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OAK RIDGE, TN (AP) — Some employees at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee complained about a class aimed at teaching them how to reduce their Southern accents. Now, managers are calling the whole thing off.

The course had been advertised as a way to feel confident in meetings, when one might need to speak with a more neutral accent. The class was touted as a way to “be remembered for what you say and not how you say it.”

Carolyn Ward of ORNL’s Learning and Development Services told the Knoxville News Sentinel that an employee requested the class, so it was offered for others too.

ORNL spokesman David Keim said the class “probably wasn’t presented in the right way” and managers decided to cancel it after other employees complained.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comment on this Story

  • doreene w

    Our entire United States of America spans quite a few miles, folks. That being said, there is going to be regional, state county, city, and neighborhood dialects, accents, and tones. Even then, you may not get a direct hit on the guessing exactly where someone is from. Who knows, they could have moved from Georgia to Louisiana and lived with a Spanish-Italian grandmother who never spoke English except as a form of pigeon.

    Everyone thinks that everyone else talks funny we pick and choose who is intelligent by just their accent???

    I include myself in this too – The upper East Coast has that unnerving nasal Northeastern John F. Kennedy accent. Only my opinion and I don’t judge their intelligence or compassion levels by the cold deadpan tones of their home region, but man it sounds horrible to me and puts me on edge.

    Funny thing is, this internet and cable tv ill be the death sentence for most accents anyhow. In an age where we download or stream or multimedia cable television, when was the last time you heard a good Southern bell accent on a newscaster? You hear that lack of accent long enough, it does grow on you. I find it insulting that media demands we all speak alike.

    I am not sure where I am going with this this, but I do have one thing to say to those who feel a Southern accent isn’t their cup of tea. Too bad, no one is asking or caring what you or anyone else prefers. An offended ear does not a real problem make.

  • southern by the grace of God

    The only good thing to come out of the North was an empty bus. Go home, your accent is like nails on a chalkboard to us normal people!…Take your fellow Yankees with you.

  • kzpony

    I have been happily married to a New Yorker for many years. He thinks my accent is great and loves Wilmington because it is what NY is not….people are warmer, more polite, more giving of themselves and their time. I find it so cute when he puts the “r” on idea making it “idear” but leaves the “r” off when he says drawer making it “draw”…but that’s just his accent and slang which are two separate things but usually go hand-in-hand depending on where you grew up. He loves the area for all it has to offer, and doesn’t want to move the fountain at 5th and Market or cut the trees on Market Street. If you loved it here enough to come here, you should love it enough not to test the natural beauty here, including our own personal dialect or accent, but revel in it because girl, you ARE in OUR world now.

  • Angelique

    As a recent newcomer to Wilmington, a transplanted Yankee from Connecticut, I must admit that Southern accents can grate on one’s nerves. Even so-called educated Southern accents make the speaker sound dumb. Why can’t you natives speak a little faster and enunciate words properly? Is that asking too much? Do you want people from other areas of the country, more civilized than Southeastern NC, to think you are too lazy to speak with a proper accent?

    Perhaps when Wilmington has more Northerners in its midst, the Southern accent will wane. I’m lucky to have friends down here who did not grow up in Southeastern NC and are capable of speaking English in crisp, clear tones that are comprehensible to the educated, cultivated ear. What a relief it is to hear their pleasant conversations.

    I love the beaches and the warm winter weather Wilmington offers, but the nasal, hick, Southern accents are making me yearn to return to Connecticut.

  • Double Bass

    Pretty good……these bozos are worried about someone in Tennessee speaking with a Southern accent and half the nation can’t even speak English. This is unbelievable and offensive.

  • Guest2020

    We all speak with a proper accent. It’s you ignorant yankees who don’t speak with a proper accent. If you hate the way we talk then you are more than welcome to go back up north. We don’t want your kind here.

    I would be willing to put my IQ up against yours any day of the week and I, for one, would prefer to be true to my heritage than to give in to idiotic stereotypes like yours.

    Please do us all a favor and go back to Connecticut.

  • June Sayers

    I am certain I speak for thousands of people when I say please, do move back to Connecticut. The South is getting crowded with people coming from the north and it makes me yearn for less of that Northern Accent.

  • What what

    What are you waiting for? Do you need directions back home? Your comment reeks of the offensive accent of a rude intruder.

