
past once
action+absolute action+time action+absolute+time
N = 8
N = A N = 9
N = B
Being Been
have Been

Do Doing Did have Done
Come Coming Came have Come
Going Went have Gone
Hearing Heard have Heard
Make Making Made have Made
Give Giving Gave have Given
Take Taking Took have Taken
See Seeing Saw have Seen
Saying Said have Said
Getting Got have Gotten
Put Putting Put have Put
Letting Let have Let
Keeping Kept have Kept
Send Sending Sent have Sent
have Pressed

Thought Articulation
"If it has syntax, it isn't user friendly."
-- Sam Steingold

Articulation is a suffix that provides the metadata by which thoughts are combined into ideas and broadcast as sentences. At this layer Instrumentation acquires the full range of linguistic distinction that is required to converse. The 256 Articulations are here.

Unplugging the hub does not modify the meaning of the Articulation suffix unless both the Creation and Description layers are quiescent. The English phrase, "not in the box" would likely be translated as, "out of the box", because Instrumentation would render it as "in the not box" if verbatim translation was attempted. A 'not box' is the exact opposite of a box, so it seems unlikely that something could actually be 'inside' of one. Negating Articulation is always possible by isolating the Articulation term, but this practice creates a less efficient glyph.
A Bit of Theory
The following digression into information theory is intended to show where Instrumentation lies within the scope of knowledge creation and transfer.

Articulation changes data into information. Information is data that has been given context and organization so that it can be used to determine a course of action. This may sound impersonal, but consider that 'flirting' is the process of giving someone information that is intended to determine (or at least influence) their course of action.

In general our understanding of the universe proceeds through the stages presented below. Further elaboration of this taxonomy is beyond the scope of this design, but you may notice that there are eight stages.
  • ignorance - start here
  • observation - noticed event(s)
  • data - recorded observations
    • most languages operate between data and information
  • information - organized data
    • Instrumentation operates between information and knowledge
  • knowledge - integrated information
  • wisdom - comprehensive knowledge
  • insight - applied wisdom
  • prescience - projected insight
At any rate, the Articulation spokes are shown in Figure VI below.

Articulation Spokes

Figure VI

The Articulation Types are:

External information management (data going out) .
  • intention - the real reason, creating original data or information (inspiration)
  • interpretation - adding to data, transferring information (conjunctions)
  • depiction - not adding to data, verbatim description
  • interrogation - a request for information or data, indicates doubt
Internal information management (data coming in or already known).
  • extrapolation - creating new information from old data or information (imagination)
  • interpolation - integrating existing data (old and new)
  • recognition - accepting new data, matching new data with old data
  • recollection - reviewing old data or information
The nuts and bolts
Tactically, Articulation has four major divisions. They are specified with intention and/or interpretation. The list below shows the four divisions with some (provisional, English specific) examples from each of their sub-categories. The full list has 64 terms for each of the four major divisions or 16 terms for each of the 16 sub-categories. The sub-categories are created with interrogation for social usage and depiction for realism.

Instrumentation includes both mathematical and logical terms in its standard syntax. The English grammatical labels in bold below are (roughly) within each general category but do not exactly span the range of operators that Instrumentation uses.
  • Qualifiers: (neither) prepositions - begin and sometimes end clauses
    • time or sequence (neither) - now, for, when, about, before, then, next, previous, each, every, only, few, lone, some, apparently
    • social (interrogation) - ?? (question), of, with, as, by, all, some, any,
      such, most, many, across, together, much, inside, among,
      • The interrogation spoke by itself indicates that there are doubts about the thing the glyph names. This can be interpreted as a question or as an indication of uncertainty about the actual value of an individual variable.
        • "Bob has an interesting dancing?? style."
    • place (depiction) - above, below, in front of, behind, on the right, on the left, in, to, at, from, where, here, around, up, out
    • logic (depiction & interrogation) - so, therefore, thus, through, off, on, however, otherwise, block start/end, quote start/end, somehow, there exists, such that,

  • Operators: (interpretation) conjunctions - join clauses and define relationships
    • temporal (neither) - yet, until, while, whether, again, rather, after, before, just,
    • social (interrogation) - because, perhaps, maybe, with, except, other, also, seem, shall, will, should, would, could, might, may, must
    • mathematical (depiction) - plus, minus, multiply, divide, equal, cross product
    • logical (depiction & interrogation) - but, and, or, if, then, either, nor, neither, even, than, less, greater, union, intersection,

  • Specifiers / Modifiers: (intention+interpretation) articles / possessive pronouns - identify or transform
    • object - (neither) the, there, this, these, that, those, my, our, your, y’alls, its, their
    • class (interrogation) - a, who, which, what, dependent, composite, subtype, supertype, for all, for each, for some,
    • purpose (depiction) - amplify previous glyph, amplify next glyph, diminish previous glyph, diminish next glyph, @ (a piece), a function, keyword,
    • operation (depiction & interrogation) - determinant, transform, pre-increment, post-increment, integral, derivative, sine, cosine, tangent,

  • Actors: (intention) conjugation - when and by whom things are done Conjugation details are defined in Table IV below.
Verb Formation and Conjugation
All 65 thousand Described nouns, adjectives and adverbs can be 'verbed'. Verbing gives us the following forms. Some forms may require clarification as to the intended action. The parenthesis show possible interpretations of the basic verb forms.
  • An entity noun becomes an verb of the form "to be"
    • "They are records"
    • "This is a city"
  • An adjective becomes a verb of the form "to seem" or "to resemble"
    • "It seems recorded (resembles a record)"
    • "Y'all seem most citified"
    • The degree indicates the strength of the resemblance
  • An active noun becomes a verb of the form "to do" or "to make"
    • "I will recorder (make a record)"
    • "You have done city dweller (visited/lived in the city)."
  • An adverb becomes an verb of the form "to use" or "to control"
    • "We use recordingly (view/read/listen to a record)"
    • "Buses control less cityishly (provide partial access to the city)"
    • The degree indicates the strength of the control
Verb conjugation provides eight types of person and eight types of tense. Instrumentation does not have verbs in the passive voice. The lack of passive voice is discussed within Sentence Construction. In the divisions shown below, the first type is the default.

