10 Classic Novels for Students of English as a Foreign Language
Useful Sophisticated English Words & Phrases (Updated 12.04.2017)
When I arrived in Ireland 15 years ago, I went onto a mission of learning English vocabulary because I thought it was going to help me overcome my fluency issues. As a result, I acquired hundreds upon hundreds long English vocabulary lists also containing plenty of words that even native English speakers don’t use and they simply didn’t have a clue what they meant when I tried using them in real life! I like to call such English vocabulary “sophisticated”, and I’ve also written extensively on this topic on my blog, here’s a couple of articles: Don’t Learn Some Obscure English Words that Even Native Speakers DON’T KNOW! Simple vs Sophisticated Vocabulary? It’s All Just Semantics (Interpretation)! Now I know better than to learn English words that no-body uses in day-to-day communication; I’d rather use to learn the vocabulary I already know in DIFFERENT WAYS thus enabling me to speak about virtually any topic. Sometimes, however, knowing how to use certain sophisticated English words comes in handy and as it was pointed out by one of my YouTube commentators, some English tests and exams may include such vocabulary. So, without further ado, let’s learn some useful English expressions containing words that you may not have heard before – or maybe you’ve heard them a few times and wondered what they actually mean. Needless to say, it’s strongly advised you acquire this sophisticated vocabulary by learning the entire word combination thus ensuring you’ll be able to USE the word in question! (Read this article to understand what exactly I’m talking about here) (more…)
5 Memory Improvement Tips for Language Learners
As technology advanced and civilizations were allowed to record and externalize information, the art of memory lost its power. Many people complain that they have bad memory, forgetting that this amazing feature of the human brain can be trained. And the training is critical for language learners who need to memorize plenty of information regarding the grammar, syntax, or vocabulary of the language they're learning. Here are 5 smart memory improvement tips to help you in learning a new language! Take advantage of mnemonics The word “mnemonics” derives from Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory. A mnemonic is basically any device that helps to memorize a piece of information – for example, a verse or a formula. Memory isn't about repeating a fact until it's rammed into your brain. It relies on imagination. Learning and memory are both creative processes. When memorizing new pieces of information, you form connections between disparate acts to create something new. Make sure that the image you create stands out, that's how you'll remember it for the years to come. (more…)
It’s Normal to Forget English Phrases, Expressions and Collocations!
Forget About “Words of the Day” – Learn How to Use Known Words in a New Way!
Here’s how to improve your spoken English when reading this article: read it out loud, then read out loud the collocations highlighted in red 10 times each to memorize them, then look away from the monitor and try and say 3 sample sentences for each of those collocations! For best results record your speech so that you can go back, spot any mistakes you might have made, and then do some more spoken English practice by correcting yourself! I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of the “word of the day”, right? Every dictionary website on the Net has such words featured as a way of encouraging English learners worldwide to acquire new English vocabulary. Well, on the surface it looks like a great idea, and you may be under the impression that the more English vocabulary you know, the more fluent you’re going to be, so you’re singing up for such words being delivered to your inbox every day and you’re feeling like you’re really contributing to your English skills. In reality veteran English learners like myself will tell you right off the bat that learning new vocabulary words alone isn’t going to cut it. You’ll be just stuffing your brain full of some obscure English words with little to no opportunity of using them! Let me illustrate my point by doing a quick Google search for the term “word of the day”. Here’s what words are coming up: Pulchritude Biophilia Castellated There’s only one thing I can say – WTF?!? When, tell me when are you going to use such words? WHEN?!? NEVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!!! Such vocabulary building serves no practical purpose whatsoever – unless, of course, you’re doing it so that you can annoy everyone around you by saying things nobody has a clue about! (more…)
How to Develop Your Ability to GUESS New English Word Meanings
Differences Between Your Active and Passive English Vocabulary
You must have heard the terms ACTIVE and PASSIVE English vocabulary, right? Chances are, however, that you’re not entirely sure what exactly these terms represent! I decided to draw up a simple algorithm based on which you’ll be easily able to determine whether a specific word or term is part of your ACTIVE or PASSIVE English vocabulary! So, just pick a random English word and answer the questions below – I’m absolutely certain that you’ll have a pretty clear picture of what ACTIVE or PASSIVE means in terms of English vocabulary when you’re finished with this :!: So, have you a better idea now what ACTIVE and PASSIVE English vocabularies represent? Let me just recap it here for you so that you can rest assured you got it right! (more…)
How to Learn English Synonyms and Antonyms Effectively
Spent Years Learning English Words from Newspapers… Then Burned It All to Ashes!
