Improve Your English Fluency Naturally & Speak Like a Native Speaker!
From: Robby Kukurs, Author of the English Harmony System My Fellow Foreign English Speaker! Millions of us - foreign English speakers - can read, write and understand English very well, yet when it comes to spoken English fluency, things are not looking that good. Traditional English education focuses on teaching English though our native language thus facilitating translation process as we speak; however, have you ever been told that natural English fluency is impossible unless you eliminate translation? The English language has loads of unique collocations, idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs and if you want to sound like a native English speaker you simply need to learn to speak using these means of expression! Same goes with studying English grammar. Many of us, foreigners, are led to believe that we’ll achieve English fluency if we study English grammar hard. It’s nonsense! Wake up from the English grammar Matrix! If you learn English grammar rules separately out of context, you’ll never achieve natural English fluency because you’ll be overwhelmed with analyzing your own speech and making sure that it corresponds with the respective grammar rules. Fluent English speech is supposed to be spontaneous, you have to speak automatically and it can be best achieved by spending an awful lot of time among other English speakers and mimicking what they say. Sure, you have to speak correctly, I’m not saying you have to disregard English grammar. What I’m saying is – you have to understand that English grammar is present in every correct phrase and sentence, and you don’t need to dissect the English language like a scientist to be able to speak fluently. (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Nothing could be further from the truth”
English idiomatic expression: “Pretty much the same”
Robby’s 5 Favorite Blog Posts of All Time on EnglishHarmony.com
Over the years I've published well over 200 articles on this blog, and there are a few that have become hugely popular with my blog readers. Articles like English Small Talk Phrases and How to Speak Fluent English with Limited Vocabulary are constantly topping the most viewed pages list, and I can see why they're getting such good publicity. A large number of my fellow foreigners are seeking information on the most commonly used English words and sentences, and those two articles are related to that subject hence their popularity! Some of my creations, however, have limited exposure, and the purpose of this article is to showcase some of my blog posts I’m very proud of YET they’re not getting a lot of views because they don’t rank well enough in Google. So, without further ado, allow me present you the top 5 blog posts I really, really like and I believe you’ll like them too because they touch upon subjects that are very relevant to us, foreign English speakers! (more…)
Is It Possible to Become TOTALLY Fluent In English After 24 Years?
I received an e-mail (or a comment – can’t really remember what it was because it got deleted by mistake!) the other day by one of my blog readers where he asked if it’s possible to master total fluency of the English language while living in an English speaking country for 24 years. As an example he provided the following video of two foreign English speakers involved in a debate in a TV studio – please check out the video below: I have to admit that the two professional journalists in the studio are completely fluent indeed, and it’s also a fact that 99% of other foreigners would look up to them because of their ability to speak fluently. (more…)
Developing Your Ability to Use All Those Phrases & Idioms in Real Conversations
Check Out My NEW Blog AccentAdventure.com!
I started EnglishHarmony.com back in 2007 – so it’s almost 5 years in operation! This year, however, marks the birth of another blog of mine – namely, AccentAdventure.com! It’s a new blog I started earlier this summer, and it’s dedicated to learning different English accents. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know my stance on pronunciation and accent related issues. The advice I always give to my fellow foreigners is – “Speak the way you’re comfortable, don’t try to bend over backwards just to get your English pronunciation perfect because you’re running the risk of ruining your English fluency!” Having said this, however, I’ve NEVER ENCOURAGED my fellow foreign English speakers to NEGLECT the pronunciation aspect of their spoken English; I’ve never said – “Who cares about pronunciation, speak however you want!” A lot of people have misinterpreted my advice and I’ve received quite a few comments blaming me for sending out the wrong message. And I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to receive a couple comments on this video blog post saying that I’m being a hypocrite by first telling everyone not to care about proper pronunciation and then learning to speak like an American which obviously contradicts my previous claims! Now, let me get this one straight. The purpose of the AccentAdventure.comÂ blog is to show that it is POSSIBLE to learn to speak like an American, Brit, Australian or any other native English speaker if you invest enough time and effort into the process! Also, I want to use this new blog as a platform to reveal popular misconceptions surrounding accent acquisition – same way I’m using this blog to show how ineffective traditional studies are when it comes to oral English fluency. For instance, I don’t believe it’s necessary to focus on accent reduction; this term is wrong! I also think it’s totally wrong to learn pronunciation by learning what way certain English vowels can be pronounced etc. It’s 100 times more efficient to learn how to pronounce certain words and sentences; if you learn to analyze separate sounds and how they can be pronounced you’ll end up in a ‘paralysis by analysis’ situation! So, basically if you’re interested in certain tips and tricks on improving your English pronunciation and accent – definitely make sure to check out my new blog at AccentAdventure.com! Robby ;-)
Delivering a DVD set of English Harmony System 2.0 & Discussing my Job, Unemployment and Happiness!