  • Whan yaaaall go back to cornetcut please take some mo o de obnoxtus yankees wit yall

  • Engdriver

    I, also am a transplant from up north, it seems that some people want the area to change for them. Remember you moved here, not the southern’s moved to Connecticut. If you don’t like the way the locals talk, just remember College Rd. north to Rt 40 to Rt.95 north make a right at NYC go 50 miles and your home. Your a guest here, act like it.

  • guest 1980

    What’s funny is that you couldn’t make it up north and had to come south to survive with us dumb southerners……. if your so intelligent, you could have survived the high cost of living and weather……but you move here and prove that you can’t ……. bless your heart

  • Guest2020

    I meant to include in my post, that I wasn’t speaking about all northerners. Just the yankees, like Angelique, who move down here to take advantage of the things they want, then complain about how we do things.

  • Rusty

    You really are kidding I hope? I’m from the South and most of my relatives are from New England. Bostonians with their accent, Down Easters (Maine) with theirs, New Yorkers/Jersyites with their own… Y’all sound just as dumb to us as we do to you. We don’t speak fast because we are relaxed and just maybe so others can understand us rather than jabbering something out there and then saying it again LOUDER when we weren’t understood the first time and thinking yelling will solve the communication problem.

    Perhaps the Northern accent will wane if we get more people to emigrate here from the UK; I would prefer their “crisp, clear tones that are comprehensible to the educated, cultivated ear” than a New Yorker any day. If you indeed are so educated then perhaps you would understand the differing accents of people from around the globe and not make judgements based on them and actually make an effort to listen without bias.

    For what it’s worth the people I talk to in various Countries usually like my southern “drawl” but dislike (some) of the Northern accents. When I travel I don’t expect people to sound like I do but we manage to have conversations without doubting the others IQ (barring other reasons besides accent) and enjoy the sharing of cultural differences.

    BTW it is RAYdiator not RADiator..

  • Chester

    Listen to your yearnings. Goodbye

  • Heimie Schmelter

    …I-95 North as soon as you can afford a set of tires, 10 quarts of oil and enough gas to get you and your 73 Maverick back to Connecticut! We despise loudmouth, intolerant and arrogant peeps like you. You will never fit in and I am frankly quite surprised to hear that you have ANY southern friends or even “nahhthun” ones for that matter. Perhaps those are simply in your imagination as well. You must be a legend in your own mind.

  • guesty

    Don’t let the beaches keep you, go back up and visit the ‘shore’

  • USMC

    Why don’t you and your educated, cultivated ear(s) find I-95 North and make use of it?

  • sickofit

    Angelique, you say you enjoy the beaches here. May I make a suggestion? Try visiting down town at night time. You can take a long stroll; soothe your cultivated ear, warm up your crisp, clear tone, and rest one’s nerves…oh, and the later at night, the better! It was just a suggestion!

  • Beth

    I hate to break it to you, but your accent is just as irritating. An accent is an accent! The only people speaking without accents are actors and news casters who learn Standard American English. Unless you have studied American Standard English you have no room to talk because you are speaking with an accent, better known as a regional dialect.

    The word does not revolve you! If you don’t like our accents, our way of life, there is always Amtrak!

  • Renfield

    Dear Sir/Ma’am, You have won the title of most excellent troll. Your material was original and believableve unlike the norm…I.e. playing the race card or political bashing. Look at the hits so far! Good job and hats off! Your posting was a troll wasn’t it?

  • Heimie Schmelter

    Down byda waddah wich seemsta be busy on Saddays witt people wooalkin’ deh doowogs? And they talk about “our” accents! Geeeezzz…

    Now, if you want to hear some annoying accent, just listen to the “up and coming medical magnate”, Dooactar Jonatton Crane of “Derrim One”. He’s open on Sadday’s too!

  • Mr.T

    Take I-40 West to I-95 and turn right. If you need gas I will chip in!!
    Also A&E features all the Rocky re-runs since you long so much for that slick Northern conversation.

  • Definition of enunciation

    Enunciation is from the Latin word enuntiationem, meaning “declaration.” Enunciation is more than pronouncing words clearly; it’s expressing them well, too. People who mumble or speak too quickly have poor enunciation: it’s hard to understand them, because their words slur together.


