Justice Department Seeks Ebonics Experts

DEA to hire nine “Black English” linguists

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DEA Ebonics Contract

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.

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.

The Department of Justice RFP includes a detailed description of the crucial role a linguist can play in narcotics investigations. They are responsible for listening to “oral intercepts in English and foreign languages,” from which they provide verbal and typed summaries. “Subsequently, all pertinent calls identified by the supervising law enforcement officer will be transcribed verbatim in the required federal or state format,” the RFP notes.

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.” (11 pages).

Comments (94)

Ebonics for the Justice department? So is Fannie Mae. Trust me, I'm an educated SWF that applied for a position there that I am very qualified for. After applying online I decided to drop off a cover letter and my resume at the security desk and waited around at noon to see if I could meet any one coming downstairs for lunch to ask who they would suggest I contact. I could not believe to the degree, nor to amount of Ebonics that was being spoken. These are the employees. This is a government run organization. We know what kind of mess it is in. Thanks Obama. I think my chances are not very good.
I wanted to ask neva 10 what this means..."those affluent blacks that you favor, they know what to do to stay in your good graces. TRUST me. They DO NOT feel this way" I am not black, but my closest friends are. not that it really means anything. conforming to whites to have a job (i know you're not talking about just hanging out)? is that what you're trying to say? forget professionalism and respect which are basically what it takes to "conform". All I mean by that is when you are dealing with all types of people, in any business, there is a dress code and a way to speak to people. everyone has to do it, no matter where they come from or what color they are. black people aren't being discriminated against, haven't been for at least 40 years, quit bitching! as far as the "ebonics" goes, when it comes to drug dealers, even if they don't think they're being recorded, they know just what to say to make sure cops don't know what is being discussed. and i think somebody said, that not only black people speak ebonics, so this whole topic isn't really about black and white, it's about cops trying to possibly catch potential criminals. and shiat, they're creating jobs!
I thought the point of the article was that the FED needs to hire some people because they are too stupid to figure it out on their own. The real reason they need 'an expert' is so that when a case comes to trial, they can produce an 'expert' on the subject who can tell the court: When he said "look at those big titties" your honor.... obviously the defendant was conspiring to commit a crime. His blatant disregard for life is evident here. His statement is translated to mean "milk the (target of the crime) for all they are worth. Keep sucking it until there are screams of 'STOP!' But don't stop, just keep sucking and sucking and sucking. In my life, I've seen all sorts of groups of people make up their own code words. This is just lawyer crap. Like putting a warning on a cup of coffee. That's hot. I may sue McDonalds next because I thought the 'contents may be extremely hot' meant that Paris Hilton approves of McDonalds coffee. How was I to know what 'extremely hot' meant? ...Bitches.
Different people in the world get the loans in different creditors, just because it is comfortable and fast.
Say, what it is, blood? I's is going down to smackem yackem you's straight up, you dig? (Is I's going to have to spell ebonics too to get this job?)
Check it, bleed. Bro... was ON! Didn't trip. But the folks was freakin', man. Hey, and the pilots were laid to the bone, Homes. So Blood hammered out and jammed jet ship. Tightened that bad sucker 'side the runaway like a mother. Shiiiiit...
No wonder we have a generation of idiots.
The first thing that "***es, Blacks, African-Americans" or whatever the current name that is being used to describe people from Africa need to do is "understand how the current situation began". Second, "stop comitting crimes of any kind" (expose true racism). Third, "do not patronize anyone that despises you". Fourth, "learn who your enemy is and do not "love" (foolish to love your enemy) your enemy. Last, but not least "be prepared to defend yourself at all cost, even if it means death". It is not a requirment to have idiots like you. Let them like themselves.
You guys kill me... you prove your superiority complex daily and you don't even realize it. First, only speak on something you know about --- NO white person can say ANYTHING with true knowledge about or how black people think or why we do what we do. Second, don't believe every d*mn thing you read or see on the news --- It's common knowledge the media, as a whole, can not be trusted with true and FAIR reporting. Third, do you ever wonder why the establishment is so hell bent on this continuous griping and nickpicking on black people? You can't believe this sh*t is normal d*mn behavior.
