Tuesday, May 11, 2010

La Resol REsidosi

I feel a bit silly translating this text, but it exists in a multitude of other languages already and is a fairly straightforward translation, so here you have it folks, the Solresol version of the “Our Father/Le Notre Père”:

1. Resol REsidosi, mire faremi FA SIlalla*
2. Mire remi REsisolre faremi sisi dosolsi
3. Mire remi SIremila dosolfala
4. Mire remi FAsifa faremi sisi fasolla
5. Mimiresi la DOdore mimiremi FA SIlala*
6. Solsol remila fa dorre lare resol DOlafala doREmi
7. Solsol sollami fa dorre resol MIresiffa
8. Mimiremi dorre sollami midosolsol fa fammi mire dodo miresifa dorre
9. Re do solsol misimisol dorre fa la DOsolmimi
10. Mimidore solsol dolasolsol dorre lasi solmi

Notes. There are always notes :)

My biggest problem with this translation is the use of “fa” in lines 1 and 5, which mimics the French use of “à” in “au cieux/ciel” exactly. I take issue with prepositions in general in Solresol, because the mirrored usage of French’s prepositions makes Solresol seem like a cipher of French, rather than its own international language. Whether Sudre intended for Solresol-speakers to use French calques or not is unknown, as he did not provide a huge number of exemplary sentences to go on nor did he provide any alternatives to using French grammar.

In my opinion, auxiliary languages need to be more generalized in their prepositions in order to make bridges between different linguistic cultures, and “fa” could just as easily be “dosoldola” (in) or “mimiresi” (on) in this instance. Usually differences among languages only arise with regards to abstract concepts such as time (with “at 5 o’clock,” “on Monday,” and so on) and with idiomatic expressions (“laugh at somebody” vs. “reírse de alguien”/rire de quelqu’un”). Esperanto, another international auxiliary language, takes care of this lack of consistency across languages by having an all-purpose, default preposition “je.”

However, there can also be a debate in the physical realm, as some of us (depending on our language) see the possibility of being “on heaven” vs. “in heaven,” “on TV” vs. “in the TV,” “on the Internet” vs. “in the Internet” etc. I’m not proposing that Solresol become more Esperantic by any means. I am only proposing that Solresol develop more of its own identity, and hopefully the Solresol-speaking community (I know it’s coming :) any day now...) will address that.

Next, with regards to the translation, I generally based it on the modern French version of the Lord’s Prayer, as opposed to the older version. This leads to slight differences in lines 3 and 6 (Line 3 “que votre règne vienne” vs. “que ton règne arrive” and Line 6 “Donnez-nous aujourd'hui notre pain quotidien/pain de chaque jour.” vs. “Donne-nous aujourd'hui notre pain de ce jour”) among other things.

Also, see the previous blog entry about the use of the imperative “Solsol.”

I don’t expect this to be the final version of the prayer, but more like a working model for the time being :) And I thought people might be interested to see how another version of the “Our Father” in Solresol, done prior to the Sudre text being put online, turned out. View it here:


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Laresol Redodo

I figure that the best way to learn a language is probably not to simply work through a massive dictionary (Sudre’s). Also, not everyone has access to French. Therefore, I’ve decided to start making small conversations or lessons touching on the more common words I think would come up in daily life. So here's the first. Mila:

A: Simi, Sifafa!

B: Simi, Sisido! Redofafa?
A: Redofafa, dore, re domi?
B: Redofafa, solsi! Fado fasolla-domi lado?

A: Dore do sollasire. Mirelala, dore mimi farefa fa la lalarela.

B: O! Falare-dore farefa midodosi domi?

A: Si! Solsol farefa!


A: Hi/Good Day, Sifafa!

B: Hi, Sisido! How are you?

A: I’m well, and you?

B: Good, thanks! What are you doing today?

A: I don’t know. Maybe I will go to the bookstore.

B: Oh! Can I go with you?

A: Yes! Let’s go!


"O" is obviously not one of Solresol's syllables and is of my own devising. I hope Sudre wouldn't mind ;) Solresol does in fact have several interjections (my favorite is "Misifafa" - "Alas!"), I just haven't come across one for "Oh!", but I've admittedly been lazy lately.

"Sisifa" literally means "sun," and "sisido" means "rain," but I've used them here as names. Upon further analysis of Sudre's phonetic alphabet, it does seem that he would have allowed for proper names - Marcia, London, Luigi - to enter Solresol despite not being composed (solely) of Solresol syllables. That said, I still like the idea of Solresol names...I may eventually use other names. But baby steps :)

"Simi" is "Good day" but can be used as a general greeting. I also think it'd be fine to use the noun form of "do'solfasi" (greetings/salutations) to greet people.

Lastly, "Solsol farefa" here is translated as "Let's go!". "Solsol" merely indicates the imperative (command) form of a verb and one could be more specific and say "Dorre solsol farefa," where "dorre" is we ("dorree" if a group of women is speaking). However, from the context, I think (hope!) it's clear that the speaker is referring to himself and the listener. Since Sudre was all about simplicity, especially when context allows, then I think this is how it would be expressed. Similarly, if you're talking to one person and say "Solsol domilado!" or "Speak!" it's not necesary to be more specific by saying "Domi(i) solsol domilado!"

