neutrum

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Deutsch lernen - Grammatik: Der, die oder das? - Neutrum

yesterday two people (friends) said they were “overwhelmed” by my being “neuter” (”neutrum” in german idk if neuter is the best translation) and i don’t know how to react… idk what their problem was, why it was too much for them/what about the whole situation they felt overwhelmed by… it just really hurts and makes us feel so small and like our existance as agender is bad and hurtful to others :’(((((

A guide to German endearments

Why the hell am I doing this: I have been in the Weißkreuz fandom when the world was still younger and now I’m into Charles Xavier / Erik Lehnsherr and I regularly cringe at what some authors get from google translate. So to clear that up:

The direct translation of ‘love’, 'Liebe’, is never used as an endearment. You can say ‘meine Liebe (female) / mein Lieber (male)’ to address someone in spoken language, but it sounds either sarcastic or oldfashioned if not plain weird. It’s more usual to use it with a name (like e.g. ‘meine liebe Lisa/ mein lieber Richard’). This is all pretty platonic and if used in speech it sounds kind of formal and dramatic, because it’s usually used as an opening for letters to adress literally anyone with whom you are somewhat familiar.

Read more for a pretty complete list of common German endearments and their use and meanings.

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Just an outside perspective from a German linguistics nerd...

Just a heads-up: You need a bit more info to properly define pronouns in German since our grammar is more complicated than the English one.

Some like er_sie and sie_er are obvious since it’s just two of the usual ones attached to each other, but I would have serious trouble if I tried to use most of the others in more than a simple sentence.
Xier/xieser/dier/xier/xies/xiem/xien (this really looks like different forms of a single pronoun, not two distinct ones) is a bit better defined and I can sort of tell which form is meant to be which, but it’s impossible to be sure without listing them in a table. Preferably with labels since the existing ones aren’t all that regular in the first place.

You may also want to remove es from your pronoun list, it really is the equivalent to calling someone “it” and would be seen by most as derogatory outside very specific circumstances following the use of a neuter animate noun. (More on that later.)


This is probably incomplete but first you have to decline the pronoun across the four cases (nominative, genitive, dative and accusative) depending on where in a sentence it’s used to refer to someone. The process is fairly irregular, so everyone I know just remembers them without paying attention to patterns.

Then there are possessive pronouns that also depend on the grammatical gender and case of the targeted noun. Neuter (Neutrum and unambiguous in German) is an existing grammatical gender here and I think the declination is the same across all referents, so only the stem or masculine singular has to be specified and can be extended into the six forms necessary by anyone who knows the language.
I think the matching nominalisations should be trivial too.
(Some nouns describing people are neuter already, but iirc those are mostly diminutives which lead at least to some controversy and deprecated a few animate nouns. Adding a fourth grammatical gender to the language would be incredibly complicated, so I suppose someone’s preferred grammatical gender is actually something you’d have to ask about too for this language.)

The German reflexive pronoun sich is already completely gender neutral, interestingly enough. (It only applies to the 3rd person accusative, in other cases and speaker contexts personal pronouns are used and possibly specified with selbst (“-self”).)

The next category are demonstratives which, as in English, exist is distal and proximal variants, and additionally there’s a paradigm converted from relative pronouns by spoken emphasis. (The third paradigm isn’t that common in writing because it’s a bit colloquial. It can also be used in place of the distal one by adding da (“there”) or similar specifiers.)
The demonstratives can be automatically derived from modified reflexives/the default grammatical genders without quite calling someone “it” though, it seems.

Relative pronouns in German in part follow the determinate articles, which I don’t quite know of whether it would be considered offensive to use the neuter grammatical gender. (Again, the only animate nouns that are gender neutral that I remember on the fly are (implied) diminutives, which require the neuter grammatical gender.)
If you use the neuter-grammatical-gender one as demonstrative that’s very close to calling someone “it” though.

Otherwise… determinative pronouns (“that _ (is …)”) don’t really exist gender-neutrally for determinate counts. It’s pretty much the “it” problem again but I suppose you wouldn’t use them in conjunction with people unless you’re joking or talking down to them.


The parts of the German language that are actually somewhat compatible with indeterminate gender are interrogative words and indeterminate plurals, though there’s certainly debate about what really is politically correct. The normal masculine plural is usually understood as indeterminately mixed more than as all-male group for example, but you wouldn’t use that to officially address or formally write about people. (There are ways to adjoin the masculine and feminine forms but those are disliked by a sizeable share of the population due to being terrible to read, at least when shortened - which doesn’t work in spoken language, and I suppose is also not entirely sufficient to create catch-all terms.)


Maybe something interesting to note: Newer German laws must be written to be gender neutral. To achieve that goal, they for the most part use nominalised gerund-equivalent adjectivated(?) verbs to describe groups through their activity.
(Yes, this is by far the most readable and intuitive thing to do, even if it’s completely artificial. It also absolutely does not work for the singular, of which there are only distinctly masculine and feminine forms for each profession and many common functions.)
My uni also seems to have in part taken to doing this, since it’s surprisingly non-terrible. It could actually end up catching on where possible.

Also interesting: If I’m not mistaken all Finnish pronouns are of indeterminate gender, so it’s trivial to refer correctly to someone in that language because you simply can’t do it incorrectly.
The ones you list seem in fact to be the only 3rd-person personal pronouns the language has.
(I only chatted very briefly about this with someone, so I have no idea about the finer points though. According to him finding an unknown-gender personal pronoun is a complete non-issue in Finnish and the “it” connotations don’t exist either.)

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wowee i’m gonna just erase the german ones and link this post lol thank you