Coding a neutral gender pronoun


#1

Hi, I have looked through the forums and there are a few other threads asking about gender neutrality pronouns but ive been unable to find a specific answer to my personal issue.

My game is currently running the option of the usual 3 pronouns: He, She and a gender neutral one (currently the singular “they”). I have previously tried “it” but I know it can be seen as offensive or dismissive. I have also tried zey but found it glaring and distracting when reading. “They” feels the most inobstructive to use currently.

Im using:
*set he -> she -> they
*set him -> her -> them
*set his -> her -> their
*set himself -> herself -> themself

However I am starting to find issues when writing some lines e.g:

  • …infact ${he} seems almost excited = …infact they seems almost excited

  • …the thoughts {he}'s creating in {his} head = …the thoughts they’s creating in their head

Does anyone have any advice around this? Also does anyone have a strong opinion against “singular they”? The other threads I’ve read seem to favour it.


#2

I would have loved to do singular they in my WIP, but as you noted, it’s just too tricky to do the pronoun/verb agreements.

I’m personally using the Elverson/Spivak variant (ey/eir/eirs/em/emself, listed here on Wikipedia) for gender neutral characters in my WIP. Wikipedia has a great table with some other options.


#3

I am totally a ignorant in this topic, and for that reason I think I could represent many future Cog readers. I am Spanish and like a latin based language we don’t have neutral It all in existence is or feminine or masculine, For instance a bed is feminine same as the death the sea, is masculine in normal speak but for poetry is feminine.
When I first read all this neutral thing here I was completely lost and didn’t understand it. If you use They as singular you would puzzle many people like me from other cultures. In versus they used a ze and I think that sounds cool.


#4

Thank you, that makes a lot of sense.

I will try to use a pronoun that would be less confusing to people whose first language isn’t English.

Clearly the singular they isn’t an easy option to use as well


#5

We have in internet slang a way to include both genders in one put at end of adjective or adverb @ But in English hasn’t sense because you don’t gender articles, adverbs … be glad for that. I tried once translate a cog to Spanish that means a complete different text for each gender. a complete nightmare


#6

I use Spivak pronouns too, for gender neutral characters. If you’ll be including gender neutral pronouns for supporting characters, you might want to include a note to the reader at the very beginning explaining this. I had this paragraph on my first page:

His sibling, Selenn, is not visible tonight. E rarely shows eir face this early in the Green Season. Selenn’s godde is said to rule over the inventors, the logicians, and the builders. And then there is Hecate, just a tiny yellow smile in the sky. Hers are the chemics, those who use the elements to create and recreate.

Selenn is non-binary. I had so many people point out the ‘typos’ in that second sentence that I finally included this note prior to said first page:

“A World, Once Lost” contains several non-binary characters. I am using Spivak pronouns - e, em, eir, eirs, emself - for non-binary figures, as opposed to the usual he, him, his, his, himself for male and she, her, her, hers, and herself for female.

That fixed the typo confusion. (:

Also, I think it was @Sashira’s current WIP that gives nonbinary MCs the option of which pronoun was preferred specifically for the MC - singular ‘they’, Spivak, ‘ze’, or even enter your own. I thought that was a really great touch.


#7

My guess is that this dilemma is what caused a lot of the original IF to be written in second person point-of-view…ie “You go to the store. You pick up the hammer to dash the bad guy’s brains out…”

Maybe if you changed your POV…which sounds like 3rd person…“he went to the store…” to either first person “I go to the store” or “I went to the store” or second person, it would solve your problem. Depending on how far into your work, that is.


#8

As far as a singular “they” it doesn’t bother me. (Aiiiiii! All my college grammar professors are screaming in unison as I type this.) But what does bother me is the subject-verb agreement problem you’re running into when you use it…“they seems almost excited.” Sounds like Gollum-speak to me. :wink: And while it might not bother some people, I wouldn’t be able to play the game with that going. It would drive me crazy.


#9

My main character is writen from the 2nd person point of view (You do this and that) but I have a second
character that requires writing in the 3rd person.

The main character is completely gender neutral because of the way the story is writen and the subject matter but the other character requires a gender or simply for the main character to be ignorant of genders.

Because of this I have to find a way to write the pronouns without the writing appearing confusing or incorrect.

I like the idea of giving more than one genderless pronoun option though


#10

This might sound awkward too, but can your just use the character’s name instead of a pronoun? “Chaswick went into the house…”


#11

I agree, I cant read it like that. However I have managed to get around the problem of:

…the thoughts {he}'s creating in {his} head = …the thoughts they’s creating in their head

by changing {he}'s to {hes} and then allowing - set hes -> he’s -> they’re" - then it reads:

…the thoughts {he}'s creating in {his} head = …the thoughts they’re creating in their head

Still havn’t solved the first issue of “He” into “they” though :frowning:


#12

Why dont you put a input text command and let people put whatever they like. I probably put el@ a mixture of el and ella (he and she in spanish)


#13

Oh! I have read your WIP :slight_smile:
Nomally I wouldn’t suggest this, but if the MC is ignorant of genders and the other character is not non-binary, why don’t you use ‘it’ instead of ‘they’? The MC has only met animals before, right? So wouldn’t ‘it’ be appropriate in this case because you also use ‘it’ for animals? I would not suggest this if we were talking about a non-binary person, but I got the imression that the second character is not non-binary. It feels more like the MC doesn’t know any better or that they just don’t care.


#14

I originally went with ‘it’ and your right, it does work well with the characters view.

Problem is I found I was using ‘it’ so much it was losing all meaning :frowning:. That’s why I prefer ed ‘they’ just to give the definition that I was talking about that charater


#15

So ‘it’ isn’t an option…
You also used ‘it’ when referring to other spirits. Maybe if you can’t use ‘it’ for the second character you could also use different pronouns for the spirits? It would work well with the views of the MC if they use pronouns they are familiar with. I just think that it wouldn’t make sense for them to use completly different pronouns than for something they know if they do not understand or do not care about gender


#16

Bit what about words like pupitre & agua? ^-^


#17

I don’t know how coding works, but maybe you could just tweak the script a bit for the genrpder neutral route? They really is one of the best options if you don’t want to go all french on the reader lol (pardon my french)


#18

El pupitre y el agua. Both masculine. Everything is in the list or one way or other except some words that are unisex but you have to put one or other anyway.