Don’t Use Subtitles in Your Native Language!

- Video Transcript Below - Hi Guys! Hello boys and girls! Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog or, alternatively, if you're not watching this as video, but if you're listening to his as an audio, welcome back to English Harmony podcast for those of you who can't access YouTube video content, right? To the best of my knowledge, China is pretty much the only country where people aren't allowed to access certain YouTube channels, or something like that, but there might be more countries on the list which I'm not really aware of because I've only received requests from Chinese people to start the English Harmony podcast version, which would be just audio instead of video content, right And that's the reason why I actually started recording the audio files. Well, not really recording - I simply convert all my videos into audios, right? That's how it happens. You can find them on top of every video blog post that I publish on my blog. Anyway, today's subject is should you - that's a question, right? Posed, actually, to me by one of blog readers, should - well, he didn't actually pose the question this exact way; he was actually asking me. If I'm not mistaken, that person was 'him', it was male, right? A man. And he was asking me a question about finding English videos, right? And he said that he's finding it hard to find videos with subtitles in his native language and then that question poses another counter-question: should you actually be looking for videos with subtitles in your native language? (more…)

Want to Improve Your English? Stop Watching TV in Your Language!

Watching TV alone won’t help you to speak fluent English. Yet if you spend most of your time wrapped up in your native language bubble watching TV in your language, you’ll deprive yourself of so much needed passive exposure to the English language which will help you to integrate into the society! To be honest with you, I don’t understand my fellow Latvians and other foreigners living in Ireland who only watch films dubbed in their native languages and opt for different online based solutions to enjoy TV channels from their home countries. You can accuse me of not being a patriot of my nation, but I think it’s plain silly to move to an English speaking country without making any conscious effort of fitting into the local society. Watching TV makes up a big part of our daily lives these days, and if you watch English TV shows and programs and enjoy latest movies in English, over years you’ll absorb an awful lot of new English vocabulary and expressions which will allow you to understand English spoken around you. You’ll also be able to: discuss popular TV programs with your English speaking friends and work colleagues; improve  your spoken English by using new phraseology in your daily conversations; develop a sense of belonging among the locals. You don’t have to deny your national background. It’s something no-one will ever take away from you, and personally I spend loads of time with my family, friends and relatives speaking in Latvian and I keep up-to-date with the latest developments in my home country by checking news online etc. Once you’ve made the decision to move to an English speaking country, however, I think it’s only common sense that you keep an open mind, make some effort to fit into the local society, and use the English language as means of achieving it! (more…)

Accelerated American Slang Learning: Watching all 7 Seasons of Desperate Housewives in Less than 3 Months

Can you improve your English JUST by watching TV programs? Yes, sure. You can learn a great deal of new English words and expressions thanks to visual associations created when you see a scene on the screen and hear a certain phrase or expression. Also, it’s much easier to understand meanings of new English words if you see all the action unfold before your eyes. Can you make a CONSIDERABLE difference in your English fluency by watching TV shows in English? Yes, but it will require some effort because by listening alone you’ll mostly develop your passive vocabulary. Your active vocabulary – the one you use when speaking – is developed when you USE those new English phrases and expressions in your own conversations. So, while I was watching the Desperate Housewives box-set I got my wife for Christmas, I did all the following: I shadowed the characters with the subtitles turned on; I took notes of new English phrases and American slang expressions; I purposefully used those new expressions in my English conversations at work and also when practicing spoken English with myself. It all started quite innocently. I didn’t mean to spend the whole month of January, February and a week in March glued to the screen watching a TV soap loved mostly by members of the opposite sex. I simply watched one episode of Desperate Housewives with my family during last Christmas Holidays – I guess, I just wanted to see what all the fuss is about! And that, my dear friends foreign English speakers, was it… I was literally sucked into it! I couldn’t have imagined that Desperate Housewives was so intriguing and interesting! Illicit affairs, murders, scheming and dark secrets – and it all wrapped up as a comedy. Awesome! So, what I learned while watching around 160 episodes of Desperate Housewives within a matter of 10 weeks? I learned loads of American slang expressions, new vocabulary, phrasal verbs and idiomatic expressions – and that’s not all :!: I also tried to speak like an American while shadowing the actors and I realized that I’m not too bad at speaking with an American accent! Here’s just a few of the idiomatic expressions and American slang phrases I added on to my active English vocabulary: (more…)

6 Reasons Why Mythbusters is the Best TV Program for Improving Your Spoken English

Is It Possible To Improve Your Spoken English By Watching TV?

Today’s topic – is it possible to improve your spoken English by watching TV. If I had to give you a simple answer, it would be yes and no. Confused? Well, let’s delve into this matter and have a look at different aspects of how watching TV might help you with your spoken English! So first of all, for any English improving effort to have a significant impact on your spoken English you need to speak, full stop. You can’t just sit back and turn the box on, listen to English used in the film or a TV show and then expect that language to be automatically added to your active vocabulary. Sorry guys, but it just doesn’t happen that way! :-( I can already hear someone say – shut up Robby, that’s not right, I can definitely remember myself hearing a phrase on the TV and I instantly memorized it. I’ve also used it many times in actual English conversations so there you go – you can actually watch TV and add on more phrases and new words to your vocabulary! All right, let me ask you something then. How many phrases you can think of that you’ve picked up from watching telly during the last, say, couple of months? Five? Ten? Fifteen? Fair enough, but then you definitely have to agree that it’s nowhere near to be called an efficient way of improving your spoken English! (more…)