Pronouns, Early Anglic

Image from Steve Bowers

A number of new pronouns became current in the Late Information Age in variants of the English as new lifestyles and identity types became common. He, she, it, and the plural forms were used by a large fraction of the English-speaking population, including thoise who used it as a second language. However, some non-gendered pronouns (such as they, them, their and themself, and the Spivak pronouns e, em, eir, eirs, and eirself) began to be used as non-gender-specific forms of address.

Later, as English developed into Anglic and new forms of subsentient, sentient and sophont being started to emerge, new forms of pronouns were coined, and used to distinguish between these new types of entity. A personal pronoun (per, pers, and perself) was sometimes used to distinguish fully sophont beings (without regard to gender or type) from subsophont or non-sophont entities. Sophont hermaphrodites of various types could use a unique set of pronouns (se, hir, hirs, hirself) and so could nonsexual sophonts (je, jer, jers, jerself). Virtual sophont beings were sometimes also distinguished (ve, ver, veir, vers, verself).

Much later, alien beings (xenosophonts) sometimes used a series of xeno-pronouns (xe, xer, xeir, xers, xerself), especially if the other more specific pronoun sets could not be accurately applied for biological reasons. By this time the set of languages known as Anglic had branched into a large and complex family, which incorporated influences from many other sources, and the xeno-pronouns described in this table were only one form of addres used in this linguistic context.

Singular they non- specific pronoun non- gender- specific personal pronoun male and ferm female and merm herm (hermaph-
neut (nonsexual person) object
subjective they e / ey per he she se je it
objective them em per him her hir jer it
possessive adjective their eir pers his hers hirs jers its
possessive pronoun theirs eirs pers his hers hirs jers its
reflexive themself emself or eirself perself himself herself hirself jerself itself

non- gender- specific virtual entity non- gender- specific alien entity plural (generic)
subjective ve xe they
objective ver xer them
possessive adjective veir xeir their
possessive pronoun vers xers theirs
reflexive verself xerself themselves
or theirselves

Common Aspects of Biological Sexes

The following table should only be used as a rule of thumb for identification and use of biological sex, primarily for hominid, or at least mammalian, clades.

Can naturally bear children? (ie, has female primary sexual
Can naturally contribute genetic material to others' borne
offspring? (ie, has male primary sexual characteristics)
Has female secondary sex characteristics? (eg, in humans,
enlarged breasts and lack of facial hair. Non-hominid clades often use
a different variety of features to make this differentiation: manes,
tusks, antlers, colours, etc.)
herm yes yes sometimes
female yes no yes
ferm yes no no
merm no yes yes
male no yes no
neut no no sometimes


Biological Sex

Sex refers to a set of biological, or embodied attributes in presapient, modosophont and some transapient creatures. It is primarily associated with physical and physiological features including chromosomes, gene expression, hormone levels and function, and reproductive/sexual anatomy. Sexes are frequently categorized as "asexual", "female", "male", "hermaphrodite", or a variety of other types used for natural reproduction. Clades using more decentralized reproductive systems, especially non-biological clades using assembly-line processes, often use a more modular approach. In most developed sephirotic societies, the possibilities of morphological freedom allow sophonts to achieve any desired combination of features, which may or may not match their gender identity, or necessarily be used for reproduction, for a variety of reasons. Sophonts can also easily change their sex over short or long timespans to align with, or diverge from, their own gender identity or their culture's gender roles (if it maintains any) as well.

Sexual Orientation

Sexual Orientation is a pattern of romantic or sexual attraction (or a combination of these) to persons of a different sex, gender, or species, the same sex, gender, or species, or a variety of sexes, genders, or species. These attractions may be categorized under the concepts of heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, (species)sexuality, pansexuality, omnisexuality, polysexuality, non-sexuality or asexuality.


Gender refers to the social roles, behaviours, psychological expressions and identities generally associated with reproductive instincts or programming for sophonts who experience and use these concepts. It sometimes influences how sophonts perceive themselves and each other, how they act and interact, social and behavioral expectations they're assigned, and may affect the distribution of power and resources in some (usually primitive) societies. Gender identity is rarely confined to a binary (masculine/ feminine, etc) or even necessarily the six genders identified with the six standard Anglish pronouns (male, female, herm, merm, ferm, neut), nor is it static; it exists across a conceptual landscape and individuals can change their identities and expression over time, sometimes over years, sometimes day to day, sometimes moment to moment. There is considerable diversity in how individuals and groups understand, experience and express gender through the roles they take on, the expectations placed on them, relations with others and the complex ways that gender is institutionalized in society.

Some clades use complex gender systems that diverge from the six standard hu genders. For example, the Tensepathraa, a clade of insectoid neogens, were designed with no less than 17 sexes by their creators, a team of bioartists from the Zoeific Biopolity. Each offspring has anywhere from 4 to 9 parents, with a complex system of compatibility describing which matings and in what order result in reproduction. Their language has corresponding declined forms for each gender.

Many other clades and societies do not have genders. This phenomenon is common amongst nonbionts, vecs and aioids, groups who may find categorization based on traits associated with having certain sexual organs (instead of, say, based on age or occupation or operating system) to be farcical. On the other hand many aioids and vecs choose to adopt a sexual identity, and may or may not change this identity whenever they wish.

In the vast majority of Sephirotic and associated societies, though a sophont may have a gender, they are not restricted by it. In some other societies, especially those outside the Civilized Galaxy and dominated by bionts, gender roles may exist with varying degrees of rigidity.

Even when an individual can be classified under one of the six standard hu genders, the grammatical pronoun used may not necessarily correspond to the 'standard' gender they are classed under. If contrary to the category placed in according to the table, individual or cultural idiosyncratic preferences for gender-specific pronouns should be given priority over the standard usage. It is common advice that one should never correct the chosen grammatical gender based on the standard, since in many Terragen cultures this can be considered offensive to varying degrees. Most citizens use "public profiles" or "metadata" that anyone's DNIs can incorporate into understanding new people consciously or unconsciously, at a glance. Most introduction and identification protocols will indicate the correct gender, if one is used.

Related Articles
  • Ferm - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Daniel Eliot Boese
    One of six standard hu Sexes, the others being male, herm, merm, female, and neut. A Ferm has male secondary sexual characteristics and female sexual organs.
  • Herm - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Daniel Eliot Boese
    Hermaphrodite, one of six standard hu sexes and genders, the others being male, merm, ferm, female, and neut. Herms have both male and female sexual organs, but their secondary sexual characteristics vary from individual to individual, ranging from fully male to fully female or a mixture between the two.
  • Merm - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Daniel Eliot Boese
    One of six standard hu sexes, the others being male, herm, ferm, female, and neut. A merm is a male individual with the secondary sexual characteristics of a female.
  • Neut - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Daniel Eliot Boese, Steve Bowers
    One of six standard hu sexes and genders, the others being female, ferm, herm, merm, and male. Neuts have reduced their genitalia and secondary sexual characteristics to an undeveloped state, or removed them altogether. Note, however, some neuts may have active sex lives even without functioning sexual apparatus, and some present as male or female.
  • Pangender, Pangenderic - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    A biont that incorporates at the same time the whole range of genders and sexual modes - male, female, herm, ferm, etc.
  • Sex and Sexuality
Appears in Topics
Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev, Daniel Eliot Boese, Mark Ryherd, Stephen Inniss and Steve Bowers
Initially published on 06 March 2001.

Some of the pronouns in this article are copies or adaptations of the Spivak pronouns.

Updated August 2020 by Dfleymmes
Updated Jan 2024 by Steve Bowers