No "nit-picking" is necessary if you follow the crime sections of whatever form of news that you subscribe to. There are many reasons that there are higher incidents of child abuse, fraudulent use of any and everything, violent crime, drug abuse and sales just to list a few, in the black community. However there must be some admission on the part of the people themselves that the largest portion of responsibility resides with themselves alone. Am I wrong?
Wow! I’m really amazed by the BS I’m reading on here. I joined SG just so that I may comment on this article and the ***rdly comments that I’m reading on here. (Yes, I used that word on purpose just to see how many ignorant people comment about it—look up the definition—there are many). First of all, WTF is “Black English”? Is there a “White English” somewhere that I don’t know about? English is English last time I checked. There are many dialects and pronunciations in the English language depending on the region of the U.S. that you reside in. That is why it’s hard for foreigners to learn English as a second language—because it is a difficult language compared to other Germanic languages, not to mention that English is a hodgepodge mix of other languages as well. Example: mesa, kindergarten, bourgeois (Spanish, German, French). Have you spoken to anyone from the bayous of Louisiana? How about the Gullah/Geechee people from South Carolina? It’s all English based. If you don’t have a trained ear for it….you wouldn’t understand a thing! “Ebonics” isn’t any different. Ebonics is a term used by white people. I haven’t met one black person say that they speak Ebonics unless they were making a joke…..seriously. English is a language that is heavily influenced and altered by cultural and geographical location….period. I’m from Texas….we use the word , “y’all” a lot. Another example, the word “pecan”, is it pee-can or pa-con? How about “cement”? Is it see-mint or sa-mint? It all depends on where you are from. I know white people who call “creeks”, cricks. Are they stupid? No, you say that they are “country”. So why is it that when a black person uses a particular dialect, they are using Ebonics or they are ignorant n!g#3rs? Can you say “hypocrisy”—how about “double standard”? I’ve had white people tell me, “That I talk pretty good”. I correct them and tell them that, “I speak very well.” I’ve had black people tell me, “You talk proper”. I also correct them and tell that, “I speak properly”. People of all colors and races born here in the United States butcher the English language the most; I know Germans who speak better English than Americans. Let’s stop the hurtful name calling and the perpetuation of ignorant stereotypes. I don’t speak “jive”. I don’t speak “Ebonics”. I speak English and that’s that. This shouldn’t even be a race issue.
Actually Black English, African-American Vernacular English, is a very real and cultural thing for black people. It has been around since Slavery and evolved from both the English and African language. I actually just wrote a paper about it for my anthropology class. But hey, if you have a problem with Black English or think that rather than it being a different way to speak like Ocracoke English in NC or it being a retardation of English, maybe not letting us read and write for 500 years was bad lol. Donate to Urban Schools so black kids have the tools to learn normal English.
