This is a slightly odd question (or set of questions), but I’ve been thinking lately about how Pokemon perceive or relate to their own type, and whether type distinctions induce some kind of cultural difference among Pokemon. Are Pokemon aware of their own type? Do type distinctions arise “naturally,” or are they simply human-created terms used to organize and taxonomize Pokemon by their salient features? Do Pokemon feel culturally closer to Pokemon who share their type? What about Pokemon from “allied” types, like Water and Ice, or Rock and Ground? Is a Pokemon like Abomasnow who has two types that are fairly “far apart” from each other able to “code switch” to an extent– to “lean in” to his Grass-type features when he’s hanging out with other Grass pokemon, and to his Ice-type aspects when he’s up on the mountain with the other Ice-types?
What do you think about this?
I tend to think that the world makes more sense if Pokémon type is a construct created by humans in order to understand how Pokémon fight and predict which Pokémon will have advantages against certain others. If Pokémon type is a natural thing that exists independently of humans, then you need to do a lot of work explaining what it is and how it arises (especially considering that Pokémon of the same type do not usually seem to be related species), and this is work that Game Freak has not done. I think it would probably imply that each type corresponds to some metaphysical source of magical power that Pokémon can tap into – and honestly I think that might be true anyway for some of the more mystical types like Dragon and Fairy, but for most of them there simply isn’t anything that hints at it in official sources. Of course, because this is something that Pokémon’s creators probably haven’t thought about, there are a few stray things that do strongly suggest Pokémon types are in some way natural and absolute, like Arceus having forms for every type, and Hidden Powers existing for every type (except Fairy), and there being no exceptions to the type chart. So… basically, I know what the answer would be if I were in charge, but I’m not confident in anything given the world as we actually see it.
As for what Pokémon themselves think about their types and other Pokémon that share them… well, it probably depends on the type, and on individual species. Even if we assume Pokémon types are largely human-defined constructs, they still describe properties and powers that a lot of Pokémon have in common. Those powers might constitute a base of common ground and shared experience that help Pokémon of otherwise very different species to understand and empathise with one another (and I would direct you here to one of my favourite episodes of the Pokémon anime, Bulbasaur the Ambassador, in which the Water Pokémon and Grass Pokémon of Professor Oak’s laboratory grounds are at each other’s throats). Or… they might not. One Normal-type doesn’t really have anything in particular in common with another Normal-type, since Normal mostly indicates the absence of any other elemental qualities. Some Ground-types are linked to the earth as an elemental force, but others are just physically powerful and… well, live on the ground. I wouldn’t necessarily assume that a Pokémon like Marowak or Nidoqueen “gets” the fundamental nature of earth and soil in the way that Dugtrio or Camerupt might. Water and Flying are also extremely broad. On the other hand, Grass Pokémon share physiological differences that set them apart from all other Pokémon, while Fire-, Electric- or Ice-types share the common experiences of embodying elemental forces, Psychic Pokémon can communicate with each other on unique mental channels, and Dark or Fighting Pokémon each have their own sets of specific ethical perspectives that are shared to some extent with Pokémon of the same type. So there are several ways in which two Pokémon of the same type might be inclined to look at one another and think “ah, yes, you’re like me, and those other Pokémon are not like me,” but we’re not necessarily entitled to generalise much about how that would work for all species.
We can illustrate this with your specific example of Abomasnow. Abomasnow has plant-like physiology that might help it relate to other Grass Pokémon, whose lives also revolve around things like good soil and exposure to sunlight. They each understand, intuitively, what the others’ priorities are and what kinds of problems they might regularly face. Abomasnow’s Grass-type traits probably mean that it has a lifestyle that is a bit alien to most other Ice-types, who don’t have a lot of biological commonalities with it. On the other hand, Abomasnow mostly live in areas where other Grass-types are pretty unusual, while a wide variety of Ice-types are much more common. It will know about Ice-types and have direct understanding of how they live and what they care about, even if it doesn’t actually share all the same concerns and experiences. So you can imagine that it will be able to relate to both, but in very different ways (I like the metaphor of code-switching; I think a short story that explores the concept would be interesting).