Recording Your English Speech is CRUCIAL!
If you check out my YouTube channel, you’ll see there’s hundreds of videos published over the course of a number of years. That’s countless hours spent practicing my spoken English in front of a camcorder. Now, I’ve always been talking about how important doing spoken English self-practice is, but up until now I haven’t touched upon the importance of RECORDING your speech on a camcorder :!: Well, I have mentioned it in passing a good few times, and I’ve also listed it on this article called “5 Ways to Practice Your Spoken English if You’re Desperate For English Conversations!”, but I haven’t explicitly told my blog readers that I attribute a lot of my personal fluency development to recording my speech on a camcorder. Here’s a few reasons as to why recording your spoken English does wonders to your English fluency and is more effective than just speaking out loud: It forces you to speak more fluently; It provides feedback; The camcorder lens acts as a real person listening to you! Want to find out more about it? Then read the rest of this article and I’ll reveal all my realizations to you! ;-) Just think about it – you’ll get to pick my brain and extract the very essence of my knowledge. Knowledge that I’ve acquired over the course of a long career of YouTube publishing as a foreign English speaker recording videos in English. It just doesn’t get better than that, so keep reading, my friend! (more…)
Connecting Your Ideas in Written English
Why Can’t I Use All Those English Phrases and Collocations?
How to Talk About a Subject in English for a LONG Time
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi, guys! It's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com with another video blogpost. Now, this time around, I'm going to be looking at the following question: “How to provide lengthy answers?” Say, for example, you are asked a question and the situation demands that you provide quite a lengthy answer. Normally, it's totally fine to answer using very simple, short sentences. Actually, it's one of the ways of getting your fluency back on track, and you may want to check out this particular article where I'm touching upon that subject, that there's nothing wrong with speaking in very short sentences because, for most foreign English speakers who are having these fluency issues, it's very challenging to speak using very long sentences. Oftentimes, those people will get very confused and it's all too overwhelming to handle that much information in one go. It's best to separate your thoughts into little, manageable pieces, right? But, other situations such as, for example, English exams, demand that you provide quite lengthy answers. Obviously, it just doesn't cut it in situations such as exams if you just provide one, short sentence as an answer, right? In most daily situations, that's totally fine. But, what to do if you find yourself in such a situation where you are actually required to provide quite a lengthy answer? And, as a matter of fact, this is a question asked by one of my blog commentators and here's the exact question, right? I'm going to quote: "I see you carry on for a long time discussing about a topic. How do you do this? Do you follow a certain method for a long time conversation on the topic? Please help me!” (more…)
Do Headphones Improve English Listening Experience? (How to Stop Using Subtitles!)
Hi guys, whenever it comes to English listening, the typical picture most likely displayed is the following: It’s the headphones I’m talking about! Well, quite obviously there are other ways you can draw people’s attention to the fact that it’s the listening aspect that you want to focus on: One way or another, but headphones are strongly associated with English listening practice and I don’t doubt for a second that you’ve used them at some stage in your English learning routine. But here’s the thing. (Did you know you can say nearly everything using the word THING?) When I had to sit my English exam in secondary school, nobody offered me to use the headphones. When my daughter is doing her German homework, she doesn’t’ use her earphones – she just listens to the German audio lesson on her loudspeakers. After all – when you listen to other English speakers speak in real life, there’s no headphones involved, and you have to be able to perceive the meaning of speech from a distance. I mean – nobody is going to talk right into your ear, right? As a matter of fact, they actually take it one step further during the listening part of exams, for example – they make it HARDER for you to distinguish the words and make out what the speaker is saying by adding some background noise the audio such as the sound of cars passing by… You think it’s a good thing? You think it’s going to improve your ability to understand? It’s total NON-SENSE! Your listening comprehension won’t improve just because you make it harder for yourself to understand! In reality, you’ll make huge improvements in your ability to understand if you make it EASIER for yourself to understand what’s being said. Using subtitles is one way of making it easier for yourself to understand when watching films, for example. But it’s not always an option, and furthermore - It’s a good idea to teach yourself to understand English just by listening instead of reading, and that’s exactly when the headphones step in! Before we move onto discussing the merits of using headphones though, let me just show you the difference between earphones, headphones and headsets – just in case you’re wondering whether they’re the same thing or not! So, this is a typical set of headphones: And here’s what earphones look like: As far as headsets are concerned - this is what people mean when they mention it: And no, it’s not me wearing the headset! :-) Here’s me: Anyhow, going back to using the words “headset”, “headphones” and “earphones” - in real life these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. But now at least you have an idea of what exactly each of them represents! So, now it’s about time we looked into the subject a bit deeper… (more…)
Improving English? TOO General! Sometimes You Gotta Be More SPECIFIC!
