US drug agency recruits speakers of 'street slang'It's getting a lot of attention, and much of it along this kind of lines from what I've seen. (Yes, there had to be the Airplane video clip.) But there's a big, even massive, point about language in America in this story. The core of it is laid out in this quote from the article:
DEA seeks people who understand black vernacular English to translate wiretaps and stand up evidence in court
"It seems ironic that schools that are serving and educating black children have not recognised the legitimacy of this language," said H Samy Alim, a Stanford linguistics professor. "Yet the authorities and the police are recognising that this is a language that they don't understand. It tells us a lot about where we are socially in terms of recognising African-American speech."Yes, and the government's de facto recognition that (most of) their employees can't understand some kinds of African-American speech makes a powerful point that should be used in future discussions about language and education.