Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Lesson 2: Basic Words and Grammar

(For Lesson 1: An Introduction, click here.)

Words in Solresol are formed, as you might expect, by creating combinations of syllables from its alphabet. Because of its limited size, almost every combination from 1 to 4 syllables in length has unique meaning, and synonyms are avoided. In total, there are 2260 words of four syllables or fewer - which is sufficient for almost all communication.

In general, the smallest words in Solresol have the most basic meaning, and the longer words are more specific. This fact aids learning, because one can start with shorter and easier to remember words. The first seven words to familiarize yourself with, for example, are:


One-Syllable Words

Do    -   No, not, neither, nor, etc.
Re    -     And
Mi    -     Or
Fa    -     To, at
Sol    -     If
La    -     The
Si    -     Yes

Most of these words are not immediately useful, but knowing them from the beginning will help you create sentences as you learn the necessary vocabulary. The most immediately useful and necessary words from this set are do, re, la, and si, but I will, in the future, assume you know them all.


Solresol words often come in groups of related terms - François Sudre did this intentionally to aid learning.
For instance, look at your first pronouns:

Dore    -    I, me
Domi    -    You
Dofa    -    He, it


These words occur in a sequential order alphabetically (-re, -mi, -fa), because they all hold a similar function.

In order to make a sentence, though, you need a verb.

Faremi    -    to be, exist

This verb is certainly one of the most important words in any language. Familiarize yourself with it, memorize it, and never forget it.

Solresol does not conjugate verbs for different subjects, as many languages do.

Dore faremi. - I am.
Domi faremi. - You are.
Dofa faremi. - He (it) is. 

In order to explain a few more ideas, we need a bit more vocabulary:

Domilado    -    To speak, talk, utter
Solresol    -    Solresol specifically, but also language in general 
Milasi    -    To love (a person); cherish
Fasifa    -    To want to do something, to intend to do


Solresol sentences (usually) take the structure subject-verb-object (SVO), as English usually is. For example:

Dofa milasi domi.    -    He loves you.
Domi milasi dofa.    -    You love him.

An unaltered verb (as seen in the sentence "Dore faremi") is always in either the present tense (e.g. "I am") or the infinitive (e.g. "to be"), depending on the context. For example:

Dore domilado Solresol.    -    I speak Solresol.
Dore fasifa domilado Solresol.    -    I want to speak Solresol.

Even though the word 'domilado' did not change, its function changed in the sentence from a conjugated verb to an infinitive.



By using the word 'do' (no, not, etc.), negation in Solresol is very simple. Just add 'do' before the relevant word (usually the verb).

Dore domilado Solresol.    -    I speak Solresol.
Dore do domilado Solresol.    -    I do not speak Solresol.
Dofa do milasi domi.    -    He doesn't love you.
Domi do faremi dore.    -    You are not me.



That's all for lesson two! Stay tuned for lesson 3, and have fun learning Solresol!

For next time, you need to know all the vocabulary from this lesson and understand this material. If anything doesn't make sense, leave a comment with your question, and I'm sure I'll be able to help.

Vocabulary

Do    -   No, not, neither, nor, etc. (negation)
Re    -     And
Mi    -     Or
Fa    -     To, at
Sol    -     If
La    -     The
Si    -     Yes
Dore    -    I, me
Domi    -    You
Dofa    -    He, it
Faremi    -    to be, exist
Domilado    -    To speak, talk, utter
Solresol    -    Solresol specifically, but also language in general 
Milasi    -    To love (a person); cherish
Fasifa    -    To want to do something, to intend to do

When you're ready to go on to Lesson 3, click here.


8 comments:

  1. I love the idea you had to do i have been looking for something like this this is really awesome.

    P.S.
    Do you know when you will be releasing more lessons?


    Thanks C.N
    --
    Silence will fall.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey, thanks for the feedback! It's very motivating :)
    I'll have another lesson out within a couple days probably; I think I'll aim for getting a new one at least once a week. If I work on them more intently, maybe more often.
    I hope you stick around, and stay interested in Solresol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. One more thing do you know if you could either post a chart or send me link about how to convert proper nouns?


      I found this but it was really confusing.

      Delete
    2. Converting proper nouns into Solresol is one of its greatest weaknesses, in my opinion. François Sudre claimed to have created a phonetic code, and what you found was my attempt at making sense of it. The system certainly isn't elegant, but, -technically-, it works. I predict, though, that the Solresol community will eventually agree upon a new system for transcribing proper nouns. Until then, though, Sudre's system is all we have.

      But suppose you want to use it anyway (and I would recommend only using it in a necessary or formal situation - your other option at the moment would be to research the etymology of whatever name you want to translate, and approximating the meaning of the name in Solresol).

      To translate the name, you first need to interpret the sounds it is made of (not the letters). Then, using the list that you linked to, combine the Solresol versions of the corresponding sounds. The 'e's following each consonant are just place fillers; if you put a vowel after the consonant then the vowel takes its place. The letters written in all caps are emphasized (accented, louder, rinforzando, etc.).
      If I were writing a name, my instinct would be to write hyphens between each letter to make it look clearer.

      If I wanted to write "Sudre", for instance, I would write:
      dodo-la-sisi-mimi-mi. (It looks long, but think of it as saying, "His name is 'Ess-yoo-dee-are-ee.'")

      I hope this helps you - if you have any specific questions about it, or if this still made absolutely no sense, just ask.

      Delete
  3. HI, MY NAME IS FRANCISCO EXCUSE MY LANGUAGE BUT I DON'T SPEAK ENGLISH. I HAVE A QUESTION TO YOU :HOW IS THE PRONUNCIATION OF THE WORDS OR LETTERS? I AM SPANISH SPEAKER. THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION OF THIS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Francisco!
      If you use Spanish pronunciation you should be completely fine, except with 're', which is pronounced like the Spanish word "rey".

      Also, "do" rhymes with "no", so don't get it confused wih the English word 'do'.

      Everything else sounds exactly like it would in Spanish!

      Good luck, and thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  4. Hello wondering how do you make words possessive in solresol?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Fascinating. Great information

    ReplyDelete