Why It’s So HARD to Realize You Have to Speak in Order to Speak
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, hello boys and girls, and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! I’m Robby and in this particular video, which is a follow up on one of my latest YouTube video called “You are what you do”. I’m going to discuss one specific aspect of the whole problem of you being what you’re doing and it was pointed out to me by Juhapekka. He is a very prolific commentator on my blog and I really, really thank you for that Juhapekka :!: Your ideas that you have put into your comments have served as inspiration for so many videos for me and as I said, I’m really very grateful to you for that! So, in this particular comment Juhapekka points that… But before that, before we are actually looking into his comment, I want to remind you what the whole “You are what you do” thing is about. (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “You Don’t Want To…”
How to Use English Verb TO MAKE In a Lot of Different Ways
This is the third article in the series about using simple English verbs to express the most diverse variety of ideas and concepts. Here’s the first one where I looked at how to use the simplest English verb “TO PUT”. And here’s the second one where I discussed using another simple English verb “TO GET”. This time around we’re going to look at another very simple English verb “TO MAKE” and I’m going to show you that you can use it to express so many different things – actions, concepts and ideas – that you’ll be literally blown away by it all! Basically the idea is to realize that you don’t necessarily have to try and find specific English verbs for every conceivable action. On a lot of occasions you can use a combination of a simple verb such as TO MAKE with another word to describe the concept. Here’s a typical example – MAKE SURE: “You have to MAKE SURE the alarm is switched on before leaving the premises.” If you think about it, MAKE SURE is such a simple way of describing the concept of making sure that it just doesn’t get simpler than that! The adjective SURE describes the concept of certainty, and you just have to add the verb TO MAKE to describe the concept of someone taking action which would result in a certain outcome. If you have the kind of a mindset whereby you can’t resist your desire to translate from your native language while speaking in English, describing even such a simple concept as “making sure” may present difficulties to you – especially considering the equivalent verb in your language most likely doesn’t consist of two simple words. In my native language – Latvian – the concept of “making sure” is described using a longer, more complex verb (“párliecináties”), so if I were to translate from Latvian when speaking in English, I would probably struggle for a while before finding the right way of describing it in English. My mind would be trying to find a matching entry in English, but as a result it would draw a blank simply because there isn’t one! What you have to do for your mind to stop wandering aimlessly is the following: Stop translating from your native language and… Stop trying to find ways of describing the particular activity PRECISELY! The English language allows us to combine the verb TO MAKE with pretty much ANY ABSTRACT NOUN thus enabling us to describe actions even when we don’t know the corresponding verbs. (more…)
My Plans for English Harmony in 2015
So much has happened during the last few months in my life… I changed my job a couple of months ago... I re-opened my English fluency coaching program Fluency Star... And then I quit my new job having worked there for just over two months :!: You see, I realized I can’t really cope with such a massive workload and the only logical solution was to quit my new job so that I can do both – teach my students via Skype and maintain this blog. If you’ve been following English Harmony for a while you’ll notice that I haven’t been posting a lot of blog posts lately. To be more specific - it’s been 2 weeks now without posting a single blog entry! To put it in perspective – there was a time when I was publishing 3 articles every week. If you visited my blog on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you would always find a new article or a video, but during the last few months it’s been fairly irregular. I’ve published something whenever I could find enough time for it, but if I put myself in your shoes, I can definitely see that it’s not good enough. I don’t have to be a genius to figure out that you’d rather come to my blog with the sure knowledge of finding new content every couple of days, so it’s the first thing I’ve planned for the English Harmony website this year: (more…)
