November 6th, 2005

Figure It Out

Southern Accents and Towns

Hey look, another desperate NaNovelist begging for help.

My characters are traveling along US 80 across the country. This hits the northern part of many southern states, and I have a very limited experience of the dialects of those areas. The sites I've found have been marginally helpful, but they all seem to be written in half-joking dictionary formats. I need to find an honestly written collection of southern speech patterns a linguist would be proud of.

Is there such a thing?

ALSO! If you live in any of those (or surrounding areas), please describe the town you live in, or link me to pictures of it. I want to get an accurate setting! T____T

You guys rock so much. Thank you in advance.
  • Current Music
    Postal Service - Nothing Better
ingrid by Angel
  • azarias

Chinese Girl Names

Anyone happen to know two Chinese female names that were relatively popular in the year 2000 (or just popular in the last decade or so)? I'm thinking Mandarin or something from around Hong Kong. I've found quite a few pretty-sounding names on baby name websites, but I don't know the first word of Chinese and I'm afraid I'd pick something that isn't really a name, or hasn't been used since the 50s.

Failing that, two girls' names that are popular in Singapore would be good.


Pennsylvania Welsh in the late 18th century

My google-fu is failing me in providing an answer to this question, so hopefully someone has some ideas: I have a character who was born in the late 1750s in what was at the time the Welsh Tract in Pennsylvania. The family is of Welsh Quaker stock, though at least one grandparent and both parents were born in America. The area they live in is a few days' ride from Philadelphia and predominantly, but not exclusively, Welsh Quaker; how fluent would he likely be in Welsh? Would he likely have a distinctively Welsh-tinged accent when speaking English?
music, serious face

Mod post: user info updated

I've been tagging old posts and in the process I've noticed that a lot of us are forgetting that the entire world isn't exactly like los Estados Unidos.

So I've put a reminder into the user info:

* Think about what we need to know in order to answer your question. Do we need to know where your story is taking place? When it's taking place? We can't read your mind, and a lot of us don't live in the United States.
It's put in the rules, but all that will probably happen if you forget is that sollersuk will ask you what you're talking about.
  • Current Music
    Zap Mama - Take Me Coco

Is it possible in modern America to keep foundlings?

I can't figure out how to go about finding this, and I'm pretty sure it's a complicated bureocratic process (if even possible) but:

There's the old story in fairy tales and such of leaving babies on the doorsteps of rich people to be adopted. My question is, if for some reason, a young couple in America (suburbs, but the state or city is unimportant and can be changed) found a baby... could they keep it? In order to get it a social security number, enrolled in school, &c, they'd have to notify the authorities. I would assume that the child would be taken away to the foster system, assuming no parents or birth records could be found.

Is there any way that a reasonably savvy person could adopt the child? Could they "call dibs" somehow as foster parents? Where would I even start looking for this?

We can have any number of sympathetic social workers and officials planted into the story, if necessary.

Travel, late-1800s style?

Just a quick question - I checked all the other "travel" questions and didn't find what I was looking for, but if this is a repeat please forgive me!

How long would it take to get from New York (City roundabouts) to a) Rhode Island and b) Cape Cod, in an old-fashioned carriage? The story I'm writing is set in an alternate-reality where they have no cars, simply the transportation that would be around in the late 1800's.

Also/conversely, how long would it take for a steam train to get to Cape Cod from Rhode Island?

Thank you in advance!
D in winter

how to become a Mayflower fan in the 1880s

What a wonderful community! I just joined, and I'm already asking for help:

A little boy in the 1880s – 7 or 8 years old, American protestant middle-class – becomes very much enthralled with the voyage of the Mayflower (as the "ultimate adventure story", not so much for religious reasons). I would love to have a real source of information for him. A history book, a story, a painting, a sunday-school-poem, whatever you can think of – something that could kick-start his imagination; and something else perhaps where he could gather more information after the initial spark.
steve rogers
  • pamuya

AU or reality...

So a few months ago I switched my story to AU. A character, probably the main character from many standpoints, is very, very German. Now this is where I get confused. He speaks a little German now and then, nothing the audience can't guess or figure out what it means; it's just part of his flair. But to avoid wars and stuff like that I have made it AU, and have found that it may be better to make my own world, which means...there would be no Germany. Which means Lukas speaking German would look weird and confuse lots of people.

Has it been done, successfully, where a story is sort of 'half AU'? Half of it has real elements, like countries and languages, yet some are still made up. Can it be done? Would I be better off just picking one or the other? I really, really have problems with confusing my audience.

Oi, sorry if I confused you guys. I confused myself again.
  • Current Music
    SULFURIC ACID - hitomi ni butterfly

Death by MMORG

I've read cases about people dying from playing online games nonstop, but I can't really find much about how they die. Is it from exhaustion, heart failure, or what? What exactly happens in their body during this time? How would they feel before or as they're dying? What conditions would cause them to die? The character I'm writing about will be a teenage girl, if that helps any.

Heart of glass

Average traveling speed of turn-of-century steam locomotives

I've been poking at Google off and on with different keywords for about a month now, and I'm still not finding an answer.

I'm interested in how fast on average on regular flat terrain a steam locomotive in the 1900s-1930s era would go. How many miles or kilometers per hour, on average.

If there's any additional information on average layovers, that would be lovely, but it's not necessary. Basically, I'm just trying to figure out how far away various cities and towns might be from one another if I know it takes X-amount of days of travel by train. I don't know how fast they went, and I'm not interested in record-breaking speeds, which is all I'm finding.
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