Xenopronouns are a type of hypothetical neopronouns that are not able to be understood by humans and/or expressed through human language. Theoretical examples of xenopronouns include:
- Pronouns that involve concepts that humans do not have words for.
- Pronouns whose meanings cannot be translated into any human language.
- Pronouns that include sounds that would be impossible for humans to make, if spoken.
- Pronouns that include sounds that humans cannot hear, if spoken.
- Pronouns that include movements that would be impossible for humans to do, if signed.
- Pronouns expressed through a form of communication that humans cannot use.
No specific examples of xenopronouns can be provided because, by their nature, it would be impossible to express through human language.
However, in the context of a science-fiction story involving glowing aliens which communicate using wavelengths of light which are not visible to the human eye (following theoretical example 6), hypothetically, one conceivable example could include some light-based encoding that would represent a name term. In this case, it is important to remember that physical elements of the universe, such as light, are accessible to all inhabitants of the universe, and because light can be leveraged as an information-possessing element, there are groups of humans (such as physicists and linguists) who would be equipped to process the information in this hypothetical language scenario, and could therefore provide an account of the language's syntax and semantics. This would allow for translation into human languages, which would also inform an account of how the language uses pronouns, if at all.
Regardless, the complexities of such a scenario are entirely theoretical and imaginative, and could imply a complete psychological dissimilarity between how humans frame concepts like gender and pronoun use, and how a potential alien might or might not conceive of these things. Thus, a bona fide translation of an alien language using information processing that is available to humans could very well result in a default usage of pronouns within any given human language, e.g. "it" in English (used to refer to non-human objects) or او (pronounced "oo", or more specifically, "ū") in Persian (which is already a genderless pronoun in its own language).
The word xenopronouns is often incorrectly used by individuals who actually mean neopronouns. This incorrect use may be due to individuals who are xenogender using neopronouns, and mixing the words without realizing that xenopronouns are something else. Another reason for its incorrect use is that many individuals do not feel comfortable calling "unconventional" types of pronouns (such as nounself or emojiself pronouns) as neopronouns, which are thought of as being only "more conventional" pronouns such as xe/xem.
The xenopronoun flag was coined by a user going by Ruthie on November 14th, 2020. The blue stands for aquatic or air based non-humans, brown stands for mechanical or mythical non-humans, green represents ground based non-humans, and red represents space-based or other-worldly based non-humans.
The Tumblr user Mourningmogaicrew created a new version of the flag on or before May 23rd, 2021. It keeps the same colors as the original with the same meanings, but also adds black to represent not being human, white to represent the wide range of non-human identities, and purple to represent otherkin specifically.