this is so racist for real, black people are not the only ones who speak like that - country people in general speak like that.... this is outrageous....and ridiculous - they know what the hell them damn people are saying. and to the fool who calls it black english - they need help too - language is not a color code it is a cultural code - and u can fall from any color of the rainbow and land in any one cultural by region. RIDICULOUS. Donate to Urban Schools.... Please teach your kids how to read - keep on waiting on someone else to empower your children and you will watch your children fail miserably. OMG i can not believe this - I am black and ebonics is not apart of my culture. I speak perfect english, i also read very well so do my children - especially my 12 yo son who reads at a 12th grade level and wins reading certs every year in school and is in the 90 percentile out of the whole state of florida. Ebonics is a haphazard of its environment. My kids think it is cool to speak ebonics (even my son) - but i guarantee u they can turn it off as soon as they walk thru my door....that has nothing to do with their color bcz the spanish and white kids speak the same ebonics. Ebonics - Black English - Speak for yourself, not for all the black people out here just as we all sailed in on different ships - we all have different opinions and ways of lives. LOL BLACKMAGIC - I JOINED JUST SO I COULD COMMENT AS WELL THIS IS SOME BS - OH IM BLACK SO I GUESS I SHOULD SAY "DIS SUM MUDAFCKN ISHNIT"
Completely agree with blackmagik00. Actually the way that people drop off letters is an accent indicator. Anyone can think about how most spoke in the south. Look at Georgian accents, Texans, Alabama... really any southern state. All of them have accents like that due to things that date back to before the civil war. It had to do with education of pronunciation and it's still in effect today. It's not a "Black English" it's pure ignorance to segregate at all. They could have a lawsuit on their hands for racism from that alone. However back to my point: It's not "Black English" it's English. "Ol' Bessy" That's not just African Americans it's just pure Southern twang. Just because people choose to actually spell it out in a different way doesn't give it a different meaning or put it in a different language category. This article is sheer ignorant and so are the people who believe there is a Black English and White English. >_<+ Everything is based on people and region. Whether they wish to spell is properly and pronounce something as if they came from a reform school is purely and strictly up to them, but this by no means gives way to saying it's a "Black English"
LOL BLACK AND WHITE ENGLISH - lol so is that why people say i sound white over the WOW
You probably just sound like you're educated and were raised with common courtesy and manners instead of the chip on the shoulder and sense of entitlement most undereducated minorities project. I know many well spoken, affluent, educated blacks, and they've said much the same.
@mkrause -Here you go. Chip on the shoulder, huh? I'm not sure if this comment was directed at me. But I don't only sound educated, I am. The difference is I don't hang this over the heads of those who are not. I'm black and I've experienced the ills of EVERYTHING those "undereducated minorities" had. This isn't speculation, the thing you seem to be doing. Those undereducated minorities DO NOT feel ANY entitlement, TRUST me. That's your interpretation, which is again warped, incorrect. They feel unimportant, despised and worthless, as they are constantly reminded by the media and people like you. As for the affluent and educated blacks "appearing" to be cosigning on your views, remember that there's an unspoken thing for us educated black folk. In order to succeed in the corporate/professional world, we feel like we have to agree with you. Because we know the second we protest against white people, we're considered and viewed as threatening. Let me tell you, I've done this and am now out of a job. So those affluent blacks that you favor, they know what to do to stay in your good graces. TRUST me. They DO NOT feel this way. Even they have experience some racism but too chicken to stand up. Their job and its security are much more important than "jeopardizing" their "image" with you.
they need a ***babble traslator
Good grief. Why has this become a platform for racist and reactionary remarks? The racist comments can easily be chalked up to ignorance. As for the respondents though, my question is this, "Why do you feel so compelled to justify Ebonics as a formal language? Are the speakers of a dialect somehow made inferior by their style of speech? Is it necessary to defend their use of it? How ridiculous. I would argue that the application of the term "language" in this context is simply inaccurate, and that calling it a "dialect," which is a better description, does not require a defense.
Where is Barbara Billingsley when you need her?
