High Valyrian Gender

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There are four genders in High Valyrian:

  1. Lunar (hūrenkor qogror)
  2. Solar (vēzenkor 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,[1] 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 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.
  • Names for foodstuffs and plants are often terrestrial,[2] e.g. havon "bread," parklon "meat."
  • Names of liquids are frequently aquatic: embar "water, sea," qelbar "river," ānogar "blood," etc.
  • There is a tendency for words that form natural pairs to be the same gender but a different declension class (or vice versa):[3]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."


Notes

  1. http://www.dothraki.com/2013/04/perzo-vujita/#comment-1391
  2. http://www.dothraki.com/2013/04/perzo-vujita/#comment-1418
  3. "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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