If Someone Keeps Asking “Do You Understand Me?” – You May Indeed Run Into Fluency Issues!
In today’s video I’m discussing a particular experience I had with my plumber recently. So, here’s the setup. I’m a foreign English speaker having some issues with my heating system at home. I’m ringing the company who delivered my stove to come over and inspect the heating system. A native English speaking plumber arrives the next day and we’re having a conversation about the issues I’m having. As you know, I’m a fluent English speaker (no bragging – I’m merely stating a fact!), so you’d think there would be no problems with getting the message across and being understood by a native English speaker, right? Well, that’s right – everything I was saying, the plumber understood perfectly! The main problem of the communication, however, was him saying at the end of each sentence: DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME? :mad: (more…)
Do I Speak at the Same Speed in Real Life as in My Videos & How to Maintain Optimal Speed of Speech
Funny English Phrases: Death & Dying Related English Idioms
You Won’t Fool a Native English Speaker During a Job Interview So Better Stop Trying!
On certain occasions when you think native English speakers will spot every single one of your mistakes, it’s not really the case for the simple reason that people don’t always pay the utmost amount of attention to what you’re saying. Yes, you may be having a conversation with a native English speaker so you think they’re listening to every single word you’re saying while in reality they may be dwelling upon their own problems and they’re not 100% focused on what you’re saying. If that’s the case, there’s simply no reason for you to be too worked up about your mistakes and other English speech imperfections and you may as well just allow yourself to experiment and improvise during a live speech because there’s nothing really at stake. When you have a very important conversation with a native English speaker, on the other hand, there’s also no point in trying to outperform yourself and sound a whole lot more fluent than you are. When a native English speaker is 100% focused on what you’re saying which would be the case during a job interview, for example, you won’t fool them into believing your English is much, much better just because you’re trying really hard to sound as if you’re speaking just like a native English speaker. Yes, there are certain techniques and methods you can employ in order to sound better during a very stressful conversation such as: Speak in short sentences Focus on what you can say instead of what you can’t Plan your answer instead of jumping right into answering the question The point I’ll be making during this article, however, is the following: As hard as you may try, you won’t fool a native English speaking job interviewer into believing you’re a native English speaker! You’re much better off FOCUSING on talking about your professional background and previous job experience! (more…)
Speaking in English is Like FIGHTING (Trick to Overcome Perfectionism)!
Have you ever noticed that when you study English on your own, you tend to make fewer mistakes and you can speak much clearer and more eloquently than if you speak with another person? Well, it mightn’t necessarily be the case – after all, there are some people who bring out the best in you as a foreign English speaker - but I’m sure that it has happened to you on more than just one occasion that you struggle a bit to get the verbal message across to the other person. And guess what I realized one day? It’s pretty much like fighting a real life fight if you’re a martial arts practitioner or a boxer! (more…)
I Got Stuck for Words in My Native Language – So Why Is It a Big Deal in English?
How to Speak During a Job Interview If You’re a Non-Native English Speaker
The truth of the matter is that most foreign English speakers want to improve their English in order to improve their chances of getting a better job or getting that long-wanted promotion in their current company. So, the chances are quite high that you also cherish such dreams of improving the quality of your professional life, and I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that you’d like to be prepared really, really well when going for your job interview! Also, if you’re competing against native English speakers for the position, you may want to make sure you don’t expose your weaknesses in terms of your overall English skills, and most importantly – you definitely want to make sure you’re able to showcase your personal profile, relevant qualifications and past experience without any hiccups during the job interview. Now, do you think you don’t stand a chance of getting that job you desire if: You sometimes get stuck for words when speaking in English; Using the right English tenses during a conversation sometimes presents problems for you; You don’t know how to sound professional during important events such as job interviews and meetings? Don’t worry! In this and the next few articles dedicated to job seeking for non-native English speakers I’m going to provide killer tips for you that will see to your job seeking goals and make sure you put on a great show during the job interview! ;-) (more…)
English Idiom: “Steer Clear”
Prepare for Important English Conversations by Speaking With Yourself!
Hello YearOfEnglish.com subscribers! Have you got an important event coming up any time soon such as: Job interview College presentation Meeting at work… … and you’re stressing out over your ability to deliver during that event in terms of your spoken English? Well, my years long experience dealing with various English fluency related matters tells me that by far the most effective way to prepare for such and similar events is by doing some spoken English practice with yourself! The plan is quite simple (the more complicated you make it to be, the smaller the chance you’ll take the action, so keep things simple to make sure you don’t get too overwhelmed!): Make a simple list of things to be discussed during the conversation; Plan your answers by writing them down on a piece of paper; HIGHLIGHT the key phrases and words; Learn those key phrases off by heart so that you can deliver them AUTOMATICALLY throughout the interview, presentation or a meeting! Here’s an example of a typical work-related meeting: (more…)
You Don’t Have to Learn the EXACT Meaning of New English Words!
Collocation “Scour the Web” & Why the Word “Scour” on its Own is Useless!
