The English Language is Multidimensional Indeed!

Today I’d like to talk about diversity of the English language. Here at English Harmony I’m focusing on spoken English which tends to be more informal as opposed to formal English as it’s taught in schools. The other day I was reading a blog post by Aaron from Phrasemix.com about differences between formal and casual English and he’s put up a very interesting chart on his blog post about how people from different backgrounds speak. According to Aaron’s chart, ordinary people you’d meet on the street in your local estate would speak mostly conversational English, but advanced English students, strangely enough, would be quite on the opposite side of the chart having mastered conversational skills of a native English speaking toddler yet their formal English knowledge would be nearly as high as that of a business executive :!: Well, I have to say that I agree with Aaron 100%, and this is the first time I’m seeing formal and conversational English skills of people from different backgrounds compared in such an interesting way! (more…)

St Patrick’s Day Greetings

These things I warmly wish to you - someone to love, some work to do, a bit o' sun, a bit o' cheer, and a guardian angel always near! Happy Paddy’s day everyone! This is Robby from Ireland and today I’m joining hundreds of thousands of other revelers all over the world celebrating St. Patrick’s Day! If you don’t know what Paddy’s Day is all about – here’s a brief intro for dummies. So, the 17th March is the anniversary of passing of St. Patrick who is the most renown religious figure of all times in Ireland and even thought he might not be the one who introduced Christianity in Ireland fifteen hundred years ago, he still played a crucial role in the process. And, if you didn’t know, Irish people are quite religious folks so it’s no surprise that over the centuries their patron saint St. Patrick became one of the main symbols normally associated with Ireland along with the leprechaun and shamrock leaf. I’m not really sure how the festival traditions kept developing over the last fifteen hundred years, but I can tell you for sure how Paddy’s day is celebrated here in Newbridge which is my hometown for the last 8 years. (more…)

Speaking in Short Sentences? It’s Normal!

Are you often frustrated by the fact that despite being quite a well-spoken foreign English speaker you can’t always speak in full sentences? Are you even getting stuck in a middle of conversation because you WANT to finish a sentence but for some reason you just CAN’T? Let me tell you – you’re not alone. It’s quite normal! By the way – hadn’t you noticed that even native English speakers sometimes hesitate when they speak? When we write, we have all the time in the world to think over the word placement in a sentence. We can scribble out what we wrote and re-write it so that it sounds much better. As we write, we can formulate our thoughts precisely as we intend because we can take extra time to pick the most fitting words. And most importantly, we can compose nice, complete sentences to create an easy-to-understand message! When we speak, it’s a bit different story. Unless you’re a very eloquent foreign English speaker, your speech will be quite different from a written piece of text. Well, I've always held the opinion that the best way to write is to actually speak about the subject aloud and put it all down on paper. Still, when we speak, quite often our mind drifts away and we can’t articulate our thoughts exactly as we want. Especially – when we have to talk about something we’re not really familiar with! If it’s becoming a real issue, it has to be dealt with. But no matter what situation you find yourself in, it always helps to be aware of the fact that in real life English communication people often speak in short, often unfinished and broken sentences :!: (more…)

Retelling Stories Is a Perfect Way of Improving Your Spoken English!

Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced English Grammar? Nonsense!

Much of that stress you experience when learning and improving your English could be alleviated if there were no different English grammar complexity levels, isn’t that right? Just think about it. The moment a foreigner decides to learn or improve English, his success hugely depends on his attitude towards the process. Depending on the perceived difficulty he can either achieve that long-desired English fluency or become completely unmotivated to improve if the end goal of being a fluent English speaker seems like an epic task. I believe that ANY process – be it English learning, or learning high level chemistry isn’t difficult as far as you fully understand what’s being discussed in the particular lesson or book’s chapter OR you can replicate the results without focusing too much on the details :!: Even rocket science is easy once you know what you’re doing! ;-) I believe the same goes with English grammar. Well, first of all, I don’t think English students should focus on grammar as much as the industry requires them to do in the first place. Grammar is nothing more than bunch or rules determining how words are arranged in a sentence and you can learn it all just by speaking mimicking native English speakers because spoken English already has all NATURAL grammar in it! But if you do incorporate certain amount of English grammar studies in your English improving routine, you may become overwhelmed by its complexity. All the grammar terms ranging from very easy ones such as a verb and a noun and ending with advanced high-end grammar stuff like conditional sentences and compound sentences will make you feel that there’s so much to acquire and that you need to spend long, long years learning all that stuff. And you’re right. If you want to become an English teacher and know all ABOUT English grammar, it will be a lengthy task indeed. If, on the other hand, you want to become a fluent English speaker, your perception suddenly changes. You don’t need to divide English grammar into beginners, intermediate and advanced because it will only inhibit your progress. Do you want to see a proof that there’s no easy and difficult English grammar? All right, no problems! (more…)

Spoken English Topics and Technical Aspects of Spoken English Exercising

Does Integration of Foreigners into English Speaking Society Work?

Have you ever heard a statement that people are inherently lazy? Personally I believe it to be true, more or less. I believe that humans will put the minimum amount of effort into achieving their desired goal in any aspect of life. There are always exceptions to the rule, of course. By and large though, human beings will do everything to avoid engaging in activities that they don’t find entertaining or which don’t result in a direct, tangible benefit. Are you outraged by my claims? Don’t be! I meant no offence to anyone, I merely stated the obvious. They even argue that human laziness is the driving force behind the development of technology! We just got tired of walking and running around, so one day we thought – hold on, why not use some animals to carry us around? In no time we were riding horses, then driving cars – and all that because we’re too lazy to walk! All, right, but what has it got to do with integration of foreign English speakers? Well, if you consider that integration in local English speaking society goes hand in hand with good English communication skills; it’s got everything to do with it! To put it simply – if foreigners aren’t REQUIRED to learn and improve English for PRACTICAL reasons, they won’t do it :!: There you go. I said it! If you want to stone me, you’re free to do it in the comments below. If you’re prepared for an even bigger dose of truth spoken by a Latvian expat living in Ireland – keep reading! (more…)