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Gender-switching aliens

Posted Over 12 Years ago by lryda mbazha

[unparsed]I'm working on gender-switching aliens. The concept is kind of like this: they're female until the equivalent of their late twenties, then switch over to being male over the course of several years---a sort of second puberty. In most societies, an individual marries once, in her teens, as a woman, then again, in his early 30s, as a man. This leads to some complicated family structures.

Children you are mother to are sons (because older=male to them).
Children you are father to are daughters.
Children your husband is mother to are step-sons.
Children your wife is father to are step-daughters.

Your mother's wife is your step-mother.
Your father's husband is your step-father.

Your older siblings are your brothers.
Your younger siblings are your sisters.
Your mother's daughters are your half-sisters.
Your step-mother's daughters are your step-sisters.
Your father's sons are your half-brothers.
Your step-father's sons are your step-brothers.

Your husband's husband is your step-husband.
Your wife's wife is your step-wife.


Fun thoughts: if your mother was young when she had you, say you're her eldest son, your husband will be one of your mother's age-mates. Your step-mother will be one of your age-mates. If your mother had you late in her womanhood, your husband might be one of your step-mother's age-mates. In fact, in many societies it's acceptable to marry your step-mother. However, it can't be done twice in succession in a marriage line. Otherwise, you get half-siblings marrying.

Your step-sisters are on average 30 years younger than you.

There are lots of ways to trace your line back--- "I've always done X, and my mother before me, and his mother before him, and. . ." (some societies would count the father as more important, but mother=closer is more common, I think.)
"I've always done X, and my husband before me, and his husband before him. . ."
You could also trace something back through your brothers---assuming an unbroken marriage line, you should have step-siblings, or rather step-siblings of step-siblings, the age of your great-great-grandparents. Who are genetically totally unrelated to you, but in some societies still count as kin.

Anyway . . . comments? Questions? I'm just in the process of developing this species now, so questions are very welcome.

There are 34 Replies


[unparsed]
Quite interesting.

Several RL species *here* on Earth switch gender once in their lives; in some species every adult specimen starts out male and later switches to female, in other species every adult specimen starts out female and later switches to male.

[size=9](There are also several RL species in which each adult specimen is simultaneously male and female, or perhaps more correctly hermaphroditic.)

(I don't know of any RL species in which an adult can change gender twice; that is, male to female then back to male, or female to male then back to female.)

Someone else here on our CWBBoard has a species in which the more mature adults are male and the newly-adult are female; but in their species, the males have harems.

Your kinship terminology looks well thought-out as far as it goes.

The only flaw I see is that you haven't defined "sibling". I'm afraid that means "brother" and "sister" are also undefined.

Is father's wife always your mother?
Is father's daughter always your brother or sister?
Is mother's husband always your father?
Is mother's son always your brother or sister?
Can your brother or sister have a father or mother other than your own father or mother, as the case may be?
If so, can your brother's or sister's brother or sister be not your own brother or sister?
Are you always your husband's only wife and always your wife's only husband?
Is your son's brother or sister always also your son?
Is your daughter's brother or sister always also your daughter?

I assume your sons' fathers are always your husbands and your daughters' mothers are always your wives.

I'd like to see it cover more secondary relatives (father's father, father's mother, father's brother, father's sister, mother's father, mother's mother, mother's brother, mother's sister, brother's husband, brother's wife, brother's son, brother's daughter, sister's husband, sister's wife, sister's son, sister's daughter, husband's father, husband's mother, husband's brother, husband's sister, wife's father, wife's mother, wife's brother, wife's sister, son's husband, son's wife, son's son, son's daughter, daughter's husband, daughter's wife, daughter's son, daughter's daughter).

I really like your "fun thoughts"!

Over 12 Years ago
chiarizio
 

[unparsed][quote:65dfafe932="lryda mbazha"]
Children your wife is father to are step-daughters.[/quote:65dfafe932]

Does not compute.

Over 12 Years ago
Blake

[unparsed]Thanks so much for the questions, chiarizio!
Warning: long post. . .


[quote:4b5f6e8a2d="chiarizio"]
The only flaw I see is that you haven't defined "sibling". [/quote:4b5f6e8a2d]

In a household in the culture I’m focusing on, kinship is very much based around the marriage line--- your husband, you, your wife, your step-wife, your step-wife's wife, and before your husband, your step husband and step-husband's husband. Your wife is your heir, and although plenty of property is exchanged when children are given in marriage, more of it stays in the marriage line.

Your siblings are the children of everyone in your parent’s marriage-line. Your full siblings have the same mother and father as you. Your half-siblings are your mother’s daughters, and father’s sons. Your step-siblings are your step-mother’s daughters and step-father’s sons. But you can lump them all as ‘siblings’ and call all the older ones ‘brother’ and all the younger ones ‘sister’.
This definition doesn’t account for children with one parent outside the marriage-line.

In answering later questions, I’ll try to figure out what counts as a sibling in other cultures than the focus one, and what you call people when the normal family structure breaks down, with infidelity, remarriage, etc.

