[Image: Two flags with 9 vertical stripes. From left to right: Pink, purple, black, gray, white, gray, black, purple, blue. The white stripe is twice the width of the other stripes. The 2nd flag is the same but with an epicene symbol in the center 3 stripes. Its a thick black circle with a dot in the center and with two short lines coming out of the left and right side, left side is slanted downward, right is slanted upward.]
I created an epicene flag because I’m fairly sure it doesn’t have one, and I was really disappointed when I wanted to start using epicene as a label. The pink & blue represent traditional masculinity and femininity, the purple represents the combination of masculine and feminine, the black & grey represent being nothing or neither, and the white represents a combination of all of them.
Epicene: An adjective that indicates a lack of gender distinction. The Order of the Epicene website includes a definition of epicene that they credit to the Oxford English Dictionary; ‘that which exhibits characteristics of both genders, yet is neither’.
Venusic: A nonbinary person attracted to women and nonbinary lunarians.
Hello, you've probably been asked this before(this is tumblr after all) but i was just wondering, is there any exact gender neutral pronoun in neo-khuzdul? Because the only neutral you have in the personal pronoun document is 'it' which is also 'he' at the same time or 'khi'-one, which i'm not really sure can be used in this way? Thanks.
Thanks for asking this question. It is often a topic I end up discussing during classes, one that (sadly) often raises more questions… and one that is perhaps not addressed fully in any current document (added it now to my to-do list). Let me attempt to explain in full… [long post warning]
The first thing one should take into account is that the short translations of these pronouns to English, that are listed in the dictionaries, are not always entirely authoritative. Meaning that, depending on the context, interpretation of meaning, grammatical tense or mood we can see exceptions or different interpretations.
Also, we need to be very clear what exactly we mean with “gender neutral”, as it can either mean a) “someone or something that is grammatically gender-less”, it can mean b) “either male OR female (his/her)”, or c) “someone or something of unknown gender”.
Let’s have a closer look at all these possibilities in Neo-Khuzdul.
a) “someone or something that is grammatically gender-less”
In Neo-Khuzdul these words would perhaps be better described as “gender-free” or “epicene” as they lack any gender assignment and serve both as masculine and feminine. In my view this classification would be true for the vast majority of Neo-Khuzdul nouns. And seeing I have found no indisputable evidence of professor Tolkien adding any consistent gender assignment to Khuzdul nouns, I have always attempted to stay clear of assigning gender to any noun.
Though linguist David Salo did list a few nouns that explicitly have a gender assignment - for instance: “anthân” - (meaning “sign(s), omen(s)”) is a feminine noun, no doubt inspired by gender assignment seen in other Semitic languages - I have deliberately NOT included this in my version of Neo-Khuzdul (hence you won’t find it in the dictionaries) As I believe it would make an already robust (and for the novice already complex) system overly complex with no distinct benefit to clarity or comprehensibility - nor would it mirror Tolkien’s original Khuzdul.
So, with the above in mind, what pronoun would we use with such “epicene nouns”?
In the majority of cases one would use the 3rd Person male/neutral “HU”.
“The fabric’s colour is red. Red is its colour”
“Neked ankhâdhu baraz. Baraz ankhâdhu”
In other words, if something or someone is not explicitly female (the vast majority of objects and concepts in Neo-Khuzdul) and you can easily replace it by “it” in English you’ll be sticking with this form nearly all the time.
b) “either male or female (his/her)”
What if you are in a situation where you could address an object as either belonging to a male or female. In English we often use the “his/her” marker, especially in formal or official circumstances, like contracts or disclaimers.
“A trader must polish his/her items”
“Usjar tabtisi mat fakâtkhi.
“Khi” (translated roughly as “one” or “one’s”) is the form to use here. It is the form we’ll use if we wish to stress something is either male or female, or can belong to either.
The issue with the translation of “khi” as “one(’s)” is that in English it has quite formal connotations (particularly in American English). Native English speakers often avoid it in favor of more colloquial alternatives such as the generic “you®”. When translating to or from Neo-Khuzdul one should forget the formal connotation associated with the pronoun “one” in English, as this is not present in Neo-Khuzdul. Try to think of it as “his/her” or “person’s” if the translation as “one(’s)” keeps feeling to formal for you.
Note however that when “khi” is associated with verbs, these are conjugated like the third person male/neutral, as we can see in the above example as well. Though the noun “usjar” (”trader”) is considered gender-free it uses “tabtisi” (”he/it polishes”) and not “tabtisiya” (”she polishes”).
c) “someone or something of unknown gender”.
This is likely what most people mean when they talk about “gender neutrality”.
Let’s say we went for a walk, tripped, fell and are now hopelessly trapped in a pit, hoping a dwarf may pass by with a rope to save us. We obviously don’t know if that dwarf-saviour would be a male or female. So, we have no way of knowing if it would be “his” or “her” rope (assuming our hero/heroine would carry a rope).
“The saviour’s rope.”
Sheesh, how did we miss that pit?
Identical to b) we are going to use “khi”. The exact same logic applies here.
- Singular and Plural
In closing, the above examples specifically address singular forms, for plural “khi” can be replaced by “maku” (which translated literally as “anyone”), though would only be used if one were to stress the fact that there are multiple people involved.