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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Memorize Grammar Rules and Get Promotion

Improve Spoken English

Back in the day when I was still naïve and thought that learning plenty of English grammar rules would avail of increased fluency, I used to dedicate a significant amount of time to re-reading all those grammar rules and memorizing them off by heart.

I mean – I was actually MEMORIZING the grammar rules like a POEM!

Here’s an example:

When to use the indefinite article “a”:

  • With nouns in singular only
  • First mention with countable nouns
  • In predicate with the verb “to be”
  • Instead of “every”

I won’t list the rest of the stipulations on when the indefinite article is used because this is just an example of what I used to memorize so that you get the drift of what I’m saying here.

Basically I would memorize LONG LISTS of stipulations and example sentences describing specific aspects of English grammar and I was hoping that when I know them all, I’d become a fluent English speaker.

I was even hoping that this exercise would help me get a promotion in the job I had at the time!

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Which is Better – Direct or Indirect Speech?

by Robby on September 4, 2014

Direct and indirect English speech

Improve Spoken English

As you may already know, there are two main ways in the English language you can talk about what another person has said:

  • DIRECT speech
  • INDIRECT or the so-called reported speech

Direct speech is a word-by-word account of what the person in question said. For example, if your friend asked you “Would you mind looking after my pets over the weekend?” and now you’re telling someone else what your friend had asked you using the direct speech, here’s how you’d say it:

“Mark asked me “Would you mind looking after my pets over the weekend?” so I can’t really go out with you on a Saturday night, sorry!”

As you can see, direct speech is very easy to incorporate into your own speech for the simple reason that YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHANGE ANY OF THE WORDS!

You simply say it the way you heard it and I think it’s one of the biggest benefits of the direct speech – especially in situations when you find it a bit hard to speak in English and you hesitate and stumble upon words a lot.

Indirect speech, on the other hand, requires a bit more thought put into it, and here’s an example: “My mom told me that my dad was going to take us to Disneyland the following summer, isn’t that amazing?”

Now, what I want you to pay attention to is the following:

You HAVE TO CHANGE WORDS AROUND in indirect speech!

The exact words used by mom were different; here’s what she said: “Dad IS going to take us to Disneyland NEXT summer!” – but when you REPORT what she said as part of indirect speech, it becomes “… dad WAS going to take us to Disneyland THE FOLLOWING summer…”

It’s called BACKSHIFT and it simply means you have to change words around in indirect speech (verbs adopt Past Tense forms and words like “tomorrow” change to “the next day” etc.) if you begin the sentence with PAST TENSE – and more often than not, you will be using the Past Tense when reporting another person’s speech. After all, it was at some stage in the PAST when you heard the other person speak :!:

So which one is more convenient for you as a foreign English speaker – direct or indirect speech?

Keep reading this article to find out more about benefits and advantages of using both – DIRECT and INDIRECT speech when speaking in English with other people! ;-)

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VIDEO SCRIPT BELOW:

Hello boys and girls and welcome back to my video blog! I’m Robby from EnglishHarmony.com and I’m your fluency mentor, and today’s video is going to be dedicated to the following subject:

Sometimes as you go about your English learning and improvement routine you will kind of realize that THE MORE YOU KNOW, the less fluent you become!

If you reminisce about days gone by, a couple years ago probably – when you just started learning the English language, when you knew not so much – basically when your knowledge was quite limited – you could actually say a whole lot more than now, when your knowledge is quite thorough and profound and you know a lot of synonyms describing the same abstract concepts and things and so on and so forth, you sometimes find that you actually struggle to say anything at all!

But in the very early stages of your English fluency improvement and learning attempts you could say a whole lot more, or at least so it seems, right?

So why this funny thing is happening?

There’s a very easy explanation for that, my friends: it’s SYNONYMS, English vocabulary in general and how you’ve learned it – that’s what it all boils down to :!:

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Stop stumbling upon English words when speaking

Improve Spoken English

Unless you’re a super-fluent foreign English speaker, you most certainly find yourself in situations when you stumble upon certain English words and sentences which leaves you frustrated and angry with yourself, am I not right? ;-)

Well, I’m not talking about the typical tongue-twisters here such as “she sells seashells by the seashore” (try to say it out loud fast a few times in a row – you’re bound to make a mistake sooner or later by saying “she shells..” or something similar!)

What I’m going to be looking in this article is simple words and phrases which are still quite easy to mispronounce because of repeating letters or similar sounds following each other in a quick succession:

  • World Wide Web (letters “d” and “b” as well as the ‘R’ sound)
  • I brought the bad goods back (letters “b” and “g”)
  • What a wonderful world! (‘R’ sound)

What happens sometimes when saying such and similar English sentences is the following – just because you’re trying to pronounce each sound within those words, your sound producing organs suddenly can’t cope with it, and that’s when you can implement various strategies I’m going to look at in this article.