[quote:4b5f6e8a2d="charizio"]Is father's wife always your mother? [/quote:4b5f6e8a2d]

Generally, your mother is the one who laid you (as an egg; they lay eggs). But your mother could also be the person who raised you as if she were your egg-mother. Typically, your mother is married to your father. In the focus culture, a person only has one wife at a time (and usually, only one wife ever). So your father’s wife is almost always either your mother, or raising you as if she were, something having happened to your egg-mother. If she isn’t your egg-mother, she’s your second-mother (since stepmother is taken).

However, if your begetter is not your mother’s husband, he might not acknowledge you as his. You'd be his bastard, and no kin to his wife. An ugly situation, especially if your mother’s husband didn’t acknowledge you as his either. More detail later.

In a polygynous society, your egg-mother's co-wives are not generally considered as close to you as your egg-mother. In some such societies, you might be adopted by another wife of your father's, if your mother died or for some reason couldn't fulfill her motherly duties. I don't know what father's co-wives would be called. . . in a society where co-wives help each other incubate (common even among friendly age-mates) your genetic mother could be your egg-mother, her co-wives could be your nest-mothers. But even in those societies, your father’s wives wouldn’t be considered truly all your mothers. And in some polygynous societies, it would be even further from true.

Finally, in a society with very loose or temporary marriage bonds, your father might well have remarried several times, without you considering his new wives your mothers.


[quote:4b5f6e8a2d="chiarizio"]
Is father's daughter always your brother or sister?
[/quote:4b5f6e8a2d]

That depends on the culture. In a polygynous society, which would tend to be more patrilineal and patriarchal, I would assume that, yes, co-daughters are automatically siblings.

In a monogynous, somewhat matriarchal society (like the focus one) , that would only hold true if you and your co-daughter were raised by the same mother, for whatever reason (your sibling’s egg mother is your second mother, for instance). Otherwise, you're just. . . co-daughters. An awkward relationship, and one that doesn't carry much mutual obligation with it. Your ties to more genetically distant siblings are stronger, if they have two parents in your parents’ marriage line.

In a monogynous, patrilineal society, you'd probably feel more bound to your co-daughters, but it'd still be a rare, awkward relationship, rife with competition.

In cases where co-daughters aren't standard in the family structure, whether you call someone your co-daughter or your brother/sister depends on whether you like them or not.

In any case, ‘co-daughter’ implies a certain degree of sibling-dom. I’m really evaluating how close it comes to being full siblings.

[quote:4b5f6e8a2d="chiarizio"]
Is mother's husband always your father?[/quote:4b5f6e8a2d]

Yes, generally speaking.

In the focus culture, there’s a word for what we’d call step-father. Second father, maybe. That would come up if your mother remarried, and took you with her.
There’s also the situation where you’re illegitimate. Then either your mom’s husband divorces her and you have no ties to him, or he thinks/pretends to think you’re his, and he is your father at least in name. Usually, option B is chosen, since your strongest ties are to your mother, anyway.

In a very patrilineal/patriarchal culture, your strongest ties would be to your father, and he would be more likely to kick you out of his household if he thought you weren’t genetically his.

In a very matrilineal culture, paternity would be relatively unimportant. The role of a father might even be played by an older maternal relative. If not, your mother’s husband could easily be your ‘father’ regardless of whether he actually begot you. (For example, your mother might have remarried several times if marriages in this culture aren’t that long-lasting.)

In a polyandrous culture, you might not know for sure who your begetter was. All your mother’s husbands would therefore be called “father.”


[quote:4b5f6e8a2d="chiarizio"]
Is mother's son always your brother or sister?
[/quote:4b5f6e8a2d]

No. . . if it’s a patrilineal society, you only count as full siblings people who are co-daughters by blood or adoption. That would include co-sons from your mother’s previous marriages, if your father adopted them when he married her. If they stayed with their father or his relatives, they aren’t officially kin to you.

If it’s a matrilineal society, yes, co-sons are always siblings. And most societies are more matrilineal than patrilineal, since people tend to invest more in sons than daughters, and favor them more.


[quote:4b5f6e8a2d="chiarizio"]
Can your brother or sister have a father or mother other than your own father or mother, as the case may be?[/quote:4b5f6e8a2d]
Yes, clearly. Co-sons need not have the same father, yet in even mildly matrilineal societies they are siblings. Co-daughters are siblings in patrilineal societies, yet they may not have the same mother.
In the focus culture, all the children of your parents’ marriage line are siblings, and you count your mother’s sons as siblings too, even when they have different fathers.

[quote:4b5f6e8a2d="chiarizio"]
If so, can your brother's or sister's brother or sister be not your own brother or sister? [/quote:4b5f6e8a2d]

Yes, but it’s elaborate to contrive. Like, if your half-sibling’s co-son weren’t raised by the same marriage-line as you, your half-sibling would count both of you as siblings, but you wouldn’t count each other.

[quote:4b5f6e8a2d="chiarizio"]
Are you always your husband's only wife and always your wife's only husband?[/quote:4b5f6e8a2d]

Varies between societies, but in the focus one, yes, that is the standard. Property passes down marriage lines---that is, your wife is your chosen heir. So, you only marry one wife, to keep your property in one lump. In other cultures, it is different.


