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Sarah Marie Parker-Allen wrote:
>
> As far as I understand it, "gender" is just a way of classifying
> people/objects.  Anything that you're on a familiar basis with can be
> distinguished from anything you're not.

So, when do you use those familiar/formal genders and when do you use
the simple adult male/adult female/child genders?  Or are they used *in
addition to* the formality markers?

> Part of my problem was
> that I wanted to come up with some things that are neutral in regard to
> social status

Well, just remember that if you have some terms that are specific in
regard to social status, the so-called neutral terms won't be neutral,
because they will have been chosen *instead of* the more specific terms,
thus, they will themselves acquire connotations of status.  Words and
grammatical forms derive their meaning, in part, by a contrast with
terms which could've been used but weren't.  Just as "chairman" used to
be a neutral term, but is no longer because of the invention of terms
like "chairperson" and "chair"

> I'm dangerously
> close to adding some genders for members of other species,

Are there other sentient species?  Or do you mean things like genders
for "cat" or "dog"?  Uatakassi divides the animal category into two
(well, technically 6*) genders - gender four is "animals associated with
people", that is, domesticated animals as well as various agricultural
pests.  Gender five is "animals not associated with people", or "wild
animal".

*There are three genders for people, who are technically animals, in the
sense of belonging to the Animal kingdom, plus, for the most part,
invertebrates are classified as gender 6 "other animate", which includes
some plants, social institutions, fire, wind, precious metals,
projectile weapons, emotions, some body parts, etc.

> I think for this language, "irregular" is probably going to mean "it follows
> a different set of rules that are all the same or similar" for nouns

So, kinda like how in English we have some nouns that don't distinguish
plural from singular (sheep, deer), some that use certain vowel changes
(goose-geese, tooth-teeth), and some that change -um to -a or -us to -i
or -a to -ae (millenium/millenia, uterus/uteri, antenna/antennae)

I had a friend once who jokingly used -i as a plural suffix in English.
:-)  So, I send posti to the conlangeri on this list.  :-)

> In English, nothing works
> the way "to be" does (in Russian the concept is more regular, at least in
> the past and future tenses).  I mean, come on: was, were, will be, will have
> been, etc.??

Well, in the case of English "to be", we clumped together three
different verbs.  One derived from Proto-Indo-European *es which gave us
"am", "is", and, I think, "are", one that gave us "be/been/being", and
one that gave use "was/were" (s/r alternations were once more common)

"Go" has a similar irregularity, also, go-went.

To be is very common as an irregular verb.

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