Written English is from Venus, Spoken English – from Mars!
I’m so overwhelmed by the need to discuss this topic that I can barely contain my excitement! It’s been a controversy all along the way and it seems to me that many foreign English speakers still don’t differentiate much between spoken and written English. But those two creatures are from different planets indeed, and here’s why it’s important for you as a foreign English speaker: By learning English the traditional way you can become very good at writing but you still won’t be able to speak English fluently :!: Fluency in either of them doesn’t necessarily guarantee fluency in another! Majority of foreign English speakers and also natives aren’t aware of the huge differences between those two. But it’s that simple indeed – judging by your writing you might be mistaken for a native English speaker but when you open your mouth you might be constantly running into difficulties with verbalizing your thoughts and expressing yourself properly! Have you ever encountered such issue? I bet you have – so keep reading this article and you’ll find out a whole lot more about it! I know this for a fact because I’ve been a good English writer for a long time – long before I achieved speaking confidence. And I also know it too well that being an excellent writer can actually have a detrimental effect on your spoken English. Are you surprised to hear that? Well, it should come as no surprise at all if you just dwell on it a bit! If a foreign English speaker has achieved fluency in English writing, he/she is risking becoming too complacent and not paying enough attention to English speaking :!: The awareness of being a very good English writer reinforces one’s notion that they’ve achieved the utmost English fluency. And if you’re clapped on the back for being an excellent English writer by others with comments like: "Your English is perfect, you’re better than most native English speakers that I know!", you really risk losing the grip of reality! (more…)
Respect Your Native Language in order to… Speak Fluent English?
Face Your Biggest Fears – Halloween Ghosts and English Speaking!
Warning! Don’t Start Improving Your English Before Watching THIS!
You’ve figured out that your English needs improvement. You’ve been putting it off for a long time but finally you’re ready to get down to the business. Maybe it’s the circumstances forcing you to start working on your English improvement – such as moving to an English speaking country or facing English speaking customers at work. Maybe you just feel like starting something new and refreshing your English knowledge sounds like a good idea. Whatever the reason – don’t jump into 101 activities for improving your English unless you’ve watched the 25th English Harmony Video Episode! It’s a MUST see video if you don’t want to end up in a vicious circle of chasing your tail :!: (more…)
How To Increase Your English Fluency By 100% in Less Than 12h!
If you think I chose the headline just to catch your attention and lure you into reading this blog post – well, this is not the case. Your rational mind is screaming against it but I know from my own experience that it is indeed possible to speak TWICE as fluently within a 12 hour period after experiencing a typical English fluency problem! So at the moment you could be barely capable of putting a few English words together and you’d feel like a total loser when it comes to speaking English. But if you follow the method described in this article you can perform unbelievably well when you have to communicate English the next day. It’s extremely important when you face job interviews, verbal exams, presentations and meetings. In others words – any occasion when you’re expected to speak and convey your message in English but you’re not sure about the level of your performance due to bad experiences in the past in similar situations. So if you experience the following symptoms: constant mind-chatter whenever you attempt to speak English; a feeling as if you have dozens of voices whispering English words and phrases in your head making it extremely difficult to concentrate; difficulties with pronouncing English words – you’re making silly mistakes in nearly every sentence for no obvious reason; ‘on the tip of my tongue’ feeling – you know what you want to say but it doesn’t come out of your mouth… … then read on and discover how to overcome this English speech anxiety and increase your English fluency by 100% in less than12 hours! (more…)
Shocking Reality About Foreign Accent and Fluent English
7 Ways to Kill Your English before You Even Start Speaking
Over the years I keep seeing the same mistakes being made over and over again by those who want to improve their English. But it’s really shocking to see that not only is reading and writing based English learning encouraged but speaking English is discouraged! Moreover, I found this genius approach of improving English by cutting out speaking on an authority website - I'd better not give its name here... Well, it would be folly to hold the website responsible for all their contributors posts – after all, even Wikipedia.org is full of wrong and misleading facts. Still the first point on the article I read voices the standard notion in the industry – and here it is: 1. Talk less and listen more. Brilliant, isn’t it? Shut your mouth, foreign English speaker, don’t practice your speech but instead focus on passive language input! This is the gem among all recommendations I’ve read online targeted to foreigners who want to improve their English, and I can’t stress enough how WRONG it is. (more…)
Does Reading Help You Improve 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…)
How To Speak English Like A Native – Part 1
Check out my English Harmony System 2.0 HERE! Australia or Canada? India or Singapore? Or maybe you’re in Philippines or the Unites States? Wherever you are – welcome to the 18th English Harmony Video episode!Â Today I’ll show you a simple yet very powerful method of managing situations when you have to tell about something in English but you just can’t say anything for some reason! Does it sound familiar to you? If so – read on or watch the video above and you’ll also be able to manage such situations with ease! (more…)
Improve Spoken English Fast – Focus On English Around You!