[quote:4b5f6e8a2d="chiarizio"]
Is your son's brother or sister always also your son?[/quote:4b5f6e8a2d]

Not if it’s a patrilineal society and your son calls all his/her co-daughters siblings. But if it’s a more typical matrilineal society, and co-sons and people raised like co-sons call each other siblings, then yes, son’s sibling=son. And the focus culture would generally be in the second category.


[quote:4b5f6e8a2d="chiarizio"]
Is your daughter's brother or sister always also your daughter?
[/quote:4b5f6e8a2d]
The reverse of the above: yes in a patrilineal society, not necessarily in a matrilineal one. In the focus culture, yes, because if you acknowledge someone as a daughter, your wife inevitably raises them as a son.


[quote:4b5f6e8a2d="chiarizio"]
I assume your sons' fathers are always your husbands and your daughters' mothers are always your wives.[/quote:4b5f6e8a2d]

Why? You can have a kid with someone without being married to them, certainly without being married to them currently. But, yes, that would always be the norm. Except in that one culture where your son’s ‘father’ is acually an older relative of yours.


[quote:4b5f6e8a2d="chiarizio"]I'd like to see it cover more secondary relatives .
I really like your "fun thoughts"![/quote:4b5f6e8a2d]

Thanks! As for secondary relatives, I’ll post that later. . . I need to think.

Over 12 Years ago
lryda mbazha
 

[unparsed][quote:11d63fb6c5="Blake"][quote:11d63fb6c5="lryda mbazha"]
Children your wife is father to are step-daughters.[/quote:11d63fb6c5]

Does not compute.[/quote:11d63fb6c5]

Children you father: daughters (because they are the younger of your two sets of offspring)
Children you are related to, because you are their father's husband: step-daughters.

Huh. Why doesn't it make sense? What would you call them? Just 'wife-daughters'?

  • * *

    . . . wooooh. I need to eat something before I pass out. That long post took a while.

  • Over 12 Years ago
    lryda mbazha
     

    [unparsed]I'm the one with the other sex-changing species, though with three (possible) adult stages. The transition points are based on the genetics of the individual, the make-up of their harem (or if they are alone), and their age. Some individuals never transition to male and only go through life as a female then parth.

    All children in the harem are considered siblings. Children of your father when he was a female or parth would be equivalent to half-siblings. Children of your father's siblings (whether male or female) or children of your mother's brother(s) (but not her sisters, as they are probably her co-wives) are your cousins. When daughters reach adulthood, they often are traded or travel of their own will to another harem. If for whatever reason, they do not find another harem or a single male in one breeding cycle, they will become parth and reproduce on their own. (It's the presence of certain male pheromones that cause females to change to parths, and the presence of those pheromones and lack of adult female ones that forces them to remain parths.

    What triggers the change from female to male in your species? Is there a higher or lower fertility rate in the ones that are polygynous or the monogamous cultures, overall.

    Over 12 Years ago
    bloodb4roses

    [unparsed][quote:7148cfc12f="lryda mbazha"][quote:7148cfc12f="Blake"][quote:7148cfc12f="lryda mbazha"]
    Children your wife is father to are step-daughters.[/quote:7148cfc12f]

    Does not compute.[/quote:7148cfc12f]

    Children you father: daughters (because they are the younger of your two sets of offspring)
    Children you are related to, because you are their father's husband: step-daughters.

    Huh. Why doesn't it make sense? What would you call them? Just 'wife-daughters'?[/quote:7148cfc12f]I [i:7148cfc12f]think[/i:7148cfc12f] Blake is working under the assumption that thy wife would no longer be thy "wife" after "she" became male.

    Over 12 Years ago
    intermundi
     

    [unparsed]@ bloodb4roses: sounds cool! I remember reading about this. So does the harem have one male? Where do they get him/them from? Within the harem? Is parth the last or the middle phase?

    [quote:08df87afcc="bloodb4roses"]

    What triggers the change from female to male in your species? Is there a higher or lower fertility rate in the ones that are polygynous or the monogamous cultures, overall.[/quote:08df87afcc]

    The change is primarily based on age, with some other factors tweaking that. Pregnancies lengthen the female phase. So if you're unmarried or infertile, you're likely to become male sooner. Whether it's based pheromones or some other signal, the male-to-female ratio also has an impact on timing---I would say wives in a polygynous culture might actually tend to become male sooner, since their bodies are responding to a perceived dearth of males in their immediate environment. Meaning womanhood is briefer and there are even fewer wives to go around. Solution: improve the gender ration with lots of bloody but pointless wars.


    @intermundi: Yes, that makes sense. In the culture I'm focusing on, it happens to be the case that you retain social ties and obligations to your wife, after s/he changes. He is your heir, and you are probably still raising children with him. In some cultures, though, the marriage bond does dissolve when the partners become sexually incompatible.

