[tlhIngan Hol] Expressing "neutral gender"

SuStel sustel at trimboli.name
Tue May 28 15:09:11 PDT 2019

On 5/28/2019 5:48 PM, Will Martin wrote:
>> On May 28, 2019, at 1:55 PM, SuStel <sustel at trimboli.name 
>> <mailto:sustel at trimboli.name>> wrote:
>> 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?
> Assuming they’d use a bathroom.

You typically direct someone to a bathroom when they ask you how to get 
to the bathroom. That is implicit in my suggestion. One does not usually 
walk around directing people to bathrooms who didn't ask. So yes, we can 
safely assume that an alien that asks where the bathroom is wants to use 
a bathroom.

>> To buy the right sort of clothing as a gift?
> Assuming that sex identity is the thing an alien would use to 
> gravitate toward a particular type of clothing.

And some people do. So what happens if you're dealing what that sort of 
person? An alien shopping on Earth, for instance, would find almost 
every store selling clothes split along male/female lines.

>> To correctly recommend either a urologist or gynecologist?
> Assuming that such doctors would know the physiology of an alien.

Same answer as the bathroom.

>> Any number of other reasons that might come up?
> Each one of the things you brought up could be answered specifically 
> with much more clarity than expecting one generic answer to work for 
> all of them.

No. There is no "neuter for the purpose of going to the bathroom" noun 
in Klingon. There is no "neuter for the purpose of choosing fashion" 
expression in Klingon. The question is straightforward.

> Hermione’s robe looked a lot like Harry’s robe. Size was more 
> important than sexual gender.

Utterly irrelevant.

>>> 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.
> [whiny voice] Yes, but sometimes it’s REALLY IMPORTANT to know whether 
> a tree is a boy or a girl.

That's true. In biology or agriculture, one might need to know. And the 
tree is still called an /it,/ regardless.

>>> 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.
> Yes, but they are ALIENS. They OBVIOUSLY are not men or women, even if 
> they ARE male or female.

In Klingon, *loD* and *be'* mean /male/ and /female,/ not just /man/ and 

> That’s why I picked {rur} instead of a pronoun, since we know from 
> describing colors and such that {rur} is used when you are comparing 
> an aspect of something to another thing, even when the things 
> themselves are not generally similar.

Unnecessary, since the word *loD *can be used in Okrandian Klingon canon 
to mean adult male member of any sentient species.


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