August 6th, 2005

Muteness and sign language .

I'm typing the text and dialogue of a charater who has been mute her whole life. She can hear fine and always has been able to, but she can't speak due to a malformation in her vocal cords and throat that made her mute from birth (I'm trying to work specifically what that would be; any help would be appreciated). She uses ASL to communicate, and while I don't know tons about it I can look up things like signs if I want to describe them exactly.

First of all, how would she refer to her signing? Woud she say she signed or spoke something? I'm inclined to go with "signed", but I might be making a huge misstep. Also, how should I refer to her dialogue when someone else is talking about her? Is it okay to say the same thing as above, or should I say "said" even though it looks odd?

Secondly, would she be made to take a separate class in school, or would she be fine in a regular studies class as long as she had someone to interpret?

Thirdly, is it hard to read upside down sign language? She enjoys sitting upside down in recliners, and I was wondering if she could sign and still be understood well.

Finally, is there anything about ASL I should know to type out what she signs, such as grammar use or position?

Thanks in advance.
firefly - kaylee's parasol

American soldiers during WW2

A character of mine is an American soldier stationed in London in the winter of 1941. My question is, where would he be billeted? It would suit my purposes if his lodgings were at least adequately comfortable - ie, not barracks or tents or something - so what are my options for where I can put him?
portraits - default vampire

Dangerous bits of New York?

I need advice on New York sociogeography.

I have my characters leaving the Four Seasons restaurant, which is apparently at 52nd Street between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue, not long before midnight. They're going for a walk, without any real destination. Two tall and very fit men, walking briskly, not afraid to use shortcuts or alleyways. Come to think of it, the sort of people who'd jump a fence instead of changing their direction, just because they were too busy talking.

At the end, preferably within half an hour to an hour's walking (which would make it just after midnight), I'd like them to be somewhere where they can run into some unsavoury element - either someone attempting to rob them, or some illegal activity in progress. Ideally, there would be some building nearby, empty at night, where noise or a fight would not attract unwanted attention (alarmed office buildings are out); an abandoned/currently unused warehouse or tenement would be perfect.

I know New York crime has gone down in recent years, but maybe there are still some bad areas left? Or if that's not possible, areas that were bad before Giuliani's "zero tolerance" policy?

EDIT: This means, either present day, or early Nineties.

(This'll teach me to stick to fictional cities :S)