    Over 12 Years ago
    lryda mbazha
     

    [unparsed][quote:b9bf862a2f="lryda mbazha"]@ bloodb4roses: sounds cool! I remember reading about this. So does the harem have one male? Where do they get him/them from? Within the harem? Is parth the last or the middle phase?[/quote:b9bf862a2f]

    Parth is the middle phase. Herems usually have one male at a time. When the old male dies/leaves/becomes too old, one of the parths (in rare cases two) transition to males. Of course, since some of the females in the harem are probably the new male's sisters (whether by the same mother or not), they aren't considered his wives and either leave for other harems or stay, become parths and act as their brother's council.

    When two parths become males, they usually split the harem, but sometimes they will share it with one being the higher ranked male. Or occasionally, two harems will join together, again with one of the males being higher ranked. This is useful mainly if most of the females in one harem are sisters of the new male or if there needs to be more Tarn to watch for predators or stop rival harems from taking over. Tarn tend to be more peaceful that humans, but they still have wars between harems or just individuals.

    There is another culture of Tarn where harems are separated by male-female groups and parth groups. This may be closer to the arrangement their non-sentient ancestors had, and is similar to their closest animal relatives.

    [quote:b9bf862a2f]The change is primarily based on age, with some other factors tweaking that. Pregnancies lengthen the female phase. So if you're unmarried or infertile, you're likely to become male sooner. Whether it's based pheromones or some other signal, the male-to-female ratio also has an impact on timing---I would say wives in a polygynous culture might actually tend to become male sooner, since their bodies are responding to a perceived dearth of males in their immediate environment. Meaning womanhood is briefer and there are even fewer wives to go around. Solution: improve the gender ration with lots of bloody but pointless wars.[/quote:b9bf862a2f]

    Nice. So your species set point is closer to even numbers instead of lots of females and very few males.

    Over 12 Years ago
    bloodb4roses

    [unparsed]@ bloodb4roses:
    Yes, the gender balance is closer to half-and-half for my creatures. In general, I think you're pushing yours further from human--aren't they semi-aquatic, too? Mine have a pretty human-like eco-niche.

    Over 12 Years ago
    lryda mbazha
     

    [unparsed][quote:ca8ced1b7d="lryda mbazha"]@ bloodb4roses:
    Yes, the gender balance is closer to half-and-half for my creatures. In general, I think you're pushing yours further from human--aren't they semi-aquatic, too? Mine have a pretty human-like eco-niche.[/quote:ca8ced1b7d]

    Yup. Semi-aquatic pseudo-mammals. I have them right on the verge of multi-harem settlements (early villages and cities), but I don't know what was the final push. Probably large scale trading and war...

    What (approximate) tech level are yours at? If the two cultures are different, then what levels?

    Over 12 Years ago
    bloodb4roses

    [unparsed][quote:d0f59b347d="bloodb4roses"]
    What (approximate) tech level are yours at? If the two cultures are different, then what levels?[/quote:d0f59b347d]

    I don't know, precisely. The focus culture definitely has a division between peasants and the warrior/ruling class, and some sort of kingdoms or alliances that each include a number of aristocratic families. However, that could happen at a wide range of technological levels. I want to give their planet's ecology, or at least their place in it, a few key differences from ours before I start fleshing out technology and culture.

    As for the other cultures, I don't know even imprecisely.

    So. Yeah. Idea-shopping land.

    Over 12 Years ago
    lryda mbazha
     

    [unparsed]
    Is it possible your focus culture isn't in the running for most advanced, or most powerful, or richest?

    -----------------------------------

    Are you certain any egg-laying or even marsupial animal could occupy an ecological niche about the same as humans'?

    Over 12 Years ago
    chiarizio
     

    [unparsed]It's totally possible there are cultures more advanced than the focus one.

    Egg-laying creatures could occupy a human-like niche. Why not? It's not like they're cold-blooded.

    However, I'm currently thinking the planet lacks angiosperms or equivalents. (Something I played with before but didn't follow up on.) Which would mean there *is* no human-like niche. I think they evolved from arboreal egg-eaters (or rather, omnivores who relied heavily on stealing eggs) and are built to digest fat and protein---concentrated sugars and starches are in short supply on their world.

    Which means livestock are very important to any culture that's moved beyond just hunting and fishing. Not being able to depend on plant foods means the carrying capacity of the land is lower, and population density is lower. You probably get fewer fully sedentary peoples.

    They still eat lots of eggs---they aren't the only large egg-laying animals around. Eating people-eggs (worst case: your own eggs) is a big fear/taboo thing. To the point where eating anything in the presence of people-eggs is considered indecent, as is mentioning people-eggs while eating. To the point where a simple question like "When was little so-and-so hatched?" has to be turned into "how old is little so-and-so now?" At least among polite people in the focus culture.

    Over 12 Years ago
    lryda mbazha
     

    Bump

    Over 1 Year ago
    chiarizio
     

    WHy do we need to bump an 11 year old thread? Never quite understood the point of digging up old and dead threads.

    Over 1 Year ago
    Q
     

    Because I’m interested in it and in what new people might have to say.
    And I might have something new to add soon.

    Over 1 Year ago
    chiarizio
     

    I’m probably coming off as a jerk here and I do t mean to. But if a thread died, especially so long ago, and you’re interested in it’s topic then why not just make a new one to start a fresh conversation?