Thank God for the first amendment and the invention of the internet, without which you OBVIOUS racists would not be able to hide behind a computer screen with your mocking opinions and your lack of common sense. Having a bachelors, masters, doctorate does not make one smart. Hell, all of you could be smart and still lack common sense, which is clearly present here. In being more effective in what they do, they would need to learn "EBONICS" to do their jobs. It's just funny to see all of these RACISTS who in real life probably use that whole "I HAVE A BLACK FRIEND" statement to defend their prejudice, come on here and blatantly use slurs and derogatory language. And the funniest part about this is that people deem this a "BLACK" thing or a "N-WORD" thing, when the reality of it all is that due to popular urban art like rap, there are so many WHITE youth who are imitating the very language and lifestyle that is deemed so remedial here. It's funny, right? Now that it affects your homes, and your communities, let's fight, fight, fight for change, right? Now that teen drug abuse and addition are killing your children, let's crucify the drug dealers, right? Now that these "BLACK" problems are popping up in "WHITE" communities, it's an issue, huh? Instead of when you they were just issues and certain people were convinced that it would remain an issue categorized by skin color, now it's becoming an issues grouped by class...And I thought that certain "groups" of people would be pleased with them using better tactics to remove "these problems" from their communities...guess there's no satisfying "you people" after all...=)
I have no black friends. They don't want to be my friend. I don't want to be theirs. I don't want their drugs. When I did want drugs, I bought them from white people. Refer to first sentence. I live in the south. I watch how society is degraded by those who would force their sad excuse for an existence onto those who would be happy without. Young people are idiots, no secret there. So they will imitate ignorance without a doubt until they have to grow up and get on with becoming a productive member of society. How many of these wannabe's do you see in their 30's? We live in an unfortunate time in the country to witness retardation caused by political correctness and compounded by the Darwinian process being reversed. How many of your "fine black people" would survive if it were not for these "racist, WHITE people", and honest, hard working, black people, AKA "uncle Toms" supporting the infrastructure that these roaches infiltrate and consume? Let's not crucify the drug dealers, that may produce martyrdom. Let's just get them the Fark out of my country, along with all of the non-function serving members of this country contribute nothing more than further that bastardized, Pavlovian ideology that teaches that if you push the ballot button, food will come out to support you. How ridiculous it seems to me that a country that was founded on the idea of provide for yourself, has somehow become a place where laziness is tolerated, and even rewarded in most cases. Your comment would make one think that you may be slightly intelligent, but the fact of the matter is that you are doing the same thing so many others do when faced with the fact that when there is no leg to stand on for your pathetic point of view..... Cry racism..... Ebonics is not a language You are not that smart.
I assure you, all of you who are saying "yea, it's not a language, it's barely English" have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Black American English uses the syntax of the original languages of slaves with English vocabulary super-imposed on it. Since, upon their arrival, they were forbidden the use of English and deliberately mixed by slavers into separate language groups in order to prevent them from planning insurrection, they adapted to their situation and formed a pidgin by making use of English vocabulary and a pidgin syntax. This type of thing is probably not historically unique, and simpler versions of it occur when a speaker of Chinese says "Why you here? You go now!", instead of "Why are you here", etc.. The speaker is using their familiar grammar with directly translated English vocabulary. The problem with the Black English version of this is that it isn't immediately obvious, and many grammatical constructions in Black English appear to be identical to Standard English. One problem is confounded by the fact that most Black English speakers also use slang. Additionally, Black English speakers switch between Standard English and Black English constantly, in order to cater their language to the person with whom they are speaking. Many of them are unaware that this is even happening, except in the sense that they are just "fancifying" (sp) their language. It's been shown that when a teacher is aware of this issue, teaching African Americans English gets a whole lot easier. Hence the push in progressive school systems to make teachers aware of its existence. The unobservant Standard English listener then interprets the entirety of BEV as "bad English", when in fact Black English is proven to be more grammatically consistent than academic English, which despite its advanced vocabulary, suffers many grammatical issues which are simply masked by the flavor of the rhetoric. Hiring linguists for this stuff isn't stupid. It is, in fact, exactly what The Department of Justice should be doing. Whether you're aware of it or not, all of you making these abusive comments about "Oh now we're doomed" and all that bullshiat are members of the PEANUT GALLERY. And I will admit that I am too. In case you're wondering, yes...I'm African American. I am not an expert, but I've read many books on the subject and I am doing undergraduate work in linguistics. Also: Fark everyone here who dropped the N-bomb. Especially if you then went on to produce a bunch of grammatically cracked attempts at Standard English during your racist tirades. Get over yourselves. Once you start considering yourselves superior or beyond reproach, YOU STOP LEARNING.
I heard about this yesterday....we're f-ing doomed. Why do I get the sense that this puts us one step closer to a world like the scene with Charlton Heston riding the horse on the beach and finding the Statue of Liberty buried in the sand??. Remmeber in the 90's when that school in CA actually wanted to add "ebonics" to their curriculum. Sickening. I love reading the comments. You can pick out the liberals from a mile away. It isn't "the language has evolved", it isnt "a method of communication to block out whitey", etc, it is simply lazy, under achieving stupidity and ignorance. Perpetuated by the whole "rap" and "gangsta" culture and stamped with approval by the likes of Al Sharpton, et al. I loved the port st lucie 911 call a couple years ago because Mcdonalds ran out of chicken mcnuggets; "Ma'am, did you speak to the manager"?....."dey tell me dem are da manager". If my cat had the right type of vocal cords he could speak better english and I would bet he would have a better understanding of context, etc as well.
