Justice Department Seeks Ebonics Experts

elder999

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It's been my experience that this "cant" can be turned off and on if the speaker chooses. So its less an accent than it is an affectation. Mileage on that opinion may vary though. I concede that.


While that may or may not be true-I think it's an individual thing-this was about deciphering secret recordings. The individuals in question were talking amongst themselves, for all they knew, and probably speaking at ease.....and unintelligibly as well.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I believe it was intended as sarcasm, since it was a relatively transparent attempt at race-baiting that started the thread. Some of us tried to defuse it by taking the question seriously instead of the intended slur.
 
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Big Don

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I believe it was intended as sarcasm, since it was a relatively transparent attempt at race-baiting that started the thread. Some of us tried to defuse it by taking the question seriously instead of the intended slur.
Really, Bill? Questioning policy is race-baiting?
 

Carol

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In addition to the nine Ebonics experts, the DEA’s Atlanta office also requires linguists for eight other languages, including Spanish (144 linguists needed); Vietnamese (12); Korean (9); Farsi (9); and Jamaican patois (4). The Atlanta field division, one of the DEA’s busiest, is the only office seeking linguists well-versed in Ebonics. Overall, the “majority of DEA’s language requirements will be for Spanish originating in Central and South America and the Caribbean,” according to one contract document.

So for perspective...the Atlanta office needs as many Ebonics specialists as they need Korean and Farsi specialists...but it needs 1600% more Spanish specialists than it does any of the prior three.

Additionally, while “technology plays a major role in the DEA’s efforts, much of its success is increasingly dependent upon rapid and meticulous understanding of foreign languages used in conversations by speakers of languages other than English and in the translation, transcription and preparation of written documents.”
The DEA is doing the right thing. They're trying to get boots-on-the-ground intel instead of trying to catch drug kingpins in Atlanta from a cubicle in Washington D.C.

Speaking of people one can't understand... :lol:

[yt]Q2BkSK0PLY8[/yt]
 

elder999

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Really, Bill? Questioning policy is race-baiting?


The DOJ has some secret tapes of black guys speaking to each other.

THey couldn't understand them, and need interpreters.

They advertised open positions.

Answer your "question?" Didn't really see any question in your first post, or your second.....

Your third, though:

Aside from, it being stupid, and a likely HUGE waste of money, no problems.
Where is the DOJ looking for people to translate Southern? Do they just hire Jeff Foxworthy? What about the Boston accent? What about Minnesotans?
:rolleyes:
 
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Big Don

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The DOJ has some secret tapes of black guys speaking to each other.

THey couldn't understand them, and need interpreters.

They advertised open positions.

Answer your "question?" Didn't really see any question in your first post, or your second.....

Your third, though:


:rolleyes:
Oh, absolutely, ridiculing stupidity is clearly racist.
Since so many of you are psychic, how about a hint on what tomorrow's CA lottery numbers will be?
 

elder999

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Oh, absolutely, ridiculing stupidity is clearly racist.

Which part was stupid, and so worthy of your "ridicule," exactly?

More to the point, I......clearly haven't accused anyone of racism, bigotry, being racist or even being "stupid." Yours is the first use of the very word, "racist," in this thread.

No matter, though....
 
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Drac

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Well, considering had to once look up what "bust a cap" and "frontin" meant, I can see it needing translation.

I wish I could have recorded an interview I had with the friend of a crime victim during my rookie days. A primer could have helped.

Me: Do you know the victim?

Her: Yeah, dats my cuz.

Me: Your cuz? You mean she is related to you?

Her: No, dats my play cuz..
 

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ATTENTION ALL USERS:

Please keep the conversation polite and respectful. In this case, keep your discussions to the Original Post. Please make use of the RTM button if you have issues with any member's posts.

Thank you
Craig Mills
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CoryKS

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The comparison was made to Scottish English, and I know that in both cases it can be difficult to understand the speaker without acclimation. When I watch movies like Trainspotting or Snatch or whatever, there's like a fifteen minute period at the beginning when I have no idea what is being said, but once I get a feel for the rhythm of the speech it's no longer a problem.

I guess I don't understand why the speech pattern would be so inaccessible that a dedicated resource would be required. Wouldn't they pick up some familiarity with it in the course of their job? Maybe it would be better if they could hire someone to teach the agents how to listen.
 

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The comparison was made to Scottish English, and I know that in both cases it can be difficult to understand the speaker without acclimation. When I watch movies like Trainspotting or Snatch or whatever, there's like a fifteen minute period at the beginning when I have no idea what is being said, but once I get a feel for the rhythm of the speech it's no longer a problem.

I guess I don't understand why the speech pattern would be so inaccessible that a dedicated resource would be required. Wouldn't they pick up some familiarity with it in the course of their job? Maybe it would be better if they could hire someone to teach the agents how to listen.

It's not the same as a regional dialect or accent. Consider it more like Romany; a language spoken by a societal subset that is intentionally designed to be confusing or unintelligible to outsiders. Cockney Rhyming Slang is a moderate version of it; you can listen to it for hours, but you're not going to suddenly 'get it' unless it's explained to you.