The divisions of person are:
  • self / other - using depiction (outer spoke #5)
  • direct / indirect - using interrogation (outer spoke #4)
  • singular / plural - using extrapolation (outer spoke #3)
The divisions of tense are:
  • far / near - using interpolation (outer spoke #2)
  • once / many times - using recognition (outer spoke #1)
  • future / past - using recollection (outer spoke #0)
The singular active conjugation of 'I am' is presented in Table IV below. There are 32 verb forms shown. Sex is not part of verb conjugation within Instrumentation. If it is absolutely necessary to distinguish the sex of the person performing some act, another glyph must be added.

Verb person =>
and tense ==v
direct self (default)
indirect self
(plural is many)
direct other
indirect other
(all sexes)
past once far I had (once) one had (once) you have (once) it had (once)
past many far I was (many) one was (many) you were (many) it was (many)
past once near I just did (once) one just did (once) you just did (once) it just did (once)
past many near
I am still (many)

one is still (many) you are still (many) it is still (many)
future once near

I am about to (once) one is about to (once) you are about to (once) it is about to (once)
future many near I am about to (many) one is about to (many) you are about to (many) it is about to (many)
future once far (default form) I will (once) (default) one will (once) you will (once) it will (once)
future many far I will (many) one will (many) you will (many) it will (many)

Table IV

The English translations of the verb forms above do not exactly fit the standard English conjugations. Instrumentation is not attempting to replicate English forms, but verb conjugation just happens to jive with Instrumentation's binary tabular view of meaning.

Instrumentation is intended to be used by people who are nowhere near one another, so 'now' must be considered to be a very fuzzy concept. The 'now' of the person sending a message is almost guaranteed to be 'the past' to the person receiving the message. For this reason, Instrumentation verbs represent the present tense as a continuation of the near past ('near past many times' or 'ongoing'). The present is the sum total of previous events.

Also, in colloquial usage 'one time' may actually mean 'a few times' or 'lots, but not recently' depending on the speaker.
Inflection and Instrumentation
Since Instrumentation is intended to be a primarily written (typed, actually) language, no information is required to be carried through vocal inflections. Nevertheless, people who speak Instrumentation are likely to retain local habits. Shouting is generally considered to be an indication of 'intention'.

Codification of inflection is beyond the current scope of this design, but it should be addressed before it becomes a divisive point among widely separated groups of Instrumentation users. Hopefully inflection can be used to provide another dimension of specificity [6] to the language for fluent users.

Thought Specialization
"There's no sense in being precise, when you don't even know what you're talking about."
-- John von Neumann

Specialization is a prefix that establishes shared or "Focal" vocabularies. Specialization can modify all of the inner element Types according to internally defined schema. This allows specialists to create 16.7 Million terms such as 'Penicillin' for each area of Specialization. A list of proposed Specialties is here.

Up to this point terms have used the Creation layer first, then the Description layer and finally the Articulation layer bottom to top and left to right. This is the 'CDAS' method. Specialization reverses this order and creates terms using the Articulation layer first, then the Description layer and finally the Creation layer right to left (but still bottom to top). This is the 'SADC' method. This reversal makes Specialized terms sound different from the 'basic conversational vocabulary' which uses the same syllabary.

Each layer can be considered a Specialization of its enclosing layer. Sub-specialties are thus created for the definition of technical jargon. For example, within medicine there is surgery, neurology, oncology, pediatrics, etc. These related subgroups can have both shared and separate vocabularies by remapping the Types of Articulation layer separately and creating 256 groups which would each have 32 Thousand terms. Sub-sub-specialties are defined by remapping the Description layer which could provide 256 sub-subgroups (for a given subgroup) which would each have 256 terms.

This may sound overly complicated, but physicians are required to memorize thousands of terms. Instrumentation provides a system by which these terms can be classified. Hopefully this can be used to ease the process of memorization rather than hindering it. At the very least, it will promote categorization of technical terms.`

Specialization laths

Figure VII

The examples of specific activities (such as sex) below may actually require multiple Specializations to be precisely specified. They are included here to provide a feeling for the range of possible activities associated with individual Specialization Types.

External Activities
  • science - activities involving codification of relationships and principals
  • business - activities that create, store, move, change or exchange for profit
  • law - activities involving rules and their enforcement
  • sport- competition, activities involving an audience, or risk
Internal Activities
  • art - competence in service of an aesthetic
  • education - activities providing transfer of useful information
  • employment - people, HR, government, Quality, robotic interface, buzzwords, etc.
  • leisure - activities involving living, sex, philosophy, hobbies, co-workers, etc.


The following ITALIC text is no longer correct. I am retaining this information for historical purposes. Encryption is now enabled with the 'Hypodescriptive' #7500 term. The leisure lath (#01) contains the vacation and recreation Area. The employment lath (#02), by itself, signifies that Unicode characters are being specified.

The leisure lath, by itself, does not modify the Articulated thought or reverse the order of pronunciation. This is the default when the outer laths are not shown. If the leisure lath is shown alone it implies that the thought is not part of any 'official' communication and may be encrypted to ensure privacy.

