Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Solresol-English Dictionary!

Again, ages since I've posted.
But, good news! The dictionary's done! (where "done" here means that every entry has a rough, best-I-could-do translation of the French, and most of the entries have the French written in too) But still - I'm quite proud of myself. That's 2660 words. You can see it here.

So now I'm in the fun part of this process, where I'm trying the language on and translating and stuff.

Mostly, I'm working with a guy named Travis McKenzie, who is writing a book called Magickless which is being published soon (he's got a blog about his writing here: He has an idea of including Solresol in his book as a language of magic and spells, so he asked for some help with translating stuff. It's great practice working with the language and seeing how to phrase things. I think that the only way to really learn a language is through taking in lots of material and using it a lot. Since there isn't really any decent material in Solresol, I'll have to resort to creating it - so short phrases that have a specific purpose are great to work with.

Also - the google group thing for Solresol is doing well (mostly cause Travis is spurring conversations and I finally finished my dictionary (and Matt, another member, is really great too)). But we need more activity, so feel free to stop by or make conversation and whatever :)

(Also, I should point out that through my hours of toiling away at Sudre's dictionary, I became converted to an ardent Sudreist and threw Gajewski out the window. Metaphorically. And really only his vocabulary.)

This post was inspired by Travis McKenzie, who reminded me that I have a blog :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dictionaries and Groups

So some more updates:
I'm still working on the dictionary. I have it uploaded (and constantly updated) in a Google documents format, which you can view here.
At the time of this writing, I've got around 1200 words defined, which means starting into 4-syllable words starting with Sol.
I created a Google Group for Solresol, which you can see here.
You can also just look up Solresol in Google Groups; our group is called "Solresol", the URL and email identification of it is "Misolrela" - which means "group" in Solresol.
If you're interested in Solresol in any way, I would really encourage you to join that group. We'd like to collect all the people who are interested (either actively or passively - I really don't care) in one place, so that we can standardize stuff, discuss stuff, share stuff, and generally enjoy some sort of community with each other (however small it may be). Solresol needs a home on the internet, and a blog isn't the place for it to actually thrive. So hopefully that group can serve as that place, at least temporarily, until someone (it'll probably be me, haha [EDIT - Turns out it wasn't!]) can get together a real website.
So that's basically it - Bye :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A short update on progress...

I realize I haven't posted on here for a while, but that doesn't mean I haven't been doing anything with Solresol!

Upon compiling all of Gajewski's vocabulary into one file with all the possible Solresol words in it, I realized how much was actually missing. Sudre, however, has defined every SRS word with 4 syllables or fewer, in a fairly complete and logical way (as far as I can tell). Filling in the gaps with Sudre's words and keeping Gajewski's would completely disrupt the logical order of both of their grammars, and thus completely disrupt the learnability and logic of Solresol in general.

As a result of this, I have decided to ignore most of Gajewski's definitions and go with Sudre's complete dictionary. It's simply a matter of translating French, which isn't that hard, and his dictionary is so much more complete it would be silly to do anything else. I think, once I get it all translated, that I will take the liberty of redefining / updating his dictionary to remove what I perceive as redundancies or to include things that are left out. I can only do this once I'm done, of course, and have a complete, searchable database of his language.

On that note, I've been working on translating all of Sudre's dicitonary and putting it into an Excel file for useability's sake. I am currently done with all two- and three-syllable words, and am a little over 1/7 the way through the four syllable's (i.e. I'm done with all the 4-syllable words that start with "Do", and have started into the ones starting with "Re"). This is actually a LOT of words, and I'm quite pleased with my progress.

I feel like it'd be cool to actually publish a book form of this dictionary, along with an introduction and guide to learning and using the language. Of course, really I just want to be able to use it, but it seems I might as well put all this work into something tangible at some point...