Hope some of this was useful.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Resisolrre re Sisolssi

What’s in a name?

Another question I’ve had almost from the get-go is how to go about incorporating names into Solresol. When I say this, I mean both the names of people (Bob, Gertrude, Hamilton) and the names of languages/countries etc. For example, if I wanted to say “I speak French,” I can say “Dore domilado…” (I speak) but then what? Do I leave French as “français”? "Dore domilado français" sort of breaks the flow of the language. Do I then try to match the syllables and Solresolize the word, perhaps as “farem’si”? That's really rough. On page XXII of the Langue universelle musicale, Sudre seems to try to give some method to transliterating names with his “Alphabet Phonétique,” but I can make no sense of his description and haven’t been able to find anyone who can…so if any of you, Dear Readers, comprehend what Sudre’s getting at, please fill the rest of us in.

Besides incorporating proper names from other languages, how does one tackle the problem of neologisms? Sudre’s language was made back in the early 1800s, long before the computerized age we live in now. How would one say computer, TV, virus, etc in Solresol? I had thought at one point that perhaps one could get into Jean-Francois’s head after enough reading of his works and been able to extrapolate…but this method now seems impractical to me. My guess is that once a community is created (so get on it, Solresol enthusiasts :) ) some de facto words will be created/employed…maybe somehow derived from “solsilado” (télégraphe).

That’s all for now. Lessons coming soon.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Solmimi domi falare sidosi Solresol midosolsol, sol...

...you speak French. Anyway, here's the link:


There you can find a copy of Sudre's original work available in pdf format (and in French!).


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Dorela solsifasi

The Frenchness of Solresol. This is a topic I’ve wanted to bring up for a while, but I never got around to forming it properly, so I’m just going to go ahead and throw out my thoughts on this blog wall to get them out.

There was a point when I thought Solresol's grammar was really French, and this somewhat bothered me because I thought a language based on a unique concept (musical notes) should have a unique grammar as well. I was influenced by Cherpillod's work, where he says that the correct translation for the phrase "the man you think about" is "la domifado fa mire domi redore," which would follow the French construction of "penser + à" or literally "think to." However, because of other inconsistencies found in Dore domilado solresol, I'm not sure whether this was Sudre's intention or not. I haven't finished scouring Langue universelle musicale to find a definitive answer, but I already know that Sudre's word for "to think" is "solsimisol" and not "redore." Another point that I got from Cherpillod was that in order to form questions in Solresol, one has to use inversion as in French…so "fasifa-domi?" (Do you want to?) or "Veux-tu?" in French. Some languages, such as Polish (czy) or Esperanto (ĉu), use specific words at the beginning of a sentence to signal a question, while others, like Japanese, use a particle at the end (ka,no) to indicate a question. My point with this is that there are many different ways to ask a question across languages, and in creating a language, Sudre didn't necessarily have to just follow the French language model.

But these grammar points may not have even been part of Sudre's vision...so if I disregard them, there's still the presence presence of “la” (the) or a definite article which is present in French and other Romance languages as well as some other languages (Germanic languages and Arabic off the top of my head), but doesn't exist in several other languages (many Slavic languages, Japanese, etc.), so "la" is not needed for a functioning language and represents the influence of Sudre's mother tongue on the creation of his conlang. Also, to create the genitive (Think: to show possesion), Solresol uses “lasi” as in French (de) and other Romance languages...and which is familiar to Germanic languages like English as well (of), but other languages express this concept via the use of a case system for nouns.

Then there's the number system! There’s no word in Solresol for “70” or “90” since presumably these numbers are formed in the French manner, thus soixante-dix (lit. 60-10) and quatre-vingts-dix (80-10 or actually lit. 4 20s + 10).

Where exactly does Solresol diverge from French? First, there’s no partitive, so while in French one would say “Je veux de l’eau” (I want some water, or lit. I want of the water), in Solresol, one would simply say “Dore fasifa dolamire”. Second, although the ideas of a definite article and gender exist in Solresol, their use is nowhere near as stringent as in French. An added quirk of Solresol is that gender can be marked either by elongating the final vowel of a word when it's in isolation so "sisol" (Mr.) and "sisool" (Mrs.), but when the feminine word is preceded by la/lasi/fa, then the final vowel of these words is elongated instead. For example, "la sisol" would be "the sir" and "laa sisol" would be "the madame." Next, unlike French, Solresol has no indefinite article (un/une; a/an). Although the verb tenses and moods in Solresol are very similar to their French counterparts, they are simpler and fewer in number, and verbs don't conjugate for person and number. Lastly, one has to acknowledge the unique compactness of Solresol words, in that, for example, "domifare" can mean "to live," "life," "one who lives," "live," or "lively" depending on where the accent/emphasis is placed in the word. This makes me think of Solresol as a tree and its words are bunches of grapes.

