You Have to EAT Well to SPEAK in English Well!

There was a time during this summer when I noticed my fluency wasn't what it used to be. Well, I would still speak very well, it’s just that I’d started spending more time on thinking of certain English words I wouldn’t be able to recall while having conversations with people which lead to more hesitation than normally. This wasn’t the end of the world situation for me – even after dealing with my severe fluency issues years ago I’d still experience a slump in my ability to speak without much thinking in English every now and then, and normally it would be gone in a day’s time or so. This time around, however, it was lasting for quite some time, and it got me thinking what was so different about all the various circumstances in my life and at work that would have made me go into this permanent mode of deteriorating fluency. (more…)

English Collocation: “Sparked Heated Debates”

When controversial issues of any nature are discussed in various public places such as: Work meetings; Parliaments; Classrooms; Websites; and many more, there’s always the chance that those debates are going to get quite emotional! Now, do you know how native English speakers refer to events when comments made by one of the people result in fierce arguments? The say that those comments SPARK HEATED DEBATES! This three-word combination is the so-called English collocation; it’s not a strong idiom (in an idiom, you can’t replace some words with others!) because it’s not very strict and you can say the same thing in a number of different ways: (more…)

Nonsense of Learning English by Listening to Fast English Spoken by Locals

Back in the day, when I’d just come to Ireland and was still struggling with my spoken English, I was working in a massive warehouse offloading trailers all day long while at the same time trying to understand what my Irish supervisors and managers wanted from me. Why did I just say “TRYING” to understand? Well – guess what? – it’s not that easy to figure out what you’re told in English if the person in question speaks very fast AND with a distinct accent! Needless to say, over the next few years I did learn to understand the local speech, and nowadays the Irish accent has become so familiar that I’d pick it out in a crowd immediately. The heck, I can even imitate English spoken in Ireland a little bit myself now, so I have to admit that over time things have gotten much, much better in terms of understanding English spoken by people from all over the world. The reason I’m writing this article isn’t to conclude that you can just listen to fast English spoken by heavily accented local speakers and you’ll be just fine in a few years’ time down the line. It’s quite the opposite actually – not only it could very well be that you DON’T learn to fully understand the local slang (and please bear in mind it’s not just limited to English spoken locally; all these problems may occur when you’re listening to FAST English in general!), but also you could pick up quite a few psychological issues along the line! You may constantly strive to speak just as fast as natives and as a result you constantly stumble upon words and hesitate when speaking in English. You may develop a habit of comparing your English with theirs which has a detrimental effect on your fluency. And you may also find it very difficult to learn the English language to proficiency if you’re constantly forcing yourself to listen (or read) to something you only half-understand. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to persuade you that: Under no circumstances you should be exposed to English the way it’s spoken by natives in real life; You should only be exposed to English you understand 100%. If that were the case, you’d never learn anything because by the very definition LEARNING implies acquiring something NEW, something you don’t know yet. There’s a huge difference, however, between learning English by listening and repeating words, phrases and sentences that are EASY to understand AND listening to something you can only remotely recognize! (more…)

Do You Find Certain English Grammar Constructs TOO DIFFICULT To Learn? Try This Easy 3 Step Plan!

English Idiomatic Expression: “Which Brings Us To The Next Point”

Hello my friends and followers! :grin: In today’s English Idiomatic Expression video you’re going to find out how to use the following phrase: “which brings us to the next point”. While there’s a good chance you’ve already been using this phrase in your conversations, there’s also a possibility you’ve only heard it used by others – in which case you should definitely make sure to learn this phrase off by heart! Why? Well, it’s simple enough – if you can use this particular English phrase automatically (which means speaking it out loud without much thinking), you can make smooth transitions from one point to another while having a conversation in English with someone! Not really sure what I’m talking about here? Here’s an example for you: let’s say, for argument’s sake, you’re telling a work colleague of yours about an incident that happened the day before, and that it’s directly related to the lack of health and safety procedures in your company. (more…)

English Fiction Books I’m Going to Read Before I Die (Kick the Bucket)!