    Over 1 Year ago
    Q
     

    @Q:
    Apparently a difference in “board culture”.
    The WorldBuilding site I came from encouraged sticking with existing threads if your new post still fit with their topic.
    I guess netiquette on GTX0 encourages starting a new thread if the delay has been long, even if the topic still fits?
    Or if not all GTX0 goes by that, at least several of you do?
    ...
    How long is too long, anyway? 731 days (two years)? One year? 999 days?
    I know ZBB used to prune threads that had been inactive 255 days; nobody liked that.
    ...

    BTW is there a different rule for the “Nostalgia” forum? Stuff seems to be resurrected there from 15 years ago or more.

    Over 1 Year ago
    chiarizio
     

    Point taken.

    But how about instead of saying bump, you add something to the discussion to get it going again? Saying Bump
    Doesn’t really add anything to revive a long dead thread

    Over 1 Year ago
    Q
     

    @Q:
    You have a point!

    .....

    Board members have proposed several societies in which the reproductive/sexual arrangements are different than those we are used to.
    In some of them, everyone has a mother and a father, but one person’s mother can be another person’s father.
    This means their kinterm systems will need to be different from those of any human culture any of us have ever heard of.
    ....
    Do any of the readers have such a people in any of your conworlds?
    What solutions do you propose for them?
    ....
    In real-life Earth species the arrangements include:
  • protogyny; young adults are female and older adults are male.
  • protandry; younger adults are male and older adults are female.
  • every specimen is a bi-capable hermaphrodite all its adult life.
  • specimen are either female or bi-capable hermaphrodites.
  • specimen are either male or bi-capable hermaphrodites.

    And a more complicated choice:
  • specimen are either male or female at any given time. However if two same-sex individuals are isolated close together for too long a time they will have a dominance fight. Then either:
  • the winner gets to stay whatever sex they are and the loser has to change sex, or:
  • the winner gets to change sex while the loser has to stay the sex they are.

  • Like the above, but the fight happens only if they’re both female.
  • like the above, but the fight happens only if they’re both male.

  • another possibility; if a mating occurs in the first major fraction of the conception season, the offspring has two parents. That’s the only way an offspring can be conceived during most of the season. However, if no mating has occurred by the last minor fraction of the season, the adult becomes capable of fertilizing itself, and the offspring has just one parent.

    ....

    So, given what sexes there can be (male, female, herm, parth) and when adults can be which sex, then even in species in which every specimen has a mother and a father who are usually different from each other, there can be all sorts of situations arising that no natural languages’ kinterm system can handle.
    How would you handle them? (If that question is relevant to your conpeople.)

    ...

    Ursula LeGuin had in the Left Hand of Darkness a planetary-variant of humanity in which almost* everyone was a bi-capable hermaphrodite. People metamorphosed temporarily into males or females during courtship leading up to mating; it was unpredictable at any given mating which partner would be which sex.
    People — or, rather, LeGuin — called offspring they had conceived and borne “daughters”, and offspring they had begotten “sons”.

    *People who consistently became just one sex were (regarded as) perverts. This included all Earth people, of course.

    .....

    Our member LinguistCat has a conrace she calls “Tarns” who are protogynous, and adults pass through a parthenogenic stage between female early adulthood and male late adulthood.
    Males have harems including usually multiple female junior wives and frequently multiple (usually at least one anyway) parth senior wives. Any children born while that male heads the harem are regarded as his children and he is their father.
    When he dies usually one of his senior parth wives becomes male and takes over the harem.
    There’s always some rearrangement going on, even without the male dying, to avoid any of his female junior wives being any of his offspring, whether he is their father, or parthenogenetrix, or mother-from-when-he-was-female. (When a new male takes over all of the female junior wives who are his children have to go find new harems.)
    Newly mature females will try to join a different harem whose male, and most senior parth-wife, are unrelated to her and her father, if that’s possible. I don’t know she ever proved it would always be possible.

    .....

    All of this is even without proposing a third sex or three-parents-per-specimen sexual reproduction.
    If there are three or four sexes capable of mating, and three parents per specimen, the challenge of constructing a kinship system is beyond just redefining words in an existing natural language. In my opinion! I could be wrong.

    LinguistCat and I worked on some of a system for her Danpyr, who have three sexes and three parents per specimen.

    ...

    Elemtilas and I worked on the kinship system for my MerCentaurs in my conworld Ataivsh.
    Every MerCentaur has three sets of reproductive organs; delphine, human, and equine. Each set can be either male or female. Any specimen can have between two and six parents.
    I just decided to do without marriage for them, and use compadrazgo and fostering instead.

    ...

    I also have kinterm systems similar to those that occur in real-life human cultures and natural languages, but not those most of us are most used to. The people are humans of the kind we have now on Earth, or close to that, with everybody being male or female at birth and for their whole lives, nobody being both or neither, and nobody’s father being anyone’s mother and nobody’s mother being anyone’s father. Kinship is clan-based in most of my concultures. Most of them have both patriclans and matriclans. 40%-67% also have “alterclans”, which are controversial in real anthropology, but I think they’re fair game for conworlding.

