Improve Spoken English

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:

Hello boys and girls, and welcome back to English Harmony video blog!

I just wanted to let you know guys that today I got an invitation to Dublin Horse Show; but what did I just say?

Was it Dublin Horse Show or Dublin Horror Show? You see, I said it quite fast: “I got an invitation to Dublin Horse Show!”; it could have actually been either, horse show or horror show. There is no sure fire way of telling which one it was. It all depends on the context my friends, and this is one of those things that so many foreign English speakers just won’t accept.

Sometimes when you don’t really understand what the particular word means, people start getting all confused and complain about double meanings in the English language and how can they possibly understand all the meanings of a single word, but the answer is the context my friends, obviously. Just the first time around when I mentioned Dublin Horse Show, you probably would be a little bit doubtful what show I meant but then in the conversation that would quite naturally follow that, you would realize what I’m talking about.

If I say, “I got an invitation to Dublin Horror Show and I’m going to bring a zombie mask with me”, obviously I’m talking about a horror show, something like a horror walk, something like a Halloween’s day parade where I want to put on some different masks and go trick and treating around town and knocking on people’s doors and getting sweets, and sometimes getting some abuse as well.

If I was to say that I’m going to a Dublin Horse Show and I’m going to watch how horse riders are show jumping then obviously it’s all about horses.  It couldn’t possibly be horror show, right, so as I said, context explains everything.

Context clarifies everything and I suggest you check out this link if you haven’t already done so previously while watching my videos and browsing my blog, and in this article, there’s a video as well.  You can perform a test and see how these words co-locate, how they go together and that’s all about the context you’re learning basically. You acquire a vocabulary contextually. A word is never on its own, and even if there’s a few words together, such as Dublin Horse Show, there’s always some more context to follow. It’s never just a single phrase on its own!

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You should ACT rather than REACT during English conversations

Improve Spoken English

I’m pretty sure that you can remember having a conversation with another English speaker during which you felt quite insecure and didn’t quite know what to say when responding to the other person’s questions – or maybe the other person didn’t even ask you anything and did all the talking themselves!

Here’s what would typically happen during such conversations.

“Hello Sergio, how’s it going?” (this is the other person initiating the conversation)

“Ah, well, I’m doing OK, thanks for asking, and how are you?”

“I’m all right, I’ve got the Monday blues all right, but what can you do when you have to bring another paycheck home at the end of the week, isn’t that right? Anyway, I went to see the football game on Saturday – the Falcons where taking on the Giants and you’d never guess who won the game! The Falcons had to beat the Giants to end their losing streak so they were giving it all they had, but then suddenly…” – and your conversation partner just goes on and on and on…

… and you’re just left wondering when YOU are going to get a chance to say something!

Personally I wouldn’t even call this type of one-way communication a conversation – it’s just one person’s MONOLOGUE and you’re a passive listener, nothing more.

I warmly suggest you take matters into your own hands and make the conversation sound something like this:

“Hello Sergio, how’s it going?”

“Hi John, not too bad actually!”

“That’s good, yeah… Listen, I went to see this football game on Saturday…”

“Hey John, sorry, but I’m not really into football! Ice-hockey is what I prefer, and my team is having a really good run this season! The Rangers, on the other hand, are performing really badly unfortunately – my son roots for them and while I’m happy Boston Bruins are at the top of the league, I don’t like being too enthusiastic about it because it makes him unhappy!”

Now, did you see what happened here?

YOU became the one who delivers the speech, and John had to listen to what YOU are saying instead of making you listen to what he wants to say!

Obviously I’m not trying to say that you should interrupt everyone who starts telling you something, I hope you realize this was an exaggerated example to make you understand one thing:

If you only REACT during English conversations and allow other people to adopt the leading role, you’ll never get a chance to speak and develop your fluency!

Be more daring :!:

Don’t be afraid to say what you want to say – even if the other person mightn’t be really interested in it!

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Hello boys and girls! ;-)

I haven’t posted any English idiomatic expression videos lately, so I figured why not record one and put it up on YouTube and on my blog so that you can learn something new!

Today’s phrase is the following:

TO GO THE EXTRA MILE

and if you want to find out how it’s to be used in real life English conversations, please watch the video above. In this video I’m providing 3 examples of using this particular idiomatic expression, but obviously there’s a whole lot more ways of using it when communicating with other English speakers.