Also, on the note of Sudre's definition vs. Gajewski's, the main point of conflict lies in the two-syllable words. Gajewski's words, overall, seem much more logical and practical (Sudre includes words like today, tomorrow, and yesterday, as well as both the masculine "Mister/Sir" and feminine "Mrs./Ma'am" (which can be expressed by one word with masculine or feminine accent), and he leaves out words like "with", which certainly deserve a place in the "little" words. I'm torn. I overall want to go with Gajewski's two-letter definitions, but one word in particular, "Sido" has me torn even more. Gajewski defines it as "Same" (opposite of "Dosi" (other)), whereas Sudre defines it as "How", which is a much more useful word, a word which Gajewski completely neglects. Right now I'm considering going with Gajewski's two-syllable word definitions except for Sido, which seems a bit illogical, but which might actually make the most sense. Of course, for Solresol to be useful as a comunication device, it seems to me that one should be aware of the words with multiple definitions and what they are, in case one runs into someone else who speaks a different "dialect". Which is kind of weird and awful, especially since one of the main ideas of SRS is to eliminate homonyms.
Oh well.

Bye for now, I'll try to get that dictionary up here whenever I get it done, which might not be for quite a long while. But look forward to that, imaginary audience :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Categorization of Words

So I'm working on memorizing words - thus far a much more challenging task than it is in other languages, which is of course due to the fact that there are only seven syllables (making it feel like memorizing lists of numbers or something).
I find that the most helpful things are (in no particular order):

  • Flashcards, flashcards, flashcards. Particularly my group on quizlet (which I am kind of soliciting, but in a really genuine way. I'm finding it extremely helpful), which makes organization easy and has little game things to put a time stress on you.
  • Categorization of words - putting words in a category is, I think, one of the most important things (Sudre even designed the four syllable words to fall into a different category depending on their first letter). But even with the smaller words - putting them in the category of "opposites" that have the syllables reversed, or "question words", or "possessives" or something else. It's useful to note, for instance, that all of the two syllable words that start with "re" are possessive words - a categorization that Sudre/Gajewski did for us; or that all the two syllable words that start with "do" are nouns that generally relate to people (except dosi, which means "other"). Anyway it's really helpful, and I'll probably post some lists that help with all that in general.
  • Visualisation - by this I mean the shorthand. The shorthand is useful in that although it is only made up of seven signs, each word tends to look unique and different because of their combination - a trait that is less common using only the words or the notes written on a musical staff. For instance, the word "dore" (I, me) is represented by a circle with a vertical line coming from the bottom (or tangent to the right side - but the former is easier to write), and one can easily imagine it to be the upper part of a stickman - a fitting symbol for a representation of theirself. 
So, for my own and possibly your reference, here is a small list of question words (I feel it's useful to see a question mark after it to reinforce the idea) -

[EDIT - these are all from Gajewski, but some of them are the same. Point being, maybe don't memorize from here :) ]

Fado? - What? (used in phrases like, "what is this?")

Midodore? - How much? How many?

Mire? - Who? Which? (I think that mire can also be used as a non-question word - the definition is "that, which, who", which are all pronouns (but pronouns can be questions, of course)) [EDIT - Now I'm less sure that this word can be a question (though it might be allowed)]

Mifa? - Whose?

Fasol? - Why? [EDIT - Sudre: Here, here is]

Also - there seems to be no word for "where", "when", or "how" [EDIT - for Gajewski at least]... I shall assume that the phrases are simply these:

Fado sidomido? - What place? (Where?)

Fado doredo? - What time? (When?)

Lare fado falami? - By what means? (How?)

(The word "Fasol" is an area of discrepancy between Sudre and Gajewski - This is Gajewski's word, as I promised I would favor him. I'm still uncertain and/or a little upset at having to make decisions - I'm not positive that it is right to prefer Gajewski... But Sudre says that this word means "here is" or something to that effect, but the word "mila" (behold, here/there is) already fills that role... I still feel that Sudre must have just made some minor changes like these for the better and we don't have a more recent book of his... augh. Decisions with little to no basis irk me.)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Verb Tenses, Accentuation, &c.

