[tlhIngan Hol] Expressing "neutral gender"

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Tue May 28 12:17:45 PDT 2019

On 5/28/2019 2:52 PM, Will Martin wrote:
> A person using English to talk about an entity needs to know whether 
> that entity is a “he”, a “she”, or an “it”, or you can’t replace the 
> noun with a pronoun, and talking about the entity gets awkward.

Style guides have begun recommending the gender-indeterminate /they/ for 
these situations.

> You gave no indication what the relevance is of the alien being male 
> or female or not.

No, he didn't, and he doesn't have to. He just asked if there is a way 
to say someone is of neutral gender. This is a perfectly reasonable and 
complete question. It doesn't require special context to answer.

> I made no reference as to whether a Klingon would culturally feel an 
> interest in the biological sexual category of an alien. As a human 
> using the Klingon language, without any context, I didn’t understand 
> what the interest is in the sexual category of an alien. That’s really 
> it.

Okay, so you were not answering his question, you were pontificating on 
some completely different question.

> I was just trying to point out that while speaking English, because of 
> the unusual way that English ties grammatical gender to biological sex 
> classification, you might have a bias pushing to you want to focus on 
> that.

First of all, English using biological sex in its very limited system of 
genders is not all that unusual.

Second, mayqel's native language is Greek, not English.

> I’m not saying that the Klingon language lacks sex-based grammatical 
> gender for a reason. It’s completely arbitrary, as is the case in 
> every language.

Not the case. Languages develop the way they do for reasons, not 
arbitrarily. "Singular /they,/" for example, is becoming common as a 
reaction to the perceived sexism of using "impersonal /he./" /Thou/ and 
/thee/ disappeared in part due to social classes becoming more equal.

I said earlier that English effectively has no gender, but it actually 
does have some, also based on biological sex: /widow/widower;/ 
/steward/stewardess; waiter/waitress/ (a whole bunch of /-ess/ endings 
in fact) and so on. And the female forms of these are starting to 
disappear as reactions to the perceived sexism of the language.

This stuff isn't arbitrary.

> Do you care if a chair is a boy chair or a girl chair?

No, he cares if an alien is neuter. How do you translate /The alien is 


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