The science lath, by itself, redefines the inner layers as integers. The details are presented here. The employment lath, by itself, creates proper nouns. The details are presented here.
A Specialized Example
The full development of Specialized vocabularies is beyond the current scope of this design. Below is a mock-up of the process by which special terms will be designated using a Fantasy Adventure Roll Playing Game (FARPG) character sheet [7] as an example. We present two terms from the Creation layer of the same sub-sub-category.
  • Specialization: 256 categories
    • education + leisure = hobby, inner layers are redefined
  • Articulation: 256 sub-categories (Types remapped)
    • self + time + thought + number = Role playing games
  • Description: 256 sub-sub-categories
    • action + time + sensation = fantasy adventure 'Character Sheet'
  • Creation: 128 FARPG 'Character Sheet' terms
    • self + state + object = Strength
  • Creation: 128 FARPG 'Character Sheet' variables, see explanation below
    • self + state + object + number = (space for STR number)
The Articulation layer has been remapped using the Creation terms to define hobbies because they fit the data better. In this example it is assumed that the medium is interactive and that the terms that have the number spoke are actually data stores. Since the number spoke is the least significant digit of the Creation layer, every other field has the number spoke. Thus the 'Character Sheet' vocabulary is actually a working character sheet with 128 parameters. The field types could be re-defined by the current evening's rulebook.
A Glimpse of the Possibilities
Specialized vocabularies can be interfaces to standardized applications. This gives specialists the ability to specify form as well as functionality in a common format. I expect the computer science Specialization will some day contain a 'reference repository' of standard functions. No one is likely to improve on the quicksort algorithm any time soon. A statistics package would also be nice (while I'm dreaming). Any glyph processor should be able to run programs as well as draft a business letter.

Specialization can also provide personal customizable vocabularies so that 64 thousand street names and addresses for a given city (for example) can be classified into business, residential, sports, entertainment, industrial, etc. groups and then replaced depending on whether one is in Paris or Tokyo this morning.

Sentence Construction
"An ideal world is left as an exercise to the reader."
-- Paul Graham, On Lisp 8.1

It will be necessary, at times, to string several glyphs together in order to convey a complete thought. This sections defines the basic conventions for using multiple glyphs.


This section is becoming more and more obsolete as the vocabulary (and my understanding of the 'optimal' grammar) evolve. The basic rules haven't changed, but the example sentences are not the paragons of eloquence that once I hoped them to be. I'm inclined to leave the examples intact as a monument to my own youthful over-exuberance and focus my remaining energies on the creation of educational 'demos' that will give examples of useful conversations that use Instrumentation.

"SVO is the most common word order in the world’s predominant languages", according to Richard K. Harrison [8]. Instrumentation prefers SVO (Subject, Verb, Object) with modifiers (mostly adjectives and adverbs) following the modified word. Thus the first sentence below, "Bob quickly threw the red ball.", would be pre-translated as:

The Bob | throw it had (once) | quickly | ball the | red.

In these examples, the "|" marks indicate the divisions between glyphs. Quotation marks are not shown in the pre-translations, because we are not using them (#3A0000 or #3B0000) in the final translations to simplify things.

The word 'the' precedes 'Bob' and follows 'ball' because 'Bob' is a proper name and single outer lath #1 "BAH" is being interpreted as 'the'. For 'ball', the 'the' is a suffix from the Articulation layer. The sentence is inefficient, because these glyphs were chosen for simplicity and not for density.
Technical Details
Instrumentation's grammatical glyph order is:
  • [Subject, data] [Predicate, rules] [Object, data]
    • [ predicate [Subject, data] [Predicate, rules] [Object, data] ]
    • [ predicate ... ]
where [] denotes zero or more of the enclosed groups of glyphs. Since every part of a sentence is optional, it is always possible (and sometimes wise) to say nothing at all.

Subjects, Objects and Predicates can also be sets of related clauses. Sets are implemented using prepositions and conjunctions to define the boundaries. More complex arrangements are undeveloped at this point. I'm leaning towards implementing something like the Resource Description Framework (RDF) and Notation3 using the aspect as the Uniform Resource Identifier. This will likely require the addition of syntactic terms in the Articulation layer.
The translations below are presented as a series of Instrumentation hexadecimal indexes. You can paste these into the game to see the resultant glyphs. The English pre-translations are presented verbatim to help show how glyphs are constructed, even though this makes them sound rather weird.

"Bob quickly threw the red ball."
The Bob | throw it had (once) | quickly | ball the | red.
#2022000 #B11AC2 #8552 #C0A0B4 #E08D

Instrumentation does not have verbs in the passive voice. Most passive verbs can be converted to active verbs without loss of meaning. The indirect self (one) can also be used to distance one's self from the action in question.

"The green ball was gladly thrown by Bob."
The Bob | throw it had (once) | gladly | ball the | green.
#2022000 #B11AC2 #8BDC #C0A0B4 #A28D

If the passive voice is used and the subject is not known, the subject is simply omitted from the sentence. Also, in this example, other words were substituted for 'leak' and 'main' which are not (yet?) in the vocabulary.

Notice also that 'from' is associated with 'pipe'. In instrumentation the preposition is part of (and therefore follows when pronounced) the noun it modifies. The English "from the pipe" therefore becomes "pipe from".

"A leak was found in the main pipe."
found it was (once) | most fallingly diminish next glyph | water | pipe from | major
#B101CA #EAF9F0 #06EB #262267 #112B

If 'most fallingly' followed 'water from', 'diminish previous glyph' would not be needed because the Instrumentation default behavior is to have modifiers follow their nouns and verbs. In that case the sentence could be:

found it was (once) | water | most fallingly | pipe from | major
#B101CA #06EB #F9F0 #262267 #112B

The use of multi-word terms for common conversational phrases can simplify glifting as shown below. The question marks are assigned to the subject (the location) because that is the unknown variable. The indirect self (one) is used in polite requests.

"Where am I?"
most located ?? | understanding one is about to (once)
#1069CA | #940408

"Where are you?"
where are you ??

In Instrumentation, the present tense is replaced with the near past continuing tense as shown in the example below.

"I understand Instrumentation."
understanding I am still (many) | Instrumentation
#870408 #FFFFFFFF

The predicate in this case is a logical block operator (therefore) which states that the subject is proof of the object. This shows that predicates are not always verbs. This would also be true for equations.

"I think, therefore I am."
thought I am still (many) | therefore | existing I just did (once)
#870004 #300000 #850920

This is an example of verb modification. "more bright inside" shows how the sun is using its sunlight.