    In case you are not aware of the true meaning of ‘enunciation’, it has nothing to do with how ‘slow’ us southerners speak. The definition clearly says, as stated above, that you also have poor enunciation if you speak too quickly. So, with that being said, since when do northerners enunciate words? I’m pretty sure the word caR ends with an ‘r’. It is not pronounced ‘CAA’, same with dollaR – it is not ‘dolla’. There are many words that northerns do not pronounce any better than us southerners do. just because our accents differ does not make us any less educated than the rest. There are many southerners who are well educated AND friendly, unlike most notherners who may be well educated but are far from friendly.

    Since we’ve been so hospitable (When someone makes you feel comfortable and at home, that person is being hospitable, providing a warm, friendly environment. – in case you weren’t aware) to allow you to come into our neck of the woods, maybe you can pick up a little of our SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY and take it back home with you.

  • 211

    Then why don’t you return to Conn. Theres plenty of roads and airlines out of here. Maybe your accent grates on our nerves. Everyone who likes it here are welcome as far as I,m concerned. Yankees are whoever, But if you have issues with the area, then leave.

  • Joe

    Southern hick sounding women are hot. I’m a yankee and enjoy it. Hick sounding males are a different story.

  • Timekeeper

    Yankee-sounding men or women are far from hot. Go home. We don’t want you here.

  • Tim

    When was the last time someone retired and moved up north? Heck, the last time I was in NYC, half the people there couldn’t even speak English! I’ve never seen so many freaky-looking people. You couldn’t even tell what nationality they were. The South is special; too bad we aren’t our own country today–thanks to all you yankees who invaded us in 1860! Yes, Southern by the grace of God.

  • Southern Born

    You can take your PecAAAAAns, well keep our pee-cans, You can keep your caurrrrs, well keep our buggys, you can keep you fast talking screaming, were just fine with our slow talking mumbling, I like you’re women, cause some of them are hot!!. you can keep your top notch chefs, we will continue to stick with grandmas fried everything. you can keep those hybrid red peanuts, we will stay with our Virginia #2. You can keep your fast pace, will just stick with our steady resolve. You can keep your unruly doctor Spock kids, we will continue to strip a switch if necessary. And last, but not least you can keep your damn attitude, we will continue to mind our own business.

  • Angelique

    I, Angelique, am surprised by the furious reaction to my post on Southern accents. Southern accents, as you must know, are not to everyone’ taste.

    We transplanted northerners have much to offer Wilmington and surrounding areas if you will just listen to us with open minds. Southeastern NC tends to be a little backward (You must admit this), and we Northerners are mostly from sophisticated urban areas. We are brimming with ideas on how to better the ILM area.
    If we seem a little pushy to you locals, then pushy people know how to make changes–quick changes– for the better.
    We transplants are volunteering and getting ourselves on the boards of planning committees to effect change. Changes will come with our hard work. With our knowledge and expertise, Wilmington will be pushed to enter the 21st century.

  • guesty

    You are just a troll.

  • enufalready

    Enuf said.

  • kzpony

    Aren’t we the high and mighty Northerner, God’s gift to Wilmington, NC and the only salvation to all of us poor SENC-landers who grew up in a beautiful little town and have called it home for all of our lives. Why, did you know that a lot of the people I graduated Hoggard High School with in the 70s are now doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses, teachers, politicians, and contractors? I guess we can’t be THAT backward, could we? We are educated just as you may be, and perhaps the progressive thinking sophistication up north is what drove the taxes sky high in the end and drove you all down here where the poor Southern “ignert” (ignorant) hillbillies who have unbecoming accents have kept their town quaint, and property values and taxes lower than there!

    You are more than pushy, missy. You are arrogant and heaven help us if we have a bunch of you perfect idea brimmed (obviously self-serving) people on the planning committees that affect us all (because surely us poor Southerners who obviously prefer to live in the 19th Century can’t be progressive or “pushy” enough).

    I “must” not admit to anything you wrote, and I don’t “know” that Southern accents are not to everyone’s taste. Take your throne and move it back to your castle up North.

    Funny that my CAPTCHA was “Seek Beauty”…somebody needed this one more than me.

  • suspicious 1

    Surely, Angelique, you must be a troll simply trying to instigate as much controversy as possible. Very few have built an ivory tower as high as you seem to think you are entitled to. As for Yankees having anything to offer us or anybody else, anywhere, you’re only kidding and making a bigger fool of yourself. Ya’ll have a good day, now, ya hear?

