ToB Scripting

eThis page defines an alternative to ToB’s bubble notation.

– if all we have is a keyboard
– as a scripting language for software (useful if we want to write a program that converts ToB into bubbles or other graphical representations).

FOUNDATION: for each printed word, there will be a single ToB character that defines its grammar, with pre-pend and append characters according to different cases – no spaces, to form a short code word.

Nouns (primary): D F A C E
Nouns (complements): f a c e
For Pronouns, prepend .
For Predicate, prepend ‘
For Vocative, prepend ”
For Adjectives [synced with noun they relate to], prepend +
For Articles [synced with noun they relate to]: prepend #
Prepositions [synced with noun they relate to]: prepend @

Verbs (primary part): B
Verbs (secondary part): b
Adverbs: prepend ! to f a c e — typically !a

Conjunctions between sentences: &
Conjunctions within sentence (list separator): –
Particles, Interjections: ^


  • John kicks the ball = A B – C
  • The girl goes to school = – A B @c c
  • She gives a crunchy biscuit to the boy = .A B #C +C C @E #E E


  1. Where the ToB character is a capital letter, there is a direct correspondence with musical notes if you think of ToB graphical notation on the pentagram. This is also true for secondary part of the verb, b.
  2. Where the ToB character is a lowercase letter (aside from b), the corresponding position on the ToB pentagram is on the adjacent to the capital letter equivalent: under the verb line in the middle (B), it will be the line below (i.e.: f is the line below F, a below A) ; over the verb line, the line above (i.e.: c is above C, e above E).

OPTIONAL QUALIFIERS for (pro)NOUNS and VERBS: may be appended, with no space in between, to the (pro)noun or verb notation.

NOUN qualifiers:
gender /,\,| for masculine, feminine, neuter singular number, doubling up for the plural: //,\\,||. For Greek dual, use dot: /., \., |.

VERB qualifiers:

  • mood symbols are i, !, ~, ^, ?, =, *, #, _ (indicative, imperative, subjunctive, optative, conditional, infinitive, participle, gerund, supine)
  • tense symbols are : < . > (continuous past present future, adding chevrons for time depth).
  • for passive form, prepend ‘
  • for deponent (Latin) and (and middle in Greek) prepend “
  • person singular (I you he/she/it): i,ii,iii
  • person plural (we you they): I,II,III


  • John kicks the ball = A/ Bi.iii #C C|
  • The girl goes to school = #A A\ Bi.iii @c c|
  • She gives a crunchy biscuit to the boy = .A\ Bi.iii #C +C C|@E #E E/

More detailed verb examples:

  • I go = Bi.i
  • I have gone = Bi<i
  • she went = Bi<<iii
  • we had gone = b Bi<<<I
  • I am going = b B:i.i
  • I was going = b B:i<i
  • If you (plural) were = B~.II
  • they would go = b B?.III
  • to be = @b B=.
  • to have been = @b b B=<

OPTIONAL DELIMITERS: delimiters are ways to logically group grammatical elements or create special separations between clauses (end of verse or end of period).

Clause delimiters: { }
End of verse: |
End of period: ||


  • John kicks the ball = {A/ Bi.iii (#C C|)}
  • The girl goes to school = {(#A A\) Bi.iii @c c|)}
  • She gives a crunchy biscuit to the boy = {.A\ Bi.iii #C +C C| @E #E E/)}

OPTIONAL ANCHORS and REFERENCES: these are useful when you want to connect logically linked elements that are not adjacent and therefore cannot be “grouped” in round brackets.

The anchor is any ToB character (typically limited to nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs). When dealing with lists of similar items within the same period, append an integer (ideally superscript) to the main ToB character to avoid confusion as to what we are refencing.
To reference an anchor, append [ToB character]

Joanna gives a crunchy biscuit to the boy             who thanks her

{A1\ Bi.iii #C +C            C| @E #E E/} {.A[E]  B   .C[A1]}

In this case we want to make it clear that the pronouns in the second clause refer to “the boy” and “Joanna” of the first clause respectively.

Double definition: sometimes the same element may have two (or more) grammatical qualities.

Multiple qualities: append = (no spaces) and keep going with additional ToB element.

– Accusative + Infinite constructs in Latin: the accusative has a dual nature of “obiect” (C) of sorts of the principal clause and of “subject” of the relative clause, i.e.: Augustus iussit Romanos bellum gerere {A/ B<< {C=A// C B=.}}

– Participle used as adjective, i.e.: he is a shining pupil .A Bi.iii #'A +'A=b*. 'A Here we use the lowercase b to underline the secondary nature of the verb.

IMPLIED elements: sometimes a key grammatical element is implied, but we want to represent it even though no corresponding word for that element represented will be found in the text.

Implied words: prepend x

John kicked the ball   and         scored

{A1       B     (–   C) } {&   xA[1]     B     }

In this case, we are showing that the subject of the second clause is still John.

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