June 25th, 2007

regal

reacquiring speech after 30 years of silence

A normal girl of normal ability is removed from her home at age four, and put in an environment where speaking is not allowed. Children who makes words or sounds are punished to discourage it; being chosen for this is prestigious, and otherwise involves a high quality of life, so excessive rebellion isn't really part of things. Her daily living environment is silent and invlves communication via hand signs, but she is exposed to a few hourss of speech from outsiders probably several times a week. She lives in this environment for decades.

If removed from that environment say, thirty years later, not entirely willingly, would she be capable of regaining speech? How long would it take? Would it be limited to words she had been comfortable with before she became entirely silent?

I'm interested in physiological and psychological aspects of this, and should also note the book has a fantasy setting that does not include any sort of audio/visual mass media and has a level of technological achievement one could place somewhere in the 19th century for comparison.

Previous searches I have conducted have only yielded information on children who never acquired language in teh first place or were otherwise cut off from all exposure to speech.

Can anyone take a stab at this one?

Building (then Toppling) a Stone Wall

I just wrote a scene that may be completely impossible. I have one character bust over a section of a tall stone (Roman or Medieval) wall. He then asks one of his captives to rebuild it. I wanted the captive to rebuild it in such a way that though it looks solid, it could be pushed through quietly at a convenient time.

Is there a way to do this? It could not be obvious, and it would be especially cool if it were a matter of doing something funky with a keystone, or something, that would make it topple (or possible to crawl though it) if something was removed at one or two points.

The wall is mine to 'build' - so if there is some certain kind of wall where this would work, I could write that kind of wall.

But the sad truth is that I know nothing of masonry, and have built no walls, real or imagined. Have you?

some mexican-spanish translation

ayudame, por favor.

i try not to use languages i don't speak in fiction, but this is pretty minimal and kind of necessary. babelfish has messed me up in the past, and it's not very colloquial anyway, and, as far as i know, it doesn't take regional differences into account. here's the situation - a man guarding the back entrance to a party in a small mexican city is trying to get rid of what he thinks is an annoying kid with a crush on the girl whose party it is. what i need to know is how to say "piss off, romeo," or something equally rude, and also "awww, you going to cry?" thanks very much, all.