Updated: Jan 21
From this point on, I will be using a pronoun system in my writings you may not be familiar with. Instead of your typical he/she system, I will use a different pronoun system that differentiates people by a "fourth person" system, also known as an "obviative/proximate" system. (I will explain that shortly and provide brief examples).
Now, there may be two different versions of the system that I use, however, they both tie together in that they both use the obviative/proximate aspect that I mentioned. One version is completely genderless while the other uses the genders, but only in the subject pronouns. I will clarify that shortly. For the most part, I use the gender modified version of the system.
Basically, the system goes that there are two basic pronouns, or singular genderless pronouns:
zei, en, huir, huirs, enself
nei, nem, neir, neirs, nemself
The way they are used is in an obviate/proximate system where “zei” is generally the first person mentioned who is more in focus or the one doing the action upon another person (the proximate person), and “nei” is generally the second person who is less in focus or is being acted upon (the obviate person). In more complex sentences or passages, this is not always the case as long as the subjects are still clear. Essentially, this is a “fourth person” system.
“Zei found huir notebook at neir house.”
So what’s going on? Basically:
“Zei(PROX) found huir(PROX) notebook at neir(OBV) house”
The first subject found first subject’s notebook at second subject’s house.
Now, it gets a little more complex when adding gendered versions of these two basic pronouns to the equation.
For the proximate pronoun:
Feminine: she, her, her, hers, herself
Masculine: he, him, his, his, himself
And for the obviative pronoun:
Feminine: sie, sier, sier, siers, sierself
Masculine: ve, vir, vir, virs, virself
Presumably, these gendered versions aren’t used much, if at all, in normal conversation, unless someone is telling an extensive story. As well, they serve well for written narratives. Basically how they’re used is that when a subject is unknown, you may mention huir name and then a gendered version of the obviate or proximate pronoun once. However, when continuing a sentence with the same subject, you change the pronoun to the default genderless version.
Here’s a fairly simple progression in which this occurs:
“When Madelyn decided to finally head out on the road trip, she packed huir belongings and called all huir friends to inform them that zei was leaving”
^ You can see above that Madelyn is referred to as “she” once but “zei” the rest of the time.
Now let’s try a more complex progression with two subjects:
“Orion didn’t remember where he placed huir bag, so zei asked Madelyn if sie knew. However, nei didn’t know either.”
^ In this sentence, Madelyn is the obviate subject. Madelyn is referred to as “sie” first and then “nei” the rest of the time, just like in the first example sentence.
Why this system, you may ask? Unfortunately, I have no short, simple answer. But what I can say for now is that it came to my mind after years of mind wars and various iterations of what would someday become what I have now. And so I wished to use my artistic license to execute it. It is meant as a thought experiment and not intended for people to use in our own reality. If you believe you can have an open mind and handle this seemingly significant difference in English language use, then by all means, I hope you enjoy the writings.