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In world with humans, elves, warewolves, cat people, dwarves, sirens, merfolk and other humanoid sapient species (Non-monstrous and peaceful)

What terms would be used to convey meaning of Human-centric words in our world like Humanitarian, Human rights in a broad sense that would include all these species as well.

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  • $\begingroup$ Humanitarian = laophile; human rights = laonomy. Those examples are Greek, with laos meaning "people" and unrelated to the words for "human", anthrôpos, or "man", anêr. Instead of Greek roots you could of course use Germanic, with folk. Or Arabic. Or Slavic. Whetever; VTC as inherently opinion based. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Jun 1, 2022 at 9:29
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    $\begingroup$ There's a Constructed Languages stack which might be able to help with this sort of thing, but we decided a while ago that the naming of things was off-topic here. $\endgroup$ Jun 1, 2022 at 12:13
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    $\begingroup$ I have to vote to close this.. not only there's lack of expertise here and far more knowledge on e.g. the Constructed Languages SE, but I feel this opening lacks any information to work with. We know nothing about the rules of your language used on your planet, there are no example terms in the opening, no hints on phonetics, no hints regarding constructing adjectives in your language... so how would we ever come up with terms in that language ? Answerers could put any proposal, like "Mentshlekh laotyan" which is Jiddisch, or "人間のラオス人" which is Japanese. $\endgroup$
    – Goodies
    Jun 1, 2022 at 14:18
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    $\begingroup$ I think this is a good "process of worldbuilding" question. I'm going to go for reopening on that basis. $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Jun 1, 2022 at 15:12
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    $\begingroup$ This Q will be closed every time it's opened. We do not answer questions of the form, "what is the best word?" Such answers are never objective, are always story-based, and are ever subject to opinions. Worst of all in this case, words are a function of both culture and language. You're not providing us with either - which means the answers will reflect today's political correctness more than your story's/world's natural and organic development. There will always be racists in the circumstances of your world. What words would they use? Then, what words would be used by the peacemakers? $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jun 1, 2022 at 20:21

4 Answers 4

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They do not speak English

This world is not our world. There are all sorts of animal people. They do not speak English. They do not have a special hole in their language for the hairless ape people.

Their word for any upright sapient person translates to the closest English word. In this case it is "human". Crab people, centaurs, millipede-children, dwarfs, and lanky hairless apes are all called humans. This might be a little confusing for the reader at first.

Likewise "Human rights" and "Humanitarian" for all these different types of people as well. I find this less confusing than the above. I would not bat an eyebrow if you mentioned giving humanitarian aid to aliens.

The question is what do they call the hairless ape people?

I suggest they are called "Mann". For example "Mann came to these islands four thousand years ago" or "I am a mann not a centaur. My daughter is also a mann."

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Egalitarian

Which as a noun or verb refers to a committment to equality; it is derived from French "egalite" or equality. A good word for our world as well because there is no connotation of gender or anything else except what the word is about. This is the Queen's english and so if you dont want your readers to break stride this is your word.

Cognitarian

I made this up but the Latin roots are showing and so it will not be a stretch for english speakers to grok. Cognatus is "cousin" or more generally a more distant relative and also has the implication of familiarity; you know this person. "Cognition" in english also connotes knowledge and thinking more generally; from OED

The action or faculty of knowing taken in its widest sense, including sensation, perception, conception

and so "cognitarian" could be taken to refer to the rights of thinking beings - maybe extending farther than just beings who could fit in your clothes and including other thinking beings. Whom your characters might call coggies or cogs.

Plus the hard g followed by "nit" rolls off the tongue.

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  • $\begingroup$ But if cognitarian is taken then what do we call someone who only eats other cognizant beings? $\endgroup$
    – Daron
    Jun 1, 2022 at 15:51
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In a cartoon clip, a plant-man sees a human and asks, "Who are you?". He replies, "I am a human-man". So if there are cat-people, wolf-people, merfolk, then there could be

human-people, humanfolk etc

OR if you want from English, there are words like

humanist, humanistic, humane, hominine, hominal, hominid etc.

If you want Greek, Arabic, Germanic, Slavic words, you need some research.

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In webcomic Drowtales, elves see themselves as special. All other "humanoids" (humans, duergar, orcs etc.) are called "goblinoids".

You could do the same: pick some humanoid fantasy race, and use its name as a replacement for "human".

Otherwise, dig up latin and greek and make up some term such as "brachiocrura'ed beings" (arm-and-legged creatures).

Or just pack them all under the sentient beings umbrella. Sentient folk and sentience replace humanity. Sentient rights, sentientarian etc.

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