Check out my English Harmony System HERE! Hi folks, and welcome to the 17th English Harmony video episode! Today’s topic is about many foreign English speakers being detached from reality and focusing their English improving efforts on the wrong things. For instance, you may be working in a frozen food factory and 90% of your daily conversations with your work colleagues and superiors involve discussing different aspects of the production process, different issues that occur on a regular basis, and so on. So what would be the logical approach to improving your spoken English? I’d say it’s rather obvious – master 50 - 60 most commonly used phrases in your workplace and you’ll sound nearly as fluent as your native English speaking work colleagues :!: You may argue that any foreign English speaker will eventually master the active vocabulary used at his work anyway, but I don’t fully agree.Â You see – you may be so determined to become fluent at speaking English that you can end up being mentally detached from the natural environment you spend most of your time in. (more…)
Is Past Perfect Tense Any Good For The Average English Speaker?
Phrasal Verbs – Great Way To Improve Spoken English!
Spoken English is stuffed with phrasal verbs and if you’re serious about improving your spoken English you definitely need to pay attention to them. What I find fascinating about the English language as such is that there are actually three types of English expressions – formal, colloquial and slang; these three are like separate dimensions of the same language. Colloquial English, which I also refer to as spoken English, is used in everyday situations and is stuffed with phrasal verbs which are also OK to use in more formal situations, and that’s the great thing about them :!: My native language – Latvian – has only two distinct vocabularies – formal and slang and there are no equivalents to phrasal verbs. But then modern English has been influenced by so many languages – Latin, French, Germanic languages and others – that it’s no surprise you can express nearly every action in so many different ways. Let’s have a look at the following example. You’re coming back from the local music store where you intended to buy concert tickets but unfortunately you didn’t get any. There’s a number of ways you can put the bad news to your friends. “I didn’t buy the tickets, I was too late and all of them had been already purchased” is quite a formal way of communicating the message to your peers – note the Past Perfect Tense “had been” and the formal verb “purchased”. A more friendly way of saying the same thing would be “I didn’t buy the tickets, I was too late and they were all snapped up” or “I didn’t buy the tickets, I was too late and they were all sold out”. Notice the phrasal verbs “to snap up” and “to sell out” – they’re typical to everyday English conversations and they’re not vulgar or rude in any way. As I said above - you can also use the same phrasal verbs in more formal situations with no problems! (more…)
How To Learn A New Language In Super-short Time!
How I Define Real English Fluency
There are many reasons why foreigners start learning English. For me it was being fascinated with everything that had to do with America when I was a child. For others it's necessity when they move to an English speaking country. And many are forced into learning English at school yet at the same time they acknowledge the fact that English is spoken worldwide and nowadays it's one of the basic requirements if you're willing to attain good education and advance in your career. Yet all English students would agree on one thing - English fluency is what one strives for when learning English. In order to be able to communicate with work colleagues and customers one has to be fluent in English otherwise it just won't work! But now tell me - has English fluency been defined for you by your English teacher or someone else? The chances are that you've been lead to believe that standard English tests and grades adequately reflect your English fluency. But here's the drawback - real life English fluency has little to do with your ability to complete English language tests and get high scores in them... Here's how I would define English fluency! (more…)
How To Achieve Fluent English Reading Knowing Only 70 – 80 % of Vocabulary!
Top Secret! (How To Achieve Truly Confident Spoken English)
Does It Irritate You If Native English Speakers Make Wrong Assumptions About Your English?