Funny English Phrases: Work Related Idioms

Hello my friends from YearOfEnglish.com and also everyone else who happens to be reading this blog post right now! It’s been a while since I published the last Funny English Phrases video – it was dedicated to sports related idioms and it went live on June 1 which is 3 and a half months ago!!! The only thing I can say in my defense is that I was extremely busy during the summer working on my new house, and if it’s any good to you, here you can read a couple of English DIY terms I learned as a result of my home refurbishment related activities. Anyhow, let’s get down to business right now, and let’s learn a couple of work related idioms you can use when communicating with your work colleagues regardless of the industry you’re in. Whether you’re an office clerk, warehouse operative or a cashier sitting at the till in a supermarket, you’ll find the following expressions quite handy at times, so here’s what you have to do: (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “Needless To Say”

Hello boys and girls, I’m back with another English idiomatic expression! This time around I’m going to look at the following phrase: “needless to say”, and I think this one is quite self-explanatory. Basically you can use this phrase whenever you’re going to say something common sense, something that is very logical and straightforward, something that may as well not be said because it kind of goes without saying. Let’s say, for example, you’re filling your friend in on something that happened while he wasn’t at work, and here’s what you’re saying: “… and then Jane told him everything she thought of him and needless to say, he hasn’t spoken to her since!” (more…)

What Do Small Children, Pets & The English Language Have In Common?

I’ve been speaking in English for the biggest part of my life, and by now I’ve achieved quite a comfortable level of fluency. I speak in English with my colleagues and customers at work. I speak with lots of other people in English as well – starting from sales-assistants in shops and ending with support staff in various companies. I also speak in English when engaged in routine activities – such as counting, for example. When I’m on my own, I also try to speak in English a lot so that my fluency is always maintained at a high enough level. Whenever I’m encountering a small English speaking child or a pet belonging to an English speaking owner, however, I feel a natural need to speak with them in my native Latvian! Sure enough, I wouldn’t start speaking with a four year old Irish child (I live in Ireland which is an English speaking country) – I’d just do it in English. Yet, for some reason or another it wouldn’t come 100% naturally to me; I’d still have the feeling that I’m supposed to speak with the child in Latvian. Isn’t that weird? I mean – how come that after all these years living in an English speaking country and speaking in English ALL THE TIME, I’m still having moments when I have to suppress the need to speak in my native language? After all – I can even think in English, so why speaking with small children (please bear in mind only children up to the age of 4 or 5 years make me feel that way) and pets would be any different? I’ve been doing some thinking on that, and if you keep reading this article you’ll find out all the theories I’ve come up with! (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression – “Opportunity Presents Itself”

How English Idiomatic Expressions Helped Me Deal With a REALLY Stressful Conversation

I’d been mentally preparing myself for the upcoming conversation for DAYS. I’d gone through all the things I was going to say to my boss all over and over again. I’d wanted to talk to him on multiple occasions yet I just couldn’t pluck up the courage to do it and I just kept talking myself out of it (now it’s not the right time… now I’m too busy…) When I finally got around to talking to him, it all happened kind of suddenly and I had actually forgotten every little detail I wanted to talk about. Sure enough, I knew what I wanted to ask, but I hadn’t gone through the more detailed plan of the upcoming conversation which I’d worked out previously. So, when I stood right in front of him asking if he’s five minutes to spare, the stress levels in my body were hitting all-time heights! My heart was palpitating. Adrenaline was being pumped through my veins at an accelerated rate. Needless to say, I found it quite hard to start the conversation because the stress levels were most definitely affecting my ability to say what I wanted to say in English! Luckily my chat with the boss didn’t turn out to be a total failure because I’ve been learning hundreds upon hundreds of English idiomatic expressions over the years, and the accumulative effect of such practice is such that it enables you to speak in English automatically and without much thinking (the English Harmony System works based on the same principles, by the way!). Here’s how English idiomatic expressions helped me conduct the conversation in a fairly normal way: (more…)