[tlhIngan Hol] Expressing "neutral gender"

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Tue May 28 10:55:55 PDT 2019


On 5/28/2019 1:32 PM, Will Martin wrote:
> Unless you are planning on having sex with an alien, why would you 
> care if it were male or female or neither?

To direct them to the correct bathroom?

To buy the right sort of clothing as a gift?

To correctly recommend either a urologist or gynecologist?

Any number of other reasons that might come up?


> Some trees are considered male and others of its species female, but 
> unless you are seeking fertile fruit, most people never bother to 
> figure out whether a tree is a he or a she.

Because in English trees are never /he/ or /she;/ they're always /it,/ 
regardless of their sexual properties.


> Klingon doesn’t have sexually classified gender like English does. 
> Most languages don’t.

English only has biological gender in its singular third-person 
pronouns, it only applies to some cases of biological sex, and it has no 
kind of gender agreement. The only way you could say that most language 
don't have the sort of gender that English has is to say that most 
languages have more extensive gender systems. Modern English effectively 
has no gender.


> Gender can have all kinds of categorization systems, like marking the 
> difference between old words vs. newer words borrowed from some other 
> language. Klingon gender has to do with marking the difference between 
> beings capable of using language, body parts, and everything else. 
> Biological sex role has nothing to do with it.
>
> So, in Klingon, you’d be less interested in noting that it wasn’t male 
> or female (since there is no “he” or “she” or “it” to use as the 
> pronoun when discussing the alien), but instead, you’d be trying to 
> figure out whether it used language.

And yet there are still situations in which you want to express the 
biological sex of someone or something, so there should be a way to do 
it, and you should be able to discuss it.

(There are a couple of extreme cases of gender in English. For instance, 
some maintain that the difference between /blond/ and /blonde/ is as in 
French: the /-e/ makes the adjective feminine, and should be used when 
referring to blond(e) women. Others maintain that this distinction 
belongs to French, not English, and that /blond/ should be used for all 
people with this color hair.)

Back to the original question: sorry, I can't think of a better way to 
say /neuter/ than to say *be' 'oHbe'; loD 'oHbe'* or variations thereof.

-- 
SuStel
http://trimboli.name

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