Happy New Year 2015! + Draw Results
Happy New Year Everyone! Hello, my friends :!: Hello, foreign English speakers, native English speakers and everyone who happens to be following my blog! Welcome back to my video blog, and this is obviously a whole new year – 2015! And to be honest with you guys, for one split second yesterday - last night was Christmas Eve and at one stage during the celebrations, I thought that it was going to be 2016 for some reason! But anyway, I wanted to take this wonderful opportunity and provided how far my message goes - I've got thousands of followers on Facebook, and YouTube, and my blog daily traffic goes beyond 1,000 visitors a day. So, I hope that this message gets heard by tens of thousands of people, right? So, I wanted to take this opportunity and wish you all a very Happy New Year :!: Despite all the bad things we keep hearing on the media constantly on a daily basis, I still wish you a very Happy New Year because that's the thing to do, right? Everybody wishes one another a very Happy New Year! And all the resolutions that you have set for yourselves, I really hope you'll follow through with at least one of them. So, basically, whatever it is, maybe you’re giving up something, maybe you want to quit smoking or quit drinking, for example. Or maybe you want to take up some habit that would result in something good in your life, maybe you want to join a gym, and that's typical, right, and start working out and lose a little bit of weight and get fitter. Or maybe it's to improve your English in which case you're welcome to stay with me throughout the year 2015 and keep reading my articles and watching my videos where I'm going to provide a whole lot of new information in relation to your fluency development! So basically may all of your resolutions come true! And, obviously, we have to be realistic. We can't expect that everything is going to be smooth and all the resolutions are going to be fulfilled. But at least one thing - if you are just successful with one thing, you can call it a major success because believe it or not most people fail miserably with most of their resolutions! Gyms are empty - come March, and people have started smoking again, and drinking on a weekly basis or even a few times a week, which is even worse, right? And all the plans basically have gone down the drain. So, I wish you at least to fulfill one of your dreams in this New Year! (more…)
How to Reduce Clauses to Phrases in English Sentences
Can I Become a Fluent English Speaker at the Age of 34?
Hello guys and welcome back to the English Harmony video blog! Obviously, I'm Robby and I don't even know why I'm saying this every time I start a new video. It's just one of those things I say, "Welcome back to my video blog and I am Robby." Obviously, all of you who have been following my blog will know that I am Robby. Who else could I be? But, it's just that on the off chance that there's someone new to my blog and to the whole English Harmony thing who might be watching this video and they don't know what my name is, I'm greeting you guys by letting you know my name - Robby Kukurs. Write it down. Bookmark my website - EnglishHarmony.com - because it's one of the best resources out there for those foreign English speakers who want to improve spoken English fluency, right? And also bookmark my YouTube channel, of course ;-) So, anyway, today's video is about whether - what was the question? It was a question asked by one of my blog visitors I'm pretty sure because that's where I gain most of the inspiration for creating new videos and articles. And these days, people asking me questions - whether it was an email or a comment, I'm not really sure, but it's irrelevant anyway. I remember now. The question was: “How successful can I expect my fluency improving attempts to be provided that I'm 34 years old or something like that, something along those lines, 34 or 35, basically mid-30's”. (more…)
Happy Christmas Everyone!
Tell Me What to Write About in 2015 and Win FREE Copy of EH System!