Car Video #3: Spontaneous Speech vs Slow Speech
Here’s another video broadcast from my car on the way to work, my friends! If some of you are wondering why I’m recording myself while driving to work, here are the main reasons: I practice spoken English with myself on a daily basis I practice what I preach – speaking in English ALL THE TIME :!: I know you love watching my videos – so why not use my free time and record them whenever I get a chance? ;-) This time I’m discussing merits of speaking spontaneously as opposed to speaking slowly. Yes, you’ll make more mistakes when speaking faster, but on the flip side it’s a great way of developing your gut feeling for correct English! Does it sound like a contradiction? I mean – making more mistakes to develop correct English? Well, my friends – here’s how it happens: (more…)
Two Kinds of Mistakes Made by Foreigners When Speaking English
Is It a Problem if Your English is Too Simple, Plain and Lacking Smart Words and Expressions?
Practicing Spoken English in Car: Part 2
Here’s another video where you can watch me speaking in English with myself while commuting to work, and this time around I’m trying a different approach to kick-start my English fluency: speaking as fast as possible. It’s one of the different English fluency management strategies, and I know I have to resort to this one because my fluency started dwindling yesterday afternoon. The day before was perfect, my fluency peaked at a two week high, but as it sometimes happens – a peak is followed by a drop :mad: , so I have to figure out a way of reverting back to my normal state of fluency. This is how I manage my fluency, and there are a lot of different strategies: slowing your speech down speaking with an accent (or rather allowing your native accent to come to fore) speaking using short sentences spitting out the first thing that crosses your mind instead of composing sentences in your head All these strategies have been tried and tested over the years, and it’s all a result of my own pursuit after English fluency. (more…)
Spoken English Practice While Driving to Work
Are you curious about how I do my daily spoken English practice? Then here you can have a peek at my typical morning in a car while commuting to work. It takes me around 30 minutes to make the full journey, but don’t worry – I recorded only 15 minutes of it so that you don’t have to spend that much time glued to the monitor! Basically this gives you a pretty good idea of what your own spoken English practice might look like if you’ve been considering doing it but never really got round to it. It’s easy, you’re just voicing your thoughts and killing your time while at the same time improving your fluency. Sounds like a win-win situation for me, what do you think? ;-) Robby
11 Things English Fluency Has Given Me
Do You Speak English Enough? You’ve Gotta Speak ALL THE TIME!
Are you immersed into the English language 27/7/365 - meaning you are married to an English speaker or you only go out with other English speakers? If so - great, your spoken English is probably good enough and you don't really have any fluency related issues! ;-) IF your English exposure is limited, however, you just HAVE to do some additional spoken English practicing, there's no doubt about that as it's been proven by my personal experience. What am I talking about here? Well - watch the video above and you'll find out EXACTLY what I'm on about here: * my history as a failed English speaker * importance of a daily spoken English practice to keep your fluency sharp * why MOUTH for you is the most important body part! Stay fluent, stay confident, and all kinds of comments welcome here! Robby ;-)
Why It’s a Bad Idea to Categorize English Idioms when Learning Them!
Is It Possible to Be Fluent without Knowing Grammar?
Aspiration to become a fluent English speaker is what brought you to my blog, isn't that right? Then let me take a wild guess - at least at some point in your pursuit after English fluency you've been engaged in a lot of English grammar studies, am I now right? Well, in reality you don't need to be a grammar genius to speak English fluently. First of all, only a few grammar Tenses are actually used in real life conversations. Secondly - phrases and expressions constitute large amount of spoken English. And thirdly... Well - watch this video to hear everything for yourself! Stay fluent, Robby ;-)
You’re Not Struggling With Your Fluency – You’re Struggling With Perfection!
Use English Comparative and Superlative Adjectives Sparingly – Better Describe than Compare!
