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  1. 24 Aug '10 01:49
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/[WORD TOO LONG]

    http://tinyurl.com/24p7xma

    DEA seeks Ebonics experts to help with cases
    By GREG BLUESTEIN, Associated Press Writer – 46 mins ago

    ATLANTA – Federal agents are seeking to hire Ebonics translators to help interpret wiretapped conversations involving targets of undercover drug investigations.

    The Drug Enforcement Agency recently sent memos asking companies that provide translation services to help it find nine translators in the Southeast who are fluent in Ebonics, Special Agent Michael Sanders said Monday.

    Ebonics, which is also known as African American Vernacular English, has been described by the psychologist who coined the term as the combination of English vocabulary with African language structure.

    Some DEA agents already help translate Ebonics, Sanders said. But he said wasn't sure if the agency has ever hired outside Ebonics experts as contractors.

    "They saw a need for this in a couple of their investigations," he said. "And when you see a need — it may not be needed now — but we want the contractors to provide us with nine people just in case."

    The DEA's decision, first reported by The Smoking Gun, evokes memories of the debate sparked in 1996 when the Oakland, Calif., school board suggested that black English was a separate language. Although the board later dropped the suggestion amid criticism, it set off a national discussion over whether Ebonics is a language, a dialect or neither.

    ...
  2. 24 Aug '10 16:36
    so Ebonics really IS a language.

    i dunno if it is the same language in Oakland (West Coast) and the Southeast (where the DEA wants translators for) tho.
  3. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    24 Aug '10 16:40
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    so Ebonics really IS a language.
    I suppose it depends on whether you take a descriptive or prescriptive approach to languages.
  4. 24 Aug '10 16:51
    how so?
  5. Subscriber FMF
    a.k.a. John W Booth
    24 Aug '10 16:57
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    how so?
    Whether or not a commentator views something like 'Ebonics' as a legitimate language, per se, will probably come down to whether they view languages through a descriptive or prescriptive prism. Yes, if descriptive. No - plus maybe some huffing and puffing - if prescriptive.
  6. 24 Aug '10 17:09
    The short answer is that it's complicated. Linguists today take very seriously the distinctions between American English and Black English, or AAVE. But since the speakers of each dialect tend to understand each other and live in close proximity we say that they speak two dialects of the same language. But the linguistic differences are not insignificant especially when you take into account the distinctive (and regular) use of verb tenses.

    ----------

    From a statement by the "Linguistics Society of America" in 1997...

    " 1) The variety known as "Ebonics," "African American Vernacular English" (AAVE), and "Vernacular Black English" and by other names is systematic and rule-governed like all natural speech varieties. In fact, all human linguistic systems -- spoken, signed, and written -- are fundamentally regular. The systematic and expressive nature of the grammar and pronunciation patterns of the African American vernacular has been established by numerous scientific studies over the past thirty years. Characterizations of Ebonics as "slang," "mutant," "lazy," "defective," "ungrammatical," or "broken English" are incorrect and demeaning.

    "2) The distinction between "languages" and "dialects" is usually made more on social and political grounds than on purely linguistic ones. For example, different varieties of Chinese are popularly regarded as "dialects," though their speakers cannot understand each other, but speakers of Swedish and Norwegian, which are regarded as separate "languages," generally understand each other. What is important from a linguistic and educational point of view is not whether AAVE is called a "language" or a "dialect" but rather that its systematicity be recognized."

    http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/ebonics.lsa.html

    (my emphasis)

    .....

    Wikipedia has a good description of some of the more interesting differences about halfway down the page under the heading "Tense and Aspect."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_American_Vernacular_English
  7. 24 Aug '10 17:33
    Originally posted by mrj0hn50n
    The short answer is that it's complicated. Linguists today take very seriously the distinctions between American English and Black English, or AAVE. But since the speakers of each dialect tend to understand each other and live in close proximity we say that they speak two dialects of the same language. But the linguistic differences are not insignificant e ...[text shortened]... /en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_American_Vernacular_English
    political, as in the description of Europe as being a continent (instead of a bump on the side of Asia), or WWII starting with Germany's invasion of the lowlands rather than Japan's invasion of Manchuria.
  8. 24 Aug '10 17:35
    p.s., if they are seeking Ebonics translators for the Southeast, maybe what they are really looking for is Southern dialect translators. there is probably a lot less distance linguistically between a Southern redneck and a Southern Ebonics speaker than between either of the two and yankee DEA agent.
  9. 24 Aug '10 17:44
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    p.s., if they are seeking Ebonics translators for the Southeast, maybe what they are really looking for is Southern dialect translators. there is probably a lot less distance linguistically between a Southern redneck and a Southern Ebonics speaker than between either of the two and yankee DEA agent.
    You're going to have to be more specific than "southern redneck." The dialect varies dramatically depending on what part of the south you're in. It seems kind of silly drawing all these distinctions since we all seem to communicate just fine, but it does raise some questions about the wisdom of standaradized testing.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_American_English
  10. 24 Aug '10 18:36
    i speak redneck as a native but have no problem with standardized tests. probably they are not phrased in spoken language anyway.
  11. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    24 Aug '10 18:53
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    p.s., if they are seeking Ebonics translators for the Southeast, maybe what they are really looking for is Southern dialect translators. there is probably a lot less distance linguistically between a Southern redneck and a Southern Ebonics speaker than between either of the two and yankee DEA agent.
    Ebonics comes from the English that slaves were permitted to learn, in the South, influenced by the slaves' African culture.

    Steve Harvey on Ebonics - I don't THINK there are "bad" words but there might be:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klxGFAnY4nI
  12. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    24 Aug '10 18:55
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    i speak redneck as a native but have no problem with standardized tests. probably they are not phrased in spoken language anyway.
    That's called "code switching". Speaking Ebonics does not mean one cannot also speak Standard English. The problem is not Ebonics, the problem is lack of Standard English.
  13. 24 Aug '10 18:59
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Ebonics comes from the English that slaves were permitted to learn, in the South, influenced by the slaves' African culture.

    Steve Harvey on Ebonics - I don't THINK there are "bad" words but there might be:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klxGFAnY4nI
    you're using Steve Harvey as your qualified source?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_American_Vernacular_English

    Amid related research in the 1960s and 1970s–including William Labov's groundbreaking thorough grammatical study, Language in the Inner City–there was doubt as to the existence of a distinct variety of English spoken by African Americans; Williamson (1970) noted that distinctive features of African American speech were present in the speech of Southerners and Farrison (1970) argued that there were really no substantial vocabulary or grammatical differences between the speech of blacks and that of other English dialects.[89]
  14. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    It's only business
    24 Aug '10 19:03
    Originally posted by zeeblebot
    you're using Steve Harvey as your qualified source?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_American_Vernacular_English

    Amid related research in the 1960s and 1970s–including William Labov's groundbreaking thorough grammatical study, Language in the Inner City–there was doubt as to the existence of a distinct variety of English spoken by African America ...[text shortened]... r grammatical differences between the speech of blacks and that of other English dialects.[89]
    "Qualified source"? No, I'm using him as an example. I study this stuff on the post graduate level.
  15. 24 Aug '10 19:19
    where's your redneck examples?