June 14th, 2007

Knowledge of language

Hey,

My main problem here is that I don't know what to search for in Google, hopefully you guys can help out.

My story is set in a fictional country with a language based heavily on French. A girl from Britain was kidnapped and has just been located (she's now aged about twenty-five). I was thinking that she was probably taken at about age six or seven.

How much English, if any, would she remember, if she hasn't spoken English with anyone in almost twenty years?

I've googled combinations of "knowledge of language", "language acquisition", "language in a new country" and similar variations about accent. I have found some interesting information about the psychological impact of moving to a new country but no actual cases of knowledge of a mother tongue when re-introduced to it after a significant length of time.

Anything you can suggest would be greatly appreciated.

Edited to add
Thanks for the quick replies. The story of the children kidnapped by their father is very similar to what's going on in my story, I'm in the process of looking up the language retention search on Google, you're right, that is the sort of thing I'm looking for.

Thanks again for all the help.

Wallpaper removal tools

I have a scene where my heroes are in a house undergoing remodeling. The story takes place in present-day U.S., and the house is haunted. The room they're in is one where the owners of the house are stripping the wallpaper, and I want the ghost to start throwing around things in the room, resulting in one of the characters getting a semi-deep cut on the arm. More than a scrape, not enough to require stitches. I was thinking some sort of wallpaper scraper-type thing might do the trick.

Problem: I've never removed wallpaper. I've googled *how* to remove it and searched through the Lowes and Ace Hardware sites in an attempt to get a good idea of how the tools look and, more importantly, how sharp they are. However, nothing is really telling me if my idea will work. So, my questions: would a wallpaper scraper be able to cause the kind of injury I'm looking for? Is wallpaper scraper even the right term to use?

Note: the wallpaper isn't a big plot point; it could just as easily be paint removal or any other type of remodeling that home owners might do themselves. Mainly, I just need various tools for the ghost to throw, including at least one sharp one. Thanks for your help!

Screening

I thought I'd asked this already, but I can't seem to find it.  So forgive me if this is a duplicate. :)

On forensics and medical shows they often do something called a "tox screen", checking for drugs and poisons in someone's system.  If someone could tell me how long it takes to run one of those, and how much blood you need for it?