Answering Questions: Can’t Practice Fluency, What to Do If My Fluency Dwindles When I Speak With Others and More…

I couple of days ago one of my YouTube followers asked me the following question: The problem is that I just can't practice fluency because I'm in my country where they don't speak English although I'm really good at writing I put great efforts on my essays and powerful vocab and idioms and sentence structure yet I panic when I travel out of my country and speak in little convos which my parents are pissed of me, cause they paid a lot for good education but the result of fluency speaking is bad, plus I struggle in reading books cause every sentence I have to stop for a quick google search the meaning of the sentence. IT's really complicated. Thank you for understanding! And here's my video response to the above question: Here's another question I got on YouTube: Hi Robbie, when I practice self-speaking I am very fluent but when I speak with people my fluency dwindles probably because I feel compelled to give neat responses when I can't. How can I deal with this problem? Thank you! And guess what? I also decided to record a video response and you can watch it below: I hope that you'll also find these videos somewhat helpful and I would love to receive further questions from you! Just post them in the comments section below and I'll do my best to respond to them ASAP! Cheers, Your English Fluency Coach, Robby ;-)

Can You Become Fluent in English if You Don’t Have a Talent for Languages?

Time and time again I’ve been told by all sorts of different people that I have a talent for languages. And when they find out I speak three languages fluently – Latvian, Russian and English – their opinion of my abilities is pretty much identical: “Robby, you’re naturally gifted when it comes to language learning! I wish I were like you!” And guess what? I think it’s a load of crap! I honestly believe that my ability to speak three languages fluently has nothing to do with my alleged talent for languages. And I also believe that ANYONE is capable of learning to speak English fluently regardless of whether you believe you have a talent for it or not. It’s just that most people don’t realize they have the potential to become fluent in English due to one or all of the following reasons: They think they’re not naturally gifted so they don’t WORK HARD on their English Deep down inside they know they’re too lazy to do something about their English skills so they use the lack of talent as an EXCUSE They’re using the WRONG METHODS to improve their English so the whole “I’m not naturally gifted at languages” thing becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy! Now, would you like me to prove to you that YOU DEFINITELY have what it takes to become fluent in English – and any other language for that matter? Then keep reading this article and don’t forget to leave a comment when you’re done! (more…)

Time Management Tips for English Learners

Everyone here wants to learn English and speak it fluently, right? The #1 problem of every learner is not vocabulary or grammar rules but finding time to learn English. So, the paradox appears: we all have the idea of how to learn English, but most of us don't have any idea of when to do it. As a result, we procrastinate. And big chances are, we procrastinate because we have no idea how to manage time. We have to work, eat, sleep, sustain a family... As they say, who want – do, who don't want – find an excuse. So, when is that time to use for English learning? There is always a solution, and there are many time management tricks for English learners to use and deal with procrastination once and for all. (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt”

It’d Be Great to Have English as the Only Language in the World…

There are thousands upon thousands of different languages spoken around the world, but let’s just imagine for a second that EVERYONE spoke only one language – namely, English. What would it be like? Would it be much easier for people to live and lead their daily lives in a world where there’s only one language spoken? Or maybe it would be causing even greater issues in a world where tensions are rising high and pursuit for money and power is the name of the game? Leaving all patriotic feelings aside, let’s just take a pragmatic look at such a scenario and weigh all the pros and cons of having English as the world’s language in the most literal sense of the word :!: But before we get into the nitty-gritty of this fictional scenario, let me just tell you that I’m not going to be looking at a scenario where all other nations are LOSING their native languages to English. We’re going to assume that the entire world has spoken English for millennia, and how that would have changed the world for better or worse compared to our world where there’s countless languages spoken. (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “In Full Swing”

Take Advantage of People Who Make You Really Fluent in English!

