Pronouns, Anglish

Image from Steve Bowers

A number of new pronouns became current in Early and Middle Anglic and descended languages as new kinds of sophont being became common. He, she, it, and the plural forms were used just as they had been in Old Anglic and its ancestral English. However, some very general pronouns (e, em, eir, eirs, and eirself) were used for all sophont beings without regard to number, gender, or category, and another set (per, pers, and perself) was used to distinguish individual sentient beings without regard to gender or type. Sophont hermaphrodites had a unique set of pronouns (se, hir, hirs, hirself) as did nonsexual sophonts (je, jer, jers, jerself). Virtual sophont beings were sometimes also distinguished (ve, ver, veir, vers, verself) as were non-Terragen sentients (xe, xer, xeir, xers, xerself), especially if the other more specific pronoun sets could not be accurately applied.

non- specific pronoun non- gender- specific personal pronoun male and ferm female and merm hemoth (hermaph-
neut (nonsexual person) object
subjective e / ey per he she se je it
objective em per him her hir jer it
possessive adjective eir pers his hers hirs jers its
possessive pronoun eirs pers his hers hirs jers its
reflexive emself or eirself perself himself herself hirself jerself itself

non- gender- specific virtual entity non- gender- specific alien entity plural (generic)
subjective ve xe they
objective ver xer them
possessive adjective veir xeir their
possessive pronoun vers xers theirs
reflexive verself xerself themselves
or theirselves

Common gender definitions

The following table should only be used as a rule of thumb for
identification and use of gender, primarily for hominid, or at least
mammalian, clades.

Can naturally bear children? (ie, has female primary sexual
Can naturally contribute genetic material to others' borne
offspring? (ie, has male primary sexual characteristics)
Has female secondary sex characteristics? (eg, in humans,
enlarged breasts and lack of facial hair. Non-hominid clades often use
a different variety of features to make this differentiation: manes,
tusks, antlers, colours, etc.)
herm yes yes yes
herm yes yes no
female yes no yes
ferm yes no no
merm no yes yes
male no yes no
neut no no yes
neut no no no

Many clades use complex gender systems that diverge from the six standard hu genders. For example, the Vedokiklek, a clade of insectoid provolves, utilize a gender system with no less than 17 genders and have a common language that has corresponding declined forms for each.

Many other clades and societies do not use gender-specific pronouns to divide individuals into categories. This phenomenon is common amongst nonbionts, vecs and aioids, groups who may find that categorization based solely on traits and stereotypes associated with those having certain sexual organs, instead of say based on age or occupation, to be farcical.

Even when an individual can be classified under one of the six standard hu genders, the grammatical pronoun used does not necessarily correspond to the gender they are classed under. If contrary to the category placed in according to the table, individual or cultural idiosyncratic preferences for gender-specific pronouns should be given priority over the standard usage. It is common advice that one should never assume or correct the chosen grammatical gender based on the standard, since in many Terragen cultures this can be considered offensive to varying degrees. Most introduction and identification protocols should indicate the correct gender.

One example of this practice occurs with many sophont ships. Sophont ships are for the most part either neut or herm, but can in fact represent any of the six standard genders. Despite this they are almost universally distinguished with female pronouns in Anglic languages. This is due to the fact that the ancient pre-Interplanetary language of Modern English used feminine pronouns for nautical ships (even those named after men). This practice continued for vehicles exploring outer space. Modern English developed into proto-Anglic (the ancestor to the Anglic language family, the most common language family in the Terragen sphere).

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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Daniel Eliot Boese, Mark Ryherd, Stephen Inniss and Steve Bowers
Initially published on 06 March 2001.

Some of the pronouns in this article are copies or adaptations of the Spivak pronouns.