The expression TO GO THE EXTRA MILE can be used whenever you want to describe someone making extra effort – if you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. Walking another mile when you’ve already walked the entire way quite obviously involves some extra work, and apparently at some stage native English speakers started using this phrase to describe making extra effort in general.

So, watch this video, do some spoken English practice with this expression in order to cement it into your brain, and if you’ve any questions in relation to this phrase – let me know in the comments section below!

Cheers,

Robby

English Idiomatic Expressions

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Learning English is actually hard

Improve Spoken English

Have you ever heard a native English speaker make a comment about some foreigner which clearly shows their irritation with the fact that the said foreigner doesn’t speak in English fluently enough or can’t understand what the native English speaker is saying?

I’ve been the target of such judgmental, opinionated thinking myself as well as witnessed other foreigners becoming targets of unfair treatment just because they didn’t understand what they were told or weren’t able to say something in English, and here’s a typical scenario of how such treatment manifests itself:

  • A native English speaker says something to a foreigner very fast, or even worse – with a strong local accent.
  • The foreigner has NO IDEA what he was just told, and oftentimes he’s too embarrassed to say anything in response – he’s just smiling or nodding his head in agreement just so that the native English speaker would go away and leave him alone.
  • The native English speaker then makes a comment about the whole situation by saying something along the lines of: “It’s about time they started learning some English…” or “He’s been working here for so long and still he has no English at all!”

All I can say about that is the following – those native English speakers have NO IDEA of how difficult it actually is to learn a language :!:

They have no idea that it’s impossible for foreigners to learn English by listening to very fast speech spoken by locals so they don’t even bother slowing their speech down thus making it impossible for the non-native speaker to understand them.

They think that English is somehow “picked up” by foreigners simply being around English speakers, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth.

One has to make a lot of CONSCIOUS effort in order to learn English and be able to understand others as well as speak the language, and it requires many hours of spoken English practice to get to a level where the foreign English speaker can finally start speaking with other people in English comfortably.

Some native English speakers may have been lead to believe that picking up English is fairly simple by the analogy of small foreign children of pre-school age – they start speaking in English pretty fast once they start going to a kindergarten or school so surely adult foreigners should be capable of the same, right?

Not really :!:

You can’t really compare small children with adults because children have no fear of making mistakes and they can speak ALL THE TIME thus improving their English very fast whereas for many adult foreigners at work opportunities to speak are quite limited – not to mention the embarrassment and judgmental treatment which are LIMITING their potential.

All in all, learning English is quite a tricky process for the average foreigner, so let’s look at the various aspects of it a little bit deeper.

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VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW

Hi guys and welcome back to EnglishHarmony.com video blog!

I’m Robby from EnglishHarmony.com, obviously, and in this video episode, we’re going to touch upon a subject that we’ve spoken about many times before, namely – the fact that you don’t have to translate from English into your native language and vice versa while getting involved in English improving related activities.

Obviously, we’ve spoken about it at length previously so I’m not going to get into the reasons why you shouldn’t be doing that.  By now, they should be quite obvious to you but for those who haven’t watched my videos in the past and haven’t visited my website probably, let me tell you just one thing.

If you translate, you can’t speak fluently because your mind is too preoccupied with dealing with all the grammar related issues and basically creating sentences from scratch in your mind, instead of speaking spontaneously and that’s what fluent speech is all about.

In relation to the whole ‘don’t translate’ subject, I’m going to bring up an example of what happens when people try to translate, and it happened years ago.

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Why You Forget English Words

Improve Spoken English

I’m pretty sure you’ve had the following happen to you many, many times:

  • You open your mouth to say something in English;
  • You start the sentence and then suddenly you FORGET a specific word…
  • You’re going mad trying to remember it…
  • As a result you can’t say a thing!

It’s one of the worst experiences that any of us, foreign English speakers, can possibly have because it makes us feel stupid and worthless, and the funny thing is that the more we try to make sure it doesn’t happen, the worst it gets :!:

Sure enough, there are strategies such as PARAPHRASING, for example (trying to say it in different words) or speaking in SHORT SENTENCES which can be very successfully implemented when you can’t remember the exact word you’re looking for.

I mean – why try and struggle to remember something you obviously can’t remember at the risk of not being able to say anything? Simply put it in different words, and let the conversation continue!

Having said all that, however, I have to agree that you might still want to figure out WHY you forget English words and how to make sure such incidents don’t happen ALL THE TIME, am I not right?