Hello guys, hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! Today is Sunday but you see - the thing is that I'm not really sure when this video is going to be published. Because what I do these days is I just record a video and then I just store it there and then I would edit it later on, probably a week or two weeks after that. And then eventually it would be uploaded on to my YouTube channel and published on my blog. But I've no way of telling when it will happen for the simple reason that on most days I'm really busy dealing with my Fluency Star clients. That is what I do pretty much the whole time these days, 90% of the time. And only on the rare occasion I actually get a chance to update my blog. I know it's bad, it's bad form but it is what it is, I just don't have enough time. I don't have enough hours in a day for the simple reason that I'm gone through the days. I'm studying in Dublin in a college. But anyway, I'm pretty sure that I will get back to posting on my blog more regularly because that's what I love doing. But at the same time I love teaching my students, you know. So it's really a tough one but it's my call at the end of the day so I will probably cut down the number of students and ideally I would only teach one student at a time, okay? But anyway, I'm just having my Sunday coffee, cheers. Lately, I've been drinking more decaffeinated coffee but this time around I'm affording to have a real coffee on a Sunday afternoon, right And the thing that I wanted to talk to you about today is – it actually slipped my mind. How could it happen? I knew exactly what I was going to talk about and now all – oh yeah, yeah! (more…)

Funny Experience When Switching Between English and My Native Lingo

- Video Transcript Below - Hello boys and girls, hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! It's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! To tell you the truth guys, I haven't had a chance to record any videos for the last couple of weeks for the simple reason that I've been mad busy dealing with my students. You see I'm coaching my own students as part of the Fluency Star coaching program. And on top of that I'm away during days at the college where I'm learning to become a computer maintenance guy and a networking guy. That's my aim, that's my long term career goal basically to get into the IT field. And on top of that my family from Latvia visited me last weekend. My mom and my sister and her husband, all of them came over on Thursday, stayed here till Monday. So as you can imagine I've been extremely busy to catch up with everything that I didn't get a chance to do over the weekend. Anyhow, finally I'm getting a chance to record a video now and the topic is switching between English and your native language. And what prompted me to record this video is something that happened to me the other day when my mom and my sister who were still here, we were at the pub one night, having a few drinks and then we decided to order some food and the waitress came over and I was speaking with my mom and with the waitress. (more…)

Importance of Improvisation When Speaking in English

- Video Transcript Below - Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! Today's video topic is IMPROVISATION. And let me tell you right off the bat that I'm not talking about the kind of improvisation whereby you would be coming up with random things to talk about. I'm talking about the kind of improvisation where you know exactly what you're talking about, you know the direction you're going but you're improvising within your speech. So basically you're improvising as you're going along. You know the main things you're going to touch upon but you haven't planned out your speech down to a T which means you haven't planned it out to the very detail. And that's exactly the way I'm speaking now! I know what my main topic for today's video is, I know the main points I'm going to touch upon. First of all, I was going to introduce the video as I normally do by greeting you guys and then next thing I was going to say what improvisation I'm not talking about. And then I was going to say what improvisation I am going to talk about and so on and so forth. So basically I know all the main things I'm going to touch upon but I haven't planned my speech out down to the very word. And that's how native English speakers would obviously speak! And that's how you would speak in your native language. You improvise the whole time. (more…)

Difference Between Struggling English Speakers & Those Who Don’t Experience Fluency Issues

Dealing With Criticism When Making Mistakes in English

Video Transcript Below: Hi guys, hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! It's Robby here and welcome back to English Harmony video blog. In today's video we're going to discuss something that I've touched upon many times before, namely - making mistakes when speaking in English. And before I actually give you a full account of what happened to me the other day at the college, let me just remind you what the official English Harmony stance in relation to the whole making mistakes thing is. So the bottom line is the following. You don't have to be freaking out over making mistakes. You don't have to make sure you don't make a single mistake when speaking because guess what? More often than not, you will end up making more mistakes than before, just because you keep analyzing your speech, so it's some sort of a reverse psychology. The more you're trying to make sure you don't make any mistakes, the more mistakes you actually end up making. So what you have to do is give your fluency free reign and just take a mental note of any mistakes that you might be making, just to correct yourself at a later stage and learn from your mistakes. That's the intelligent approach and that's pretty much the only approach that works, right? So here's what happened to me the other day at the college. For those who are not aware, I'm spending my days away at a college because I'm studying currently to become a PC maintenance and networking engineer. (more…)

Using Native Language in the English Class? Non-sense!