  • Rusty

    Since you must admit you left the North for some reason and you now find yourself not liking the South may I suggest trying the West coast? California is full of nice weather, good beaches, people with not much of an accent, “urban areas” and colleges for you to converse with.

    Transplants do have things to offer yes; good food, good humor, interesting perspectives among others and we *do* keep an open mind until people try to push us to be like where the came from. I must admit we are quite backwards in that we care about values, families, preservation of freedoms and the like. We do not care to turn our fair cities into your idea of “Urban areas” with rampant crime, high taxes and a poor standard of living. NYC was ( I believe, correct me if I am wrong) where gangs started – we have enough of that by now! DC, Boston, NYC, Hartford ad naseum’ do you really think we want cesspools like that in the South? That is not “Better” by a long shot.

    So you will push us into the 21st Century by using the 16th Century logic that it’s for their own good? News flash.. we entered the 21st Century at 12:00:01 1 Jan 2000 just like everyone else. While most of us have no bias towards people wherever they may be from it is YOUR kind of attitude that perpetuates stereotyping of Northeners down here. Sophistication here meant knowing how to be the “Belle of the ball”, up there I guess it just means how to look down on the people not born to wealth.

  • IReckon

    Hey ya’ll, don’t send Angelique driving directions up I-95 to Connecticut! Send her up US17 North and when she gets past Little Washington, she better hope her car doesn’t break down! Some good ole country boys up there might be glad to help her out and send her on her way!

  • Guest Reply Redux

    A person’s accent. Let’s see…a narrow minded subject “AND” an excellent excuse to present a narrow minded news story huh, WWAY??? Stirring it up again and again…the hatred that is. You know exactly what you are doing, and what it creates among your fan club members.
    I can see it now…you sit at your office saying…”Hey Joe…look what they wrote. Bet they get chewed up by GuestXXXX!!! Hey…they just did!!” Hardy Har Har Har!

    Why even stir the pot for something as stupid as someones accent???
    There’s a great big world out there (You should see it), full of interesting people and cultures. Now…a bunch of people use their time for this type of idiocy reporting, when they should be doing something constructive. WWAY is unfolding an opportunity to encourage certain individuals to take aim at something intentionally “Destructive” to the person standing/sitting next to them. And all because of THE CIVIL WAR!!!! My God…GET OVER IT ALREADY! Are your feeling’s really that hurt the South lost that war?

    Have you people any idea how many great people there are in New York/Boston/Chicago/Denver/Seattle/Salt Lake City/the list goes on and on. But they don’t meet with your criteria…do they?
    Wilmington is a War Zone of Hippocrates and Bigots taking the Trophy Home to Momma…each and every time…and you all wonder why your city is in such shambles with political control within the wrong hands.

    In today’s world, the word for those types of people worried…mad and UPSET about something like a person’s accent are called…”Bigots”, and as a matter of fact…it is still the word used today in Wikipedia’s definition of Wilmington, being…you guessed it…”Bigots”.

    Great First Grader News Reporting WWAY (if you call it reporting)…but you get a BIG FAT (F-) on News Worthy with Substance…HA!!!!!
    Take note on this bit of advice: There are more important news events going on today, than to waste your time, and your readers time on childish junk reporting, just to anger people you can lead around as puppets that are laughable at best.
    Try watching Ted Talks some time if you want news ideas…but remember…you won’t find “Ignorance” carving a path for discussion. Not like on here…HA!!!
    Yes…there is freedom of speech, and I just gave mine, but there are avenues of opportunity to write about events with intellect. Look it up.

    A story about people’s accents? In your town, it drums up hatred…and you did it again for personal comic relief.
    Hypocritical Bigots…at your best!
    Now…have a nice day, and Melt Away :-)

  • Amused

    (third paragraph, third sentence)

    You do know, don’t you, that Hippocrates was an ancient Greek physician from the Age of Pericles, don’t you? Did you bring him up because he had a Greek accent?


  • taxpayer


  • Guest Reply Redux

    “Hippocrates” meaning in Greece = “Calling All Redneck Remarks”. Then you answered the Add ;-O

  • Chon

    I moved here from MI 5 months ago because my job transferred. At first I was excited because I was looking forward to some good old ‘southern hospitality’; however, I must admit I was in for a rude awaking. I have never felt more like an outsider or unwelcome than I do now. Which really surprises me because it seems that 50% of the people that I met are not from Wilmington either.


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