American English Pronunciation: Devious Maids Character Gets a Reality Check About Her Latina Accent

reduce accent in English with Pronunciation Pro Carmen Luna Devious Maids

Carmen Luna has an accent. What can this Devious Maid do about it?

In the new smash hit on the Lifetime Network, Devious Maids, this past week’s episode featured a common dilemma among Latinos: the importance of reducing your accent to be taken seriously in a celebrity role.

The character, Carmen Luna, played by Roselyn Sánchez, plays a maid in the home of a Latino singing sensation and superstar, Alejandro Rubio, played by Matt Cedeño. Her dream is to leave the world of housekeeping to pursue her passion, singing and songwriting.

In speaking with a music producer who promises her a world of success in the music industry, he notes her Puerto Rican accent, stating that the American audience that listens to today’s pop music will quickly dismiss her unless she works to reduce her foreign accent in English. The music producer, Latino himself, does admit the irony that he himself has a strong Hispanic accent, but tells Carmen that today’s pop demographic is looking for a new JLo, not a new nobody who they can’t understand—additionally, they won’t be interested in her Spanish language music until she becomes popular, at which point the Latino demographic will be interested in a Spanish album geared toward them.

Sadly, in a following scene, Carmen is seen trying to repeat a weather forecaster on television, pausing the newscast to take the time to repeat what he said in her best attempt at an American accent. While you have to applaud her effort, this method of learning to pronounce American English will not likely garner the results she wants—without access to the tools of accent reduction from a professional speech therapist, it’s very difficult to successfully learn how to speak English like an American just by observation alone.

We wish Carmen had access to something like PronunciationPro.com. Online accent reduction courses like this offer day-by-day accent reducing exercises, mp3 recordings, and online pronunciation videos that have shown time and time again that they create guaranteed results in English fluency and pronunciation.

How to Speak English without an Accent: Phonetic Differences Between Chinese and English

English pronunciation for Chinese peopleWhile it is true that more than one-third of all Chinese speakers use the Mandarin dialect, it is also true that there are many other dialects of Chinese, including Cantonese, Wu, and Taiwanese. The differences in these dialects can mean a difference in the various challenges when it comes to learning how to pronounce English correctly and with confidence.

With that said, there are many essential commonalities that make English pronunciation for Chinese people difficult at times. For example, Chinese has far less vowel sounds than American English, and can therefore present an issue when it comes to phonetics and speech patterns that are common in English, and not so common in Chinese.

One of the most fundamental and interesting differences between Chinese and English is that in Chinese dialects, changes in tone and pitch can completely alter the meaning of a word that is otherwise pronounced exactly the same. Now try and imagine this in English. For example, no matter how loudly or quietly, and no matter what octave your voice is in, if you say the word “dog” in English, it means the same (unless you’re speaking in terms of contextual differences like slang) thing—a furry, four-legged mammal prone to chewing bones and chasing cats. In Chinese, the slightest change of tone can be the difference between polite conversation and salty language.

These issues and differences between Chinese and English can make even the most well educated Chinese professional or student sound like they do not speak English. It is often incorrectly assumed by many Americans that pronunciation is the same as fluency or comprehension, and this is simply not true. But for those whose English pronunciation is a problem, a thick accent can deter work associated and defer promotions and other opportunities.

Being able to be understood is the most important part of speaking any language, and that’s why Pronunciation Pro focuses on listening to each English language learner as an individual to determine what his or her unique challenges with English speaking are.

How to Pass the TOEFL Exam: Prepare for the Spoken TOEFL Test

pass the TOEFL spoken English test PronunciationProFor foreign students in the US, the TOEFL iBT test is an important step towards job placement and advancement. The test is administered as at sit-down exam, or via Internet, and measures ability to use and understand English at the university level, and evaluates how well you combine listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills.

Over 27 million people have taken the TOEFL exam, including students planning to study at a higher education institution, scholarship and certification candidates, and students and workers applying for visas. Known as “The Test of English as a Foreign Language,” TOEFL was developed by the ETS that many colleges and universities in the US require ESL students to take. These people must have a passing TOEFL score before they can apply to programs.

Designed for advanced learners who are ready to prove they have the ability to live, study, or work in an English-speaking environment, knowing how to pass the TOEFL exam is important for many—and preparation is key to success.

To pass, applicants must pass the speaking portion of TOEFL, which accounts for a fourth of the total grade. There are six speaking questions: two about familiar topics, and four based on short readings and conversations. After hearing a question, individuals must provide a response, and are evaluated on delivery, language use, and topic development. Many who take the exam find the speaking portion to be challenging.

In order to score well on TOEFL speaking section, English pronunciation is important, but unfortunately, many are not aware their accents can hinder results on the exam.

With a mandatory two-month waiting period between exams, many college hopefuls only have a few opportunities to pass the TOEFL before their desired application date. Considering the $160 to $250 testing fee per exam, passing the first time is ideal.

For those who want to prepare for the TOEFL exam, English pronunciation and accent reduction courses online can help their ability to speak English clearly and have a better chance at passing.

PronunciationPro.com offers help online in a 12-week program that is tailored to your schedule and budget to enhance confidence while speaking English. Providing a free trial and a basic version that costs less than the price of one TOEFL exam, there are a variety of options complete with online trainings with affordable ASHA certified Speech Pathologists.

Speaking English clearly is important for the TOEFL test, for participating in classroom settings, and for job placement. Preparing before the exam with an English pronunciation expert is beneficial and can help relieve stress before the TOEFL exam. Prepare for the exam in a way that will yield results, by signing up for Pronunciation Pro.