Let’s say you’re having a conversation with a native English speaker whom you’ve met for the first time. It could be a sales assistant in a shop, or a member of staff in McDonalds. You’re being asked a question, and you’re taking a few seconds to think on it. And here’s the thing that annoys me a lot – on many occasions the native English speaker mistakes your moment of silence for lack of English understanding when you’re actually thinking over the very question asked! :mad: Please forgive me, native English speakers, if I’m being unfair to you but I just want to discuss this issue at length in this blog post as I feel it might be not just me who sometimes feels the same way. Here’s a real situation I had last summer when I was visiting one of costal towns on the south cost of Ireland. I had just parked my car near the seaside and was looking for the parking ticket machine. Eventually I found out that parking had to be paid in a nearby souvenir shop so I walked in and asked the lady where and how I could pay for parking. She asked me how long I was going to stay but I didn’t give a straight answer because I started thinking over her question. The lady from the souvenir shop, however, didn’t wait on my answer. Instead she repeated her question using very simple and slow speech involving hand gestures. It was very much the same way you’d speak to a deep-jungle tribesman who’s seen a white person for the first time in his life! Apparently she thought that I didn’t answer her question because I didn’t get was she was saying – not that I was just thinking over the very question and trying to decide how many hours I was going to pay for! Frankly speaking, I hate when my level of English is judged is such a generalized manner. It’s kind of – if he didn’t answer instantly in perfect English, most likely his English is so poor he didn’t even get me! :mad: (more…)
Using Perfect Simple And Passive Voice In Spoken English
Hello everyone who watches my video blog – thanks for tuning in and finding time for watching my next video! I can assure you – your time won’t be wasted because today I’m going to highlight important aspects on using different English grammar tenses in live English conversations. First of all I want to give you an example. Here’s a simple phrase you’d use when you’d have finished doing something – I’ve done it. This is Present Perfect Simple – a grammar form to describe an action that has been finished at some time in the past but the actual time of its completion isn’t known. Well, so far it’s all fairly simple and understandable, and you shouldn’t have any difficulties with using a simple phrase like I’ve done it. But now let’s take it one step further and look at the same phrase only in Passive Voice this time. Just a quick reminder for those not sure what Passive Voice is – it’s a way of describing an event without mentioning who did it. (more…)
English Vocabulary Building – Part 3
English Vocabulary Building – Part 2
Vocabulary Building Part 1 | Vocabulary Building Part 3 Here we go with the next video episode – and this is the tenth one. Two and a half months in production – not bad, is it? I hope I have enough dedication to see the hundredth one online and there’s no better way to achieve it than by taking just one step at a time… ;-) This time let’s look at the following thing – eliminating your native language from the English vocabulary building process. If you’re like the majority of language learners, most likely you’re using your native language dictionary to explain new English words and phrases. You probably also have a pocket dictionary where you write down the new words and by repeating them on a daily basis they become a part of your overall English vocabulary. Haven’t you noticed, though, that you actually can’t use most of your vocabulary when you have to speak English? And have you not also noticed that sometimes when you try to think of an English word, your native language words start getting into your way? Well, it’s the typical English fluency issue I was facing for long years, and it’s partially down to memorizing new English words through my native language. (more…)
Building English Vocabulary – Part 1
Is English Language Taking Over?
Here’s the dilemma – any language changes over time and can potentially become extinct. It’s part of natural cycle – nothing lasts forever. Yet, when I hear my daughters using English syntax when speaking our native language, it saddens me a lot. I know it’s not their fault that I chose to move to Ireland eight years ago. It’s not their fault that they can’t read and write Latvian properly. After all, we’re living in an English speaking country and they’re completely immersed in English environment. So tell me – should I be fighting for my national background’s preservation at all costs or should I allow things to take natural course? It’s not impossible that I won’t hear my grandchildren use my native tongue – but then there’s thousands of foreigners in Ireland who choose not to use their native language at home at all! Well, I don’t think it’s right speaking English at home despite having your own language – you shouldn’t be denying your national identity no matter what. Once you’re born Egyptian, Ukrainian, Spaniard, or Filipino, you’ll always remain as such. But as for the younger generation… What’s the use of teaching them the native writing and reading if they won’t use it anyway? They can speak with their parents and relatives in the native tongue – fair enough! But why would I want my children to be able to use our language fully? They read and write English only anyway! (more…)
Is English Difficult Or Easy To Learn?
