How You Can Write Your Research Paper in Under 24 Hours!

A Guide For International And ESL Students As an international student or an ESL student, the English language is most probably your biggest stumbling block. You have most likely been struggling to keep up with the rest of your class who are native speakers of English. The language barrier can really get in the way of you participating actively in class and this can be frustrating. It is understandable that you may find writing research papers and college essays specially difficult to grasp. You might have also faced situations where you’ve been asked to write a full-fledged research paper, and the deadline is around the corner, sometimes in less than 24 hours. You feel stuck and confused and don’t know where to turn for help. What do you do in such cases? Don’t worry, this guide is here to help you. It will show how to break down the process of essay writing into easy steps so that you can put together a completed research paper in just 24 hours! (more…)

Don’t Try to Figure Out What Something Means in English Grammar Terms – It Serves NO Purpose!

One of the main principles of the English Harmony philosophy is not to fall into the habit of analyzing your speech from the grammar standpoint. The very same goes with reading. You may find yourself trying to figure out what this or that particular sentence in a book or newspaper represents in English grammar terms, and the funny thing is that sometimes you just end up confusing yourself instead of gaining something from it! You’re reading a sentence and the analytical part of your brain automatically starts analyzing the syntax: “Hold on, is it a Passive or Active Voice construct? I’d better Google it up and see if I can figure it out!” So off you go browsing forums and spending your time just to satisfy your curiosity! And you’re not alone. There’s millions of English learners asking questions on forums trying to figure out WHAT ROLE certain words and word groups play in a sentence, what grammar tense is represented by the sentence in question and so on. Sometimes I come across those forum threads when validating my English collocations (read more about how I do it HERE) and it just doesn’t cease to amaze me that there are folks who are quite literally wasting away their lives asking questions such as: Is this clause a predicative expression or is it not? or What exactly does “would have” mean in the following sentence “I would have thought that the unemployment rate is on the rise, but it’s actually the other way around”? It looks like a conditional sentence, so does it mean that the person who speaks doesn’t actually think that the unemployment is on the rise but would think so if certain conditions are met? The moment I see those questions, it instantly brings me back to when I used to analyze everything I was reading or hearing, and needless to say, that’s exactly the reason why I couldn’t speak fluently in the first place! My mind was gone into a permanent analytics mode and I was under the false impression that if I were to become proficient in terms of English grammar, I would also become fluent. Little did I know at that time that it was completely false logical reasoning. Just think about it – how being able to DEFINE what a particular group of words represents is going to help you REPRODUCE that phrase or sentence when writing or speaking? It won’t – that’s the thing! ;-) You see, it’s all because most English learners can’t distinguish (and it’s all because of the traditional way of teaching English at school!) between the following: Theoretical KNOWLEDGE about English grammar and syntax, and Practical SKILLS and ABILITY to use English when speaking or writing! Many of us believe that KNOWLEDGE directly translates into ABILITY – but nothing could be further from the truth! Ability to SPEAK, for example, is all about you being able to REPLICATE correct speech patterns and the best way to go about it is by simply REPEATING and MEMORIZING a specific sentence. When you speak with real people in real life, does anyone care about the sentence being a conditional or not? NO! All that matters is your ability to SAY IT OUT LOUD! (more…)

Why It’s So HARD to Realize You Have to Speak in Order to Speak

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, hello boys and girls, and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! I’m Robby and in this particular video, which is a follow up on one of my latest YouTube video called “You are what you do”. I’m going to discuss one specific aspect of the whole problem of you being what you’re doing and it was pointed out to me by Juhapekka. He is a very prolific commentator on my blog and I really, really thank you for that Juhapekka :!: Your ideas that you have put into your comments have served as inspiration for so many videos for me and as I said, I’m really very grateful to you for that! So, in this particular comment Juhapekka points that… But before that, before we are actually looking into his comment, I want to remind you what the whole “You are what you do” thing is about. (more…)

I’m a Useless English Teacher Because I Make Mistakes… And I Should Go Back to Farm!

Traditional English Teaching Industry Instils Anxiety and Lack of Self-Confidence!

A few days ago I was surfing the Net for English pronunciation improvement related info, and I came across an article that is an embodiment of everything that I don’t like about the traditional English teaching industry and the way non-native English speakers are perceived. I’m not going to provide a link to the actual article because I don’t want to potentially start a war with its author; suffice it to say that the headline of the article implies you have to hide your foreign accent and then they compare the size of English vocabulary of an 8 year of native English speaking child with that of a typical non-native English speaker. The conclusion was that you’d better make sure to build your English vocabulary by learning 4 new English words a day if you even want to stand a chance of coming close to a 15 year old native English speaker (it’s supposedly the age when a person has acquired pretty much a full working vocabulary in their native language.) Here’s a number of problems I want to point out in relation to all the aforementioned English learning principles: (more…)

Your English Teacher’s Expertise Means Little When It Comes To YOUR Ability To Speak!

Why So Many Foreigners CAN’T Speak Fluent English?

