Because this month is Hispanic Heritage Month, I will be featuring tips and stories that are especially interesting to our Hispanic readers.
I want to start out by addressing a common concern. This is a reprint of a blog post from last winter, but it seemed to be perfect for the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month. This month is set aside to honor your heritage, but I know that some of you worry that if you decide to improve your English pronunciation, you will lose part of your heritage.
Are you afraid that if you want to lose your accent, your family and friends will feel that you are abandoning them and your native culture? Please do not let this fear keep you from doing something that you know will benefit you. Your family and friends love you and want the best for you. If you are living in an English speaking culture now, you want to give yourself every opportunity to succeed, and that includes making sure that your English is easy to understand.
No one is asking you to forget your heritage or pretend you are someone you are not. When we talk about losing or reducing your accent, we are really talking about changing those parts of your pronunciation that make your English difficult for others to understand. Most people, even after completing accent reduction classes, will still have traces of their accent in their everyday speech. Ideally, your goal is not to eliminate the accent completely, but to change the parts of it that make it difficult to understand. Ultimately, the goal should be to have the best of both worlds: an accent that sets you apart as a native of your homeland while still being completely understandable in English.
So, let’s celebrate your past during Hispanic Heritage Month, and celebrate your future with some American pronunciation tips especially for you over the next few weeks.
If you have a story about overcoming a language barrier when coming to the United States, or another success story that you think would fit well on this blog, please contact me and let me know. I would love to feature some of your stories this month and let your successes shine during Hispanic Heritage Month.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!