"The Sun's gonna shine in my back door someday"
sun the | daylight it will (once) | more bright inside | house my | door behind
#C00660 #B0288D #14435E #C500E0 #2324E0

The last glyph in the following sentence shows the possessive. Since "got to know" indicates the importance of 'knowing' we verb the superlative adjective of knowledge (most known).

"A man's got to know his limitations."
man a | most known it is still (many) | limits its
#D002A0 #B76185 #CD5279

Here is an example of a negative glyph. The predicate (can't always get) is constructed as a positive thought (you will always receive) and then rendered false.

"You can't always get what you want"
you | receiver you will (many) not | desire for some
#81 #-A28A38 #DE00B6

This can also be expressed as the non-zero (negative) intersection of the set of things you get and the set of things you want.

most received for all | intersection not | zero greater | desired there exists
#DF6B38 #-760000 #782001 #3501B6

Here is an example of multiple modifiers and a compound sentence. The 'because' by itself introduces the second clause.

"All the fish in the lake beyond the bluffs are happy because we will not be fishing there this weekend."
fish all | lake in | bluffs behind | happy they just did (once) | because | fish the | catch we will (once) not | weekend this
#1F22A6 #242261 #23EA61 #BD0DDD #5A0000 #C022A6 #-8806CA #C13A19

Here is an example of a negative term being used to replace a word with a positive connotation. It is also the set-up for the final example. No actual persons named Robert were intended to be maligned by this or any other example within this design.

"Bob is a jerk"
The Bob | nice equal not
#2022000 #-601508

Here is an example of the use of quotes. The glyphs that contain the quotes are a part of the quoted text. These same rules would apply to 'block start' and 'block end' as well.

Bob said, "I am not a jerk!"
The Bob | most declared it was once | good quote start | repute my | jerk! quote end not
#2022000 #B1699A #3A0B08 #C5203A #-3b2d00


"Resistance is useless." - Douglas Adams

Instrumentation attempts to be an optimal implementation of a chording keyboard tied to a universal taxonomy.

The keyboard is exploited by using an eight-finger chord to define each of the four 'layers' of a 'glyph'. The layer number is entered simultaneously using the thumbs. I believe that most people can master this technique. These four layers provide a total index space of about eight and a half billion locations.

This design focuses on the half a percent of that index space required for casual human conversation. This approach was taken because clear communication is one of the major drives of our gregarious human species and (almost perversely) one of the major problems in all attempted human cooperation.

The I Ching was used to provide the underlying symbolism for a binary semiotic ontology. This portion of the design seems workable, but indubitably the room available for improvement is semi-infinite. I consider the current version of the vocabulary to be a working prototype rather than a finished product.

Instrumentation is based on binary logic. It has eight octants (obviously), but eight is just two cubed. Instrumentation is based on cubic binary logic. the three dimensions are active / passive (or external / internal), more control / less control and stable / transitional. This would normally create a three dimensional structure (a tetrahedron), but I compressed it by transposing the more / less dimension so that it would lie flat. This is why the major / minor dimension is crumpled instead of linear.

Instrumentation attempts to be isometric, but in places meaning also got crumpled in order to make things fit. Hopefully eloquence will increase in future versions of this design. Instrumentation is no more the apotheosis of poetic engineering than the Wright brothers first plane was the pinnacle of aviation design.

It should be possible to construct a similar fuzzy ontology based on balanced ternary logic. Balanced ternary uses the values one, zero and negative one. Balanced ternary is a more efficient numbering system than binary (or decimal for that matter [10]), but at present binary is the system of choice for computers and Instrumentation is unlikely to succeed unless it makes computers happy. Discretion is the safest form of valor.

Instrumentation is really more about the interface between man and meaning [9] than the interface between man and machine. I have attempted to show how Instrumentation can be interlaced with the digital world, but I hope that it also serves as a concise lingua franca in our increasingly fractious world.

If Instrumentation turns out to be an unworkable scheme, I hope that it at least provides a hint of potential possibilities to someone far cleverer than I.

Ralph L. DeCarli
#2808A00 #2850005 #260C800

Appendix I - Pronunciation Guide:

"Writing about music is like dancing about architecture."
-- Frank Zappa

Each of the sixteen unique combinations of elements within a given layer and side of the Instrumentation glyph has a unique pronounceable one syllable name which is also the exact phoneme used to pronounce a 'term' where that combination is present. This should simplify voice recognition for both people and computers since every unique combination of unique syllables also has a unique meaning.

There are no actual homonyms in Instrumentation, although terms of the same length generally rhyme. Instrumentation terms follow a completely coherent two dimensional paradigm. All possible elemental pronunciations are shown in Table V below.

A basic term can be 'sounded out' phonetically by starting with the the four least significant inner spokes (zero to three in Figure I) and ending with the the most significant outer laths (four to seven). Within each layer this would be the left side and then the right side as shown in Figure I below. The Specialization layer causes a reversed (right to left) order of pronunciation to distinguish proper names, numbers and technical jargon from everyday speech.

Order of pronounciation

Figure I

The Specialized (right to left) order of pronunciation also follows standard numeric notation where more significant digits are presented first. In other words 32 is thirty-two (thirty plus two), not twenty three. In Instrumentation the decimal number 10 would be pronounced as "RU FUH" which would essentially mean "Integer: two plus eight". This is less cumbersome if you think in hexadecimal (base 16) rather than decimal (base 10). I mention this because Instrumentation may have an impact on the perception of numeric values.
Unplugging the Hub
The hub is normally silent when plugged and a pop or a 'kiss' (an ingressive bilabial stop or fricative) when unplugged. Unplugging the hub can also be rendered as a 'front' click (an ingressive alveolar stop) when silence or subtlety is needed, but in a noisy environment this could be confused with the phoneme for 'yes' which is presented next.

A plugged hub can be pronounced for emphasis (as an intensifier) or for the term 'yes' (which has no other elements beyond the hub). The term 'yes' is pronounced as a 'side' click (an ingressive lateral stop or fricative). The hub phonemes are generally appended to the end of the pronunciation of a glyph that is part of a larger sentence, but may be spoken at the beginning of a glyph which stands alone or begins a sentence for increased emphasis.
Representation of 'Foreign' words


The following scheme has become superseded by the use of Unicode as shown in this example. I am retaining this information for historical purposes.