Let’s say, if you can’t get the sentence “What a wonderful world!” right and your tongue and lips just can’t seem to pronounce it correctly, you can re-write the sentence in your mind the following way: “Whada wondeful wold”.

Try it, and you’ll realize that if you omit the letter “r”, (the ‘R’ sound isn’t that audible in this sentence anyway!) it becomes much easier for you to pronounce the sentence without getting your tongue twisted and you’re less likely to stumble upon words in the process.

Bear in mind that I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to pronounce English words the right way.

It’s just that I believe if you have to choose between struggling when speaking AND speaking freely albeit with a slightly incorrect pronunciation, you should go with the last option if your ability to speak fluently is very important at that particular moment in time.

But now let’s look at some examples on how you can modify English words and sentences so that you can pronounce them easier :!:

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Improve Spoken English

VIDEO SCRIPT BELOW:

Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! I’m Robby from EnglishHarmony.com and I’m your friend and mentor.

Today, we’re going to talk about the following thing:

You should never judge other people if they don’t know particular English words!

Say, for example, you’re talking to someone, whether a native speaker or a foreign English speaker, and you’re using a specific English word that that person doesn’t know. You should never judge them for it because there’s around a million words in the English language. Well, some sources quote two million words but I think it’s a stretch.

I think a million would probably be the most realistic figure that we could put on the English vocabulary so just think about it: there’s a million words in the language. Now, the average adult English speaker, if he or she is a native English speaker and they’re well educated, then they might know around twenty-five, thirty thousand words, right?

So, just think about the chances of them not knowing some very obscure English word that you’ve just learned and you’re using it, right? The chances are that that person probably doesn’t know that word and even if you think that this scenario whereby you, as a foreigner, say something and a native speaker doesn’t understand it is VERY unlikely to happen, you are wrong, my friend!

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English Has Brought the World Together!

by Robby on August 11, 2014

English has brought the world together

Improve Spoken English

Sachin, who is a customer of mine and a prolific contributor to my YouTube channel, inspired me to write this article, here’s part of the comment he left on my YouTube video where I’m arguing against the prevalent view on Americans as being lazy language learners:

One should accept that English language has contributed to the world more than any other language. English has brought the world together. English is not just British or American’s language anymore – it’s the world’s language. Knowledge of the world got available to everyone only after converted in English!

Well, we can all argue ad nauseam whether the English language is taking over the world, is it having a detrimental effect on smaller languages or not, and also accuse Americans for being lazy and ignorant when it comes to learning foreign languages.

All that is actually IRRELEVANT when we consider the simple fact that the English language has indeed brought the entire world together in a lot of different ways and we, foreigners, are undoubtedly much better off learning it and speaking it as opposed to constantly moaning and complaining about the Evil Empire of English which is soon going to obliterate the smaller nations and countries!

But in case my words are making your blood boil – consider this:

We need to separate POLITICS from the LANGUAGE when discussing such matters!

Just think about the German language and the activities that Germany was involved during WW2, for example. No sane person would condone what was done during those years – atrocities brought upon the world by the fascist regime were outrageous, to say the least.

Do we hate the German language for the criminal past of the country that it represents, however?

Of course we don’t!

Same goes with the English language. A lot of people just follow the mainstream opinion of the US being the evil empire and tarnish the English language with the same brush :mad:

Yes, there’s no denying that here’s a lot of controversy about the warfare the country is getting itself involved in – mostly when it suits its foreign policies (pursuit for energy sources, expansion of American companies and interests in the war-torn countries etc).

The English language, however, BELONGS TO THE WORLD – just like Sachin pointed out. It belongs to anyone who speaks it!

I love English, and when I go about my daily spoken English practice, I don’t considering myself as a traitor of humanity just because I happen to like a language that’s being spoken by people who are involved in activities that we mightn’t approve of. As a matter of fact, it’s also spoken by millions upon millions GOOD and BRILLIANT people all over the world!

It’s actually ridiculous, when you think about it, that so many people associate the English language with something NEGATIVE or something that they believe to be a bad thing.

If speakers of all world languages abandoned speaking them by virtue of tyrants and murderers having spoken them, there’d be not a single language left in the world!

Or if you believe that the English language spreads like a virus amongst indigenous languages and brings all the bad things with it – fast food, crime and drug abuse then you must be seriously deluded… It’s not the language that does it. It’s the Western way of life, if you like, but it’s not the language that is to be blamed for it.

Hadn’t it been the English language that is spoken by the world’s superpowers linked to all the “bad” things (obesity and fast food culture, consumerism and using the third world for easy and quick profits), it could have just as easily been French, Dutch, Spanish or German!

Anyway, as I said – we could be arguing about these matters till cows come home because it’s very difficult to change people’s opinion on a certain subject.

Better let’s talk about how EXACTLY the English language has brought the world together :!:

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