    ....

    For this thread right now I’m just asking about conpeople who all have one father and one mother, but might have some other variant than everyone being either male but not female their whole lives, or being female but not male their whole lives.

    If anyone wants to talk about anything more complicated, I’ll welcome it. But right now I’m not asking for it.

  • Over 1 Year ago
    chiarizio
     

    I’m probably coming off as a jerk here and I do t mean to. But if a thread died, especially so long ago, and you’re interested in it’s topic then why not just make a new one to start a fresh conversation?


    Old threads never really die, though. Certainly not substantive threads like this. New people join forums, new perspectives from old members, old perspectives from nonmembers all can be thrown into the mix. In the case of this particular thread, it was originally written when the CWBB was an independent forum. Now that it's been absorbed by GTX0, there's new folks that have never seen the thread. There's also people like me who were active on CWBB, but after this thread was written. I didn't see it before, and now I'm seeing it for the first time on GTX0!

    I guess you could chalk it up to a difference of culture if you will. Geopoets and worldbuilders are more likely to pick up ancient threads and continue with the discussion or to seek fresh perspective on the old discussion.

    Over 1 Year ago
    elemtilas
     

    Hey elemtilas, good to see you again -- hope 2020-2021 wasn't too horrible.

    And yeah I agree, GTX0 and the CWBB have very different posting cultures -- for a long while on this site (and forever on the gametalk that preceded it), posts couldn't be "bumped" -- new threads would just push them off the first page. Didn't matter what kind of conversation was happening in them; they'd lose activity and be buried.

    Over 1 Year ago
    Xhin
    Sky's the limit

    DenĂŞ come in three basic sex/genders. There are males and two types of females, one fertile and one non-fertile. Something like 60% to 70% of female births are twins of such female-A and female-B pairs. The rest are one or the other and are often the result of a twin that dies in utero.

    There are also two or three kinds of males. Most are normal males. Probably 90% to 95% of male births are normal. A very few are the twin (or triplet) of two girls. I'm sure it comes down to hormonal convergence in the male: during gestation, his bits won't develop properly and sans male hormones his body type will transform into the female.

    The same can happen later in life if the testicles are severely injured or removed. The transformation takes a couple of months, but the result is a genetic male that has a non-fertile female body.

    It's quite possible to detect when this transformation has happened later in life: male DenĂŞ have longer wings than females, so that's a tell; there are also some subtle behavioural traits that are difficult to mimic. Genetic males are always in some way colourblind, so a girl that just doesn't get colour and hue and saturation and motion is probably a boygirl.

    Over 1 Year ago
    elemtilas
     

    Missed you by an hour, @elemtilas!

    Over 1 Year ago
    chiarizio
     

    Hey elemtilas, good to see you again -- hope 2020-2021 wasn't too horrible.



    Could have been much worse!


    And yeah I agree, GTX0 and the CWBB have very different posting cultures -- for a long while on this site (and forever on the gametalk that preceded it), posts couldn't be "bumped" -- new threads would just push them off the first page. Didn't matter what kind of conversation was happening in them; they'd lose activity and be buried.


    Yeah. From what I've gathered about GTX0 & Gametalk, they were very busy, very active forums. A lot of chat seemed to be "in the minute" sort of stuff. Current events, what's going on in people's lives, that sort of thing.

    Worlbuilding forums tend to favour much longer term conversations. Threads can sometimes literally span years!

    Over 1 Year ago
    elemtilas
     

    Missed you by an hour, @elemtilas!


    We could be on opposite sides of the universe by now!

    While at the same time, we're still here!

    Over 1 Year ago
    elemtilas
     

    [@]elemtilas,Riven:[/@]
    @elemtilas:
    @Riven:

    I’m planning for my conlang Reptigan, the daughterlang of Adpihi, to have a dialect whose kinship term system is based on:
    1. Distinguishing the older parent from the younger parent, rather than the father from the mother.
    2. Distinguishing the older siblings from the younger siblings, rather than the brothers from the sisters.
    3. Distinguishing the older spouses from the younger spouses, rather than the husbands from the wives.
    4. Distinguishing the oldest child from the youngest child (from the in-between children), rather than sons from daughters.

    I think if Reptigan has a member species who are either protandrous or protogynous, they might adopt this dialect of Reptigan.

    Over 1 Year ago
    chiarizio
     

    @elemtilas: Hi!
    ….
    I had another thought.
    This would also work for a sexually-reproducing conspecies of Reptigan-speaking aliens who were all always bi-capable hermaphrodites but always had two parents.

    The inspiration is a little more obvious for the sex-changing ones; but the permanently hermaphroditic ones might also use it, at least for relatives other than parents.

    Over 1 Year ago
    chiarizio
     

    @chiarizio:




    Question: what would be the underlying principle for distinguishing family members based solely on age rather than anything else? Obviously for humans, the two biological sex/gender scheme underlies ma/da and sister/brother.

    I know you're aware that at least some human cultures distinguish siblings, children and even spouses by age, but generally only within the context of sex/gender.

    Over 1 Year ago
    elemtilas
     

    Every child would know which of their parents bore them and which parent sired them.