I think one of the things that I'm most concerned about w/r/t learning Solresol is verb tenses. They're expressed by adding either Dodo, Rere, Mimi, &c. (Typically denoted in writing as DO or RE instead of dodo or rere) before a verb, which is simple enough as far as conjugation goes - but the fact remains that many of the forms are utterly foreign to me (imperfect indicative? pluperfect subjunctive?). I suppose I'll just have to brush up on my grammar. I know some from Spanish (which I have a basic decent grasp on. It helped me learn more on imperfect vs. preterite &c), but I'll still have to learn quite a bit. Many different verb tenses are expressed by each of the 7 words, which is probably more helpful than it is confusing - it'll at least increase my chances of being right.

There's also accentuation, which is quite a bit easier than the various verb tenses. I think it's just stuff that takes getting used to, and reading Gajewski's book more carefully.
From what I gather (from Sudre and Gajewski) -

  • To indicate the feminine, one puts a horizontal line above the last syllable - this isn't a stress accent; it's pronounced by prolonging the vowel of the syllable "as if it were double" (Do-o, So-ol, Fa-a, &c)
  • To form the plural, one places an acute accent on the final consonant. This is also not a stress, one pronounces it by prolonging the consonant "as if it were double". (lla, ssi, &c. (no advice is given on how to prolong the sound of a 'd'. Just one of the awkward things with Solresol again I guess))
  • To indicate various parts of speech (noun, adjective, adverb, person doing something) one writes a horizontal line above the syllable in question (I assume above the vowel). This is a stress accent, as far as I can tell. Gajewski said to prolong it as if it were double, but I could see that causing confusion when also writing in a plural. Sudre, however, said it would suffice to rinforzando the syllable - a musical term meaning a sudden emphasis.
  • If a word is preceded by a word such as 'this', 'that', 'the', or really anything that introduces it, the accents and marks go on that descriptive word, and the other word is 'perfectly understood'.

I feel like that clears things up for me, personally; I had to write it down to really understand the differences.

While I'm on the topic of verbs, I dug up a list of what I deemed the most useful verbs. These should be the first verbs that one should learn in this language, in my opinion:

Faremi - to be
Silami - to dislike, hate
Famisol - to possess, to have (also as an auxiliary verb)
Remila - to give
Sollasire - to know (a fact)
Fasolla - to do, to bring about
Farefa - to go
Domilado - to say, to speak
Dosolre - to eat [EDIT - This is Gajewski's definition. According to Sudre, Dosolre means "Believe", so that's how I'm using it.]

I believe that a verb with no 'tense' word before it (dodo, rere, mimi, &c.) is interpreted as either the simple present tense or the infinitive, depending on the context.
I'll be working on memorizing these words and the two letter words that I still don't know -

(Also, it's worth mentioning that the word order in Solresol is subject-verb-object and noun-adjective. (courtesy of ))

I would say goodbye in Solresol, but I'm unsure how. (large lexical gap there, in my opinion. Perhaps I will discover it later)
Dore milasi dom´i!
(my attempt at putting an accent on a consonant - perhaps I'll just use an apostrophe henceforth.)

Friday, February 25, 2011


Solresol (Langue Musicale Universelle) is a language created by François Sudre in the mid-nineteenth century. It is an "a priori" language, meaning that it's vocabulary is not based on any existing languages - Solresol is actually based on the musical scale.

Every word in Solresol is composed from only seven syllables (the musical scale) - Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, and Si. In the current musical scale, "So" is used instead of "Sol", and "Ti" in lieu of "Si" - at the time that Solresol was created, the latter were used, so it is appropriate to continue their use when using Solresol.
I discovered Solresol around a year ago, and I recently decided to explore it deeper. This blog is my way of organizing my thoughts and presenting my ideas and input to the (virtually nonexistant [EDIT - not anymore! Check more recent posts]) online Solresol community (if they happen to find me... perhaps I shall need to find them).

