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Gender-neutral royal titles?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Ireth, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    One of the fantasy worlds I've created is a vaguely medieval society which nonetheless has a much greater awareness and acceptance of non-binary, non-cisgender and non-straight people and pairings than many of our world's cultures did at the time. This is so because the human race was created by demigod-like dragons, who also have a large number of the aforementioned.

    The MC of the story is a cisgender, asexual girl from modern Earth who is whisked away to the fantasy world via a magic portal she accidentally creates. She initially befriends an MtF transgender dragoness before getting pulled into human affairs and encountering the royals of the kingdom. The dragoness uses the human language of that world to speak with the MC, which is rendered as English due to magical Translation Convention. (This is also lampshaded in-story by the MC, who notices that people's mouth movements don't match up with the words she hears them speak, and vice-versa.)

    Now, in a society with so many non-cis/het/etc. individuals, I would logically expect their language to have a non-gendered equivalent of such gendered titles as king, queen, prince, princess, etc. I've come up with the term "princet" for a gender-neutral heir to the throne, but others are not coming so easily to mind. Nor do I know how that would or should factor into the Translation Convention trope. I don't really want to use generic terms like "Monarch" and "Heir", either. Any thoughts on how I should handle this?
     
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  2. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    That's a tough one. There's bound to be topics or ideas regarding this dilemma on the interwebs. Good luck friend Ireth!
     
    Ireth likes this.
  3. Svrtnsse

    Svrtnsse Staff Article Team

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    Maybe they titles could be named after their symbols of office? Like if the ruler of the country wears a crown, then the title would be Crown?
    You can probably come up with better symbols and names, but it may be a source of inspiration?
     
  4. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I like that symbol idea, Svrt. I'll see what I can come up with. :D
     
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  5. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I like this idea and though I've never played with it personally, I'm kinda dorky in that I love history and honorifics and terms of address. I am happy to give you some words, but you'd have to find ways of making them gender-neutral.

    Maybe instead of Baron or Baroness, you could call the person the "Barony" meaning the title, but not specifically the land itself? As in, "The barony (or baronie/ baronist/ etc.) sat at the table, ready for her breakfast."

    Duchy/ Duchess/ Duke is another you could use in a similar fashion and with alternate spellings.

    Crown also works, as does "coronet".

    non gender specific words like: secretary, chief, minister, counselor, chancellor, warden, warder, sovereign (and attach OF WHATEVER to any of those).

    Minister of WHATEVER (London/ Defense/ Bavaria/ the Mage Council) for example, could mean either a man or woman, or something in between. I think choosing those kinds of titles would also go a step further to denote not only a title but also their occupation or capacity as a leader, signifying what they are the head of.

    Best wishes. I could come up with stuff all day, but i hope this gets you started anyway.
     
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  6. valiant12

    valiant12 Sage

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    Sovereign is gender neutral. Or there word for king is gender neutral, but the magik translation translate is as king as the closest equivalent in english.
    You can use the name of the kingdom as the title of the ruler.
     
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  7. glutton

    glutton Inkling

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    High One
    Most High
    Hand of God/Heaven/etc.
    Over-something
    Decider
    Imperial
    Majestor (stolen from Marvel comics, although there is a female form 'Majestrix' there it sounds like it can be gender neutral)
    First of Firsts
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2015
  8. Bropocalypse

    Bropocalypse Dreamer

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    You may consider "noble," "regal," or other adjectives. A title is a TYPE of adjective(more or less) so you may start with those. You generally find more gender-neutral things of this type when it comes to specific duties.
    You may also consider the fact that some words have lost the potency of their engendered associations over time, as with 'lord,' Or go more obscure and find old words whose meanings have changed over time, such as 'tyrant.' (I don't recall exactly where, but I think I once saw some setting where dragon leaders used 'tyrant.'[Oh wait, no, it wasn't a dragon, it was the Hive Tyrants from Warhammer 40k. Still, though.])
    If you really want to get creative, you may do some research on the etymologies of certain title-centered words and derive a new word from those. For example, 'king' is probably derived from the proto-germanic word 'kuningaz,' meaning "someone of the family." the 'kun' portion of that shares the same ancestor as 'genus' from latin, while the '-ingaz' comes from a suffix meaning 'belonging to' or 'as the result of' something. It formed in turn into the modern english suffix '-ing' which is now used as a gerund (that is to say, an action to be carried out) or as an uncountable quantity of an item, like 'roofing.'
    But I guess if you want to go about deriving and inventing terms like that, you'd have to find a way to make it clear to the reader what it is you're up to.
    Sorry, this wasn't terribly helpful, after all.
     