Proper names and other semantically meaningless sounds are represented phonetically. Employment (single outer lath #1 "BAH") implies that the elements in the inner three layers are the phonetic representation of a proper noun (a proper name, such as 'Bob') and have no meaning other than the sound they make in combination. Normally the phoneme for the 'employment' spoke is silent in proper nouns (because "BAH" is not always part of the proper names). The phoneme for the employment spoke can be pronounced to specify that the following sounds are a name, if it isn't otherwise obvious.

In common usage these 'foreign' proper names will be pronounced exactly as they are in their original language and their phonetic aspect (their spelling) within Instrumentation will attempt to match that pronunciation as best it can. Instrumentation does not aim to replace any existing 'natural' languages, but to bridge them generically.
Meet the Phonemes
Disclaimer: I am not trained in Phonology so the classifications below are based on my estimation of the general 'feel' of the sounds rather than any clinical standard. Instrumentation uses eight vowel sounds and sixteen consonants which create 128 unique phonemes.

The progression of phonemes is very regular with the same vowel sound used for the right or left side of an entire layer. The vowels are:
The consonants also progress regularly as the value of the glyph increases. The basic order is labial, coronal, labio​dental, uvular and dorsal. Within this the order is (mostly) nasal or fricative, voiced plosive, unvoiced plosive and then sibilant. The consonants are categorized (more or less) as:
The pronunciations of the Right and Left, Inner and Outer, Spokes and Laths are presented in Table V below. The instrumentation 'syllabary' is also the numbering system (with the 'Science' lath "RU"), so reciting the first fifteen glyphs is the same as counting to fifteen. The last phoneme in each column is silent for words and pronounced (for 'zero') in numbers and some proper names.

Left IS
Right IS Left IL
Right IL
Left OS
Right OS
Left OL
Right OL
#8 (R or L)
(no spokes)
or SUH
or SO
or SIY
or SAY
or SEH
or SE
or SAH
or SU

Table V

We offer Clockwise Lepidoptera as a mnemonic for the consonants above:

Multiplex Butterflies, Pretentious Wings,
Neatly Dizzily Turning Right.
Vertiginous Flutter-byes, Glimmering Kings.
Zooming Joyous CHeerful Sight.

The mnemonics for the CDAS order vowels are:

The mnemonic for the SADC order vowels is:

You can see all 8.5 billion pronunciations by using the Instrumentation game.

Appendix II - Basic Vocabulary:

recursion, n:  See recursion.

We will translate the 123 words of the language Toki Pona into Instrumentation. The list of translations is here.

Toki Pona gives each word multiple meanings depending on use. For example 'moku' means 'food' as a noun and 'to eat' as a transitive verb. Thus individual words in Toki Pona equate to multiple terms in Instrumentation.

Appendix III - Keyboard design:

"On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!], `Pray, Mr.Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
-- Charles Babbage

Each glyph can entered as four or less 'chords'. A chord is played by pressing multiple keys simultaneously. The typist would press all keys that correspond to visible spokes according to the numbers in Figures I and VIII below. A chord need not be entered if that layer is not present.

An Exploded Glyph

Figure I

Chording Keyboard

Figure VIII

Hopefully, an actual keyboard would be more ergonomic than this simple diagram. Most likely the typist would have two separate keyboards and each would be attached to a hand. Cordless split keyboards would allow typists to pace and move their arms while typing (which is handy if you need to compose a letter to grandma and fight off ninjas at the same time).

This design also simplifies touch typing since the typist's fingers never leave their home keys. Once the finger positions have been memorized, they can also serve as a sign language (presumably with the 'signer' interlacing their fingers to correct the positions of the right and left hands from the viewer's point of view). If the keys on the keyboard provide haptic feedback, the keyboard itself can serve as a 'headless' reading device for the blind and others. 'Headless' refers to a system that has no visual display capability.

Multiple thumb keys could enable insertion, deletion and other editing functions. If thumb 'function' keys are added the finger keys could used to provide sixteen options per function key, per hand (or 256 options using both hands). The purpose of these options is beyond the current scope of this design.

Until chording keyboards are available on PDAs, phones and other Hand-held Devices, it will be necessary to enter glyphs using existing keyboards and pointing devices. The use of a pointing device (in this case a mouse) is illustrated in the Instrumentation game.

The remainder of this appendix describes progressively more compact keyboard (and keypad) interfaces.
The "hunt and peck" interface
Using the "hunt and peck" interface with the standard full size keyboard, the hub is normally plugged and is unplugged (and then re-plugged) with the space bar. The following keys can be used to enter (and remove) the other elements of a glyph (shown from left to right and top to bottom). This design might change depending on keyboard layout because it maps the physical key location to the physical location of a glyph element. The basic requirement is that the standard "home keys" (F and J) align with the inner spokes for octants #1 and #5 respectively. All other keys can be extrapolated from there. The order of key entry wouldn't matter if the user was required to hit enter to commit one glyph and move to the next. Backspace, insert, delete and the arrow keys should act the same as they normally do.

outer lath outer spoke inner lath inner spoke
Oct #3 2
Oct #2 Q
Oct #1 A
Oct #0 Z

Table VI

inner spoke inner lath outer spoke outer lath
Oct #7 7
Oct #6 U
Oct #5 J
; (semicolon)
Oct #4 N
, (comma)
. (period)

Table VII
The "home key" interface
The "home key" interface keeps the fingers on the home keys and indicates movement using other nearby keys. With a normal keyboard these letters would be typed as an 'arpeggio' (one at a time) rather than a chord. The keys are presented here in the same left-to-right order that they appear on the keyboard, but the right hand would enter the keystrokes starting with the pinkie finger on the semicolon key for octant #4.