How to Speak MORE Fluently Than a Native English Speaker (Yes, It’s POSSIBLE!)
Hello my foreign-speaking friends and English learners and improvers from all over the world! Does the headline sound too ambitious and you think this time around I’ve definitely gone overboard with my hyped-up promises? You may think – “Well, it’s conceivable to develop one’s English fluency to a degree when one speaks quite similar to a native English speaker, but to speak even MORE fluently than a native speaker… It’s definitely not possible!” At first glance the above statement seems valid, and a couple of years ago I would have also been quite skeptical about anybody’s claims that it’s possible for a foreign English speaker to achieve more-than-native level of fluency. I mean – how is it even remotely possible to speak MORE fluently than a native English speaker if it’s their level of fluency that actually determines the standards? It’s the same way it’s technically not possible to do something at 110%, isn’t it? When you’ve done EVERYTHING there is to do, you’ve accomplished 100% of the job, and the very same way if you’ve developed your English fluency to the very highest standards, the best you could hope for is to speak JUST LIKE a native English speaker. Well… Assuming the native English speaker ALWAYS speaks at a 100% of his or her ability! And this is the key, my friend. Not even a native English speaker’s fluency is hitting 100% at all times. Even a native English speaker has bad fluency days. Even a native English speaker WILL struggle to get the message across on certain occasions – especially when they’re not familiar with the subject. That’s the perfect opportunity for you to surpass their level of fluency when speaking about something you know A LOT ABOUT, and here’s EXACTLY how it’s done: (more…)
Funny English Phrases: Discussing Relationships
Are you YearOfEnglish.com member? If not – you still have a chance to subscribe to that website HERE and receive various English fluency improvement related information tips in your e-mail till the end of this year! If yes – you’re welcome to watch the funny English phrase video above I’ve prepared for you! This time around I've stuffed the video full with phrases that might come in handy when you discuss your relationship with a friend of yours. Yes, I know it’s not good to talk about people behind their back – especially if the person in question is your partner, girlfriend or spouse. Still, it’s one of the things people do when they’ve had a bad day at home and they want to unwind – they meet up with their friends and share those experiences with them… After all – what are friends meant for?! :grin: (more…)
Is It Easy to Switch Between Your Native Language and English?
Are You Being Judged or Even Discriminated Against Because of Your English?!
Tonight I received an e-mail from a blog reader of mine and he painted a pretty dire picture on discrimination on the grounds of lack of English fluency. This particular e-mail illustrates situation in India where a lot of college students speak fluent English and those who don't are experiencing an awful lot of pressure to catch up with the rest, but I’m guessing the same kind of an attitude is faced by non-native English speakers all around the world 24 hours 7 days a week! The heck – even I’ve been sometimes treated as a less intelligent human being because of my poor English skills, so why should I be so shocked and appalled at this kind of a thing going on? Simply because I’ve forgotten how bad it feels when you’re treated like that! :mad: Now that I’ve achieved a certain degree of fluency in the English language I don’t really have first-hand experiences of discrimination on the grounds of lack of English skills, but there was a time in my life when I was getting such an attitude on a daily basis: (more…)
Your English Teacher’s Expertise Means Little When It Comes To YOUR Ability To Speak!
English Idiomatic Expression: “Largely Due to The Fact”
Hello all English learners out there! :-) If you’re a hard-working English learner, you have acquired good English speaking, writing and reading skills LARGELY DUE TO THE FACT that you’ve put long hours and dedication into the process. If all you’re doing in order to improve your English is checking some news articles in English every now and then, you’re in a poor English fluency state and it’s LARGELY DUE TO THE FACT that you haven’t been making any real effort in terms of English improvement. As you can clearly see from the paragraphs above, today’s English idiomatic expression is LARGELY DUE TO THE FACT, and it’s a very handy phrase for situations when you want to sound smart and intelligent. (more…)
12 English Phrases Meaning Something Completely DIFFERENT to What You Might Think They Mean!
English Idiomatic Expression: “We’ll Take It From There!”
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…)
“Can’t Improve English Because I Live in Non-English Speaking Country…” is Often Just an EXCUSE!
I’ve been living in an English speaking country for more than 11 years, and I’ve been speaking fluent English for more than 6 out of those 11 years. It took me 5 years to achieve fluency, and looking back at it now I can clearly see what I was doing wrong and was I was doing right to realize my dream. Did I become a fluent English speaker because of constantly speaking with others? Nope. I’ve always been working on my English without any need for others. Did I achieve English fluency by virtue of residence in an English speaking country? Nope. I’d been constantly learning the English language way before the idea of emigration was even conceived! Was moving to an English speaking country the single biggest reason why I was able to improve my English to a level where I’m very comfortable with my own speech? Yes, but not for the reasons you may think. It didn’t happen because I found myself in an English speaking society, and that would somehow magically result in me picking up the English language. The heck, there are a lot of foreigners living down here who spend all their time in their own language bubble and don’t even try to improve their English! (more…)
3 Similarities Between Speaking in English And Driving a Car
You Have to SUCK at Spoken English Fluency in Order to SUCCEED!