Today I got to read an article written by an English teacher Locke McKenzie where he expresses quite an interesting view on difficulty of English language compared to other European languages – mainly German. --> Read the article HERE <-- The article was tweeted by Tim Ferris so I thought – must be something of value – and I spent some of my precious time :-) reading it. Basically Locke McKenzie is saying that even though initially it seems that learning English is child’s game compared to learning numerous verb conjugations, noun genders and absurd tenses in languages like Spanish, German and Polish, it’s not that simple at all… He describes his experience with German students in a classroom when trying to teach them which verbs are followed by gerund and which – by infinitive. For example – following English grammar rules the verb to enjoy is followed by gerund as in Locke’s example – I enjoy baking cookies. The students were asking him how they could know which words are followed by gerund on which he was forced to answer – there’s no rule… This, and also various English grammar tenses which were difficult for the German students to grasp, made the article’s author to conclude with the following words, I quote: We have a mongrel language that has taken on words and rules unnecessarily, adding bits and pieces of whatever we like until there is no sense of order at all. Our language is slowly dissolving into nonsense. Poets and creatives should be appalled. It isn’t good for anything but business and politics, the only sectors where the more cryptically you talk, the better your chances of striking a deal. With all due respect to the article’s author I really want to disagree. (more…)
English Possessive Case And All The Tricky Stuff!
Hi Folks, This is the first video in the English Harmony Practical Grammar video series. The grammar videos are still going to be part of my usual video blog. I just came up with this idea of the English Harmony Practical Grammar brand because I know that many of you are using grammar as a starting point to improve your English. But my English grammar lessons will be different – you’ll learn how to use it in real life conversations! I’m not going to repeat what you can find on a million websites on the Internet, or read in any English grammar book. Instead I’ll be giving you interesting and practical interpretation of ordinary English grammar – and it will be much more useful to you, believe me! Moreover, I’ll put all my experience, mistakes and conclusions that I’ve had throughout the years of improving my English into these lessons for the biggest benefit to you! So today’s topic – the possessive case in English language. If you’re not sure what it is – read more about the possessive case here. It’s simple enough, and your English teacher probably didn’t dedicate more than ten minutes to the possessive case in the classroom. However, it’s not that simple at all! I can remember myself struggling with the possessive form of nouns a few years ago – I was applying the same grammar rules on English that I would on my own language. As a result I was using the possessive case way too often! (more…)
Sacrifice Grammar To Improve Your English Fluency…?
English Grammar vs Spoken English
Grammar is extremely important in any language. Nonetheless, it can sometime be a hindrance when learning to speak a language. When learning English (or any language) at school, there is a huge emphasis on the grammar and on the written word but not enough emphasis is placed on speech! Trying to learn hundreds of grammar rules and then learning how they are used is sometimes unnecessary and boring! It also means that most of the time is taken up in this way so it’s almost impossible to spend enough time on the spoken word. I have personally spent days, weeks and months reading and studying and re-reading books on grammar. I have had a huge interest I in the English language since I was very young. I found out when I got older that reading all those books and studying for days didn’t really help me when it came to speaking English. I figured out that I actually only needed to learn a small percentage of the grammar rules to speak fluent English! When writing in English, grammar tends to be slightly more important than in the spoken word - and that's probably why most people focus on improving grammar instead of improving their spoken English. (more…)
Paraphrasing – A Brilliant Method Of Improving Your Spoken English!
What’s Common Between Running and Speaking English?
I’m into running for nearly 3 years. Two, sometimes three times a week I’m doing a circuit of around 5 kilometers. And my loyal friend Roger – the mischievous beagle – is always doing the 5K with me. He’d do more; I’m sure, because when we run back home it’s me who’s out of breath – not him! And the amazing thing about running that I wanted to share with you is exactly about what I just said – being out of breath! You see, throughout all the years that I’ve been on the run, I was having issues. I was always having pain in my left side. You know, the kind of pain we’ve all had when having too much food and going for some exercise afterwards – be it swimming or running. But I was having the pain all the time – regardless the size of my last meal and how long ago I had it. As a result, I was also having issues with stamina. Most of the times I could run quite fast and keep at my normal pace despite being in that constant, mild pain. However, on some occasions it would get so bad I could barely drag myself back home. A couple of times I nearly passed out – but I always put it down to a bad day or just said to myself – sure it’ll be OK next time! (more…)
Don’t Translate Directly When Speaking English!
Hi Boys and Girls! I’m back with the second video episode – and I hope you enjoyed the first one! I’m still getting a hang of the video recording equipment in my home studio – so you may spot some small glitches here and there. But I think the video quality is decent enough for you to understand what I’m saying, what you think? So this time I’m covering a few seemingly unrelated topics – direct translation to English from your native language and English collocations. However, it just takes a few minutes to grasp the connection between those two. (more…)