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While learning Thai I came across something I never knew from other languages:

The titles Khun (คุณ) and Than (ท่าน) while Than is said in down tone ('):

  • Thai people would most often refer nonformally to a foreign (Thai or not) with Khun first_name
  • Thai people would most often refer formally to a venerated official (usually a government official) with Than first_name
  • It is generally avoided to name a person by his alleged last name
  • These titles are generally omitted if the referred person is a close fried or family member.

It is important for me to emphasize that both Khun and Than have nothing to do with gender sensation or gender identity.

Does genderless referral to a person as existent in Thai language existent in other langues as well and if so, in which?

  • I think of these particles more like titles. "Your majesty", "your highness" comes to mind. – Patrick Dec 29 '19 at 8:29
  • @Patrick wouldn't the analogy be with his/her majesty or his/her highness though? If so we are back to gendered references. Reverend or Dr or professor maybe. There's also Mx but I'm not sure that counts because it was invented precisely because the English language did not have a genderless form of address that wasn't specific to some occupation or social status. – JD2000 Dec 29 '19 at 8:43
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    “Majesty”, “excellence”, “comrade”. In most languages I know these are used irrespectively of gender. Do they qualify? At least “comrade” is often used with a surname, is it essential for you? – J-mster Dec 29 '19 at 9:00
  • Japanese -san. It's a fair point that his majesty etc. are only gendered in English because of the way that possessives work in English. – JD2000 Dec 29 '19 at 9:55
  • East Asian languages have a lot of these. BTW, Thai คุณ is cognate to Japanese 君 (kun), but 君 is not genderless (being reserved for males). – dROOOze Dec 29 '19 at 11:02

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