A compilation of information about Solresol, the universal musical language

Proper nouns and names

Discuss the grammar of Solresol, including proposed changes.
Hello all -
it's been a while since there has been any activity here, but I have faith that someone will eventually see this :)

I've been thinking about the translation of names (mostly because we had a new member post in the Spanish section, wondering how to translate names) into Solresol, so I studied Sudre's book a bit. I think I have his system figured out (which is not to say that I like it).

Writing a proper noun is essentially using a code to spell it out phonetically... Here is how I think Sudre intended it to be done:

do - a
re - eu, he, oeu
mi - é
fa - i
sol - o
la - u
si - ou

DO - pe
RE - ne
FA - ke, que
SOL - fe
LA - je

dodo - se
rere - te
mimi - re
fafa - ve
solsol - me
lala - le
sisi - de

RERE - ze
FAFA - be
SOLSOL - gue
LALA - che
SISI - xe

The capital letters are emphasized.
The e's following the consonants are placeholders... if two consonants are next to each other, it is assumed that the sound in between is an 'e' (I assume it's not "eee" but is "eh", as in 'shepherd').

This system isn't incredibly clear from his writing, but with some fairly logical inferences, I think it's what he was going for.
It has downsides, of course. I could see misunderstandings happening fairly easily, the reliance on emphasis is unfortunate, and the assignment of syllables is completely arbitrary (how come 'dodo' = 'se', and 'sisi' = de? If they were switched, understanding would be improved).
However, I'm not sure if we can really come up with a better system. In its very nature, it will always feel arbitrary, repetitive, confusing, and like you are painstakingly spelling something out.

I would be reasonably satisfied accepting this system, while maybe making a few minor modifications (for example the 'dodo' and 'sisi' thing I mentioned).
What are your thoughts?
Wow! Garrison! And what specifically led you to these conclusions? It's all really interesting...and confusing :X
For example, what's the difference between "do" and "DO" when they occur in isolation? Or is the difference only noticeable within a word? And why aren't RE and SI used to represent anything?
Hey, sorry it's been so long, and sorry I didn't properly justify everything :)
To answer your last three questions: I have no idea. Hah.
But I can tell you more about what I do know.

It all comes down to pages 22 and 23 in Langue Musicale Universelle.
Phonetic code.png
Pages 22 and 23: Sudre's Phonetic code
Here's a close up of the staves:
Alphabet Phonétique.png
Close up
Basically, he has provided a syllabary, from which one can, according to Sudre, form all possible syllables in all languages (I'm not sure that's true, but we'll suspend our disbelief for a bit).

Now - he clearly has four distinct staves, or categories of words, and the same Solresol syllable appears to represent multiple phonetic values, with no cause for distinction. (How am I to know, when you say 'fa', whether you mean 'ke' or 've'?) So - something must be missing, or else the whole system doesn't make any sense at all. That's when it comes to page 23:
Phonetic code explanation.png
Page 23, details of the phonetic code
In this writing, Sudre mentions four categories of words (consistent with the number of musical staves, you might note). He mentions (in order), the vowels (no notes on pronunciation), the consonants preceded by a dot (emphasized with a rinforzando), the consonants that are colored black (doubled/repeated), and those that are both black and preceded by a dot (repeated and emphasized).

Obviously, none of the music notes we can see are colored black or preceded by a dot - but is it reasonable to assume that some of them should be? I think so. I assume that he mentions them in the order they appear - the second row notes should be preceded by a dot, the third should be black, and the fourth should be black and preceded by a dot. This is supported by the fact that the vowels are both listed first and mentioned first.

So, there you have it. My interpretation of Sudre's Alphabet Phonétique. He doesn't give any examples, and spends the rest of page 23 and page 24 talking about the intricacies of the difference between French pronunciation and spelling (use 's' or 'k' instead of 'c', 'e' instead of 'ai', etc.).