The Conclusion: I guess I'm really glad I did this exercise of comparing the two grammars and trying to be fair about the whole matter, because looking back, Solresol is more of its own language than I initially gave it credit for. The moving gender, the word clusters, and the focus on simplicity and ease of communication (along with its musical nature - of course!) keep Solresol from being a clone of French grammatically. Although I don’t know for sure, as there’s still a lot for me to learn about Sudre, I’m still left with the impression that Jean-Francois wasn’t really familiar with other languages (and definitely not the polyglot Zamenhof was) and that his mother tongue heavily influenced his conlang...but I definitely have a hankering for some grapes now :)

Happy Learning ! :)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gajewski milasolsi Sudre?

So, I’ve fallen off the blogging horse...Apologies.

This post will be somewhat weenie, but I have to start somewhere.

A million thanks go out to Emily and Andrew who made the book available to me, and yes, I did do a happy dance...still dancing in fact :)

Secondly, I wanted to briefly get into the different versions of Solresol that exist. I started off learning Solresol using the various versions of Gajewski’s grammar available online. In the last post, I expressed my frustration about discovering that Cherpillod and Gajewski gave certain Solresol words different meanings. Now having read through a good portion of Sudre’s Langue universelle musicale, I can add that many definitions given by both Cherpillod and Gajewski do not match up with those given by Sudre. I feel like I started out learning one dialect of Solresol, the Gajewskian version, and am now confronted with another in the Langue universelle musicale. Seeing as Sudre invented the language, I intend to go with his definitions from here on out. I can only guess why Gajewski (or Cherpillod) chose - if they in fact did choose to - to change certain words’ meanings and why they chose the meanings they assigned to the aforementioned words. The monosyllabic words are the same across the board. For the disyllabic words, there exist several differences, so I have decided to compare definitions given by Sudre and Gajewski below. (Maybe I’ll do Cherpillod in another post). Mila:

*fare = celui-là Sudre = that one, that (adj.) Gajewski = with
*fasol = voici Sudre = here is/this is Gajewski = why
*soldo = rien Sudre = nothing, zero Gajewski = but
*solre = pourquoi Sudre = why Gajewski = in
*lado = hier Sudre = yesterday Gajewski = nothing, no one
*lare = aujourd’hui Sudre = today Gajewski = by (means of)/"par" in French
*lami = demain Sudre = tomorrow Gajewski = here, there
*sido = comment Sudre = how Gajewski = same
*sila = madame Sudre = ms., madame Gajewski = young man, bachelor

I figure this list can be a useful heads-up to those who are currently using the Gajewski grammar to learn the musical language.

Last bit of news. I’ve started working on an English-Solresol-French dictionary to make the language more accessible to English-speakers. I am at the very beginning of this project, but making progress. Currently, I am transferring the words into an Excel file, but if anyone has any suggestions for a different format, please comment.

That’s all for now. Solsi ;)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lasido lafa, Lasido fala, Lasido...

Bad news. I received an email in response to my request to obtain a copy of Sudre's book from the Library of Congress, and the respondent told me that the book had been deemed too fragile for reproduction. All this after I paid a $14-dollar processing fee. Lovely. Well, if you were interested in the same work, now you can save your money because it's not accessible via the LoC.

Good news. Sort of. I ordered a book called Dore domilado Solresol by Andre Cherpillod. The book is in Esperanto, and small (about 27-28 pages), like a pamphlet, so I wasn't expecting much...but wow! I was surprised. I haven't gone through the whole book, but it seems to answer two of the questions I had about Solresol. First, the book explains that in order to form the dative one merely uses "fa" (to). Therefore, dore remila fa domifasol domisolfala = mi donas pomon al infano = I give an apple to a child. Yay! Secondly, the book has a mini-dictionary/glossary at the back, with a word for "to hope": dofadomi. Now I can derive a word for Esperanto/one who hopes, namely "dofa¯domi".

Unfortunately, there's no word for "when" or "where" listed in Cherpillod's dictionary. Seriously, Gajewski, c'mon, couldn't you have included these words in your list? They're essential to basic communication.

More bad news? Some of the words in Cherpillod's book are not consistent with what's presented in Gajewski's grammar. For example, Cherpillod says "fare" means "tiu" or "that" but in the grammar the definition is "with." Cherpillod says "soldo" means "nenio" or "nothing," while Gajewski has this meaning "but." Cherpillod says "but" in Solresol is "mimidore." The last word that stuck out was "solfa," which according to what I learned meant "because," but according to Cherpillod "solfa" means "for this reason" and "because" is "milalado." Cherpillod also says "dodo" refers to the preterite, while Gajewski says "dodo" refers to the past imperfect. As you can plainly see, something doesn't add up. I'm not sure who made the mistake. Did Cherpillod misinterpret something (his book was published in 2008)? Has the version of Gajewski's grammar online somehow been altered? Either way, not knowing sucks.

I have a headache from constantly running into obstacles while trying to learn Solresol. Maybe it's time for a break.