    Thing is, if they were gender-switching instead of permanently bicapable hermaphrodites, one would be consistently younger than the other (the sire would be younger if they were protandrous, the dam would be younger if they were protogynous), but the sex of the younger parent would change to match the sex of the older parent as they age

    Also, every parent would know which of their children they begot and which they conceived and bore.
    That fact would not change as they aged.
    But if they were protandrous the sires would eventually turn female; and all the children they begot would be older than all the children they bore.
    Or, if they were protogynous, eventually all the dams would turn male; and all the children they begot would be younger than all the children they conceived and bore.

    As far as husbands and wives;
    For a protogynous species their first co-parent would be older than EGO and would be male while they could reproductively mate, begetting children that EGO conceived; “husband” and “older spouse” would be essentially equivalent.
    Eventually EGO would turn male and could no longer reproductively mate with their first spouse.
    EGO would marry a second spouse, younger than EGO, who was still female while EGO was male; this second, younger spouse would conceive and bear offspring begotten by EGO. Essentially “wife” and “younger spouse” would be equivalent.
    For a protandrous species the equivalences would be reversed. “Older spouse” and “dam of children I sired” and therefore “wife” and “other parent of my older children” would be equivalent; “younger spouse” and “sire of children I bore” and “other parent of my younger children” and “husband” would be equivalent.

    …

    On the other hand, in a one-sex species in which everyone was always a bi-capable hermaphrodite,
    There’d probably be no correlation between, on the one hand, “co-parent older than me” vs “co-parent younger than me”, and on the other hand, “sire of children I have borne” vs “dam of children I have sired”.
    Nor would there probably be much correlation between, on the one hand, “my older children” vs “my younger children”, and, on the other hand, “children I conceived and bore” vs “children I begot”.

    ….

    But as for siblings.

    In a protandrous species,
    a male EGO’s female siblings would all be older siblings, while his younger siblings would all be male siblings;
    and a female EGO’s male siblings would all be younger siblings, while her older siblings would all be female siblings.

    In a protogynous species,
    a female EGO’s male siblings would all be older siblings, while her younger siblings would all be female siblings;
    and a male EGO’s female siblings would all be younger siblings, while his older siblings would all be male siblings.

    An individual’s sex would change with time; while their relative age (ie younger or older) would not.

    Relative age might be considered a more consistent lexically-inherent nominal feature than biological sex.
    The fact you’d have to compare their age to someone else’s might be considered to militate against it being considered a feature inherent to the referent.
    But perhaps they’d consider the fact biological sex would change with time to militate more against considering sex to be inherent.

    ….

    In a species where everyone is bicapable hermaphroditic, how EGO is related to their sibling ALTER is a function of the following five binary questions (whose answers are not independent of each other);
  • Is EGO’s dam ALTER’s dam?
  • Is EGO’s dam ALTER’s sire?
  • Is EGO’s sire ALTER’s dam?
  • Is EGO’s sire ALTER’s sire?
  • Is EGO older than ALTER, or is ALTER older than EGO?

    If the first four questions are all answered “NO”, then EGO and ALTER probably won’t be considered siblings.
    It might not matter much, in that case, which of them is older.

    If just one of them is answered “YES”, then they’re some kind of half-sibling.
    We can assume they’re considered closest-kin if they share a dam but not a sire; a bit less close if the dam of one is the sire of the other; and least close if they share a sire but not a dam.
    I assume they’ll also care which is older and which is younger.

    The first two questions can’t both be “YES”; neither can the third and fourth questions; nor can the first and third questions; nor the second and fourth.

    If the first and fourth questions are both answered “YES”, they are the closest kind of full siblings. They have the same dam and they have the same sire.

    If OTOH the second and third questions are both answered “YES”, they’re a less-close kind of full siblings; the dam of each is the sire of the other.

    I think it possible, or at least arguably so, that the closest kind of half-sibling — two people who had the same dam, but neither one’s sire is a parent of the other — might be considered closer kin than this second kind of full-sibling, in which each one’s dam is the other one’s sire.
    However, it would be considered a closer siblingship than any of the other three kinds of half-sibling, in which just the sire of one of them would be a parent of the other.

    I’m imagining they would still care a great deal which sibling was older and which was younger.

    ….. ——- ….. _____.

    I suppose after looking at all that, in a species in which all adults of reproductive age are bi-capable hermaphrodites, the kinterm system would likelier be organized around who bore whom and who sired whom, instead of relative age; or, at least, more basically than around relative age.

    But still I think a protandrous or protogynous species would be likelier to organize the classification of genetic kin around who was older than who. I think they’d regard that as fundamental, and would be able to figure out who was whose dam and who was whose sire based on that information.

    Also protandrous or protogynous species would all have to marry twice, just like the humans of Reptigan “all” do (though they don’t have to; it’s just that it’s their culture to do so). And one’s first spouse is older and was probably previously married, and one’s second spouse is younger and could well have never before been married. In Reptigan human culture that’s a cultural “imperative” which is statistically highly likely; in their nonhuman protandrous and protogynous species it’s a biological imperative which is always followed.

