August 27th, 2005

rob ryan; other planets

Language acquisition/loss

I have a character who moved from Spain to London at the age of four, with his Spanish parents. At this point he knew virtually no English, but was sent to an English primary school soon afterwards. At home, his family continued to speak Spanish. My questions are, how quickly would he become fluent in English? How fast would his accent fade? How much Spanish would he retain as an adult (not having been in contact with his family since he was a teen)? Would any of his accent last into adulthood?

Answers would be so very, very appreciated. =)
  • iffi

Duties of Household Staff

I've tried to do some googling on this matter, but my results weren't very informative, I'm afraid. And thus, here I am again. :)

I'm on the hunt for some detailed information on the duties of household staff (butlers) in present day. Mostly, in relation to the following situations -

1. When a member of the family comes home in the car. Would the Valet meet the family member at the front door and take the car to the garage? Or would they meet them elsewhere?

2. When a guest (albeit, a guest that's familiar with the family) turns up on foot at the bottom of the drive. Would they be met at the bottom of the drive by a member of the household staff? Or would the guest just have to walk up and meet them at the door or something? For the record, the guest in question is hardly upper-class, as such, but a very good friend of the gentleman of the house's son.

3. If say, for instance, whilst cleaning the house, a member of the household staff (the maid?) were to find illegal drugs, as an example, in one of the childrens'/teenagers' bedrooms, would they be obliged to tell the said youth's parents?

4. How must a member of the household staff address the various members of the family and guests? The guests I am refering to is the same one as mentioned before, as well as more stately guests.

One more thing - I'm at a loss for a butler's name that isn't too cheesy or cliche. I'm assuming that butlers are generally addressed by their surnames, however, I may be wrong. If anyone has any ideas or something, then they'd be greatly appreciated.

Thanks. :)
Sister Death

18th Spanish Currency

As the subject implies, I need to know the standard currency in Spain in the 18th Century. (I hate calling money "silver" or "copper"; it sounds so Dungeons & Dragons.) A website detailing this would be great, but is not necessary. All I can find are pages on modern Spanish currency.

Super summer jobs?

What's a good menial job -- something that a high school or college student could do part-time or over the summer -- that would be well-suited to a character who's basically a human rubber band? Abilities include stretching, squeezing into tight spaces, and altering her body shape. Setting is basically modern, which puts my immediate idea of "chimney sweep" right out.