English Grammar is Like the HTML Code

Video Transcript Below: Hello, my dear fellow foreign English speakers and also any native English speakers who happen to be watching my video right now! And welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! Obviously, I'm Robby from EnglishHarmony.com and in today's video I'm going to draw parallels between English grammar and HTML code. And in case you're wondering now what's English grammar got to do with HTML code, surely, these two things don't have anything in common whatsoever – well, my friend, you're actually wrong because these two things have more in common than you can think of! And the reason being – actually I have to start with a story to introduce the whole matter so that everything is clear to you. Recently I've been attending a computer course. If you've been following my blog lately for the last 6 weeks or so, you will definitely remember a few references here and there I've been making to the fact that I'm doing the computer course during the day now because my aim is to start a career in the IT industry, right? So as it happens I'm meeting a lot of different people in the college. Well, it's actually called adult education center or something along those lines but I just refer to it as a college for the sake of simplicity, right? So I'm mixing with a lot different people, we get talking about other courses that are available out there and the courses that my classmates have been doing previously. And oftentimes we talk about web building because it's a very hot subject. A lot of people are into web design, web building, whatever you want to call it, right? And they always refer to the fact that creating websites is actually a science because of all this HTML code and you've got to be learning to code. There's thick books, thousands of pages covering the HTML code and all that. To me it's nonsensical. And here is why. (more…)

How Do I Force Myself Into Reading English Fiction?

Hi guys, hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog, and also my podcast - in case you're listening to the podcast instead of watching the video. In today's video episode, I'm going to respond to a question asked by one of my blog readers, and the question basically is the following: “How do I force myself to read English fiction if I'm not into reading?” And let me just tell you before I get into the actual topic that I've been suggesting that you get into young adult fiction in case you find it difficult to read something in English, right? So young adult fiction is very easy to read and those writers use very easy, simple and conversational English. It's not like academic English that you would probably encounter if you picked up some classic, right? Which I've never done before, myself - well, I have picked up some classics and then I read a few paragraphs and I just couldn't wrap my head around what's being said there, OK? And that's why I'm into young adult fiction and before that there was a period of my life when I was reading fantasy fiction, it lasted for about three years or something and I read dozens upon dozens of books and the language used in those type of books is pretty much the same - it's very easy to understand, very easy to read, very friendly and very conversational, OK? (more…)

How to Sound More Native-like in English: Start Saying “Yeah” and “Nah”!

Video Transcript Below: Hi guys! Hello boys and girls and welcome back to my video blog! I'm Robby, obviously, your English fluency mentor from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog on YouTube, in case you're watching this video on YouTube, or on my blog at EnglishHarmony.com. You see - the thing is every video that I put up on YouTube, I actually put up on my blog as well with the transcript and everything so that it's easier for you to follow it, in case you're struggling trying to understand what I’m saying here, basically, alright? But I make the point of pronouncing all the words clearly and speaking at a reasonable speed so that you can understand pretty much everything I'm saying, right? And in this video I'm going to tell you how to pronounce words ‘yes’ and ‘no’ in English so that you would sound more like a native English speaker. At first it might sound a bit surprising, you may be thinking, "Hold on a second - yes, no.... what's the big deal? They're very straightforward words, right?"  'Yes', 'no' - they're the simplest English words, as a matter of fact, so what other way could I be pronouncing them, right? Other than yes and no? But here's the thing my friend foreign English speaker - native speakers, more often than not, actually pronounce 'yes' as ‘yeah’, conversationally, right. (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “Run It By Someone”

82 Industry-Specific English Expressions & Phrases for Non-native English Speakers (Updated 20.7.2015!)

If you’re a non-native English speaking professional employed in a specific industry such as medical and pharmacy, military, education, accountancy, human resources or legal industry, your daily duties involve using a lot of specific terminology and phraseology. Sure enough, you got your job by virtue of very decent English skills paired with relevant qualification and educational background, so it kind of goes without saying that your English is quite good and you’re not looking for basic English improving related information aimed mainly at beginner English learners. Having said this, we have to admit that English learning and improvement is a lifetime long process and you just have to keep on top of your specific industry-related language in order to remain a top-notch specialist, stay competitive in the jobs market, and also retain that edge that identifies you as a savvy industry specialist embracing change and always ready to adopt! So, here I’ve compiled 82 various technical English idiomatic expressions and phraseology that will definitely come in handy for you in your day-to-day job as well as recruitment process if you’re currently seeking for a new job or aiming to get a promotion in your current organization. Just scroll down to read the entire list of phrases or click on one of the links below to go to a specific phrase category: (more…)

What To Do If You Can’t Speak With Natives in an English Speaking Country

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…)

You’ll Never Need Legal English Terms and Vocabulary – Way Too Specific!