Oct #0
Oct #1
Oct #2
Oct #3
Oct #7 Oct #6 Oct #5 Oct #4
next level
previous level insert level delete level
next glyph
previous glyph insert glyph delete glyph
plug / unplug hub


Table VIII
The "phone" interface
If a 3X4 numeric keypad is available, the keys can be used to represent the octants positionally as shown in Table IX below. This is the "phone" interface. Further elaboration of this design will depend on other available keys or controls.

Oct #3 next layer Oct #7
Oct #2 plug
Oct #6
Oct #1 previous layer Oct #5
Oct #0
Save/Send Glyph
Oct #4

Table IX

Appendix IV - Hand-held Devices:

"Analysis should always be secondary to a product."
-- James A. Crippen

As a reading device the HHD (hand held device) could display a single glyph at a time. This efficient use of screen space would make wrist watch sized displays practical. If a chording keyboard included a small screen it could be a complete (if somewhat simple) read/write unit. An example is shown in Figure IX below.

Keyboard with display

Figure IX

Figure IX shows an approximately life-sized keyboard with a clasp that would curve around the back of the right hand and hold the keyboard in place. A display is shown mounted on the back of the clasp. The left hand device would be a mirror image of this one. Either hand (or both) could support displays. Multiple thumb keys could allow a single hand to enter both sides of a glyph (with corresponding reduced efficiency) if needed.

When reading a body of text (like a book or a news post), the glyphs would be displayed sequentially and automatically, so that the reader would never need to turn a page or use "scanning eye movement". This would be advantageous in crowded environments such as rush hour subway cars or stuck elevators. The frequency of display (in glyphs/second) would be increased as the fluency of the reader increases [11].

As always, the ergonomics of these simple designs could be improved and other features (such as a telephone) could be added. The keyboards could be cordless or be connected with a cable as a secure data transmission channel. Having two units could provide redundancy or increased storage for saved data. The two units could snap together for ease in transport.

Appendix V - The Instrumentation font:

" ... nothing feeds upon itself as liberality does."
-- The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli

The glyph for Instrumentation I think
I am

Figure XA

Figure XB

Figure XC

Figure XD

Figure XA shows an icon containing the glyph for the term "Instrumentation". It appears to be reasonably distinct. The elements might not be legible in a smaller font. This was created as a 32 X 32 pixel pattern in the XPM format. The translation to a Microsoft ICO format may have changed the locations of the pixels.

Disclaimer: I am not a font designer. I'm not sure if the following scheme would work. I do know that instrumentation will require a font with 8.5 billion characters if we capture every possible combination of elements as a separate character. This is an attempt to avoid that problem.

The font consists of 123 protoglyphs. There are 15 protoglyphs for each of the 4 left layers of elements, 15 protoglyphs for each of the 4 right layers of elements, a protoglyph for a plugged hub, a protoglyph for an unplugged hub and a blank.

Up to nine protoglyphs are combined to make a complete glyph. They are combined as follows:

Left outer lath protoglyph
Left outer spoke protoglyph
Left inner lath protoglyph
Left inner spoke protoglyph
plugged or unplugged hub protoglyph
Right inner spoke protoglyph
Right inner lath protoglyph
Right outer spoke protoglyph
Right outer lath protoglyph

Appendix VI - Data Storage format:

"Of course, unless one has a theory, one cannot expect much help from a computer unless it has a theory ... "
-- Marvin Minsky

Instrumentation requires 33 bits to represent a glyph. Computer storage tends to be partitioned into groups or bytes of eight bits and the current prevailing storage word length is four bytes or 32 bits. This leaves us a bit short of a perfect fit.

To minimize data storage requirements, the hub, the inner spokes, the inner laths and the outer spokes will be stored as 25 bits of the first word. This will leave seven bits in the first word which will be used as meta-data. This meta-data will provide binary state indicators which include the following states or meanings.

(2 bits, 4 choices)
The next word contains a brand new glyph.
The next word contains the outer laths.
The next word contains extended formatting information (24 bits are available).
The next word contains the outer laths and extended formatting information.

(5 bits, 32 choices, 9 shown)
The glyph is preceded by a blank.
The glyph is followed by a blank.
The glyph is preceded by a tab.
The glyph is followed by a tab.
This is the last glyph in a sentence.
This is the last glyph on a line.
This is the last glyph in a paragraph.
This is the last glyph on a page.
This is the last glyph in a document.

A second word of storage will not be required unless the outer laths, extended formatting information or both are present. Since tabs and spaces are part of the first word, they will not take up extra space. Multiple tabs and spaces would be specified by the second word.

Moreover, by making formatting information a defined part of the language specification, we can avoid proprietary encoding schemes in glyph processors and other information display devices.

Ideally, the extended formatting information in the second word would include something such as the generic tags of the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) so that local formatting conventions (such as reading right to left or bottom to top) can be customized on a global scale.

An alternative unsigned storage format could be used for purely positive numbers such as the 128 bit IPv6 address. This format would provide a compact 32 bit number. The use of this format would either be specified by an extended format in a preceding glyph or by a specific use such as an IPv6 address mentioned above.

Appendix VII - Numbers:

"As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain;
and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality."
-- Albert Einstein.

There are several ways to represent numbers within Instrumentation. The simplest format allows a range of integers from -16,777,215 to +16,777,215. In this format the 'Science' lath ("RU") is the only outer lath present. If any elements in any of the other layers are present, they are interpreted as binary numbers. The inner left spokes hold the least significant digit and the Right outer spokes hold the most significant digit. The zeroth octant is the least significant bit in each layer and the seventh octant is the most significant bit.

Since the elements of the three inner layers are grouped in six sets of four (four elements on the left, four on the right) we can view the numbers as hexadecimal. In this case the range would be -#FF FF FF to +#FF FF FF. The hash mark '#' is used in this design to designate that a number is hexadecimal. Since the specialization layer reverses the order of pronunciation, the most significant digits are spoken first.

If the hub is plugged and there are no elements on any layer beside the 'Science' outer lath, the glyph is interpreted as the number zero. If the hub is unplugged this becomes a negative zero. Currently negative and positive zero are considered equal.

