Solresol was invented by François Sudre (1787-1862), a musician, composer and music teacher. He started working on it in 1817 and continued until his death in 1862. His book about the language was published in 1866. He called the language la Langue musicale universelle (the international musical language), or Solrésol, which in Solresol means language, idiom, dialect, linguistics or philology.
Sudre hoped Solresol would be used to facilitate international communication and deliberately made the language simple, so it would be easy to learn, and unlike any natural language, to avoid giving an advantage to any particular group of people.
Solresol was the first artificial language to be taken seriously as an interlanguage. It is also the first and only musically-based interlanguage, or at least the only one to make any headway.
Sudre taught his language to two other musicians, Édouard Deldevez and Charles Larsonneur, and the trio toured France, Belgium and the UK to promote and demonstrate the language.
The French army and navy tried out the language as a way to transmit messages at a distance via bugle. This was not entirely successful.
Solresol has seven syllables based on the Western musical scale: do re mi fa sol la si, though you don't have to be familiar with music in order to learn it. The total number of Solresol words is 2,660: 7 words with one syllable; 49 with two syllables; 336 with three syllables and 2,268 with four syllables;
Many words in Solresol are grouped according to their first syllable.
Feminine words (for female beings) are indicated by accenting the final vowel of a word. In writing this can be indicated with an accent: domifado = man, domifadō = woman. Accenting the final vowel also indicates the plural.
Accenting different syllables is used to indicate the category of word. Accents are not normally indicated in writing, but can be added as a macron, acute or circumflex. When singing or playing Solresol on an instrument, accented syllables are given two beats.
Some words have an opposite of related meaning by reversing the syllables. For example:
Tenses are indicated as follows:
Solresol can also be represented by the seven colours of the rainbow, (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet), by manual signs, with different coloured flags, or by painting.
Double syllables are indicated with a line through them.
Sire misolredo doredore famido re misolla, re famisol dosila re refasi. Dofa midomido midodosi dofasifa re domilafa, re falado fasolfa miladomi midodosi simisila.
Translation and recording by Simon Ager.
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)
Information about Solresol
Page last modified: 03.08.22
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