Monday, August 23, 2010

"Oh Stewardess, I Speak Jive."

Of course, this isn't "racial profiling" or anything, right?

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.


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)."

No, actually it can't be "racial profiling". Black Studies departments have been promoting the idea of Ebonics as a distinct linguistic category, and have been promoting Ebonics classes in schools, for years now.

Which all brings to mind, Barbara Billingsley's comically counter-intuitive cameo in Airplane (1980):

h/t The Halls

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