- Video Transcript Below - Hi guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog or alternatively in case you're listening to this as an audio file on iTunes or on my blog, welcome back to English Harmony podcast! You see, the thing is that not all countries can view YouTube content. I know one of such country which is China where YouTube isn't actually accessible, but any blog visitors from China can actually read my blog and listen to the podcast. So the podcast is the alternative to watching a video. But the content is the very same. What I'm doing is I'm recording a video and then I'm producing a video file for YouTube and then, after that I'm producing an audio file for iTunes. Simple as that! Anyhow, today let's talk about legal language. And let me tell you right up front that legal language is very much different from normal English that you would use on the street when speaking with people at work, and at school and so on and so forth. And why is it different? (more…)

Why I’m Making Mistakes in My Videos & Why I’m Not Concerned About That!

- Video Transcript Below - Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! In this video I'm going to address the matter of me making mistakes while recording these videos. You see, the thing is that some people may hold to the opinion that once I'm positioning myself as an authority in the English teaching field here on YouTube and on my blog, that my English should be impeccable (my spoken English). And there are certain people who are watching my videos and then they're pointing out where I should have said things differently, they're providing actual time stamps and everything, the exact time down to the very second where I'm saying things wrong. Here's the thing - I have to actually go back to the very origins of how I started running the blog and why I did it in the first place and what the whole English fluency issue is all about. (more…)

Beware! I’m a False Fluency Expert & I’ll Con You Out of Money!

Fluency Star Case Study: Sergi and His English Fluency Improvement

Hi guys, as you may know, I help my fellow foreign English speakers improve their fluency via Skype, and here you can watch a video with one of my students. His name is Sergi, and we’ve been working on his fluency for quite some time now! VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Sergi: Welcome back to English Harmony video blog. This is Sergi and this time round Robby is not the one who is introducing the video, so it's me! Robby: Yeah, and thanks Sergi and for everyone who doesn't know Sergi and I would imagine that none of our audience is actually familiar with him. He is my student from Barcelona and we're - we've been doing the Fluency Star coaching program since... when did we start exactly? Sergi: Well, we started in the early beginning of December last year. Robby: Oh, yes. Yes. Yes. So it's been half a year now, right? And would you mind telling our audience a little bit about yourself, where you come from, what you've been doing and so on and so forth? Sergi: Of course Robby. So as you already told I am from Barcelona and well, it's the capital of Catalonia in Northern-Spain and now I would like to give you a little background to the audience of who I am. Robby: Yeah, go ahead. (more…)

Don’t Try to Figure Out What Something Means in English Grammar Terms – It Serves NO Purpose!

Update on My Personal Situation: Why I’m Doing a PC Course

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW Hi guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! Tonight is Monday night. I had to give it a thought because I was going to say almost Sunday night but it's not Sunday, it's Monday. But the thing is - today is Bank Holiday Monday and it almost feels like Sunday! But to tell you the truth guys, I'm not sure when this video is going to go live for the simple reason that I'm recording a number of videos and then I'm editing them and publishing them as I see fit, as my schedule permits because I'm quite busy nowadays. And one thing you might not actually know and to tell you the truth you definitely don't know that because I haven't actually mentioned it on my blog yet - I've started a computer course... (more…)

How to Write Formal e-Mails in English

I’ve been working in a number of jobs where there’s constant e-mailing going on – not to mention the fact that I’ve been running this website and providing customer support via e-mail since 2007 :!: So, as you can imagine, I know a thing or two about writing e-mails and how to make your e-mails effective, concise and to-the-point. And considering that I’ve been receiving quite a few requests to provide a comprehensive guide on how to write e-mails in English, I decided to publish this article where I’ve compiled the most popular means of expression used in formal e-mails. Now, traditionally people would divide e-mails into two types: Formal e-mails which is official communication at work, with various institutions and people you don’t know. Informal e-mails which is when you e-mail your friends, family and people you know very well. In reality though, it’s sometimes quite hard to draw a distinct line between the two for the simple reason that you can have a situation, for example, when you’re very familiar with your superiors at work. In theory, it would be considered formal communication. In reality, there’s nothing wrong with you using less formal means of expression in that communication – and believe me, it’s common practice in companies and organizations all over the world! Anyway, for the sake of simplicity, we will look at formal and informal e-mail writing separately, so in today’s article let’s see what English phraseology and expressions is used when writing formal e-mails. (more…)