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Students Learn How to Control Their Southern Accents

October 7, 1991

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) _ Southerners tired of being taken for rubes have enrolled in a college course titled ″How to Control Your Southern Accent.″

″As soon as I open my mouth, they automatically think I don’t know what I’m talking about,″ said Renee Corn, a graphics artist and one of 13 students in the class at Greenville Technical College.

Instructor David Pence, a speech pathologist, said most of his students are business people.

″If you’re making a sales call, you only get one chance,″ said the Arkansas native.

Lessons include proper pronunciation of ″a,″ ″r,″ ″ing″ ″o″ and the greatest challenge, ″i.″

On ″i,″ Pence advises students to open their mouths wider and think of it as ″eye-eee.″

It doesn’t always work.

When Betty Holcombe of the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce walked into the first class two weeks ago, she asked if she had the right room.

″Well, it sounds like it,″ Pence responded.

″Be kayhnd - I mean kind,″ Holcombe said when Pence recounted the incident a week later.

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