Solresol lafi misilafa

....or in English: The language of magick.

I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe that there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything.

Then again, there is synchronicity, and whether you imagine a man with a beard driving the wheel, or the chaos of quantum physics peeling of an infinite set of universes at every turn, there are times when you have to stop and pay attention to events that are connected in fundamentally relevant ways.

This happened to me when I was searching for a language of magick for my book. About a year before I was published, I had stumbled onto the language of Solresol, a musical a priori language designed by François Sudre. It can be communicated through instruments, song, writing, or signing. I found the wikipedia article, and a few other resources hidden in strange corners of the web -- mostly from archived message boards from a time when the internet was still in training wheels.

Everything I found both frustrated and enchanted me. Frustrated, because the incomplete dictionary and rules of grammar were both in French.  Enticed, because the more I looked into solresol, the more perfect it became for my story.

I wanted a language that felt real. I wanted a language that could be written in something approaching runes, and that did not look like bastardised latin when spoken phonetically. (I'm looking at you Harry Potter) Solresol not only ticked these boxes, but gave me ideas I had not considered. Based on the do re mi fa so la ti notes we all love from Sound of Music, Solresol can be sung. What better way to cast a magick spell?

So I tried my best to translate even a simple command into solresol, using faded pdf scans of the dictionary, and stringing words together with what I understood of the grammar. But this taught me one thing. I am no linguist. Tolkien can have his elven tongue, I thought, and after many failed attempts I gave up any hope that solresol would be practical. I decided that I would have my book sans spell, and any time magick was used, it would be referred to, but not literally seen on the page. I was not happy about this, but felt I had no choice. 

And that's when I met Garrison. He was one of the few people I managed to track down who seemed to still be interested in the language, and through him I met others. We made a google group to try an consolidate resources, and then the brilliant Dan Parson came along and put everything in order at the current home of Solresol, 

This was almost a year ago to this day, and once I saw that Dan had coded a solresol translator, I knew it was a possibility again. But one thing had now changed. I had a publishing contract. I had a deadline.

And this is where I will be forever grateful to Garrison, who I have named honorary magician in the thankyous at the end of the Dragon and the Crow. I made a spreadsheet of all the magick spells in my book, along with my simple translation using the tool I linked to above. But that just gave me the words, it was Garrison who inserted the much needed grammar. 

The rest was history, until the other day, when I saw that I was getting a spike of blog traffic from reddit. I followed the link, and found that there is now a solresol sub reddit, and it's building members fast. As if that wasn't enough, a year to the day of the new website being online, with many updates coming thick and fast, there is an article about solresol on io9, one of my favourite SF sites on the web.

Synchronicity sometimes demands we pay attention. 

And so I am writing this, to say thank you to all the people who are helping revive an awesome language, and those special few who are helping me use it in my world.

For a comprehensive list of all the available solresol resources, visit


  1. Fellow SolReSol speakers,
    I have some news for you - we are currently working on powerful and versatile software called
    SolReSol: The Project.
    Its aim is to make the world aware of SolReSol, help memorize the vocabulary, and, most importantly, provide visual and audio representation of the language.
    We are a small team of developers, so please take a look at our Indiegogo campaign to find out more and see the demo of the engine:

  2. This looks amazing. What kind of interface?


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