While I think this is what he describes, I think he didn't give any examples because giving an example makes the system look embarassing. When one has to say, "My name is SOLSOL-do-RE-fa-dodo-sol-RE"... It seems ridiculous. I'm not sure if we could avoid lengthy proper names if we made our own system, but I think we could avoid the stuttering lack of fluidity that Sudre's system has. Plus, I really don't think his system can encompass all of human speach. It may encompass all Romance languages, or European languages... but not everything (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consonant, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vowel) You might have noticed, but I've decided I really don't like his phonetic alphabet ;)

One idea I have would be to eliminate vowels from the phonetic transcription (my name would become "GRSN", for example). This could shorten the lengthy code, and provide a decent amount of information about the name (enough that well-known names would be recognizable ("LNDN" for "London", "JPN" for "Japan", "WSHNGTN" for "Washington", etc.)). I would drop Sudre's code altogether, and make a system that doesn't require accentuation. I would really just go through the two-syllable combinations and assign them a logical sequence of consonant sounds (and vowels too, if we wanted).

Anyway - those are my thoughts and explanations on the matter. If anyone has any input into what we should do about proper nouns, or how we could make our own system (or if we should), I'd appreciate knowing :) And if you just don't want to think about it and want to give me permission to create a standard phonetic code, that's fine too 8-)
Garrison wrote:Obviously, none of the music notes we can see are colored black or preceded by a dot - but is it reasonable to assume that some of them should be? I think so. I assume that he mentions them in the order they appear - the second row notes should be preceded by a dot, the third should be black, and the fourth should be black and preceded by a dot. This is supported by the fact that the vowels are both listed first and mentioned first.
Oh but they are! In the physical copy that is! Hmm...I tried to send a scan of the page a while ago to the google group, but it didn't work, and then I think I asked Dan about it, but maybe I just thought I did :D Anyway, I just checked my photo now, and it's really blurry, so I'll make another one and upload it later! Good sleuth work, Garr!
Oh, awesome! Good to hear! :D
I'm still very very jealous of your precious 'physical copy' :|
Write me into your will, would you? ;)
I like the idea of simply translating proper names. Some examples:

Egypt, or "Kemet" in its original language, means "the black land" - thus: Simisoldo Sifaredo "dark country"

Italy, from "Víteliú," "the land of young cattle" - Sifa Farelami Sifaredo "calf land"

Maurice Ravel: "Maurice" from Latin "Mauricius," "dark-skinned", or "Moorish." "Ravel" from the town of Ravel, from Latin "rebellis," "rebel." Thus: Laredomi Lamisimi "Dark/tanned rebellious/disobedient"

London, which is possibly derived from a root relating to a flowing river or boats: Sidolami Sidoredo "River City"

Paris, from the Parisii, from parisio "working people/craftsmen" - Resolsifa Sidoredo "Worker/craftsman City"
Let me try this.
IMG_0738.JPG
SolresolPhoneticCopy
I'm having problems with my scanner, so I took a pic with my camera. I don't know why it rotated :? I can try to play with it some more later, but can you guys see what I mean? That there are some notes shaded in (full notes) and some that are 3/4 notes? If not, like I said, I'll try again.
Garrison wrote:Oh, awesome! Good to hear! :D
I'm still very very jealous of your precious 'physical copy' :|
Write me into your will, would you? ;)
When I say "physical copy," I mean a stack of photocopies of the whole book, not an actual bound book. :D But if you still want it, consider it yours. Goodness knows my friends and relatives couldn't care less about Solresol. :lol:
Siremisol wrote:I like the idea of simply translating proper names. Some examples:

Egypt, or "Kemet" in its original language, means "the black land" - thus: Simisoldo Sifaredo "dark country"

Italy, from "Víteliú," "the land of young cattle" - Sifa Farelami Sifaredo "calf land"

Maurice Ravel: "Maurice" from Latin "Mauricius," "dark-skinned", or "Moorish." "Ravel" from the town of Ravel, from Latin "rebellis," "rebel." Thus: Laredomi Lamisimi "Dark/tanned rebellious/disobedient"

