Speed Reads


Tennessee lab cancels 'Southern Accent Reduction' class following objections

Managers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee canceled plans for a "Southern Accent Reduction" class because — shocker — staff members did not all take kindly to the "training opportunity."

The e-mailed pitch, reported by the Knoxville News Sentinel, detailed an optional six-week class that would help employees "learn to recognize the pronunciation and grammar differences that make your speech sound Southern, and learn what to do so you can neutralize it through a technique called code-switching."

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory hosts visiting scientists from around the world and houses a permanent staff that hails from around the United States. ORNL spokesman David Keim told the News Sentinel that the e-mail "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."