September 8th, 2014

Quebec French in the 1930s

My story is set in 1930 or 1931. One of my main characters is Quebecois, living in Wisconsin (or at least based out of there at the time of the story; he's a rum runner and moves around a bit). He speaks English around the Americans he has to talk to, but he slips back into French fairly often.

It's occurred to me that even aside from making sure he's not speaking Google Translate European French, modern Quebec French might sound anachronistic in that era. I've looked around on Google and various library catalogs, and I've found tons of material on American English slang of the 1920s and '30s, and a few pages about modern Quebec French idioms. The best resource I've found about historical Quebec French, though, is about two paragraphs in the Wikipedia page on Quebec French in general.

I'm beginning to wonder, are there even any sort of materials of the type I'm looking for? For that matter, is there anything on Canadian English in the '30s?

Illness/Injury made to order and questions about a hospital visit

1. There's a character in one of my going WIPs who has a colostomy. He's fourteen and not particularly happy about this, but is otherwise a normal, kind of geeky teenager. I'm trying to figure out why he had to have the operation in the first place. I know that it happened before his tenth birthday. I'm leaning more towards some kind of injury (car crash?) and subsequent complications which meant things couldn't be reversed, though I would be open to a childhood illness, or even having him born with some kind of condition which required corrective surgery. Thoughts?

Research: Going through the little_details tags, googling (and youtubing, in hopes of finding a teenager talking about dealing with this stuff, which was a bit successful, though not for answering this question) child colostomy/ stoma, teen colostomy/ stoma, and many variations there upon. Various WebMD types websites and ostomy association newsletters. Most of what I'm getting is information on how to take care of a stoma, not why one would be created (though I have learned that stomas in children are often later reversed).

2. The character will be visiting the hospital for some kind of out-patient check-up and at the end I'd like him to be given some kind of sample package of new bags and supplies. Is this plausible? All of the characters have to start at or near a hospital for plot reasons, and I'd like him to have a larger than normal stash of things at the beginning of the story, since there will be a bit of a gap before more can be found.

3. Completely unrelated to the above. A different character is baby-sitting a younger sibling when the younger sibling is hurt by a drunk driver. The older sibling is also hurt, but not severely. It happens in public and there is a helpful police officer nearby. What would happen next? I assume both would be taken to hospital and the older sibling would be asked for their parent's contact information? My attempts at googling, "minors at hospital," "injury while babysitting," etc. have led me to many sites telling babysitters that it's okay to call 911 in an emergency, and some frightening news articles about sitters killing their charges… neither of which is helpful.

Setting: present day Ambiguousville, North America