Are you a foreign English speaker? Is your overall English knowledge very good but you struggle to speak English fluently and sometimes you even get stuck for words in the middle of a conversation? Then you may be suffering from the so-called ‘writing mode’ syndrome which is widespread among those foreigners who’ve spent long years learning and studying English mainly by reading and writing! What happens when you spend most of your time learning grammar and filling in gaps in textbooks is the following: your brain gets used to constructing sentences by carefully picking the right English words and arranging them according to grammar rules. It works perfectly when sitting English exams and doing written tests, but when speaking with real people in real life, your mind works in the same ‘writing mode’ and it can’t keep up with the speed of a natural conversation! Lots of English reading won’t help to fix this problem either simply because it builds your passive vocabulary, but when you speak, you utilize your active vocabulary which consists of words, phrases and sentences you can speak without much effort – they have to come out of your mouth by themselves! Are you eager to find out how to make the transition from this terrible ‘writing mode’ into a ‘speaking mode’ and stop preparing speech in your head all the time? (more…)

Why Desire to Translate is Irresistible & How to Deal With It

If you’ve been following my blog for a longer period of time, you’ll know that one of the English Harmony cornerstones is elimination of translation. You need to create a separate department for English in your brain. Whenever you have to speak in English with someone, you simply switch over to the English department in your brain. The funny thing is – you might already been doing it without being consciously aware of THINKING and SPEAKING in your target language if you’re a bilingual speaker, for example. Yet, when it comes to English, you might have an irresistible urge to translate from your native language while you’re speaking in English! Basically you’re speaking in English, but you keep thinking in your native language; you’re constantly finding yourself trying to figure out how this or that particular concept can be described in English terms. Guess what? You’re not alone! Hundreds of thousands of your fellow foreign English speakers are having the same issues, and if you’re anything serious about your SPOKEN English development, you’d better make sure to read the rest of this article where you’ll find out: WHY you have this weird process going on in your head; WHY you shouldn’t be thinking in your native language and speaking in English at the same time; HOW to avoid translation and speak and think in English ONLY! (more…)

English Teacher Destroys Student Confidence by Scolding Them? It’s Unacceptable!

This video is a response to one of my blog readers’ e-mails, and he’s painting a pretty dire picture of his English class! Their English teacher makes them read a paragraph out of their textbooks and then the students are required to retell the story using their own words. It’s all nice and well up to the point where she starts scolding those students who are struggling with verbalizing their thoughts :!: IT IS JUST UNACCEPTABLE! What she’s doing is the following: she’s taking a brilliant English fluency improving tool – retelling stories (read more about it in this blog post) – and then she turns it into a confidence destroying machine! It’s mad. As a teaching professional, she’s actually supposed to do the VERY OPPOSITE: (more…)

Don’t Put Up With ESL Industry’s Childish Treatment & Throw Unwanted Gifts Away!

Why Being a Foreign English Speaker Gives Me an Edge Over ANY Native English School Teacher

You can call me a foreign English speaker or a non-native English speaker (although I think that by labelling someone a ‘non-native English speaker’ you set them apart from other English speakers!) , but all that really matters to me is that I’M AN ENGILSH SPEAKER. I don’t care if anybody sees my foreign background as a natural disadvantage when it comes to communicating with others in English because I know it very well that my spoken English is sufficient for the things I do on a daily basis. Well, I do have my ups and downs, but then which foreign English speaker doesn’t experience some fluency fluctuations? Anyway, I am prepared to step it up a notch and make a really daring statement. Not only I think my foreign background isn’t a disadvantage; I also believe that by being a foreign English speaker I have an edge over ANY native English school teacher when it comes to understanding issues experienced by those who learn and improve their English :!: And if you take into account I don’t hold any TEFL qualifications, I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw my claim on the border of outrageous. I mean – how can a chap who’s been struggling with spoken English up until a few years ago, say that he’s better than any professional native English teacher? Keep reading this article and I’ll provide hard proof to back my claim! (more…)

4 Things Your English Teacher Didn’t Tell YOU!

Wake Up from the English Grammar Matrix!

I have an impression that the majority of foreigners who want to improve their English are obsessed with English grammar. And mind this – I’m not using the word “obsessed” lightly. I’m using the word’s “obsessed” most extreme meaning! Now I'm going to draw a typical profile of someone who wants to improve English – and don’t be offended if you recognize yourself by my description. I’m doing it for your own good, and you’ll find out why I’m doing it in a few paragraphs! So here’s the typical foreign English speaker talking about his/her English fluency issues: “I want to improve my English. My grammar is very bad and I feel embarrassed when I speak English with others. I can understand English very well when I read newspapers and when others talk to me, but when I start speaking I make many grammar mistakes. I know that I should improve my English grammar to start speaking better, and I’m desperate to become more confident. Can you suggest a good English grammar book or software that would help me improve my English grammar?” Whenever I get to read or hear something like this, it makes me angry. No really, putting all jokes aside, it makes me really angry :mad: “Why don’t you understand that English grammar has nothing to do with your spoken English confidence! Arghhhhhh!!!” (more…)

What’s Wrong With Traditional English Studies?