So, let’s get down to business and let’s start dissecting your brain in order to see why you forget English words and how to make sure it doesn’t happen that often! ;-)

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Improve Spoken English

Hello my friends foreign English speakers!

I’m back with another English irregular verb, and this time around it’s TO BEAT.

As you know from my previous videos (if you don’t, please watch it HERE, it’s super-important!), you shouldn’t be learning English irregular verbs by repeating and memorizing word strings such as BEAT, BEAT, BEATEN (these are the respective Present, Past and Past Participle forms of the verb TO BEAT).

Instead, you should learn each of those verb forms as part of a word combination and that way you’ll achieve all the following:

  • You’ll avoid getting mixed up when using BEAT and BEATEN in real life;
  • You’ll be able to use these irregular verb forms without much THINKING;
  • You’ll INSTINCTIVELY feel when to use them – just like a native speaker!

So, without a further ado, let’s look at the phrases containing the various forms of the irregular verb TO BEAT, and alternatively you can watch the video or listen to the podcast above to gain even more insight into using the following phrases:

It BEATS me;

I BEAT the traffic on the way to;

BEATEN to death.

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I wish I was born a native English speaker

Improve Spoken English

I don’t believe for a second that native English speakers would be superior to foreigners and those who hail from countries where other languages are used as means of communication of first choice.

I’m very well aware, however, that people who are born native English speakers have an unfair advantage over non-native English speakers simply because they happen to speak the world’s language which avails them of more opportunities in life!

What opportunities?

Well, here’s a list of things English fluency has given me – only bear in mind that I’m a foreigner so it goes without saying that any native English speaker would avail of all the same PLUS a whole lot more because they’ve ALWAYS been fluent English speakers whereas I’ve acquired my fluency later in life.

Sure enough, if you’re willing to work exceptionally hard, you can be extremely successful in life as a foreign English speaker – just think about people like Arnie, for example.

Work like hell, never stop – and the world is your oyster, isn’t that right?

It’s all nice and well, but the reality is a little bit different. We rarely hear about those non-native English speakers who are working really hard and still don’t achieve their ambitions just because they happen to come from a foreign background – it’s only the success stories that everyone hears about…

So, here’s 4 reasons as to why I wish I was born a native English speaker, and if you feel that I’ve left something out – just post it in the comments section below!

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Improve Spoken English

VIDEO SCRIPT BELOW:

Hi guys, hello boys and girls, and welcome back to English Harmony video blog.

I’m Robby, your English fluency mentor from EnglishHarmony.com and in today’s video we’re going to look at what you should be doing when you’re not sure of usage of certain little English words such as “at”, “of”, “a”, and “the”.

So basically, when you’re speaking and you’re not sure of whether you should stick that little word in the phrase or sentence or you shouldn’t – let me tell you right up front: if you start analyzing your speech too much and you start wrecking your head over these tiny little details, your fluency is gonna go out the window.

Here is a typical example of what I’m talking about today – just listen to it once more: “out the window”.

What did I just say?

Did I just say, “out OF THE window” or did I just say, “out THE window”?

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English verb to get

Improve Spoken English

I love simple, short English verbs such as TO DO, TO PUT, TO GET and others – the reason being: the same verb can be used in a huge number of different situations thus making it possible for you to communicate about A LOT without spending a lot of time on learning massive amounts of new English vocabulary!

Just look at how the simple verb TO GET replaces other words:

Do you understand me? – Do you GET me? (As a matter of fact, this is what you should say when asking people if they understood what you’ve just said – a lot of foreigners overuse the verb “to understand”!)

How much do you earn? – How much do you GET?

Will you arrive on time? – Will you GET there on time?

Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that you didn’t know the words “to understand”, “to earn” and “to arrive”. If that were the case, you’d hardly be able to formulate the above questions without using the word TO GET, and it just goes to show how effective it is to learn how to…

Use One Word in 100 Different Ways Instead of Learning 100 Different Words!

Well, obviously I’m not trying to discourage you from learning more English words and widening your vocabulary, it’s just that I’ve always believed it’s much easier to learn to speak English fluently with limited vocabulary and THEN learn more words.

Unfortunately, so many foreign English speakers (I was one of them, by the way!) are trying to build massive vocabularies believing that it will somehow make them fluent while in reality nothing could be further from the truth …

Anyway, let’s stop beating around the bush and here’s all you’ll ever need to know about the English verb TO GET! ;-)

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