Sona language (artificial)

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Created by Kenneth Searight
Date 1935
Setting and usage international auxiliary language
Sources The language has 375 radicals or root words based on the terms in Roget's original thesaurus. Ideas and sentences are formed by juxtaposing the radicals.
Language codes
ISO 639-3 None (mis)
Glottolog None

Sona is a worldlang created by Kenneth Searight and described in a book he published in 1935. The word Sona in the language itself means "auxiliary neutral thing", but the name was also chosen to echo "sonority" or "sound".

Searight created Sona as a response to the Eurocentricity of other artificial auxiliary languages of his time, such as Esperanto and Ido.[1] At the same time, Searight intended his language to be more practical than most a priori languages like Solresol or Ro, which were intended to be unbiased by any particular group of natural languages. Thus, Sona sacrificed familiarity of grammar and lexicon for some measure of "universality", while at the same time preserving basic notions common to grammars around the world such as compounding as a method of word formation. Searight used inspiration from many diverse languages, including English, Arabic, Turkish, Chinese and Japanese, to create his eclectic yet regular and logical language.[2]

Sona is an agglutinative language with a strong tendency towards being an isolating language. The language has 360 radicals or root words whose meanings are based on the categories in Roget's original thesaurus, plus an additional 15 particles. Ideas and sentences are formed by juxtaposing the radicals. Thus, ra "male" plus ko "child" makes rako "boy".

Searight's book, Sona; an auxiliary neutral language (London, K. Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., 1935, LCCN: 35016722) is the only published example of this language. There is a small community on the Internet interested in reviving and using Sona.


Sona alphabet
Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Upper case A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V X Y Z
Lower case a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p r s t u v x y z
IPA phoneme a b t͡ʃ d e f g h i d͡ʒ, ʒ k l m n o p r s t u v ʃ j, ə z

The Sona alphabet has 24 letters. Searight lists no official order but presents the following chart:

six vowels a e i o u y
six aspirates c j x f v h
six consonants (i) g d z m b l
six consonants (ii) k t s n p r

The vowels are sounded as in Italian. British English equivalents are fast, fete, machine, fort, rule. y is the neutral vowel of Welsh, but before another vowel, it is pronounced as the English y (e.g. yard).[3]


  1. ^ Aldrich, Robert (2002), Colonialism and Homosexuality, Routledge, pp. 279–81, ISBN 0-415-19616-7 
  2. ^ Hyam, Ronald (2010), Understanding the British Empire, Cambridge University Press, pp. 454–5, ISBN 0-521-13290-8 
  3. ^ Searight, Kenneth (1935). Sona: an auxiliary neutral language. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd. p. 28. 

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