Hello my dear blog followers :!: Here’s the deal – if YOU suggest a GREAT topic for me to cover on my blog in 2015, you’ll automatically enter a draw for a chance to win one of 3 FREE copies of the English Harmony System – and I’ll do the draw LIVE in front of a camera. In order to do it, you have to post your suggestion in the COMMENTS SECTION BELOW this article – as soon as you do it, I’ll write your name on a piece of paper and enter into the draw box! But in case you already own the English Harmony System, here’s the kicker – I’ll give you a 30 minutes FREE FluencyStar chat session so either way you’re going to be a winner :!: So, how does that sound? Now, the topic you would suggest me to write about next year has to be related to English FLUENCY development and please bear in mind it’s NOT about me answering SIMPLE English grammar related questions. As you may already know, the English Harmony project is centered around English fluency issues and grammar comes second, so here’s a great example of a very valid question which I could make into a full-blown article or a video: Robby, I’ve bought plenty of English grammar books and I’ve become quite good at filling gaps into the exercises. When I’m trying to speak however, I’m not so good at it, so could you please write about how to use various English textbooks such as the Cambridge series in order to develop the ability to speak fluently? So, as you can see, the person asking this question is facing a specific issue – they have plenty of English textbooks and they want to know how to use them best in order to develop ability to speak more fluently. So for as long as your question is about anything English fluency related – speech anxiety happening for no apparent reason, inability to speak at a particular event, difficulties speaking at work, struggling to memorize new English vocabulary, finding it difficult to respond to people’s questions – you get the drift! – your question is going to be considered a contender for the draw. Now, you can also ask SPECIFIC English grammar questions for as long as the fluency aspect is concerned – such as: I’m finding it difficult to use the Past Perfect Tense in my speech, so maybe it’s best not to use it and just stick with the Simple Past? If I try to use the Past Perfect Tense, I just can’t speak fluently because I’m thinking too much! But please don’t ask simple grammar questions such as “How to use the word “to be” in English?” because – just like I already said – my blog’s main focus is on the fluency aspect and that’s the way I’d like to keep it! So, what are you waiting for? Publish your suggestion for an article or a video for me to cover in 2015 in the comments section below, and you’ll automatically enter the draw! Deadline for submissions: 31.12.2014 Draw date: 1.1.2015 Thanks so much in advance! ;-) Cheers, Robby
Don’t Over-analyze Your English – Say SOMETHING!
Easy Guide on Omitting English Relative Pronouns “Which, Who, and That”
English Teacher Puts Skype Student on the Spot… It’s NOT Teaching!
Hello, my dear fellow foreign English speakers! It’s me, Robby, from English Harmony and welcome to my video blog. Today, I’m going to tell you what I experienced, what I witnessed to be more precise, while watching a video of a particular English teacher teaching a foreigner how to speak in English obviously, right. Why I’m saying this, it’s all got to do with my own English fluency coaching program that I’m going ahead with currently called Fluency Star. I stopped taking new students on board for the simple reason that there’s no more places available. My schedule is pretty tight as it is but anyway, I was watching this particular video and what struck me, what surprised me big time was the way the teacher conducted the whole conversation. Here’s what she did. I’m not going to name the teacher or provide any links to that video in the description box below for the simple reason that I don’t want to discredit other people and knock them. Maybe they do what they do for good reasons, who knows, but the way I see it, it’s very inefficient and here it goes, right. (more…)
1,000,000 English Grammar Questions Answered by Robby
Download PDF version of this article HERE! Hi guys! ;-) In this article I’ve combined all the English grammar-related questions from your comments on my previous article where I asked you to ask me any grammar questions that have been bothering you lately. I’m going to answer all of your questions in an easy-to-understand manner so as to not make you even more confused. I mean – what’s the point in providing an answer if it’s even more confusing than the original question, right? So basically when answering the questions, I’m not going to start throwing a lot of grammar-related terms around. Instead, I’ll provide simple and commonly used examples of how this or that particular grammar construct is to be used correctly and then you can take my advice on board and start using it the same way. Remember – it’s by far easier to learn one or two ways of using a certain grammar rule than to try and apply that rule on your entire speech! If you try to do the latter, you’ll start analyzing your speech too much and that will inevitably lead to fluency issues. So, without a further ado, let’s cut to the chase and let me answer all of your questions, my dear blog readers! Needless to say – you’re welcome to ask more questions in the comments section below! :grin: (more…)
Why Don’t I Learn Other Languages By Applying English Harmony Principles?
Ask Me ANY English Grammar Related Question You May Have!