HVNY, I doubt The Smoking Gun will let me post a link, but I'll try again anyhow: If it didn't show, search the web (specifically a site called theglobeandmail) for "Mcnugget rage grips woman". I'm starting to think McDonalds is putting something in those McNuggets.
You are so wrong about this that I can't even think of a place to start. It would probably behoove you to pick up a linguistics book and a book on American history. The phonetic choices of the Black English speaker of "dey tell me dem are da manager" are based on the slave dialects of the people arriving in that particular region (or the region of the speaker's ancestors). In much the same way that the German speaker attempting English slaughters English pronunciation by favoring sound-alike phonemes, the Black English speaker favors the linguistic habits of his slave ancestors. Many black Americans pick up this manner of speech the same way New Englanders pick up their accents, New Yorkers pick up theirs (relative to their borough). Similar issues occur for grammar, but I've addressed that elsewhere and your rhetoric paints you as a person for whom it would be a waste of time anyhow.
yo man itz mah kinnygarney lass it naw jook wen i see mah old lad she b hittin da passy. o tay mah momma go dat way, u see? wow still got the touch, now yall can figure it out wat I jus say lmao and I aint black!
Everyone forgets the first person to speak ebonics was Black and his name was Buckwheat "O-Tay"
When my brother-in-law first got out of law school he went to go work as a public defender, most of his cases were at the Cook County Court house and they had an ebonics Interpreter. So this is not something new. Even a news anchor Chery Burton who is black has pulled several times ebonics, words like ambalance not once but 3 times when reporting a story, instead of kindergarden. kinneygarden, but my all time favorite was Waukesha, Wi. pronounced as Wakeesha. I finally called the TV station and asked when they started doing the news in ebonics. One thing you have to say for the blacks they are good for a laugh!
the blacks they are good for a laugh! ? First you misspelled her name, and she speaks a lot better than most people from the Southern Part of the US and she speaks better than the last President we had. I am also guessing she speaks better than you. Now you are good for a laugh.
the blacks they are good for a laugh! ? First you misspelled her name, and she speaks a lot better than most people from the Southern Part of the US and she speaks better than the last President we had. I am also guessing she speaks better than you. Now you are good for a laugh.
@brossow: Most of the unfortunates who've been speaking this way have also been sheltered from actual education in schools. Yes, one can familiarize oneself with the cadences of any dialect, but we are talking about folks who aren't allowed to rise up. Case in point: My older children attended a mostly black school in a west coast city. When I discovered that the teachers didn't require them to spell correctly, I had a little meeting with the Principal. Turns out, the local black activist group bullied the school into not enforcing Standard English in class. That would be *racist*. So, 60% of the kids were in 'Reading Recovery' but most of them never recovered. I ended up homeschooling my children for 2 years, to make certain they had the basics. Many of the minority parents had either no knowledge of nor desire for better curricula. So the rising generation sinks ever lower. Sad.
Dear ptpine, justanopinion , bogie7129, alicefae, skybinky, jeniabqcall, shinyhappyhead, and el ***o, You're all a bunch of ignorant cavedwellers. All languages change over time. Nobody in America today speaks the way anyone spoke in America a hundred years ago. You're clearly so prejudiced that you cannot even acknowledge the academic value of studying the way people speak. This story isn't even news. Law enforcement agencies do this kind of thing *all* the time.
And they wonder why we call them the N word! I spelled it out but it kept being changed..What about my FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS? If Chris Rock, DL Hugely and the rest of the BLACKS can use the word ***, then SO CAN I! I would not call them that if they would STOP ACTING LIKE ONE!
The irony here is that when you use that word, you are embodying the very hateful stereotype that you are attempting to smear others with. *** cracker.* *Sorry, couldn't resist exercising my 1st Amendment right.
