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Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee cancels 'Southern Accent Reduction' class

Some lab staff members found the idea of the class offensive.
By Evan Bleier   |   July 29, 2014 at 1:45 PM   |   Comments

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., July 29 (UPI) -- Plans for a class that would have taught Department of Energy employees how to pull the plug on their southern accents have been cancelled.

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory's proposed "Southern Accent Reduction" class will not be taught after some employees complained that they found the class offensive.

The six-week course was going to be taught by "accent reduction trainer" Lisa Scott, and students were going to learn to "speak with a more neutral American accent" so they could "be remembered for what you say and not how you say it."

By using the "code-switching" technique, employees would learn to neutralize their southern accents, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported.

ORNL has offered accent-reduction courses in the past, but usually for foreign nationals.

"Given the way that it came across, they decided to cancel it," said ORNL spokesman David Keim. "It probably wasn't presented in the right way and made it look like ORNL had some problem with having a Southern accent, which of course we don't. That was not the intent at all."

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