  9. KC Trae Becker

    KC Trae Becker Troubadour

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    Judge
    First (High, Over) Parent
    Chief (Doesn't seem specific to me. Chieftoness is too much of a mouthful to be taken seriously.)
    Leader
    Ruler

    I'll post more if I think of any.
     
  10. DeathtoTrite

    DeathtoTrite Troubadour

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    This may not fit with your world, but a lot of female rulers in history would just use the male version, like female Egyptian pharaohs. There was a saying that "Elizabeth was king, and now James is queen" (admittedly, this was probably a homophobic reference).
     
  11. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Yeah, I don't think that would fit. It sort of smacks of patriarchy to me, and I'm going for a more equal society. Thanks for the suggestion, though. ^^
     
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  12. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    Not sure if this has been mentioned yet but what about the term 'Highborne" ? The word itself has many connotations. It could be self-appointed by the ruling class (if they see themselves appointed by what deity (or deities) they believe in) or appointed by a mandate of the masses.
     
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  13. DMThaane

    DMThaane Sage

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    A bit unfair on the word 'king' there. King derives from the Old English 'cyning' which appears to derive from Proto-Germanic 'kuningaz' which wiktionary defines as 'someone of the family' and Wikipedia suggests 'scion of the kin.' All of these were used to describe tribal leaders. The argument could be made that its only strongly associated with men because almost all tribal leaders were men. If our society was truly equal and had always been truly equal the word 'king' would still exist and still mean the same thing, we simply wouldn't have 'queen' (which appears to derive from a Proto-Indo-European word for 'woman').

    Of course the argument is somewhat academic but still worth considering. For alternatives I always tend towards the Latin myself. Sovereign, Imperator, Potentate, Regnum, Caesar (a bit hard to justify in world without Julius Caesar). Then there's the 'invent your own' approach where you pick anything that sounds 'regal' enough or derive it from existing words. You could have the Vocus Popular (the one who speaks with the people's voice) or the Rexarch (although Latin and Greek purist may hate you for that one).
     
    Ireth likes this.
  14. DeathtoTrite

    DeathtoTrite Troubadour

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    I may have winced at this a bit. Or a lot.

    Arma Virumque Cano!
     
  15. Mectojic

    Mectojic Minstrel

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    If you want a sense of dominance, then something like Overlord would work. Although this doesn't match up if you want them to be of a royal family.
    If you want a royal family name, I can suggest something with 'scion'. For example, "Imperial Scion", "Crown Scion".
     
    Ireth likes this.
  16. I believe 'Consul' is gender neutral, but is more of an appointed title than it is a royal one. In my world, the land of Torne is a Consulate led by the elected Consul, a position which has been held by both men and women.

    If you can not think of one, make one up! :) I've made up the title 'Khassar', which has it's origins in the Latin 'Caesar' (which inspired many other royal titles like Kaiser and Czar)
     
    Ireth likes this.
  17. PepperminPatti

    PepperminPatti New Member

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    I have a non-binary royal child in my latest book and I asked my trans friend and they said that princex would work
     
    Ireth likes this.
  18. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    What's the problem with generic titles?
     
  19. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Mostly it's because one of my close friends is writing a similarly non-patriarchal world, and she uses generic terms like "Monarch" and "Heir", so I kind of want to veer away from that. Especially since we discuss our stories with each other fairly often.
     
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  20. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    Okay, fair
     
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