Mila la sidomido lasi Solresol!

This is the Solresol place!

What is Solresol?

Solresol was developed by Jean François Sudre (1787-1864) beginning in 1817 and running past his death (courtesy of posthumous publication) to 1866. Solresol is important to the history of constructed languages (particularly interlanguages) on several grounds: it was the first artificial language to get beyond the project stage and to be taken seriously as an interlanguage, and it also pioneered certain ideas that have only recently been rediscovered. It is also the first and only musically-based interlanguage--or at least, the only one to make any headway.

The contents of this site are derived largely from Boleslas Gajewski's Grammaire du Solrésol from 1902, with some additional input from Couturat and Leau (Histoire de la Langue Universelle [Paris, Librarie Hachette, 1903], pp 33-39; all references to Couturat and Leau on this site are from this work). I have put Gajewski's book into HTML, along with an English translation.
(For archivists and really picky people: I have dropped most of the cover from the original; it was a list of places where the booklet could be bought. If this really bothers you, I could be talked into restoring that part. I also corrected several typos, though I only did so when I was absolutely sure--as in a few cases where ç was used instead of c before e or i. This is therefore an edition of the original, not a copy; that means I can indeed copyright the thing. All I ask is that you not publish this without my consent (which I can't imagine refusing); copying for personal use is of course encouraged.)
Back to the important stuff: if you are at all comfortable with French, read the original! The English version is accurate, but it is a fast and loose translation, and loses much of the original's style and period charm. In any case, read the synopsis; I explain a few issues in greater detail and correct a few errors. The comments are there mostly for diehard conlang fans.

There are some things I don't have here: a copy of Sudre's original Double dictionnaire, information on the five-note words (said to cover animal, plant, and mineral terms), and (most annoyingly!) Sudre's system for transcribing the alphabet (and thus non-Solresol words, names, etc.) into notes.

FREE ADVICE: if you're like me, and prefer to download files for browsing offline, just save the files below. For the versions of Gajewski's book, you will also need some graphics files at the end of the list.

Gajewski's Grammaire du Solrésol [French original]
Gajewski's Grammaire du Solrésol [English translation]
A small Solresol-French-English dictionary
A small English-Solresol dictionary
A synopsis of Solresol grammar, etc.
Comments on Solresol, including a defence of its importance.
portee.gif A musical scale.
main.gif An illustration of the Solresol manual alphabet.
signes.gif Solresol stenographic symbols, of which the following are examples:
sorso.gif The stenographic form for Solresol--the basis for this page's background graphic.


I should mention a few people who inspired this page (other than Sudre and Gajewski). I got a copy of Gajewski's book in the early eighties, and in about '93, I began putting it on computer, with some vague idea of distributing it in RTF form--the Web was not really big news at that point. I got about halfway through, then knocked off as other matters took priority.
In late April of '97, I encountered Greg Baker's Solresol page. He asked for information about Solresol, so I told him that I had a copy of Gajewski's book. Briefly put, he got me off my duff. I converted my file to HTML (the present solresol.htm), created the dictionaries, and began studying the language more deeply. I sent him an early draft of these files, but he went offline about then. (I have since learned that he passed most of the lexicon at least to Jason Hutchens.)
I continued working through the summer, but I probably would not have created the present site had it not been for encountering Jeff Henning's page about Solresol. (It pays to advertise.) That file was also the source of some of my comments in the synopsis, as well as my mailing list for the initial announcement. Thanks to all.

As an update, I should mention that while preparing the initial mailing list, I came across a link to Jason's page at Bruce Koestner's Eaiea site. (Eaiea is another musical language.) From there I obtained more addresses of people to bother, though the comments have been generally favorable.

I should mention that I am a lousy typist, and while I have read all this through several times, it's quite possible that there are horrific typos yet to be exorcized. Please let me know about any you find.

Up to the top of the waterfall and a fresh barrel.

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Copyright © 1997, Stephen L. Rice
Last update: Nov. 22, 1997

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