4 PRACTICAL Things You Didn’t Know About the English Language

Even if you’ve been learning and using the English language for years, I can assure you that there are some quite practical things about this language that you’re not really aware of :!: “Ah well, this is just another article about English word origins, historic facts or funny things about the English language…” – you may have been thinking when reading the headline. If so, then let me tell you – you're in for a very pleasant surprise! In this article I’m actually going to reveal a good few things about the English language that will HELP you in your fluency improvement routine by making it easier to learn new vocabulary, pronunciation and a whole lot more. Are you ready? Then what are we waiting for – let’s get started! ;-) (more…)

Find It Hard to Do Spoken English Practice? Write It Down First!

I’ve been going on about the importance of doing spoken English practice for years on this blog, and here are the 3 main benefits of doing it regularly: You develop your ability to speak spontaneously and fluently You prepare yourself for conversations with real people in real life You deal with your anxiety and fear of speaking in English But what if you find it hard to get your creative juices flowing when trying to verbalize your thoughts? What if you don’t engage in spoken English self-practice for the simple reason that you don’t even know where to begin to produce a monologue on a specific topic? Well, there’s an easy solution to this problem – you have to kick-start your spoken English self-practice routine by going down the easiest road possible, namely – reading a certain piece of writing out loud, and then repeating it without looking into the text. You simply have to WRITE IT ALL DOWN first, and then speak it all out loud! Well, the best case scenario, of course, is to completely separate writing from speaking in your mind; after all, the typical English fluency issues originate in English studies that are centered around writing and reading and so your mind has adopted this funny “writing mode” whereby you try to speak as if you’re creating English sentences on paper (as a result you hesitate and get stuck for words when you have to speak in real life.) But if you have to choose between not speaking at all and reading off a sheet of paper (or computer screen), then it’s a no-brainer – you have to do whatever it takes to develop your ability to SPEAK in English :!: (more…)

Don’t Learn Complicated English Tenses TOO Soon!

Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog - or welcome back to my podcast in case you're listening to this as an audio file on iTunes or on my blog. In today's video I'm going to tell you about English tenses, namely - what I think about them and how you should go about acquiring complicated English tenses. You see, I strongly believe that way too many foreign English speakers are focusing on English tenses too early in their attempts to acquire English fluency. I'm getting plenty of comments and emails sent in asking the same questions: "I'm all confused about the tenses. Please, Robby, explain how to use this or that English tense" and questions like, "I need to prepare for this English test or for this exam" and "can you help me to understand the complicated English tenses" and so on and so forth. Now, if it's about an exam or a test, then yes, I admit, the traditional English teaching industry requires you to analyze grammar, to understand tenses and it's a bad thing because that way you get all too focused on analyzing the language instead of speaking or writing spontaneously, right? My approach is, you have to start learning the English language and then proceed forward with learning simple language, simple sentences, simple word combinations, simple tenses. It's totally possible to speak using only three English tenses – Present Simple, Present Continuous, and Simple Past - and I know for a fact that a lot of YouTubers, video bloggers who come from the foreign English speaking background actually don't use complicated English tenses. (more…)

Learn Pronunciation by Equating English Sounds to Your Native Language!

Don’t Try Just to THINK in English – Speak It All Out LOUD!

Way back in 2012 I published an article about the importance of thinking in English if you’re serious about your English fluency development. The reason I wrote the said piece was because one of the primary causes of foreign English speakers’ fluency issues is translation from one’s native language when speaking in English which is a direct consequence of the traditional English studies. You see, if you’re studying the English language the traditional way, you’re bound to start translating when trying to create an English sentence. You think of what words to say based on how you’d say the same thing in your native language. You also tend to copy the syntax of sentences from your native language simply because it’s the only know way for you to say or write anything in English. Basically it all boils down to you THINKING IN YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE. Changing your life-long habit and starting to THINK IN ENGLISH, therefore, is an absolute must if you want to learn how to speak fluent English – as you can imagine, it’s not really possible if your head is full of thoughts in your native language while you’re trying to say something in English. (more…)

Why Can’t I Speak With My Fellow Native Speakers in English Fluently?

English Fluency Issues Is a Blessing in Disguise!

Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! I'm Robby, your friend and English fluency expert, and this time around I'm going to tell you that all these English fluency issues you might be having (and most likely you are having them, otherwise you wouldn't have visited my blog and you wouldn't be searching for English fluency improving related information online, right?) doesn't mean you're a total loser. More often than not, it's a good thing! Now, if you think that it's total nonsense – I mean, how could English fluency issues be good for you? Surely if you didn't have them at all then you'd be more successful in your career, in your professional life and in your private life, right? But think about this now, my friends. Just because you have these issues whereby sometimes you can't talk normal, fluent English, it forces you to work so much HARDER on your fluency than if you didn't have those issues at all! (more…)

Everyone Says My English is Good Enough… But It ISN’T!