Other examples would be Polari, a language used by the homosexual community in the UK in the 1950's and 60's:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A10357832

Or Nadsat, the invented language of the book "A Clockwork Orange," although that was fictional AND you could decipher it by reference.

American and UK Carnival workers (carnies) also have or had their own intentionally-encrypted language. The words are English, but their use of them is unfamiliar and cannot be deciphered by the uninitiated listener - this is by design. Some of this language persists in the age of professional wrestling. Notoriously, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura used it when he referred to politics as a 'work' which is wrestling slang for a set-piece battle, a game, a cheat, a foregone conclusion. Probably some of the most truthful words ever uttered about politics in America.
 

elder999

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The comparison was made to Scottish English, and I know that in both cases it can be difficult to understand the speaker without acclimation. When I watch movies like Trainspotting or Snatch or whatever, there's like a fifteen minute period at the beginning when I have no idea what is being said, but once I get a feel for the rhythm of the speech it's no longer a problem.

I guess I don't understand why the speech pattern would be so inaccessible that a dedicated resource would be required. Wouldn't they pick up some familiarity with it in the course of their job? Maybe it would be better if they could hire someone to teach the agents how to listen.


Odds are good that the people interpreting the tapes aren't in the field-if they don't actually get to use the local lingo, being taught it won't really make much difference. Their office might not even be in the area wher the dialect comes from.

There are also regional variations to deal with: a black drug dealer from Compton is going to be equally unitelligible to a fed in Washington DC and another gang-banger from East St. Louis or Tampa.
 

CoryKS

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It's not the same as a regional dialect or accent. Consider it more like Romany; a language spoken by a societal subset that is intentionally designed to be confusing or unintelligible to outsiders. Cockney Rhyming Slang is a moderate version of it; you can listen to it for hours, but you're not going to suddenly 'get it' unless it's explained to you.

Other examples would be Polari, a language used by the homosexual community in the UK in the 1950's and 60's:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A10357832

Or Nadsat, the invented language of the book "A Clockwork Orange," although that was fictional AND you could decipher it by reference.

American and UK Carnival workers (carnies) also have or had their own intentionally-encrypted language. The words are English, but their use of them is unfamiliar and cannot be deciphered by the uninitiated listener - this is by design. Some of this language persists in the age of professional wrestling. Notoriously, former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura used it when he referred to politics as a 'work' which is wrestling slang for a set-piece battle, a game, a cheat, a foregone conclusion. Probably some of the most truthful words ever uttered about politics in America.


If the problem is that they are using a proprietary set of code words, then an expert of Ebonics isn't going to be any help at all. If they are unable to understand more common black terms and phrases, hell, any white 16-year-old could teach them that.
 

Bill Mattocks

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If the problem is that they are using a proprietary set of code words, then an expert of Ebonics isn't going to be any help at all.

It's a sliding window. If you are a native speaker of the cant of a particular subset of society, you are predisposed to catch many of the words and perhaps the meaning of other similar kants from other regions or times.

Intentional cants change quickly; they're fluid languages and designed to be changed as outsiders begin to penetrate meaning; but some patterns and references are common and remain the same. In other words, as Elder said, a person from one segment of NY culture might not be completely hip to Oakland CA speech from the same culture, but he or she would be able to bridge the gap fairly quickly and at least be able to make inferences that made sense. A person like myself would stand little to no chance of doing either. A person who spoke carny would probably be able to understand a professional wrestler's special language and vice-versa. They're different but based on the same thing.
 

elder999

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If the problem is that they are using a proprietary set of code words, then an expert of Ebonics isn't going to be any help at all.


It's not-it's a regional vernacular. I'm trying to find some examples (besides gullah, which is another thing altogether) to post....what they're looking for are people who from the same neighborhood or area who talk that way.
 

Tez3

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I could see why the would need one (or 9 as the case may be), its more than just slang.

The Scottish English comparison is a good one. If a scotsman comes up to you and says "thats a fair wee bairn" (and in a heavy accent) unless you know the dialect your not going to have any idea what hes talking about (bairn is baby so a "fair wee bairn" is a cute little baby).

As im not American the whole Ebonics thing seems incredibly foreign to me, lol I have no idea what half of them are saying, they be trippin' if they think I can understand that shiznit!


and to further confuse things there's Hielan Scots and Lowlands Scots! Lowland is Robert Burns and Billy Connelly. Highland Scots is very different being more Norse and Celtic.

We have enough problems here between American English and British English as it is!
 

Bill Mattocks

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It's not-it's a regional vernacular. I'm trying to find some examples (besides gullah, which is another thing altogether) to post....what they're looking for are people who from the same neighborhood or area who talk that way.

I was thinking of Calo, or Shelta. I've had some exposure to the latter. The first time I read "A Clockwork Orange," I thought NADSAT was Shelta; it has the same sing-song quality. Viddy me?
 
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