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In this episode I talk about Solresol, a musical language invented by François Sudre in the early 19th century. It is designed to be a simple language for international communication with just seven basic syllables based on the Western major musical scale (do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, si).
Solresol was the first constructed language to be taken seriously as an international auxiliary language (IAL), and the only musical language that gained much of a following.
I look at the history of the language, and its structure, and will play with it to see how it works.
Here are the Solresol words and phrases I use during this episode:
Simi re domi dosolfala misol fa lalaresi refafa lasi la lamisolsi solresol lasolfado.
Hello and welcome to episode five of the Omniglot podcast.
The appears to be no word for welcome in Solresol so I used domi dosolfala misol (you come well), and for Omniglot podcast I used lamisolsi solresol lasolfado (all language show).
There is no word for radio either, but maybe you could use resolrefa solfasimi fasidola resisido (“send sound far device”). I came up with lasirela sifamire lasi dofadofa (“international network of knowledge”) for internet. So another way of translating Radio Omniglot Podcast might be lamisolsi solresol lasolfado lare la lasirela sifamire lasi dofadofa (“All language show on the international network of knowledge”).
- doredomi = body, physical
- domilafa = rationality, reason, sense, reasonable
- sofamisol = wisdom, wise, sage, wisely
- dolasoldo = meat, steak, beef
- redoredo = clothes, outfit, effects
- remifala = home, house, hut, cottage, hotel
- remisolla = room, lounge, dining room
- residoso = family, kinship, relative
- solremifa = to sing
- sôlremifa = song
- solrêmifa = singer
- solremîfa = songlike
- solremifâ = singingly
- sôlremifa’ / sôlremifaa = songs
- sôlremifa’a = female singer
- dolmîfado = man; dolmîfadô = woman
- sisol = Mr; sisôl = Mrs
- dore = I, me, myself; dorê = we, us, ourselves
- misol = well, good
- solmi = wrong, evil
- fala = good, tasty, delectable, exquisite, delicious
- lafa= bad
- solla = always, perpetuate, perpetuately, constantly
- lasol = never
- simi = good morning/afternon, hello
- misi = good evening/night
- dore = I, me, myself
- redo = my, mine
- dofa = you, yourself
- fado = your, yours
- dore domilado = I speak
- dore lala domilado = I am speaking
- dore sisi domilado = I was speaking
- dore dodo domilado = I have spoken
- dore rere domilado = I spoke
- dore mimi domilado = I will speak, I will have spoken
- dore fafa domilado = I will speak, I will have spoken
- solsol domilado = Speak!
Sire misolredo doredore famido re misolla, re famisol dosila re refasi. Dofa midomido midodosi dofasifa re domilafa, re falado fasolfa miladomi midodosi simisila.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Dore lala domilado solresol re solremisol lasisol. Domi mifare?
I am speaking Solresol with vocal punctuation. Do you like it?
Solsi mido dosollado re simi.
Thanks for listening and good afternoon.
There appears to be no word for goodbye in Solresol so I used simi, which is a general greeting meaning hello, good morning, good afternoon.
Information about Solresol
About muscial constructed languages
Other musical languages
You can hear a longer version of The Clockwork Octopus / Yr Wythdroed Clocwaith at:
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One thought on “Episode 5 – Solresol – The Musical Language”
> There appears to be no word for goodbye
You mean “misi”? The opposite of “simi”. You mentioned this at around 7:22. As simi can mean hello, misi likewise means bye.
I like your translation of the UDHR; but we do have words for “in”, so it could be written as:
Sire misolredo doredore famido re misolla misisimi dosila re refasi.
I do also like your interpretation for “welcome”, but we have the word “misolresol” which does the same thing.
Some notes on a few words though;
– la is not the direct-object marker, but the marker for the nominative and accusative cases
– fa is the marker for the dative case
– lasi is the marker for the genitive and ablative cases
These are not at a fault of yours though, as many sources copied the (slightly incorrect) interpretations of Boleslas Gajewski – which of course are not the same as the original language specified by Francois Sudre.
Your calculation of possible words in the language of Solresol is slightly off due to not taking into consideration the words of 5-syllables. Although the list is not complete, there are some 333 words that are assigned to 5-syllable words in the most up-to-date dictionary, with most of the combinations free to assign new words.
There actually aren’t grammatical genders in Solresol – gender is only required when differentiating genders of animate objects such as people or animals.
Your vocal punctuation is an interesting idea for sure. I have suggested in the past that we simply nasalise the final vowel of a word to be able to more quickly speak Solresol without pauses between words.
I think our largest active community is on the Discord server; La Lasirela. You can find a link on either of the two Reddit subreddits; /r/solresol and /r/sidosisolresol. There is also a Facebook community. Otherwise the Sidosi forum is a decent place to find others interested in the language.
My final note is that in written Solresol, we must capitalise the initial letter of “solresol” to indicate we’re talking about the actual language itself. This is not defined in the original documents to my knowledge, but it helps remove confusion during translation.