Theodore's World: Obama's Justice Department Seeks Ebonics Experts

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August 24, 2010

Obama's Justice Department Seeks Ebonics Experts

Justice Department Seeks Ebonics Experts

DEA wants “Black English” linguists to decipher bugged calls

Department of Justice are looking to hire NINE linguists “fluent in Ebonics” so that they can figure out what in the holy hell people who are the subjects of drug investigations are saying.

In some of the official documents from the DoJ, Ebonics is listed as an Actual Language.

AUGUST 23--The Department of Justice is seeking to hire linguists fluent in Ebonics to help monitor, translate, and transcribe the secretly recorded conversations of subjects of narcotics investigations, according to federal records.

A maximum of nine Ebonics experts will work with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Atlanta field division, where the linguists, after obtaining a “DEA Sensitive” security clearance, will help investigators decipher the results of “telephonic monitoring of court ordered nonconsensual intercepts, consensual listening devices, and other media”

The DEA’s need for full-time linguists specializing in Ebonics is detailed in bid documents related to the agency’s mid-May issuance of a request for proposal (RFP) covering the provision of as many as 2100 linguists for the drug agency’s various field offices. Answers to the proposal were due from contractors on July 29.

In contract documents, which are excerpted here, Ebonics is listed among 114 languages for which prospective contractors must be able to provide linguists.

The 114 languages are divided between “common languages” and “exotic languages.” Ebonics is listed as a “common language” spoken solely in the United States.

Ebonics has widely been described as a nonstandard variant of English spoken largely by African Americans. John R. Rickford, a Stanford University professor of linguistics, has described it as “Black English” and noted that “Ebonics pronunciation includes features like the omission of the final consonant in words like ‘past’ (pas’ ) and ‘hand’ (han’), the pronunciation of the th in ‘bath’ as t (bat) or f (baf), and the pronunciation of the vowel in words like ‘my’ and ‘ride’ as a long ah (mah, rahd).”

Detractors reject the notion that Ebonics is a dialect, instead considering it a bastardization of the English language.

The Department of Justice RFP does not, of course, address questions of vernacular, dialect, or linguistic merit. It simply sought proposals covering the award of separate linguist contracts for seven DEA regions. The agency spends about $70 million annually on linguistic service programs, according to contract records.


Wild Thing's comment........

I thought this was a joke at first, but it is for real.

LOL maybe Hillary can apply for the job.

Posted by Wild Thing at August 24, 2010 04:55 AM


Why can't Holder understand "Ebonics" it all has to do with rythm, does'nt it.

And Beavers Mom has come along way.

Posted by: Mark at August 24, 2010 08:13 AM

This is a realistic proposal. There are some Black people I really have trouble understanding.

Posted by: TomR, armed in Texas at August 24, 2010 09:46 AM

I love that scene from Airplane, I couldn't understand it when I saw and nothing has changed.

Posted by: Mark at August 24, 2010 02:32 PM

Mark, haha the one I can't handle is how obama drops all the endings of his words....thinkin, talkin, etc. I can't remember hearing speech like that before at least not on a consistent basis.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 24, 2010 06:19 PM

Tom I know what you mean, I can't either.

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 24, 2010 06:20 PM

Mark, yes it is a good one. LOL It got to everyone the same way, like what just happened kind of thing. hahaa

Posted by: Wild Thing at August 24, 2010 06:22 PM