UPDATE! Here you can check out the article where I've answered all your questions below!!! Hello my fellow foreign English speakers! Are you having any English grammar related questions that have been bugging you for a long time but you just can’t figure out the right answers? Now you can ask me ANY English grammar related question and I guarantee I’ll answer it in the most detailed and helpful way I can! Here’s the plan (I just thought of it this morning and personally think it’s a brilliant plan!): You post your question in the comments section below I put ALL of your questions in an article I respond to each and every single one of your questions As a result we’re going to have a massive article on this blog where I've answered all your questions! UPDATE! Here you can check out the article where I've answered all your questions below!!! Just think about it – not only you’ll get your own question answered, but you’ll also bound to come across some other question that’s also going to be really helpful in your particular situation ;-) So please my friend, if you have a couple of minutes to spare – just head over to the comments section below and ask your grammar related question – and remember, no question is too simple! I’m going to answer them all :!: Chat soon, Robby
Skype Based English Teaching – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
The Less Opportunities You Have to Speak With Others, The More You’ve Gotta Speak With Yourself!
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hello, my friends! Hello, my dear fellow foreign language speakers! I’m Robby from Englishharmony.com and welcome back to my video blog. Today’s topic is something that I’ve touched upon multiple times on my blog and on my YouTube channel, namely - it’s... The Importance of Doing Frequent Self-practice. Basically, you’ve got to be exercising your spoken English by engaging in a lot of self-practicing. “Why?” - you may ask. It’s very simple! If you haven’t got that many opportunities to speak with other people in real life then pretty much the only way you can maintain a high level of spoken English is speaking on your own. It’s no different from working out your body if you’re an athlete, right, and obviously nowadays there’s millions of people engaging in all types of sports related activities, even not being professional athletes for that matter, right, so basically its available to anyone. Gym memberships are as cheap as ever and anyone can join a gym, or indeed just do something at home or run, which is my thing personally - I’ve been a runner for six years now, or slightly more, right. So basically, when you work out your body, more often than not, you just do it on your own. You don’t necessarily engage in team sports, so if you draw parallels between speaking with other people and playing team sports games such as football or soccer, depending on where in the world you come from. Soccer, that’s American because football in America is American football which is a totally different ball game altogether, right. (This was an idiomatic expression.) If you say that something is a totally different ball game, it simply means that this thing that you’re talking about is a completely new thing, right, but ironically enough, I was talking about ball games and I was actually using that expression in which case, it’s not so idiomatic anymore because American football and European football are the so called soccer, right, it’s a totally different ball game, but what was I talking about initially? You see, I have this bad habit of straying off the subject because I keep talking and talking… We were talking about speaking with other people is pretty much the same as being engaged in team sports but working out on your own is the same as doing some spoken English practice on your own and there’s nothing wrong with that. (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “It Came to Light That…”
English Collocation: May Have Been Led to Believe That…
English Schwa Sound [ə] – What It Is & How To Get It Right!
There was a time when I didn’t have a clue what the “schwa” [ə] sound was. I’d heard people say this strange word – “SCHWA” – and it got me thinking “What the hell are they talking about?! It must be something quite complicated because it sounds smart…” As is often the case though, the seemingly complicated matter turned out to be a very simple thing – the “schwa” [ə] sound is nothing more than an unstressed vowel sound which occurs in A LOT of English words: About [əˈbaut] Bank account [bæŋk əkaunt] I don’t know what to do! [ˈaɪ ˈdount ˈnou ˈhwat tə duː] Can you help me? [kən ju ˈhelp ˈmiː] So far so good, right? Well, turns out it’s not all that simple! ;-) There are a lot of languages in the world, and it’s not that easy for everyone to get the schwa sound just right. Recently, for example, I received a comment by one of my blog commentators Juhapekka in which he raises concerns over pronouncing the English schwa sound while being a Finnish speaker himself. (more…)
English Collocation: Eagerly Anticipating
Hello boys and girls! ;-) Today I’m bringing you another English collocation, and this time around it’s the following one: EAGERLY ANTICIPATING These are the exact words native English speakers use to describe the excitement of awaiting for something to happen, basically it’s when you want something to happen very, very much and you’re so anxious that you can barely contain your excitement! We all eagerly anticipate something. My blog readers eagerly anticipate new videos and new articles to appear on my website. I eagerly anticipate new comments on my blog and my YouTube videos so that I can respond to them and be of use to the English Harmony community. But what is it that you eagerly anticipate? Write it in the comments section below, and let me see that you can use the new English collocation EAGERLY ANTICIPATING in a sentence :!: (more…)
Creating English Sentences Using New Words? Waste of Time!
