Balducci-babble incites

Balducci was a very effective witness…The arrogance that can come across from him in the transcripts is either gone or he kept it under wraps. And none of the colorful language (”sweet potatoes” “corn on the ground”) of the transcripts, either.

It seems the sweet potato king also speaks Standard English – making him an effective witness according to this observer; a liar to Zach Scruggs; and bi-lingual to those who thought Balducci-babble was his native tongue.

If the Motion to Dismiss filed on behalf of Zach Scruggs is any indication, attorneys for the defense appear to be among those surprised by the bi-lingual ability of the government’s main witness in the six-count indictment – in an unusual move government prosecutors turned over Balducci’s grand jury testimony to defense attorney John Keker when Motions were argued on the 20th of February.

USA v Scruggs and Bankstom has now become a war of words – a he-said-but-what-I- heard legal battle certain to evoke some measure of Abbot and Castello-like frustration from a jury that must decide Who’s on First and who’s off-base.

The significance of Balducci using two distinctly different forms of language – Balducci-babble and Standard English – is established in the Psycho-Linguistic theories of Cognitive Psychologists.

Speech act theory has contributed to the rules perspective in communication because it provides a basis for examining what happens when speakers use different definition and behavior rules. By analyzing the rules used by each speaker, researchers can better understand why conversational misunderstandings have occurred.

Cognitive linguistics theory…applied in communication science this theory a.o. means that a particular use of language in messages has more or less persuasive power depending on a.o. the value system, the effort and the motivation of receivers.

What do these theories suggest about the speaker’s language – Balducci-babble – and the value system, effort and motivation to those who received the message?

Balducci: Um, the other piece of the puzzle I hadn’t told you yet is, uh, get it how you want it because I’ve got to, uh, I’ve gotta go back for another delivery of, uh, another bushel of sweet potatoes down there. So. Because of all of this that has come up.

Backstrom: mm-hmm.

Balducci: So get it right. Get it how you want it cause we’re payin’ for it to get it done right.

Backstrom then starts reading the order during which “door opens – Zach leaving.” [at page 30]

I suppose it not good form to write a motion in everyday language. Otherwise, Zach’s attorney might have simply said, My client never understood WTF Balducci was talking about – ever.

Social psychologists estimate that there is usually a 40-60% loss of meaning in the transmission of messages from sender to receiver.

With around half of the meaning of anything Balducci said lost in transmission, what about the rest?

Studies suggest over 90% of the meaning we derive from communication, we derive from the non-verbal cues that the other person gives.

No doubt, even more was lost due to Balducci-babble – all but a language of its own.

In many situations a lot of the true message is lost and the message that is heard is often far different than the one intended. This is most obvious in cross-cultural situations where language is an issue.

No doubt Balducci will continue to speak Standard English from the witness chair when the case goes to trial. He certainly didn’t need to read Patsy Brumfield’s story to know he’s traded his freedom for leniency:

The U.S. Attorney’s office has asked the court to delay sentencing admitted judge-briber Timothy Balducci…as an incentive for Balducci’s “honest and truthful testimony” when the trial begins March 31.


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