Un letera de Kenneth Searight

En la copia de la libro de sona en la biblioteca de Montagu Butler de la Asosia Esperanto de Britan, me ia trova un letera de Kenneth Searight, la desinior de sona.

Scriveda par mano a interna de la covrente fronte de la libro, on leje “with the author’s compliments / Kenneth Searight / 11.5.35”. Lo pare ce cuando Butler ia reseta la libro, el ia es provocada a envia un letera longa a Searight, a cual la letera trovada ia responde. Butler ia resenia ance la libro en la numero de setembre 1935 de The British Esperantist.

Vide ance fotos de la letera.

Fort Augustus


Dear Sir,

Thank you for your letter of 15/May., & for the address you gave me in New York. I have had a copy sent out as you so kindly suggest. I have found your letter, received this morning, of great interest & much appreciate your criticisms. I will endeavour now to comment on your most constructive remarks.

“Sona” attempts to be neutral not so much in its radicals & the words formed therefrom as in the way it approaches ideas & the way of expressing them. It caters for the internationality of certain words by admitting them into its vocabulary but separated from it by the use of a capital letter. European civilization may be dominant, but it is not so in all ways to an Oriental. The ordinary every-day words we use are not predominantly international. Though a Jap may accept “Radio” I’m sure he doesn’t like “Knabo” or “Maldextra”. Moreover much of the Western grammar mechanism is strange & unnatural to the Oriental. Esperanto etc., are purely Western.

Classification of “Sona”
Semi-constructed but a-priori, not a posteriori as Esp. Nov. Occid. etc. I agree that very few English people – probably none at all – could guess the meaning of a word or sentence in Sona: but split up the word (see page 90) & I think he could. No study required.

I agree with you up to a point. Ogden’s “Basic” is good for non-English speaking nationals but would be very difficult for us to keep within its bounds. Reformed spelling would ruin our language. The Latin races would never accept it. (i.e. English however spelt)

Qualities required of an I.L.
Your six points are correct. I think for “Sona” may be added (4) & (3) to your (5) & (6) though in the case of (3) – Internationality it is in the formation of its structure & way of expression rather than of its actual words. Internationality, except to a few European languages, can never be applied to words.

You say that “Sona” in forming words uses elements the combination of which is too subtle. Surely a word is visualised & remembered as it stands no matter how it has been formed. Cf. English “constitution” “excitability” etc.† With only 360 elements to learn I should have thought the tax on memory would be negligible compared to the learning of several thousand roots. At the same time I quite see your point – the same was made by Prof. Jespersen.

† Sona. KA|IDA|SIN and UZI|LI|VI

Y is a neutral vowel like “e” in French je, me, te & only becomes consonant before A, E, I, O, U. Y (name) is pronounced like “e” in French je – almost like English -er in “father”.

The 6 “aspirates” (see Gaelic) are really combinations with “h”. J (zh, dzh), C (ch), X (sh), V (bh), F (ph).

Word order
Sona follows the simple logical order of English & Chinese. You may be right about the repetition of pronouns & tense forms, but I think you will acknowledge that two forms for “his” is an improvement on English.

“He said he (another person) was living with his sister” – might be rather a startling statement. In “Sona” there is no doubt :- ON LATO UA ON ZIA SO (SI) BOZAN (where the inclusion of SI would be startling!)

I am most grateful to you for your long & interesting letter & should be pleased to have any further criticisms or suggestions you may care to make at any time.

Yrs. sincerely
Kenneth Searight


the internationality of certain words — Searight ia ajunta la parola “certain” a pos, con un sinia de omete (^).

knabo — Esta es la parola esperanto per “xico”.

maldextra — Esta es la parola esperanto per “sinistra”, ma la spele coreta es maldekstra.

Classification of Sona — Searight ia scrive “2.” a esta titulo, ma no ia numeri la otras.

a-priori, a posteriori — La ifenis noncoerente es par Searight.

Esp. Nov. Occid.Esperanto, Novial, Occidental.

see page 90 — Esta refere a la introdui a la Table de Radisales (capitol VIII) en la libro de Searight.