Parts of speech
Solresol makes use of all of the common European parts of speech, including: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections, numerals, articles and determiners.
Reading through the dictionary, you will notice that words usually fall into one of three general groups: the main group of words; where nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs belong to the same word, a secondary group of words; which remain nouns or agent nouns when given various accents, and an even smaller group of words; that have a more specific purpose; such as pronouns and articles. We can just call them group 1, group 2 and group 3 respectively.
Note that the idea of words falling into groups is not mentioned in any official document. It is a means of explaining the structure of the language to learners or those unfamiliar with how it works.
Each word in Solresol may be inflected by accentuating one of its syllables. Sudre most commonly shows this in his notes by placing a circumflex (also called a caret, inverted breve, etc.) above the appropriate syllable. He also uses capitalisation when making use of written solfege.
When communicating this audibly, one should place emphasis on the syllable by means of rinforzando; described as a "sudden emphasis or increased volume". Sudre does not give an example of how to emphasise signed syllables, but almost any way should be fine, so long as the person you are communicating with understands what you are doing.
Note that there are two other forms of possible accentuation a syllable may have; for plural and feminine nouns.
This is the most common group of words. The default state of a word is an infinitive verb, where the other parts of speech can be indicated either by the position of the word in a sentence, or by its inflection.
Not every word has every one of the 4 or 5 parts of speech listed below; each is only included when it makes sense.
Words in Group 1 are either 3 or 4 syllables in length. Words of 5 syllables are usually not accented to change part of speech, as they are dedicated to more specific things that may not be practical to have in a dicitonary of limited size. One example of the words you'll find are the elements of the periodic table.
For 3 syllable words, accentuating the appropriate syllable will give you the parts of speech as shown below.
For 4 syllable words, the second syllable becomes the indicator for an agent noun.
- agent noun
This example shows the word sirelasi, which is "to constitute" in English. Following the above order for a 4 syllable word, we have:
As of writing this, there is no discernible general pattern to how words of Group 2 are changed based on its accentuation. They are usually nouns or agent nouns.
One example is the word "dolasolsi". Each part of the word is a noun, but each represent quite varying ideas. The non-accented meaning of the word is "charcuterie", which is similar to the English word "delicatessen" (or simply deli). The other definitions are as follows.
- fresh pork
- boudin (similar to black pudding)
- foie gras, or (literally) paste of liver fat
Words in this group are generally easy to spot; in most cases, they are words of only one or two syllables, or they are in the second part (a repeated syllable) of four syllable words (specifically the "Mi" category).
There are exceptions to this, but is a fairly accurate rule of thumb to identify them.
- François Sudre, Langue Musicale Universelle, pages: XI, XXIII, XI, IV, XIX