Decimal values of individual spokes and laths are shown below.

Decimal Values

Figure XI

Hexadecimal values of individual spokes and laths are shown below. The natural numbering system of Instrumentation is hexadecimal.

Hex Values

Figure XII

Figure XIII is an example of the numbers negative zero, +#FF FF FF and +1337. The decimal numbers are shown for reference and are not part of the center glyph. To get 1337 we add 1024, 256, 32, 16, 8 and 1. This is much easier to parse in hexadecimal where the number 1337 is #0539. In hexadecimal each digit (or byte) corresponds to the four elements on the right or left side with the values #1, #2, #4 and #8 proceeding from bottom to top. The hexadecimal number #0539 would be interpreted as follows:

Numeic example

Figure XIII

Appendix VIII - Instrumentation as an Index:

"The connection between the language in which we think/program and the problems and solutions we can imagine is very close. For this reason restricting language features with the intent of eliminating programmer errors is at best dangerous."
-- Bjarne Stroustrup

Besides being a language, Instrumentation can serve as an index to a knowledge base or encyclopedia. This repository can include images and sounds as well as text.

Each of the possible 8.5 billion aspects of a glyph translates directly to a number. A fluent user of Instrumentation could deduce the address of an idea (or a family of ideas) simply by thinking of the aspect of that term. Instrumentation transcends Directed Acyclic Word Graphs and is already in Third Normal Form.

Instrumentation can provide the index to a jump table of fixed length header records. No translation beyond multiplication would be required. Every glyph is a 32 bit number with an additional sign bit. This would suffice to directly address eight Gigabytes of storage by providing a user index that is based on a pervasive generic fuzzy ontology. Four unsigned glyphs would be equal to a 128 bit IPv6 address.

This might mean that related information could be found by varying any single bit anywhere within the address of a glyph. Unfortunately this hypothesis will remain unprovable until the vocabulary reaches a threshold layer of completion. This threshold would be the point where it is possible to find any information by varying individual bits within the address of a meaningful glyph.

Of course there will probably always be some unpopulated areas on the outskirts of Instrumentation. One use of Instrumentation as an Index would be to create a collaborative web site to further the expansion of the lexicon. This usage is further discussed in the following Appendix.

Appendix IX - Collaborative Glossopoeia:

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled."
-- Plutarch

A vocabulary of over 8.5 Billion terms is probably more than one lexicographer can expect to assemble in an average life time. Instrumentation could be expanded as a refereed folksonomy with access through the web. User submitted candidate terms could become accepted terms after a vetting process. The current vocabulary update application is here.

The immediate problem is to develop (or reuse) a system of rules such that filtered terms can be added to Instrumentation without undue effort on the parts of the contributors or the (final) referees.
A Narrative Approximation of the Use Cases.
A candidate could be held until a number of positive votes had been garnered during a reasonable voting period (64 days) before it became a term. A system of registering users before allowing candidates or voting would reduce the number of casual troublemakers. Of course there will always be disagreements about the best candidate for a specific aspect, but any living language can be expected to evolve as it ages. Instrumentation will probably be the first living language with a version number.

Competing candidates could hold elections. The winner would be decided by a simple majority of votes. Multiple candidates would hold run-off elections to determine the top two candidates for a final election. An incumbent term could be replaced by a newly submitted candidate or moved to a new location if it received a two thirds vote in an election. If a candidate could not garner the required votes during the voting period It would be removed from consideration and could not be submitted again by the same user for the same aspect (although the user could submit a variation based on voter suggestions).

Negative votes could be used to quickly identify hoax candidates as long as the overuse of negative votes was discouraged. A threshold number of negative votes (8) could cause the candidate to be reviewed by trustees who could invalidate the term. A trustee could be invested after some number of successful updates (16 proposed candidates accepted as terms) and votes (128 successful, positive or negative) for the candidates of others. These requirements would probably be increased at some point.

Excessive negative votes (16 unsuccessful per year) or unaccepted candidates (128 per year) would cause a user's registration to be reviewed. More detailed rules for registration review based on factors such as the total number and percentage of (positive and negative) votes received and the number of competing terms or candidates could be developed.

Elections could also be held for groups of terms (such as related adverbs on the description level) along with the schema by which they are classified. This would help to increase vocabulary in the beginning and promote regularity as people become fluent users.

Initially there might even be some changes to the element Types, but any replacement schemes would still have to mesh with the Types of the I Ching, so that should provide a measure of stability to the structure. As the language matures, areas of instability should shift away from the corpus of the language towards areas of Specialization. In fact this shift should be measurable as distributions of the total number of term changes ordered by their distances from the simplest combinations of elements by layer.

Instrumentation will need web sites with multiple languages. Repeat users should be automatically directed to a preferred site (assuming region and language data is available). At some point it should be possible to create a site which uses instrumentation as its base language. When this occurs, the game can use its downloaded vocabulary to serve as the translation device.
Another option for expanding the vocabulary would be a semantic analysis and distribution of terms via computer [12], but that would probably take longer if I were developing it on my own. Even if such a mechanical distribution were initially performed, open public review would still be recommended to find 'bugs' and promote a more humanistic view of meaning.

Appendix X - The Circular Desk:

"All these new ideas go through the same cycle:
obscurity, discovery, over-excitement, reassessment, rejection, and then an indefinite period of quiet usefulness."
- Tom Welsh

If we consider a user of a computer system as a black box that has inputs and outputs of data and metadata for both the application and the system, we can devise a simple meta-model for all human computer interaction that can replicated at multiple level of access scope.

Circular desk

Figure XIV

Figure XIV shows an interface table for business users and a table for tech. support/programmers. A real system would have many classes of users which would be partitioned into many categories similar to these two. Each cell in each table contains metadata above and data below. Access would be defined for each type of data in each cell depending on the user class.

"IN" is input to the user. The re-use outputs represent the users ability to create metadata (or information) from data by combining existing application and system data in more meaningful ways. Status Alter for a programmer includes things such as promoting programs into production and updating phone messages, work schedules or billable hours. Status Alter for a business user would depend on the type of work they were performing.