We all started with English differently. Others started with self studying because of pure interest, like me. For some it was a necessity after moving to another country. However, as my website is  dedicated to people having difficulties with maintaining a consistent level of spoken English, it is most likely that your journey into the world of English started with the written word. And actually this is where the biggest problems are hidden! :!: When we learned the language by writing words and memorizing them, we needed to write down the meaning in our native tongue. And this means having to translate the word from our native language to English, which is quite a natural thing, isn’t it? It is indeed. Only if it wasn’t stressed too much! Learning English at school means learning written English. Let’s be honest – how much of all the time spent in the English class we were taught to speak the language? I’m afraid – not too much. Teachers have to devote attention to all the students, have to explain grammar rules, new words and have to tell what new beautiful learning methods have come out recently…and as a result our English language develops as almost pure written language – and we can write well, don’t we? We form nice, correct sentences and we have all the time in the world to think of what words to use, in what order and what grammar rules apply in the particular case. And when it comes to the speaking part in the exam, or class practice we speak slowly and create nice English sentences in our head! OK, not all of the students are the same but I’m addressing us folks, the ones that share this issue of wave-like occurring lack of English speaking skills. So – in other words – no one teaches us to really SPEAK English! :shock: No one even mentions about how the very language is formed in our brain - native English speakers use blocks of words as they speak rather than linking seperate words together! Now try to analyze the processes in your head when you speak English. If your speech is unhindered at this moment and you can speak fluently – everything is fine. The words just flow out of your mouth just as the thoughts appear in you mind and you even don’t notice the very existence of thoughts. You just speak. Wonderful! If we always could perform like this… But now let’s see what’s happening in our head when the English speech issue takes place. You try to speak but the words get mixed up, the grammar is a mess, and the thoughts don’t flow naturally. Well – this is your mind gone into the translation mode! Sometimes you have some odd English words trying to push themselves into the wrong places, sometimes it’s your own language – you speak English, but some pieces of your native tongue’s thoughts just wouldn’t leave you. In the worst case scenario your mind switches to a mode of preparing the speech even before you speak it out! This one is really bad because it’s the hardest to fight with. Once I had this kind of an issue and couldn’t get rid of it for days – no matter how I tried to speak I had the second mind in my head working on its own and making the sentences up a moment before I spoke the very words. It feels as if you have two minds indeed. Imagine how the head feels like to work at a double of its capacity! Some of these symptoms have much in common; some are unique – like preparing the speech before the actual conversation. Anyway, the actual cause is the same - this is all because we’ve been taught to think in our language and even now when you can speak fluent English the reflex just wouldn't give up! To put is simply – the English language we use is mostly acquired by studies in the classroom, or by writing, memorizing, reading…in other words – doing everything but learning the language the natural way – like children do, for example. When I moved to an English speaking country my daughters were four. They started attending the school and soon enough they had picked up the basics of the colloquial English. Did they keep a dictionary, or jotted down grammar rules to memorize? No – all they did was – they chatted with the teacher and the classmates and the English language settled itself in their brain as a separate language – not as a translation version of their native language! :idea: I know this feeling very well – I speak another foreign language - Russian. I learnt it while being a little child and it has settled in my brain naturally. And the most funny thing – although my Russian vocabulary is actually smaller than the English one, I never experience a similar issue while speaking Russian. Even despite the fact that I haven’t actively spoken in this language for years. Even when I struggle for a word there are never some stupid thoughts nor words in Russian messing in my head – and as a result – I don’t experience this issue. But don’t despair – we’ll sort everything out and take the control of the language – just keep on reading and soon you’ll see what this is all about! ;-) Another really worrying indication of wrong English studies manifests itself the following way. Quite often I would imagine the word as it is written at the moment of speech. And why? I guess it’s because I used to keep a dictionary and repeat the words every now and then and memorize them as they stand in it. And what happens now is – instead of associating the word with abstract thought my mind just looks it up from my dictionary notebook. In other words – you can’t just speak out that word straight away; you have to spend a split moment to translate its meaning from your native language. :evil: This is less likely going to happen when the vocabulary is built not memorizing separate words but in real conversations – the very abstract meaning settles in your brain and there’s no need for your mind to look for something in the entries of your virtual vocabulary. But this all is especially visible at school English lessons – we all tend to think that writing down words and mechanically memorizing them will make our language better and more fluent. So wrong, it is all so wrong! :!: A language consists of thoughts, of phrases. Learning words and sticking them together is not going to make your English fluent! It’s all about the translation – if you try to use separate words as links to build the chain – sentence – you will use your native tongue in your mind. But you’ve got to think the language to speak it! OK – now we’re grown ups, we can speak very well and all the previously mentioned stuff shouldn’t present any problems…Still sometimes it does! So, how to fight this reflex and move permanently into a state of confident English? Is this issue purely based on anxiety and can you by calming down resolve it? My experience has taught me quite a different thing. I would sometimes experience incredible drops in the ability to communicate without the slightest touch of worrying or anxiety whatsoever! Well, I think you now got the main point – we have to eradicate the subconscious habit of translating from our native tongue into English! :idea: Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!