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Gender in Thagojian, and related ramblings

From:Paul Bennett <paul-bennett@...>
Date:Tuesday, August 31, 2004, 19:59
There's a real LLL update coming, but the "show us your weird pronouns"
thing got me thinking about gender in Thagojian.

First, all nouns take a suffix denoting their gender, which is
semantically rather than syntactically defined. To use the common example
for Elamite (the only other language I know of that does this):

I, the king

You, the king

He, the king

kinghood / kingry

The suffix forms for verbs (including copula-isation) are identical, so
the following holds equally true:

either - I, the king
or - I am the king
or - I rule

Actually, that's an oversimplification. There are two classes of
substantives in Thagojian (in addition to a few particles and other
riff-raff), nominals and verbs. Nominals may be context-dependently read
as either noun-like or verb-like, but verbs are (as the name implies)
always strictly verbal in nature. Adjectives and adverbs are represented
by attributive nominals and verbs, thus they lack their own distinct
forms. This is another feature stolen from Elamite, and is largely
irrelevant to the main topic of this message.

The Thagojian gender system is based on a variety of concepts, and is, in
full (at time of writing):

-m First Person
-s Second Person
-t Third Person Human
-r Third Person Animal
-n Third Person Inanimate
-k Abstraction-deriving
-nh /N/ Nullar
-q /?/ Question-forming

Here is an example, with the question-forming gender:

Bill: Horashëq? [who is king?]

To which Ted has a variety of responses, depending on the situation,

Ted: Horashëm [I am]
Ted: Rufus Horashët [Rufus is]
Ted: Horashënh [There is no king]

The pro-verb in Thagojian is a- (actually, a- is the proximal
pro-anything, and u- is the distal -- again, a digression that serves no
immediate purpose), thus the following are equivalents to the above:

Ted: Am [I am - literally it-me]
Ted: Rufus at [Rufus is - Rufus it-him]
Ted: Anh [Nobody is - it-nothing]


I've been thinking since last night about more to add than this, and can't
readily come up with much else coherent, so I guess it's time to hit send,
and wait for whatever comments you might have...