My 5 Year Long Journey to English Fluency
I got out of the plane in the Dublin airport. The weather was great despite rumors that it rains 360 days a year in Ireland. I was full of expectations, and I was also slightly worried because all I knew for sure was that I’d signed up for a job in a warehouse. Everything else was left to my imagination and such insignificant details as where I’m going to live and how much I’ll have to pay for accommodation hadn’t been really communicated neither to me nor to other Latvian guys I met at the airport having signed up with the same international job recruitment agency. I didn’t care too much about it anyway. I’d nothing to lose because all I had was 50 euro in my pocket and a promise of a better life. In a couple of weeks’ time it turned out I’d singed up with the right agency. I was working for a large multinational logistics company, pay was good, and I was able to start stashing away significant amount of money on a weekly basis which was impossible in my previous life in Latvia where I’d been barely able to make my ends meet. Little that I knew back then, however, that my stay in Ireland wasn’t going to be just about making a better life for myself and my family. I couldn’t have imagined that living in an English speaking country would challenge me as an English speaker in ways I didn’t even know existed. It turned out that my English was quite poor for practical daily life and soon after my arrival in Ireland I started trying to improve my English so that I could function properly in an English speaking society. It took me long years to figure out that textbook based grammar studies and learning large English vocabulary lists didn’t really improve my ability to communicate with other English speakers. Now, 10 years on, long after I finally achieved English fluency I can say with honesty that it’s been one hell of a journey! Want to find out more about it? Then read the rest of this article! ;-) (more…)
Your English Has to Be Just Good Enough for You to Be Successful!
Check out the following videos (at the very least listen to 20 - 30 secs of how these foreign English speakers speak): What do you think all these people have in common except for being foreign English speakers? First of all, their English ISN’T PERFECT :!: If you’re one of those perfectionists out there who’s constantly watching out for mistakes made by other foreign English speakers, you’ll notice small flaws and imperfections in Dr. Coldwell’s and Wagner’s spoken English. Secondly, they’re 100% CONFIDENT :!: Lastly, they’re really PASSIONATE about what they’re doing :!: and they’re totally focused on the matter at hand when speaking about it. What does this all mean for you as a foreign English speaker? If you’re really dedicated to something, you can become very successful without focusing on perfecting your spoken English! You may spend your whole life trying to achieve a near-native level of English – but then it’s going to be too late to realize your dreams in terms of your professional and social life. Or you can SET YOUR GOALS NOW, start taking action and improve your English as you go along according to the specific needs and requirements of the particular industry or a different aspect of your life. Remember – your English has to be just good enough for you to be successful ;-) (more…)
20 Random Thoughts on English Fluency, Foreign English Speakers and Life in General
Don’t Try to Speak in English as if You Were Writing!
Many of us, foreign English speakers, learnt the English language as a written language due to the specific nature of academic English curriculum which emphasizes a student’s ability to read and write well. Spoken fluency is being neglected, and as a result our minds adopt what I like to call a ‘writing mode’. It’s when you’re so used to writing and working with English grammar textbooks, that it’s become your second nature to plan grammatically correct sentences in your head before actually speaking them out loud :!: As a result, your English fluency suffers because you find it hard to: Speak spontaneously and fluently (your speech preparation prevents that!) Use new English words and expressions (fear of making mistakes works against it!) Simply enjoy having a conversation with someone in English (you’re too anxious to say it all correctly!) Watch the video above to see how to make a smooth transition from the ‘writing mode’ of you mind into a ‘speaking mode’ so that you can speak fluently and confidently! (more…)
Don’t Make Conscious Effort When Improving Your English
3 Situations When It Might Be Easier For You To Speak in English With Your Fellow Foreigners
Some time ago I published an article called “5 Reasons Why It’s Easier To Speak With Native English Speakers Than Other Foreigners”. In today’s article I’m going to look at reasons why on certain occasions it might be actually easier to speak in English with another foreigner :!: As I already pointed out in the first article – on most occasions it’s all a matter of perspective. All other things being equal – such as your level of English fluency, language comprehension etc. – you may feel more comfortable speaking with another foreigner simply because you’re not ashamed of saying something wrong (which inevitably happens during any conversation). Or it also could be that you spend most of your time working in an international team, and speaking with native English speakers is an exception rather than a rule. "It is mostly our OWN mental inhibitions that make us favor conversations with natives or foreigners!" And of course – it varies from person to person a great deal! While you mightn't have any problems chatting with your native English speaking work colleague, your supervisor might be giving you the creeps and you always stutter and find it difficult to explain yourself in his or her presence. Anyway, here are the 3 situations when you may find it easier to speak with your fellow foreign English speaker instead of a native speaker. Enjoy! ;-) (more…)
Put Yourself in a Position of Power: Don’t Be Sorry for Your Mistakes!
