I’ve known for a long time that I wanted a third gender in TSU, but it’s taken a long time to figure out how to do that within the confines of the English language and my writing method. I tried for a long while to use “they” as a gender-neutral/androgyne personal pronoun, but, honestly it just doesn’t work with how I’m wired. I actually have a learning difficulty specifically to do with language and English is a cow of a thing for me to process properly, one of my problems is plurals. So, using “they” is pretty well defined as “pushing shit uphill” for my specific situation. So I worked on other alternatives for androgyne personal pronouns and kept “they” for groups and for the occasional non-gendered character.
I’m still not entirely happy with the system I’ve created, but I realised that I would never be totally happy with it because it’s new and new language itches at the brain. So I just dove in.
Now, I’ve recently learned that in America, most folks pronounce words that start with an “x” as “ex” and not “z” like we do here in NZ. To be utterly true to the linguistic rules in my conlang, the most correct version of the personal pronouns should start with an “x”, but in order to minimise the confusion for my US readers, I may turn my x-based androgyne personal pronouns into z-based. But the control freak in me has to point out that it’s not quite correct here in the glossary. Pronouns etc. are as follows:
Androgyne pronouns are based around “they” but grammatically they behave in the sentence like male or female pronouns.
Xey/zey – adds to she/he (zey is not zey are, and contractions zey’s is like she’s and he’s)
Xem/zem – adds to her/him
Xeir/zeir – adds to hers/his
iisha is an androgyne romantic partner, analogous to wife or husband. Sometimes also used if a person doesn’t know the gender of the partner.
mana is an androgyne parent, or the name given to a parent who is a hermaphrodite and the child was created with only their genetic material. So, for example, Tiras Malar senior self-seeded himself and gave birth to Tiras junior, so Junior has the option of calling him Dad, because he’s a man, or Mana, because he’s Junior’s sole genetic parent.
nena – means “little” and is an androgyne version of girl or boy, it also can be used by characters fluent in Kqashaan Ranqa to mean a child in general.
miisha – means “most precious to me”, it’s used to denote familial connections, such as androgyne heart family (close friends), or for the androgyne version of aunt/uncle. It’s generally used as a non-sexual endearment.
shan – is the androgyne version of sir/ma’am, originally more of a military-type context, but used in general like sir/ma’am if one wishes to show respect.
sesa – is the androgyne version of lord/lady, it is a word of respect for a person who has inheritable power or rank within society. (sasa, is the correct word for non-military, non-inherited power/rank, like politicians, but it’s not used in the story very much.)
These words are taken from Ranqa, and so, they have male and female-gendered versions of each of them. This is pulled off with the use of a suffix, -aana is women, -aan as male. For example, iisha is an androgyne romantic partner, iishaana is a wife, iishaan is a husband. But I don’t use the female and male gendered versions in the stories because readers have enough new terms to deal with as it is. So where there is an English version of a word, I’ll use the English version for lack of confusion and brain-hurt.