London, which is possibly derived from a root relating to a flowing river or boats: Sidolami Sidoredo "River City"

Paris, from the Parisii, from parisio "working people/craftsmen" - Resolsifa Sidoredo "Worker/craftsman City"
I don't know that this can work in all cases, but I did a lot of this for neologisms when I had my hand at translating the song I posted (and also on the one I'm working on... :) ). Oh and welcome to the board :)
How is "shanoxilt" translated into Solresol? If that does not work, how about "cizyprijev"? It is my Lojban name which means "Strange Sage" because I am strange in the ways I am wise. :lol:
Like most(?) of the others on this forum, I don't like this "phonetic alphabet" either. It's rather useless to create place names, because they would be too lengthy. And I'm not sure why I would spell out my German name in Solresol, when talking to someone else in Solresol - if the other person would be interested in my name, I could just say it: in German.

Apart from that, I think it's far more useful to either translate (as Doresifado described in his post above) or transcribe names, sort of like Chinese. ^^
For example:
England = ying guo 英國
ying means "hero", and "guo" means country - both words together however could be translated like: country which name sounds like "ying" (which is short for "ying ge lan", the 'phonetic' spelling of "England")
You could also say, that "guo" functions like a suffix here - it tells you that the syllable(s) before it are a place name.
Same is for Germany (de guo - from "de yi zhi = deutsch") or France (fa guo - from "fa lan si" = France")

Is anyone still with me? ^^

What I'm trying to say is, that we could basically adopt this system for Solresol, and just spell out names, using Solresol syllables. The big problem would be, that with only 7 syllables, you can't really go for "phonetic" spelling of anything. ^^

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btw, this system is also used in toki pona (if you know that conlang ^^). You just "tokiponize" proper names and add a specifying word to tell everyone what that is.
London would become "ma tomo Lantan" - ma tomo meaning 'town' = city which sounds like "lantan". Canada becomes "ma Kanata" (ma=country), Sudre would be "jan Sidole" (jan=person).

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In Solresol the examples above could maybe sound like: sifaremi remido*= Canada (country) / sidoredo lamidomi = London (city) / misolredo Sidola = Sudre (person)
As you can see, the important parts are the consonants for this kind of transcription...

First shot for a transcription guideline:
do: dental consonants - d, t, th?
re: velar consonants - r, g, k, h
mi: nasals - n, m, ng
fa: labial and bilabial - f, v, w, b, p
sol: sibilants - s, z, sh
la: liquids - l, (spanish r)
si: ? maybe consonants like "sh" "ch"


Agh, enough writing for today - waiting for feedback now. :P


*(actually I've no idea if it should be "sifaremi remido" or "remido sifaremi" - I'm not into Solresol grammar yet, and can't tell where to put the adjectives/attributes for a noun)
Sidosi.org has an archive of the site «Zeke Solresol Github»: http://www.sidosi.org/resource/zeke/zeke.zip.
In this archive you may find the article, called "Sur la langue universelle de Sudre" (in pdf-format), which contains discussion about Solresol of XIX-th century, particularly reply of M. Kerckhoffs. He has transliterated into Solresol “Constantinople” in this way: sisi-sol-re-sisi-solsol-do-re-solsol-fa-re-sol-dô-lala-mi (page 610 of the pdf). (And I don’t understand, why sisi is c, solsolt, re instead of n doesn’t have visible accent.)
Of course, this is ugly. Fortunately, Solresol of Sudre had some shorter proper names for geographical objects (i.e., continents): falasireEurope, falasimiAsia, and so on. I think, this was good idea (to create proper Solresol words for significant proper names). We have many non-occupied 5-syllable words for this! From my point of view, present-day Solresolists may form names of countries and cities, using 5-syllable words, maybe in accordance with Solresol names of continents. For example, if falasireEurope, we may use 5-syllable words with initial complex “falasire-” for names of European countries. Maybe, similar things may be done for popular widespread human names. But for that we must have something like “Academy of Solresol” (see topic “Governance” of this forum)...