High Valyrian Gender

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There are four genders in High Valyrian:

  1. Lunar (hūrenkon[1] qogror)
  2. Solar (vēzenkon[1] qogror)
  3. Terrestrial (tegōñor qogror)
  4. Aquatic (embōñor qogror)

As a general principal, most lunar nouns end in a vowel, most solar nouns in an -s, most terrestrials in -n, most aquatics in -r. But there are a significant number of exceptions to this guideline. In particular, all paucals end in -n and all collectives in -r, no matter what their gender.

There is no exact equivalence between the genders and semantic categories, but there are some general tendencies:

  • Words for human beings are most often lunar or solar: vala "man," abra "woman," muña "mother," quptys "heathen," zentys "guest," āeksio "master," dohaeriros "slave," etc.
  • This is true for "Most animate and individuatable nouns" in general,[2] and this includes animals. Furthermore, there appears to be a tendency for diurnal animals to be solar (e.g. gryves "bear," zaldrīzes "dragon," hobres "goat," ñombes "elephant," and many other examples) and nocturnal animals to be lunar (e.g. zokla "wolf", atroksia "owl," kēli "cat.")
    • Turgon "worm," however, is terrestrial, perhaps because worms are not "individuatable" (to say nothing of the fact that they live in the ground.)
  • Names of occupations are often solar: azantys "soldier," dārys "king," voktys "priest," loktys "sailor," etc.
  • Body parts tend to be solar: deks "foot," kris "leg," relgos "mouth," pungos "nose," naejos "breast," and many more examples.
    • Exceptions: ōghar "hair" is aquatic, and ñōghe "arm" is lunar.
    • This rule does not seem to encompass internal organs either. On the one hand qablos "liver" is solar, but prūmia "heart," and iemny "stomach" are lunar, and kyndrir "intestines" is aquatic.
  • Names for foodstuffs and plants are often terrestrial,[3] e.g. havon "bread," parklon "meat."
  • Names of liquids, and bodies thereof are frequently aquatic: iēdar "water," ānogar "blood," embar "sea," qelbar "river," nāvar, "lake," etc.
    • averilla "wine" follows a lunar-type declension pattern, but is in fact aquatic as well.
  • Names for military equipment are often lunar: gelte "helmet," korze "longsword," azandy "shortsword."
  • Names of metals are usually terrestrial: āeksion "gold," gēlion "silver," brāedion "copper," korzion "iron."
    • Brāedāzma is lunar, but only because of the -āzma suffix.
  • There is a tendency for words that form natural pairs to be the same gender but a different declension class (or vice versa):[4]e.g. tala "daughter" ~ trēsy "son."


Adjective/noun agreement

Adjectives must agree in gender with the noun they modify. For some adjectives this is pretty straightforward:

  • ñuha muña "my mother" ~ ñuhys zaldrīzes "my dragon" ~ ñuhon glaeson "my life" ~ ñuhor haedar "my little sister."

However, many adjectives effectively have only two genders: one form for the lunar and solar, and another for the terrestrial and aquatic.

  • muña kirine "a happy mother," zaldrīzes kirine "a happy dragon" ~ glaeson kirinior "a happy life," haedar kirinior "a happy little sister."

When a single adjective modifies two nouns of different genders, it appears that it is to be put in the genitive singular instead:

  • Vēzos qēlossās ñuho. — My sun and stars.
  • ... va daorunta ñelli qringaomnā pōjo zālari. — ... burning their sins and flesh away.

It is unclear whether this rule only affects possessives, or it applies more generally.

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 The names for the solar and lunar genders were long thought to be vēzenkor qogror and hūrenkor qogror, due to this comment, but DJP has since clarified that that was in error, and that qogror is indeed terrestrial, precisely as one would expect. As this error has persisted uncorrected for two years, it has already been propagated to any discussions of HV on the internet. If you are in a position to do so, please correct any references you may find to ˣvēzenkor qogror or ˣhūrenkor qogror to vēzenkon and hūrenkon respectively.
  2. http://www.dothraki.com/2013/04/perzo-vujita/#comment-1391
  3. http://www.dothraki.com/2013/04/perzo-vujita/#comment-1418
  4. "There are a number of dualities that work this way, where two words which are intended to be in some sort of semantic relation to one another differ either solely in declension class or gender, but in systematic (or semi-systematic) ways." —DJP
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