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August 24th, 2010
The D.E.A. Is Looking To Hire Nine Experts In Ebonics

While most consider ebonics a bastardization of the English language, The Department of Justice is including Ebonics in the 114 languages for which prospective contractors must be able to provide linguists.

The D.E.A is in need of linguists fluent in Ebonics to help monitor, translate, and transcribe the secretly recorded conversations of subjects of narcotics investigations, according to federal records.

Ebonics has widely been described as a nonstandard variant of English spoken largely by African Americans.

The 114 languages are divided between “common languages” and “exotic languages.”

Ebonics is listed as a “common language” spoken solely in the United States.
John R. Rickford, a Stanford University professor of linguistics, has described it as “Black English”

He 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).”

The Atlanta field division, one of the DEA’s busiest, is the only office seeking linguists well-versed in Ebonics. They are responsible for listening to “oral intercepts in English and foreign languages,” from which they provide verbal and typed summaries.
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”

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.





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