There is actually very little information around on Solresol, and much of it (as far as I'm aware) has only turned up recently at the hard work of dedicated people.
[EDIT - This next paragraph is also not true anymore]
The primary source that I will use is Boleslas Gajewski's grammar of Solresol, published in 1902 (after Sudre had died). I am using this because: 1. It seems to be the most prevalent online source for most other people that are using Solresol; 2. It is the most accessible to me (an English speaker); and 3. I don't believe that Gajewski would have intentionally changed major facets of the language, so any discrepancies I am assuming are changes that Sudre made but which we do not have in publication (most of Sudre's work, as far as I know, is missing).
This work is available at these links (I provide several in the off chance that some of them stop working (as far as I can tell they are all the same)) :

The second source I will be using is Sudre's book on Solresol, Langue Musicale Universelle [EDIT - again, not true anymore. This is really my main (only) source for vocabulary now]. I am using this second for many of the reasons provided above - primarily because it is less accessible. It only appeared online relatively recently (sometime in late 2009), and it is A. in French (which, alas, I do not speak); B. In a PDF format that doesn't allow one to search for words; C. The dictionary does not spell out words, it simply provides a picture of a musical staff with the notes on it, rendering it nigh impossible to read and reference; and D. it's just really long and the scanned pages are rather difficult to read. So basically it's just really inconvenient.  - However! It does contain some valuable information that I can decipher with motivation and the help of Google Translate, so it is an indispensible reference. The problem is that it is sometimes contradictory to Gajewski, so I had to create an order of priority, and Gajewski was just so much easier and more prevalent. 
The PDF book can be found here:

There are also several dictionaries and references which are definitely worth linking to and which I will certainly use:
(Note in the above the use of "Ti" instead of "Si" - I will of course use the latter, but it's worth mentioning that this dictionary is slightly less practical)
(The weakness in the above is that it is in English alphabetical order, not Solresol alphabetical order)
(This is a site on the number system)
(The above is a flashcard group that I created to help with learning Solresol - it is in progress, but I would encourage anyone interested to check it out; vocabulary in this language can be hard to process, and the flashcards certainly help. (note also that there is a checkbox to ignore stuff in parentheses - they are there to help the learner; it is unreasonable to have to type it all))
(The above is helpful information on the various methods of expressing Solresol, including the shortahand)

Personally, I feel that from what I know of Solresol, it is an awkward language to speak - there are rules of emphasis that are difficult to grasp and employ (questions that arise include, "How do I not put stress on any of the syllables??"), and the repitition tends to make it run together. It's not impossible to do, but it seems more inconvenient (also, the chances of meeting someone who understands (or even knows about it) are very slim). For those reasons I feel that Solresol should be, primarily, a written language. It is one opinion, of course, but it makes sense. There is a shorthand that can be used to write it which makes it look less repetitive, and it is easy to mark accents while writing. I am learning Solresol for mostly personal reasons; I see it as more of a "secret code" with which I can write things to myself without others understanding than as a language with which I will frequently communicate with others. I am, of course, open to using it as a communication tool, but I feel that it is so obscure that such incidences (even on the internet) will be uncommon. [EDIT - actually, it turns out communication might be easier than I though :) ]

Solresol is unique in its ability to be expressed through a large variety of means - spoken words, music (both written and played), colors (red through indigo and violet (seven total)), numbers, written words (and abbreviations), and the written shorthand. I admire this versatility, and it is one of the things that attracted me. It seems the most useful language if one were to frequently need to communicate in secret code (which I secretly wish I did). Solresol just offers a unique opportunity to think about language in a different way, and I'd like to delve in deeper.

So there it is. My reason for creating this blog is just to express my ideas more clearly to a hopefully not too nonexistant audience, but at least to myself. I also realize that there are certainly some words and/or phrases that are just missing in Solresol, and need to be created. I plan on creating some for my use and (hopefully) for others as well, which can't happen if I don't put it on the internet somewhere.

Well that's all -
Bye :)