Apparently, the employees of Oak Ridge National Laboratory in eastern Tennessee are just fine with their Southern accents.
The lab recently made an attempt to help its employees rid themselves of their distinctive drawls by offering a Southern accent reduction class.
According to Reuters, the class was designed to "give employees a more neutral American accent" and help them to be remembered for what they say and not how they said it. It would also help them to eliminate the grammatical differences between Southern dialects and standard American English.
The class was scheduled to meet 90 minutes a week for six weeks in August and September. However, the offer was definitely not appreciated by many of the lab's 4,000 employees and the class was quickly canceled.
Accent reduction classes at the facility aren't new. The company has offered them for years because it employs people from all over the world. This was the first time though that the Southern accent was singled out. According to Knox News Sentinel, the class was offered in response to a request by one employee.
The Scientific American noted in 2012 that studies have shown that people with a Southern twang are often pegged as being dimwitted. But, a survey last year by Cupid.com found that the Southern accent was considered the sexiest by most people.
Lab officials say they are now working with an outside company to still offer the class to anyone who wants it.