    …..

    The reason the dialect develops this alternative kinterm system in Reptigan humans, is that they switch their inheritance systems to absolute primogeniture and/or absolute ultimogeniture, instead of female primogeniture or female ultimogeniture or male primogeniture or male ultimogeniture. I expect that will happen in a subculture.

    Whether this subculture influences the cultures of the protandrous and/or protogynous species, or Vice-versa, remains to be determined.

    ….

    I hope this is clear?
    And not too long?

    It differs from lryda mbazha’s conculture in that heirs are likelier to be offspring than spouses or siblings.
    (In lryda mbazha’s conculture, heirs are likelier to be spouses than offspring or siblings.)

  • Over 1 Year ago
    chiarizio
     

    You wrote:
    I know you're aware that at least some human cultures distinguish siblings, children and even spouses by age, but generally only within the context of sex/gender.


    I would say that unless you replace “generally” with “usually” this statement is incorrect, in absolute terms. It is true with overwhelmingly greater-than-chance frequency, but not universally true.

    Some real-life human cultures’ kinship system distinguish same-sex vs opposite-sex instead of male vs female.

    Almost all RL human cultures use generation ahead of age and ahead of sex, at least for relatives out to a certain minimal distance.
    Of course generation is correlated with age; parents are always older than children and children are always younger than parents.
    But in my grandparents’ youth if your mom’s half-brother was younger than you he was still your uncle.
    And if your half-sister’s son was older than you he was still your nephew.
    (Hey! Why am I saying “in my grandparents’ youth”? In elementary school I had a classmate whose nephew was my two-years-younger brother’s classmate. Keith called her “Aunt Debbie” even though she was only about two years older.)

    So at least one RL human culture apparently orders kinterms by the following sort keys.
    Generation major:
    Same-sex vs opposite-sex middle:
    Relative age minor.

    Or maybe relative age is middle, and same-sex vs opposite-sex is minor.

    I’m sorry I don’t have a citation.

    Over 1 Year ago
    chiarizio
     

    A protandrous EGO might have the following four kinds of siblings, from oldest to youngest.
    1. Older half-siblings whose sire was EGO’s dam and whose dam was not a parent of EGO. EGO’s term for them might be “translated” into English as “half-sisters”.
    2. Older full-siblings whose dam is EGO’s dam and whose sire was EGO’s sire. EGO’s term for them might be “translated” into English as “full-sisters”.
    3. Younger full-siblings whose dam is EGO’s dam and whose sire was EGO’s sire. EGO’s term for them might be “translated” into English as “full-brothers”.
    4. Younger half-siblings whose dam was EGO’s sire and whose sire was not a parent of EGO. EGO’s term for them might be “translated” into English as “half-brothers”.

    A protogynous EGO might have the following four kinds of siblings, from oldest to youngest.
    1. Older half-siblings whose dam was EGO’s sire and whose sire was not a parent of EGO. EGO’s term for them might be “translated” into English as “half-brothers”.
    2. Older full-siblings whose dam was EGO’s dam and whose sire is EGO’s sire. EGO’s term for them might be “translated” into English as “full-brothers”.
    3. Younger full-siblings whose dam was EGO’s dam and whose sire is EGO’s sire. EGO’s term for them might be “translated” into English as “full-sisters”.
    4. Younger half-siblings whose sire was EGO’s dam and whose dam is not a parent of EGO. EGO’s term for them might be “translated” into English as “half-sisters”.

    Over 1 Year ago
    chiarizio
     

    @chiarizio

    Yes, the explanation, with accustomed and indeed expected verbosity!, explains the situation very nicely.

    As far as "generally" vs "usually", I probably meant "usually".

    As for Aunt Debbie, I'm sure she was right cheesed off being called that in her youth!

    Question: how would these Reptigans (re)interpret the Earth classic I'm My Own Grandpa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYlJH81dSiw

    Over 1 Year ago
    elemtilas
     

    @elemtilas:
    You wrote:
    Question: how would these Reptigans (re)interpret the Earth classic I'm My Own Grandpa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYlJH81dSiw

    I’d have to think about it to give a serious answer.
    But I’m pretty sure that situation could never arise among a species who were protandrous or protogynous.
    So Reptigan citizens who belonged to such a member species would probably dismiss it as “one of those other species — I’ll never understand”.
    In protandrous or protogynous species that age-crossing biz could never take off, much less fly.

    However something like that might happen in any species who achieve reproductive maturity young enough and retain reproductive fitness old enough and typically marry at least twice.
    If they use the usual Adpihi/Reptigan kinterm system this song might be considered just a sweet romantic reminiscence; they might not detect any jocular intent.

    If they come from a species in which every adult is bicapably hermaphroditic for their entire reproductive careers, as well as reproductively capable from youth to old age, their “translation” of this song into their dialect of Reptigan might be so convoluted, from a modern RL USAmerican English-speakers’ perspective, that neither of the two speech-communities could be sure what the other was singing about.

    ….. _____ ::::: ————— +++++

    Great question!
    I don’t have a good answer yet.

    Over 1 Year ago
    chiarizio
     

    This thread is archived