*sigh* you're right....we gotta do better. I can't even argue with you on that one...
Dear ptpine, justanopinion , bogie7129, alicefae, skybinky, jeniabqcall, shinyhappyhead, and el ***o, You're all a bunch of ignorant cavedwellers. All languages change over time. Nobody in America today speaks the way anyone spoke in America a hundred years ago. You're clearly so prejudiced that you cannot even acknowledge the academic value of studying the way people speak. This story isn't even news. Law enforcement agencies do this kind of thing *all* the time.
it's called slang and illiteracy... it's not a 'language'. reminds me of the scene in 'airplane' when barbara billingley says she 'speaks jive''s a joke.
LMAO - I LOVE that scene, LOL - yeah, it's not a language. It's barely English. All cultures have slang, but only in my community (and I use the term loosely) do they frown upon you for actually pronouncing the "t" at the end of "can't".
So Black English; would that be Bling-lish?
It's ridiculous. Watching movies with English dialect or Irish accents, that I can understand perfectly, they put subtitles and then they put black people on speaking their stupid dialect, with no subtitles and they may as well be from Mars speaking a totally foreign language. Why do u think these people are not employable? This practice of speaking a made up language should be stopped. Make standard English a requirement in school.
I thought Ebonics died when they could not organize a Ms. Ebonics Pageant because nobody wanted to be Ms. Ideho.
I gotta send this to my black friend, who is in prison. He wants to know if him speaking in Ebonics offends me. He's been in prison for awhile, he might not understand what is spoken today, anymore than I do...... wait! it's a job for him when he gets out!
That is hilarious! Ebonics, huh? It's a language now? Who sez so? Barak Obama? Those people are living in La La Land. Silly people think that "us" understanding their slanguage, will be what they want! The reason the blacks created it was to isolate white folks out of the conversation. Who gives a rat? Let them talk the way they want. If I don't understand it, I just don't understand it. So, the meaning is lost. They think they are pretty cool, and I think I'm pretty cool.....and we go off on our different paths. Once again....what White person gives a rat's behind? And, what black person that speaks in "Ebonics" wants a White person to understand them? hahahahahahahahahahahah....that one made me laugh.
I think we could all communicate better if we all spoke the same language. What we have now is a version of the Tower of Babel, with whites speaking one English, blacks speaking another, muslims still another, and hispanics another, still. But the one thing I want to do is to have us all be able to use all the words at our disposal, espectially the N-word. Why should it be OK for some and not for others. Blacks use it all the time when speaking to other blacks. Dr Laura used it on the air and then had to resign her talk show job, just to get her "first amendment rights" back. I have mixed race folks in my family and the word is never used among us or with others. But Dr Laura is right - why should I have to forfeit my first amendment right to free speech just because a whole class of folks don't want me to use it? Blacks should get over their sensitivity to the word. I know where and how that sensitivity arises and don't blame them for being p.o.'d. But come on now, put it behind you. Some mofo 'splain dat tome!
I saw in the article where someone tried to decipher the "rules" of ebonics. Honestly, I think that you are giving too much credit to anyone actually using rules (i.e. long vowels and eliminating digraphs and blends). I don't think they are actually giving it much thought. There are no rules. I'm sure you know, those that speak this "dialect" never play by the rules anyway.
Will a lack of an education be a job requirement? Maybe only Idaho grads need apply?
I grew up with them. Have worked and played with them. Have served them in business, have found some of them to be great people and some bad people. Could say much the same about honkies. I have never heard a conversation in Ebonics that I couldn't understand. Once or more I've listened to two "minorities" conversing when they didn't know anybody was listening. At first I had trouble catching some of the words but pretty soon I was attuned and understood all. An optician tells of older black women saying when selecting an eyeglass frame, "Don't want no gullapercha." Asked what a gullapercha is, they look at their knees and say nothing. So if anybody knows what a gullapercha is, my email is
How about if'n the feds come across any two folks speaking ebonics to the point where they can't be understood by the average redneck - we just hunt 'em down and shoot 'em. Hopefully, before they breed.