Passive English Immersion is Good for Keeping Your Vocab Refreshed
= Video Transcript Below = Hi guys and hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! It's me, Robby from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video I'm going to be telling you why exactly reading in English, listening to the radio in English and watching TV in English – basically I'm going to telling you why all that is important. Why it's necessary to expose yourself to the English language. And contrary to most people's expectations it's not important because it kind of makes you soak up all that knowledge, right? But it's quite the opposite. It's important because you can refresh your vocabulary, your vocabulary that you've already learned by way of spoken English practice. (more…)
Seeing Forgotten English Words the Next Day & the “Gut Feeling”
- Video Transcript Below - Hi guys and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! Or, in case you can't actually watch this YouTube video, welcome back to my podcast! Right? Because as a matter of fact, I'm publishing every single video in two formats. One as a traditional video format which gets uploaded onto YouTube, and the other one is the audio file, mp3 file which gets uploaded onto the server and it's accessible on my website. I post it right above the video or, alternatively, you can actually access all those podcasts on iTunes or the other website is called Stitcher. Alright? But anyhow, today's topic is vocabulary, right? And I'm just going to tell you a few things that happened to me within the last few days, right, in terms of vocabulary acquisition and actually remembering words that you, kind of, know but you might've forgotten them, right? (more…)
Creating English Sentences Using New Words? Waste of Time!
Why You Forget English Words and How to Avoid It
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! ;-) (more…)
Don’t Judge Other People’s English Because of Lack of Vocabulary
Learn Only ONE Way of Using New English Vocabulary Words at Any Given Time!
In this English Harmony video I’m going to respond to Meenu’s comment in which she explains her problem in relation to learning new English vocabulary words. You can see the full exchange below: I’m taking the liberty to elaborate on the whole issue in the video above, and I hope you’ll find it helpful, Meenu! ;-) So, if you’re having similar issues with learning new English vocabulary: (more…)
Contextual English Vocab Building: Using TheFreedictionary.com the SMART Way!
Sometimes It Makes More Sense to Acquire English Vocab as Part of Figurative Speech
You Don’t Have to Learn the EXACT Meaning of New English Words!
It’s hard to eradicate habits picked up over years upon years spent studying English in a traditional setting – textbooks, translation, plenty of grammar studies – you know the drill! One of the most lasting effects of such English studies is the desire to figure out what EXACTLY a new English word means. Let’s say, for example, you’re listening to a radio news broadcast and they’re saying that the death toll has reached two hundred people following a massive volcano eruption on some distant Pacific island (this is totally fictional, my friend, so don’t go looking up news online about a recent volcano eruption – you won’t find anything!) So, the overall message is quite clear – two hundred people have lost their lives, and while you mightn’t know the word TOLL, the context reveals its meaning in an indirect way. Here’s what should be going on in your head as you hear the sentence “…volcano … death toll reached 200…”: VOLCANO + DEATH + 200 PEOPLE = simply means 200 people have lost their lives. It shouldn’t be like this: VOLCANO + DEATH + TOLL … what the heck is TOLL? Will anyone help me out with this one, please? Tell me what is TOLL, I need to know what it is!!! Here’s what I believe. I strongly believe that any foreign English speaker behaving like this knows deep down inside what the word in question MIGHT mean, and they also get the overall message. They simply like asking questions because it’s encouraged in a school setting, and this kind of behaviour carries on into the adult life making those folks question everything and anything that isn’t 100% understandable and clear-set. Are you one of those folks? Then keep reading this article and hopefully we’ll be able to deal with this problem once and for all! (more…)
New English DIY Terms I Learned This Summer While Redecorating My New House
To tell you the truth, my friends, this has been the busiest summer I’ve ever had in my life so far! I’ve been spending days in my 9 to 5 job, and my evenings and weekends were spent on redecorating my new house. And I’ve got to tell you – it was one hell of a job! Even though professionals got hired to do most of the heavy lifting, there was still a lot for me to do. And don’t get me wrong; the job isn’t anywhere near finished. Right now I’m sitting in my office staring out the window with no curtains and running my laptop on a battery because the socket hasn’t been connected to the mains yet! Anyhow, throughout all the stress and hardship I had to go through while dealing with the plumber, electrician, window repair men and a bunch of other folks, I’ve learned a thing or two about DIY and related stuff. Here’s a list of new English DIY related phrases and terms I’ve learned this summer while redecorating my house, and who knows – maybe you’ll find some of them handy when engaged in similar activities! (more…)
YearOfEnglish.com: Create a Habit of Thinking of How Certain Things Might be Called in English!
Video for YearOfEnglish.com subscribers: Learn English Vocabulary That’s Relevant for YOUR Life!
Hello guys from YearOfEnglish.com and also anybody else having dropped by my blog :!: In today’s video I’m touching upon the subject of vocabulary building, and needless to say it’s all within the context of spoken English self-practice. Why? Simple enough – if you’re serious about your ability to SPEAK, you have to speak, and speaking with yourself is by far the best tool available to ANY foreign English speaker ANYWHERE on this planet! Speaking of vocabulary building, here’s a synopsis of the video above: Engage in spoken English self-practice and write down things (using English ONLY!) you can’t say; Go online and find those new English words you were struggling for; Memorize those words WITHIN CONTEXT – put them in sample sentences and use Google to see how this or that particular word is used; Do more spoken English self-practice sessions and make sure to use your newly acquired vocab! The video above, however, contains more info that just that, so please make sure to watch it if you’ve got 10 spare minutes – you’ll thank yourself for it later on! ;-) Thanks for tuning in, Robby P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!