Simple vs Sophisticated Vocabulary? It’s All Just Semantics (Interpretation)!
English Harmony Highlights of June 2012
Want to Improve Your English? Stop Watching TV in Your Language! I warmly suggest you to start watching TV in English as often as possible, especially if you have a limited exposure to the English language in your everyday life. Truth be told, you won’t start speaking fluently by watching TV alone, but it’s a very, very effective way to get the English language to seep into your brain! English Fluency Doesn’t Mean Being Able To Speak About Everything In this blog post I’m trying to dispel a myth that fluency is defined by one’s ability to speak about a very wide variety of subjects. Well, while it’s true to a certain degree, it can also be very intimidating and I suspect that many of my fellow foreign English speakers are holding back their full potential as English speakers because they don’t believe they’re good enough. 5 Things About Robby & The English Language You Probably Didn’t Know Did you know my second language isn’t English but Russian? And did you know that I still mix up English pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’? Well, there’s more you’ll find out if you read this blog post, so you may want to check it out! (more…)
Check Out My First EVER Interviews – All About Me, English Fluency & How To Stop Struggling When Speaking in English!
Â Recently I got interviewed by two English teachers for their websites – Ben who lives in Spain and Nate who’s settled down in Japan. These are my first interviews I’ve ever done, and as you can imagine, I had to use some of my own English fluency management strategies to keep a cool head, gather my thoughts and speak fluently because stress levels were high – especially in the beginning of those interviews! :grin: Listen to my interview with Ben HERE! And here you can watch 2 YouTube videos containing fragments from my interview with Ben: Click HERE to listen to me talking with Nate! What you can expect to hear in those interviews is pretty much everything about my background as a foreign English speaker – starting from my years long struggling to speak English fluently and ending with useful tips for my fellow foreigners on how to maintain fluent English speech. You'll also find out in those interviews: what is a "writing mode" of your mind and why it prevents you from speaking English fluently (interview with Ben) why speaking with yourself is the best way to improve your English when there's no-one to talk to (interview with Nate) and a whole lot more! So if you've got nothing to do on this Friday night (or any other day of the week), sit down at your laptop or PC and listen to me spilling the beans about what real English fluency is all about: Listen to my interview with Ben HERE! Click HERE to listen to me talking with Nate! Let me know what you think in the comments below! ;-)
1001 Ways To Use The Simplest English Verb “To PUT”!
You Can’t Listen Your Way to Fluency!
Should foreign English speakers focus mostly on listening to all sorts of English audio lessons, songs and films in order to improve their English fluency? This is somewhat a controversial topic because so many English teachers will tell you to engage in listening to specially prepared audios or just generally listening to English as much as you can in order to improve your fluency. I’ll tell you right upfront – it’s a flawed approach, and here’s why. When you listen, you develop your comprehension skills. Yes, those skills are important when it comes to communicating with English speaking people because it’s necessary for you to understand what you’re being told or asked... obviously! :-) Your overall fluency improvement, however, involves plenty of spoken English practice which basically means speaking :!: (more…)
Relax Your Abs to Get Your English Fluency Rock-Hard!
5 Reasons Why It’s Easier To Speak With Native English Speakers Than Other Foreigners
A big part of my blog is dedicated to dealing with difficulties arising when a foreign English speaker speaks with a native English speaker. Fear of making mistakes. Trying to sound too perfect. Comparing your speech with the native speaker and running into certain speech problems as a result. They’re just a few of the number of problems that we, foreigners, may face while in pursuit of English fluency! No wonder that sometimes we feel more comfortable speaking with our fellow foreigners because we feel like we’re on a level playing field. We’re less likely to be judged, so we don’t become self-conscious when speaking in English, right? We can also use simple language without worrying that our speech will sound too simplistic and that we’ll get a patronizing treatment - am I also not right in saying this? Well, it’s not always the case! Sometimes a conversation with another foreign English speaker may turn out to be just as difficult – if not even more cumbersome. All of a sudden, all those problems you were running into when speaking with natives seem like nothing compared to how awkward it is to speak with another foreigner… In reality, on most occasions it’s all a matter of perspective and most of those problems are only happening in your head. Still, I want to give you 5 reasons why speaking with a native speaker may be easier. So, let’s begin with the reason number one which is… (more…)
5 Things About Robby & The English Language You Probably Didn’t Know
English Fluency Doesn’t Mean Being Able To Speak About EVERYTHING
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…)