Communication is only shown as a user output. Communication (and all other user output) can be considered either metadata, data, help or status upon user input depending on the scope (and viewpoint) of the receiving user. Communication is considered a system output because it is not normally part of the application data (price, weight, quantity, etc.), but it exists in all cooperative business environments.

Hopefully you are wondering what all this has to do with Instrumentation. We present the eight items from the business users table in a slightly different format in Figure XV.

Really Circular

Figure XV

In this model the four user outputs (Status Alter, Communication, Data Re-Use and Data Entry) become the inputs to the system. This simple model also regards the system as a zero sum game where all outputs are ultimately the result of user inputs. The plug points in the direction of information flowing from and to the user.
Instrumentation can provide a consistent model for human computer interaction. By aligning the user and system view of the flow of data we can increase the slope of the learning curve and reduce the time required for assimilation of new users by a system.

The generic flexibility of the Instrumentation (Confucian / Taoistic) ideology allows it to be replicated for many purposes. It would be interesting to design an operating system or a taxonomy for design patterns around this model.

Instrumentation uses an existing philosophy which exhibits a fuzzily isometric codification of the derivative of function with respect to being. This structure can serve as a meta-meta-model to facilitate a developer's search for useful patterns.

Appendix XI - The Games of Instrumentation:

"It's like a giant crossword for those of us that love language but can't spell!"
- The Instrumentation Game slogan

The game can be found here.

This is a way to promote Instrumentation, a way to teach Instrumentation, and it completes the holy triad of the 'killer application' (communication, visualization and entertainment). There are several games including a 'secret message' facility for sending glyphs to friends. Players should be able to freely download the latest set of terms (or subsets of terms) to help promote the freshness, flexibility and thereby the longevity of the game.

The game will also serve as a portal to and possibly an interface to the Instrumentation web site(s). Ideally, there will be a central site which uses Instrumentation as its native language.  This site will provide translation services to all local sites so that elections for terms can be held at the global level. Local users can read translations of term definitions and supply their own definitions of term candidates and elected terms using the game.

The Instrumentation Game rejected slogans were:

Appendix XII - Projected Demographics:

"The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't."
-- Ernest Rutherford

Instrumentation has no users yet and therefore no hard data. When that data comes in we will update this section with market penetration information.

In the meantime, we can make some wild guesses.

Instrumentation will not appeal to everyone. For example, it will take a while before it develops a culture and starts to generate its own slang. This lack of human 'scent marks' will likely dissuade the technophobic.

The modal user will primarily be young, intelligent and interested in technology. The game will initially become known as a curiosity and then some of the more adventurous will begin to try sending glyphs to their friends. As long as the mechanics of conversation are comparably facultative, the efficiency of communication should suffice to attract more users and thereby increase the utility of the language.

The completeness of the language, the simplicity of the user interface and the availability of related applications will be positive factors in the speed of Instrumentation's suffusion and vice versa.


"A word to the wise is sufficient."
-- Miguel de Cervantes

1. Synergetics by R. Buckminster Fuller
Copyright © 1997 Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller

2. The I Ching Translated by James Legge
Library of Congress CC# 63-19508

3. The Outline of History by H. G. Wells
Copyright © 1920 1931 1940 by H. G. Wells
Copyright © 1949 1956 by Doubleday & Company, Inc.

4. Schonell, F. J., I. G. Meddleton and B. A. Shaw,
A Study of the Oral Vocabulary of Adults
University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, 1956.

5. DOGMA (Developing Ontology-Grounded Methods and Applications
    or possibly
    Development of Ontology Guided Methodology Approach)
Vrije Universiteit Brussel's STARLab,
(Semantics Technology and Applications Research Laboratory)

6. Babel 17 - by Samuel R. Delany
Copyright © 1966 by Ace Books

7. Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Players Handbook by Gary Gygax
Copyright © 1978 TSR Games

8. Proposed Guidelines for the Design of an Optimal International Auxiliary Language
Copyright © 2001 by Richard K. Harrison

9. Knots by R. D. Lang
Copyright © 1970 by The R. D. Lang Trust

10. Balanced ternary numbering system efficiency.
American Scientist, Brian Hayes
Copyright © Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society

11. Vortex xStream - US Patent # 5,873,109 - High; Clifford R.
Device and Method for Displaying Text of an Electronic Document on a Screen in Real Time

12. Apertium - open-source shallow-transfer machine translation engine
Copyright (c) 2005-2007 Universitat d'Alacant / Universidad de Alicante.
Copyright (c) 2007-2008 Prompsit Language Engineering S.L.

Suggested Reading:

"The effort of using machines to mimic the human mind has always struck me as rather silly. I would rather use them to mimic something better."
-- Edsger W. Dijkstra

A Fuller Explanation - by Amy C. Edmondson

Lewis Carroll's Symbolic Logic by The Rev. C. L. Dodgson
Copyright © 1977 by Philip Dodgson Jaques and Elizabeth Christie

Copyright © 1962 by Laymen E. Allen

Copyright and Disclaimers:

"Language is a process of free creation; its laws and principles are fixed, but the manner in which the principles of generation are used is free and infinitely varied. Even the interpretation and use of words involves a process of free creation."
-- Noam Chomsky

The Linguistic Instrumentation of Existence (this document)
Copyright © 2010-2012 by Ralph L. DeCarli. All rights reserved.

The Instrumentation language and all permutations of the Instrumentation glyph
are in the public domain.

This design is entirely my own and does not represent the views of anyone who might be otherwise enamored of the underlying organizational methodology.

This language is not designed, licensed or intended for use in the design, construction, operation or maintenance of any nuclear facility, interstellar vehicle, nano-assembler molecule, inter-dimensional portal or act of God.

This language is provided an "AS IS" BASIS and WITHOUT WARRANTY, either express or implied, including, without limitation, the warranties of NON-INFRINGEMENT, MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

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