You know what I think was one of the crucial factors determining my personal English fluency development? BEING SUCKER AT IT for a long time. How come? Well, it’s fairly simple and straightforward: I struggled with my English fluency and it made me really DRIVEN to succeed; I worked the HARDER to achieve my goal of fluent English; As a result, I ACCELERATED my spoken English improvement and made real gains in the ability to communicate in English properly :!: So all the while I was being really unhappy about my limited ability to speak without interruptions and hesitations, in reality all that struggling made me into a FASTER and more EFFICIENT English learner. If I had the power to change the past and learn English the proper way without too much focus on writing and reading, would I do it? Yes, without a shadow of a doubt! Do I regret my past with all its fluency issue related trials and tribulations? NO! :grin: As I already said, I believe that all this struggling with my fluency provided me with even MORE motivation and hunger to achieve a complete spoken English fluency one day! And here’s what’s in it for you, my fellow foreign English speakers. (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression “This Time Around”
7 English Words & Phrases I Thought Were Wrong (But Then It Turned Out I WAS WRONG)!
Back in the day when I was a perfectionist regarding the English language, I thought that English grammar rules are set in stone and I used to question and analyze every new English word or expression I came across. It’s no wonder therefore that I thought idiomatic expressions such as “Long time no see! ” were grammatically incorrect while in reality nothing could be further from the truth! You see – some things we say in English aren’t subject to any rules, we JUST SAY THEM and if you start questioning them, you can only make matters worse by confusing yourself to a degree you can’t even speak fluently. Being the perfectionist that I was, I would always take the academic approach and try and put some sort of a structure on everything I would read or hear in English; if something didn’t make sense to me, I would label it as being WRONG. Needless to say, my ability to speak was next to none back then for the simple reason that my textbook-based English was only good for doing grammar tests and constructing grammatically correct sentences on a piece of paper. Whenever I tried to speak with real people in real life, I would apply the same analysis as when writing and doing grammar tests, but the simple truth is that you just can’t speak fluently when you’re constantly questioning yourself and your conversation partner. On top of that, I was fairly stubborn as well, and I just wouldn’t take other people’s advice on board because I was so self-absorbed that I thought I knew everything best! :grin: (more…)
Great Topic for Spoken English Self-Practice: Daily Events & Planning Next Day!
You Have to EAT Well to SPEAK in English Well!
English Idiomatic Expression “Under the Impression”
Have you ever been under the impression that the entire world has literally conspired against you and everybody finds something bad in what you’re doing? Is your team leader at work under the impression that your colleagues do most of the work while in reality it’s you who gets most problems solved? And does it ever occur to you that even though most people are under the impression that governments and politicians are almost inherently bad and evil, in fact they’re doing a really tough job and they work much harder than the average Joe? (more…)
I’m Addicted to Spoken English Practice… HELP ME!
I’m desperate. :mad: I don’t know what to do. I’m a serious addict and I just can’t seem to be able to stop the terrible habit no matter how hard I try… :sad: Want to know what it is? It’s SPEAKING IN ENGLISH WITH MYSELF. There – I said it. I know, I know, it’s crazy, it’s pathetic, and you’ll probably think I’ve totally lost my mind by coming out with this announcement in public, but I have no choice but to share it with you, my friends - simply because I can’t take it any longer!!! I’ve tried different things in order to break this habit of constant spoken English self-practice. I’ve been reading a lot of English fiction just to prevent myself from speaking, but it didn’t work! Every time I’ve done some reading, I found myself discussing its contents with myself a short time later, and I seemingly don’t have any control over it… I’ve tried watching a lot of TV in English - different TV dramas, educational programs – you name it! And guess what? I always end up doing the same thing – speaking about what I’ve seen, and I’ve also started mimicking actors and narrators in order to learn to speak in English with American and British pronunciation – how crazy is that?! I mean – why can’t I just enjoy a lot of passive English content just like most foreign English speakers do, and be OK with that? (more…)
English Collocation: “Sparked Heated Debates”
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
SHOCKING: Drinking Impedes Your Ability to Speak Fluent English!
Actually I don’t think that the effects of alcohol on your ability to speak in English fluently is any more shocking than the fact that drinking affects pretty much any area of your physical performance. Driving. Walking in a straight line. Picking something off the floor (and missing the item by an inch because you have an impaired ability to judge the distance between your hands and other objects…) Basically when you have a couple of drinks in you, your ability to perform physical tasks starts declining, I guess everyone will agree on that with me! “But surely my ability to socialize with other English speaking people should improve when I’ve had a couple of drinks!” – you may say. “In most social situations I’m on the shy side, so especially considering that I have problems with confidence when speaking in English, wouldn’t it actually make sense to be slightly intoxicated so that I’d get rid of any emotional hindrances preventing me from communicating with others in English freely?!” – probably this is what you’re thinking right now. Well… I don’t know about you, but here are my experiences with consuming alcohol and trying to speak in English: (more…)