Idea for conlang pronoun system, partly inspired by Lojban

In Lojban you can declare pronouns that consistently refer back to nominals. This idea is very similar, but attempts to make the same concept slightly more naturalistic – a hybrid or “compromise” between logical and naturalistic. Most of the vocabulary in the examples given below is very European-derived, and if I took the concept further I might replace it.

Idea

With the exception of the inclusive first-person plural which is a combination of two other pronouns, pronouns take the pattern (C)V(n) where (n) is the optional letter n and, when used, signifies the plural.

In the first person there is a singular, inclusive plural, and exclusive plural: ti, tinren, and tin, respectively.

In the second person there is a singular and a plural: re and ren, respectively.

The generic third person pronoun is i, which also has singular and plural forms: i and in.

However, pronouns can also be declared with the particle let:

Let he Johano este viro. He amra katon.
(John is a man. He loves cats.)

Let xi Maria este fema. Xi amra katon.
(Maria is a woman. Xi loves cats.)

Let li Zamenhofo este mediko. Li amra katon.
(Zamenhof is a doctor. Li loves cats.)

Let lu Jepeseno este lingiso. Lu amra katon.
(Jespersen is a linguist. Lu loves cats.)

Let ri Kori este nobinari. Ri amra katon.
(Cory is nonbinary. Ri loves cats.)

Here he, xi, li, lu, and ri are assigned to the respective individuals: Johano, Maria, Zamenhofo, Jepeseno, Kori, and then the sentences as a whole are evaluated with the referent of the newly declared pronoun as the subject.

It might even be possible to extend this even further to non-pronouns, for example:

let Viki kato xel ti
(Viki = my cat)

let konlingo lingo wat homo akjo
(konlingo = language that a human makes)

With, Withid, e bebáa? – Woman, man, or what?

Raye Chell Mahela

Láadan’s ability to describe gender is difficult.


 

My quest for animation software continues. Linux-based software is sorely lacking in this regard. Sure, there’s software like Synfig, but it lacks features that even my 1999 Flash editor has. 😐

The Problem with Video Game Character Creators

Raye Chell Mahela

For video games where you build your own character, why does it only give you the option of “male” or “female” to choose from?

The first character creator that stood out to me, honestly, was in My Sims, an adequate Wii game spin-off of The Sims. You create your character in it, but you don’t assign any gender – you have access to all options in the editor.  Of course, all the characters are chibi so there isn’t really a “body type” difference in the characters you see around town, so why bother having that constraint?

But what if more games did that? Even if you did have different body-types, why not have all the options available, and not have to assign a gender? The lead character is usually addressed by their name anyway, and the Singular They could be used when your character isn’t directly being addressed.

I’ve had some people just recently argue with me about how “Singular They” is an abomination to the English language and that they refuse to use it, however. (Really? English? English itself is an abomination…) So I have a different suggestion for your character creators to get around this.

Don’t assign gender to your character in a character-creator. Assign pronouns.

The programming is not going to be much different from switching between he/she in the dialogue. You could store variables to be swapped out based on the pronouns. (He Him His – She Her Hers – They Them Theirs – and so on).

But that doesn’t go far enough – since these values are going to be stored in variables anyway, why not allow the user to type in their own pronouns?  Just have them enter in the three-or-so variations of the pronoun that shows up in the given language.

pronounbox

Many games allow the user to type in their own name – so give it a try, let people enter their own pronouns. Let people choose any option in the character editor.

Update, February 19th

I recently watched a GiantBomb Quick Look for Sunless Sea, and during the character creation process, I saw that they ask the question, “What term of address do you prefer ashore?” with options like “Madam”, “Sir”, “Citizen”, and more, which is a nice, story-integrated way to deal with this.

address

You can check out Sunless Sea’s official webpage here.

Do you know any other games that do this?

Update, November 10th

Read Only Memories also lets you choose pronouns! :)

read only memories