October 10th, 2006

Saiyaloid Raditz
  • kahteh

Pidgin dialect development

I have a large group of people (~1600) from a lot of different countries (~8), who are living on an island together with comparatively little contact with the outside world. Although they all have their own individual languages (most of which do not share a common origin in the way that, say, French, Spanish and Italian do), one of them is spoken to some degree by almost everybody, as it is the most widely-used language for trade.

Approximately how long would it take before a pidgin dialect began to emerge? From what I've gathered looking at Pitcairnese, it will (or can) happen within the space of a generation, but does anybody have a more specific (or at least less vague!) length of time?

ETA: Thanks, folks! Also, sorry for not explaining a few things too well to start with:
Essentially, the people on the island are an army. A small original group of soldiers became (in)famous, and a bunch of other people turned up asking to join them. (This is waaay oversimplified, but the details aren't really that relevant here.)

The majority of them are soldiers or mercenaries, and so their knowledge of the 'trade-language' is limited in most cases to being able to get food and/or solicit female company while on campaign, and in at least one case, only the group's officers speak the trade-language.

ETA #2: I've finally realised why I love this place so much (aside from "because the people here answer my dumb questions")- you make me actually think about what I've written and whether it makes sense. Thanks, guys.
You can't see me!, James is a ninja!

Naming inanimate objects.

Okay, lemme try this one again.

Lots of people name inanimate objects. Your computer, your car, your stuffed animals, etc. I, personally, tend toward male names and tend to refer to things as "he."

I'm trying to figure out if it's generally an overall gender thing (girls tend toward male names/pronouns) or if it's a sexual preference thing (lesbians tend toward female names/pronouns).

So, if you're willing, would you all be so kind as to tell your gender/preference/naming trends? Middle info is optional if you're not willing to say.

I'm trying to figure out which way my transwoman lesbian is going to tend toward with naming her stuffed animals, and it'd be nice to have a list to draw averages from in case it comes up for other characters in the future.

[Edit] omg my formatting. Fixed.

[Also edit!] omg you guys have given me a flood of responses! Very helpful, thank you for taking the time to comment.
Zetsubou Sensei

Chemistry question

Hi, I have a weird question that I really don't know how to go about answering aside from asking any science students who might know:

Is it possible and/or feasible for a knowledgable person to buy over the counter drugs, break them down to their basic ingredients, and use those ingredients to make whatever chemical they want? I thought of it and if it worked it'd be a funny scene of someone foraging through the pharmacy isles buying up a ton of drugs, but I have noooo idea if it's at all possible.

High school in New Jersey

Hi. I'm new. I'll try not to be annoying.

I live in Georgia, but I'm attempting to set a story in a high school in New Jersey. (Don't ask. I've apparently lost my mind.) Anything really important I should know? About what time of the year does summer vacation end in New Jersey? Every year, the local papers run articles complaining that our schools reopen too late (or too early!) -- kids were traditionally needed for harvests, so school had to wait. So I was wondering, if I had the kids going back to school in early September, but would that be too late?
  • ingriam

Hiding the sound of a trapdoor

I was wondering if there were any plausible way to conceal the hollow sound of a trapdoor in the floor of a room? I was thinking of having the character with the trapdoor-equipped room just roll up some heavy blankets or towels and put them on the stairs that lead into the concealed space, but I was wondering if this would cover up the sound if someone was stomping on the floor specifically to find the trapdoor.

FYI: the person trying to find said trapdoor has enhanced senses on par with at least Daredevil or Jim Ellison.

Men's names reminiscent of seasonings/food?

Basil is an herb. Clive is not a spice, but chives and cloves are spices and for me the association is inescapable. Herb is spelled the same as herb.

What other men's first names are seasonings, or remind you of seasonings or of food in general? This isn't the sort of question Google can answer--I did look.

EDIT: Thanks for all the names, everybody. I think I'll go with Sorrel, or maybe Chicory. Also, thanks to the British English speakers who told me that it's "a herb" over there. Fascinating!
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