Non native speaker?

Beverly Flanigan flanigan at OHIOU.EDU
Thu Oct 24 21:46:32 UTC 2002

I haven't been home since this morning, so maybe this has already been
discussed by the media, but isn't it likely that what the officials heard
as an "accent" or "broken English" in the "garbled" phone calls was simply
Jamaican Creole?  We can speak of a "written accent" too, usually both
cultural and linguistic, which might explain the unfamiliar "Dear Mr.
Policeman," etc.

At 11:41 AM 10/24/2002 -0400, you wrote:
>At 11:04 AM -0400 10/24/02, David Bergdahl wrote:
>>Now that the pair in custody are black males, where does that leave the NBC
>The stepson, who's Jamaican, apparently wrote some of the letters,
>using what are now (on CNN) described as references to Jamaican
>locutions ("word is bond").  (There were also repetitions of *****, a
>reference to a Jamaican reggae group of that name, I understand.)
>Maybe this struck earlier analysts as Hispanic?  As for accent, hard
>to reconcile.  Of course, there's the stepfather, John Muhammad (ne
>Williams), US born and bred, a Gulf War vet, as well as the stepson,
>either of whom could have been making the phone calls.  We'll know
>more (or at least be told more), I suspect.
>>--On Thursday, October 24, 2002 9:56 AM -0400 "THOMAS M. PAIKEDAY"
>><t.paikeday at SYMPATICO.CA> wrote:
>>>Last  night NBC Nightly News reported that it had been determined that the
>>>sniper is a "native speaker" of English, probably a Caucasian, with an
>>>accent suspected to be Hispanic. The above judgement seems to have been
>>>based on the sniper's written rather than spoken English. There is a kind
>>>of verba volant (words fly) quality to the spoken evidence. But a
>>>recording may be available.
>>"We are all New Yorkers"
>>       --Dominique Moisi

More information about the Ads-l mailing list