Rapid English Vocab Building in 3 Easy Steps!
Don’t Learn Some Obscure English Words that Even Native Speakers DON’T KNOW!
If you’re obsessed with building a MASSIVE English vocabulary (just like I was all those years ago!), you might have fallen for the trap of learning some pretty sophisticated English words taken from English fiction you might be reading, or from any other source of information. Now, while there’s nothing wrong with learning such vocabulary words for as long as you acquire them contextually, there’s another aspect to contributing vast amount of time and effort into the process – namely, USEFULNESS. You simply have to ask yourself the following question: Is this particular English word going to come in handy in my everyday life? More often than not, little known words just aren’t used in daily English conversations; just because they’re used by authors in order to illustrate this or that particular concept in the very depth in their pieces of literature, doesn’t mean they’re used in colloquial English (which is the main focus of us – foreigners who aspire to become fluent English speakers!) Let’s take, for example, a couple of words so that you get the full picture on what exactly I’m talking about here (I’m heading straight to Dictionary.com website to pick some recent “words of the day”): (more…)
New English Vocabulary Word Phenomenon
Why It’s VERY Important to Speak Out LOUD When Learning New English Vocabulary Words!
“What Are the Most Commonly Used English Words?” is the Wrong Question!
Many of my fellow foreigners arrive to my blog while searching for the most commonly used English words, and there’s a good chance that you may be one of them! ‘The top 100 most commonly used English words’, ‘top 500 English words’, ‘English word frequency lists’ – such and similar keywords are used by thousands of foreign English speakers eager to improve their English fluency. But are these English word lists any good? Do they offer good value in terms of improving one’s ability to speak fluently? Frankly speaking, such frequency lists don’t provide a lot of practical value – if any! Why? Fair enough – give me a few moments and I’ll show you exactly why! ;-) (more…)
Simple vs Sophisticated Vocabulary? It’s All Just Semantics (Interpretation)!
Have you ever caught yourself thinking that your English vocabulary needs to be spruced up because it’s too simplistic? Have you recently sat an English exam and you’re dreading a bad spoken test result because you feel you didn’t use enough of fancy vocabulary when answering questions? Do you honestly believe people will judge your English speech based on your choice of words so you’re trying to go for less-known vocabulary when speaking in English with others? Then you may want to give it a second thought because in reality there’s no such thing as simple and advanced vocabulary :!: Everything is a matter of perspective, and while everyone would agree that, for example, a word ‘doglike’ is a much simpler version of ‘canine’, there’s no real reason for that sentiment other than the fact that ‘canine’ isn’t used that often in everyday conversations. So is that all there is to it? Are English words ‘made-up’, ‘exciting’ and a sentence ‘It makes me feel so free’ ranking much lower on the alleged vocabulary importance scale than their counterparts ‘fictitious’, ‘exhilarating’ and ‘It’s a liberating experience’ just because you’d find them in the first year’s English textbook? Or are there more dimensions to this whole simple vs sophisticated English vocabulary discussion? Read the rest of this article to find it out, and also join the discussion in the comments below! ;-) Alternatively, you may want to check out this list of sophisticated practical English phrases you can use in your daily life! (more…)
How to Decide What New English Words to Learn?
English Vocabulary Building – Part 3
Vocabulary Building Part 1 | Vocabulary Building Part 2 How are you getting on, foreign English speaker? Have you heeded to my advice from the previous videos? I hope you have because if you’re still experiencing difficulties with speaking English fluently, you have to take action. Just by standing by and hoping the things will improve achieves nothing, so today I’ll be telling you about the third aspect of building your English vocabulary. And it’s about not learning many meanings of the same word at once – believe me, if you do it, the chances of memorizing and using that particular word are slim indeed! ;-) I can tell you from my own experience that if you write down a new English word in your dictionary that has a number of different meanings; it’s a very bad idea to try memorizing them all at once. And taking into account that most of English words do have a number of meanings, you might be very tempted to learn a few of them at once assuming that this way you’ll increase your learning curve. But it just doesn’t work that way, and here’s why. (more…)
English Vocabulary Building – Part 2
Building English Vocabulary – Part 1
Vocabulary Building Part 2 | Vocabulary Building Part 3 Are you considering building up your English vocabulary? Well, it’s time to get started boys and girls! Let’s take out our English dictionaries and write down the new English word that you’ve just heard for the first time. It can also happen that you’ve already heard the word a few times and been wondering since what it actually means. In either case, you just put it down in your dictionary followed by a translation in your language. Now you can repeat the word a few times till it settles in your memory. Nice! Another word added to your English vocabulary! Another surefire way to build your English vocabulary is using flashcards. Just carry them with you and whenever you get a chance – memorize and repeat new English words. Sure your spoken English will improve in no time! Well, not really... It took me years and more than 7000 English words memorized using the techniques mentioned above to realize it’s making very little difference to my English speech. I had grown my vocabulary a great deal, no doubt about that. I new all those English words, I could understand them whenever they were used by others, and I could enjoy understanding the English language fully. Watching films, reading fiction, listening radio shows and news – and all that in English. Not bad, is it? (more…)