I'm not a native English speaker, but I like the language and want to learn all about it. I'm also an active world builder and I made a few species/ races, but I'm having trouble to see what is the multitude form of the species/ race names.

Here are the names of my created species:

Hryll, Anari, Korth, Quarth

So I understand a person can say 'I'm a Hryll' or Anari and so on. But what if I want to point to their people as a whole. Can I still say 'The Hryll are...' or do I need to turn it into Hryllian or something.

I couldn't find any rules on this because I don't really know what the name is of what I mean/ I'm looking for.

  • Korth and Quarth sound very much like one another in English. Alternatively, they may be a minimal pair in the hypothetical conlang, indicating that it has a velar vs labiovelar contrast in initial voiceless stops. Aug 10, 2015 at 20:24

2 Answers 2


Geth (Mass Effect), Qunari (Dragon Age Inquisition), Draenei (World of Warcraft) all follow the rule where both the noun, adjective and collective name are the same.

  • I am a Geth/Qunari/Draenei soldier
  • I am Geth/Qunari/Draenei.
  • The Geth/Qunari/Draenei are preparing for war.

That doesn't mean it's required to be like that (you can make different derivations if you want), but that usage is accepted if the name is derived from another language (not spoken by the people referencing them).

  • So I am basically free to choose which I use then? Cool, thanks!
    – Robin
    Aug 10, 2015 at 11:38
  • 2
    A big hint here is that the latter two look a bit like plural Latin nouns (actually, -ei is a singular dative, but when you understand that they came from a planet named Draenor, the dative for a being from that place makes a bit of sense).
    – T.E.D.
    Aug 10, 2015 at 11:44
  • 1
    @Robin: Especially in cases of foreign names, English doesn't really have set rules as far as I'm aware.
    – Flater
    Aug 10, 2015 at 11:55

Flater's answer is very good, and indeed many games have taken this path.

I would suggest a bit of variety though. Using suffixes and prefixes for different races can help you to emphasize the cultural and linguistic differences between your different races, partially explaining how they can have diametrically opposed viewpoints that bring them into conflict.

It can also tie in with interesting historical events within a single culture. For example, there was a point in time where some of the well-to-do people from Liverpool began calling themselves Liverpolitans instead of the more prosaic Liverpudlians. From the Collins dictionary:

Liverpolitan (ˌlɪvəˈpɒlɪtən Pronunciation for Liverpolitan )


noun: a native or inhabitant of Liverpool

adjective: of or relating to Liverpool

Word Origin (C20 [20-th century?]): a supposedly status-enhancing adaptation of Liverpudlian from Liverpool + Greek politēs citizen

A very matter-of-fact scientific race may well make the noun, adjective and collective noun the same in the interest of uniformity. Alternatively, a totalitarian state may call individuals by the same name as the state as if emphasise that individuals can have no divergent interests.

However, on our own planet there are some cases where a prefix is used to distinguish between a country and its citizens. Take the country of Botswana, for example.

A individual from Botswana is referred to as a Motswana while the people from Botswana are known as the Batswana. Even though the official language of Botswana is English, around 90% of the population speak a language called Setswana.


Motswana in the Cambridge dictionary

Motswana noun [S] UK /mɒtˈswɑː.nə/ US /mɑːt-/

a person from Botswana

Batswana in the Cambridge dictionary

Batswana noun [plural]
› people from Botswana

The wikipedia article on Setswana can be found here: Languages of Botswana.

  • Yeah, interestingly enough, while fantasy "races" are often considered species, they tend to be treated more like ethnicities or cultures (down to having a single language that's named after the species, which obviously doesn't parallel the situation with the human species).
    – herisson
    Aug 11, 2015 at 2:26

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