Tricks with English Words – Horse Show or Horror Show?
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hello boys and girls, and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! I just wanted to let you know guys that today I got an invitation to Dublin Horse Show; but what did I just say? Was it Dublin Horse Show or Dublin Horror Show? You see, I said it quite fast: “I got an invitation to Dublin Horse Show!”; it could have actually been either, horse show or horror show. There is no sure fire way of telling which one it was. It all depends on the context my friends, and this is one of those things that so many foreign English speakers just won’t accept. Sometimes when you don’t really understand what the particular word means, people start getting all confused and complain about double meanings in the English language and how can they possibly understand all the meanings of a single word, but the answer is the context my friends, obviously. Just the first time around when I mentioned Dublin Horse Show, you probably would be a little bit doubtful what show I meant but then in the conversation that would quite naturally follow that, you would realize what I’m talking about. If I say, “I got an invitation to Dublin Horror Show and I’m going to bring a zombie mask with me”, obviously I’m talking about a horror show, something like a horror walk, something like a Halloween’s day parade where I want to put on some different masks and go trick and treating around town and knocking on people’s doors and getting sweets, and sometimes getting some abuse as well. If I was to say that I’m going to a Dublin Horse Show and I’m going to watch how horse riders are show jumping then obviously it’s all about horses. It couldn’t possibly be horror show, right, so as I said, context explains everything. Context clarifies everything and I suggest you check out this link if you haven’t already done so previously while watching my videos and browsing my blog, and in this article, there’s a video as well. You can perform a test and see how these words co-locate, how they go together and that’s all about the context you’re learning basically. You acquire a vocabulary contextually. A word is never on its own, and even if there’s a few words together, such as Dublin Horse Show, there’s always some more context to follow. It’s never just a single phrase on its own! (more…)
You Should ACT Rather Than REACT During English Conversations!
English Idiomatic Expression: “To Go the Extra Mile”
Hello boys and girls! ;-) I haven’t posted any English idiomatic expression videos lately, so I figured why not record one and put it up on YouTube and on my blog so that you can learn something new! Today’s phrase is the following: TO GO THE EXTRA MILE and if you want to find out how it’s to be used in real life English conversations, please watch the video above. In this video I’m providing 3 examples of using this particular idiomatic expression, but obviously there’s a whole lot more ways of using it when communicating with other English speakers. The expression TO GO THE EXTRA MILE can be used whenever you want to describe someone making extra effort – if you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. Walking another mile when you’ve already walked the entire way quite obviously involves some extra work, and apparently at some stage native English speakers started using this phrase to describe making extra effort in general. So, watch this video, do some spoken English practice with this expression in order to cement it into your brain, and if you’ve any questions in relation to this phrase – let me know in the comments section below! Cheers, Robby
Many Native English Speakers Don’t Realize How HARD It Actually Is to Learn a Language!
Translation from English is Bad For Your Fluency + Example From My Early Days as a Teacher
Why You Forget English Words and How to Avoid It
I’m pretty sure you’ve had the following happen to you many, many times: You open your mouth to say something in English; You start the sentence and then suddenly you FORGET a specific word… You’re going mad trying to remember it… As a result you can’t say a thing! It’s one of the worst experiences that any of us, foreign English speakers, can possibly have because it makes us feel stupid and worthless, and the funny thing is that the more we try to make sure it doesn’t happen, the worst it gets :!: Sure enough, there are strategies such as PARAPHRASING, for example (trying to say it in different words) or speaking in SHORT SENTENCES which can be very successfully implemented when you can’t remember the exact word you’re looking for. I mean – why try and struggle to remember something you obviously can’t remember at the risk of not being able to say anything? Simply put it in different words, and let the conversation continue! Having said all that, however, I have to agree that you might still want to figure out WHY you forget English words and how to make sure such incidents don’t happen ALL THE TIME, am I not right? So, let’s get down to business and let’s start dissecting your brain in order to see why you forget English words and how to make sure it doesn’t happen that often! ;-) (more…)