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.