I got contacted by a guy living in the US recently, and he said in his e-mail that quite often he finds himself in situations when he can’t have a normal small-talk conversation with native English speakers DESPITE having been told by a lot of English teaching professionals that his English is almost perfect. So basically the problem can be defined the following way: Everyone says my English is good enough, but I know for a fact that it ISN’T! This may sound like an attempt to be super-perfect (it’s as if the person in question is saying that his or her English is never going to be good enough), but in reality it happens to a lot of foreign English speakers due to reasons other than having very high standards when it comes to English acquisition. The reasons are as follows: (more…)

Thinking in English Happens With Your Mouth

This video is dedicated to Juhapekka’s last comment on my blog where he says that he’d really like to be able to think about the most sophisticated and complex subjects in English, but he’s not really able to. Juhapekka is a Finnish guy and he’s a frequent commentator on my blog - he’s posted a good few comments and they’re very profound and I really, really appreciate his contribution to my blog. So, thank you once more Juhapekka! ;-) But now let’s get down to the business and let me respond to the actual comment. Let me tell you right up-front that it’s going to be useful to everyone – not just Juhapekka – so just watch the video above (or listen to the audio file just above the video in case you can’t access YouTube content) and you’ll definitely find something useful for your own English improvement routine. (more…)

English Learning Principles for Total Beginners

You Shouldn’t Learn Irregular Verbs This Way: Bring – Brought – Brought

Today I witnessed how a beginner English learner was using a smart phone app to build English vocabulary. The girl spoke a word in her native language, the app picked it up, translated into English and while doing so it also provided all three basic forms of the verb in question: “Bring, brought, brought.” Cool! – you may think. It’s a great app! ;-) Well, just forget the app for a moment, and let’s see what happens in your brain when you memorize a word string such as “Bring – brought – brought”. You memorize all those three words in the same exact sequence, and next time around when you think of using the verb “to bring”, the other word -“brought” – is going to appear alongside. You think it’s handy? Well, think twice :!: What if you’re trying to have a conversation with someone in English, and you’re starting a sentence by saying: “My supervisor told me I have to bring...” – but then suddenly the word “brought” jumps right in making you hesitate? Do you think it’s an unlikely scenario? In reality it’s EXACTLY how the typical English fluency issue manifests itself, and learning such unnatural word groups contributes to non-native speakers’ inability to speak fluently big time! So watch the entire video above, and if you’ve any questions or queries – please post them in the comments section below. Robby

Improving Your English is Simpler Than You Think!

Watch Breaking Bad If You Want to Improve Your American English!

Everyone was talking about Breaking Bad. My friends were watching it. People at work were talking about it. When the 5th season finale aired on Netflix, there was so much talk of it that it made me wonder why everyone is so obsessed with this TV show but I still didn't start watching it because that's typical me. It oftentimes takes me a bit longer to embrace new things than for everyone else, but eventually I catch up with everything in my own time. Breaking Bad was no different. After countless attempts to encourage me to watch it my friends gave up trying to convince me, but then one fine day (maybe it's some sort of reverse psychology?) I just opened my Netflix page and clicked on the Breaking Bad link. I got hooked right from the get-go :grin: This crime drama turned out to be so exciting, so captivating and so different to anything else I'd ever seen before that I just couldn't help myself being glued to the laptop monitor for hours on end! If I had to explain my fascination with Breaking Bad in only one sentence, this would be it: The main characters of the show illustrate very vividly that there's no such thing as black and white in life - sometimes good intentions may lead to disastrous consequences and bad deeds may result in something good - and the type of characters chosen by the creator of the show Vince Gilligan allow anybody to put themselves into their shoes and imagine what it would feel like to be forced into making life changing decisions and start making drugs at the age of 50 to secure children’s future or face a moral dilemma of reporting your husband or partner to the police or accept their criminal background. Being a foreign English speaker myself, however, I have to admit that there's a whole lot more to the show than just the entertainment. As a non-native speaker of the English language I've discovered an array of added dimensions to Breaking Bad, and here's to name but a few: I can shadow the show while watching it thus learning new American English phrases and expressions; Breaking Bad is great for American pronunciation development - obviously shadowing comes into the equation here as well; I can imagine myself as one of the characters (and I can't actually help it because I've a vivid imagination!) and I experience the film as if I were part of the real events which is great because I get to experience the life in the Unites States; I've been also doing some English spoken self-practice putting myself into many of the Breaking Bad characters' shoes which is great to help me acquire new American English phrases and expressions through the associated role-play. And here's some of the phrases I learned while watching Breaking Bad on Netflix - obviously it barely scratches the surface, but at least you'll get to learn some of the phraseology I've come across during the last couple of months. (more…)

Speaking English is Just Like Playing With Lego Bricks!

A few days ago I received the following comment on the English Harmony Facebook page: Your method, learning English through idioms, phrases, proverbs, etc. is so much fun! It’s like playing with Lego bricks! Really! You see, you took most of the grammar (which for most is a party-breaker) out and made it so much less intimidating. You completely changed my view on English. Now I don't see sentences as complex structures (teeming with grammar lawfulness) but rather as different ready-to-go pieces (that is idioms, phrasal verbs, etc.) put together. Just like Lego bricks! That's why I find it like playing with it. You take on brick/part which is at your disposal and then choose which one will go along (with the same method: see what you have and try to make the best combination to convey your message). Thank you for that! I really, really liked this comment – not just because its author agrees with me on the effectiveness of contextual English learning, but also because it puts a completely different spin on the whole thing and makes you realize that English learning and improvement has to be perceived as a fun game rather than a boring chore! (more…)

Learn Only ONE Way of Using New English Vocabulary Words at Any Given Time!

In this English Harmony video I’m going to respond to Meenu’s comment in which she explains her problem in relation to learning new English vocabulary words. You can see the full exchange below: I’m taking the liberty to elaborate on the whole issue in the video above, and I hope you’ll find it helpful, Meenu! ;-) So, if you’re having similar issues with learning new English vocabulary: (more…)

Lower Your Standards if You Want to Improve Your English Successfully!

How to Deal With Situations When You Don’t Understand the Other English Speaker At All!

About a week ago I asked you to share your stories about embarrassing English conversations on this blog post. I got a good few comments sharing various experiences, and one of those stories was submitted by a Finnish fella Juhapekka where he shares his experience of having a conversation with a South African chap whose accent, slang and fast speech was indistinguishable. So the basic issue faced by Juhapekka was dealing with situations when you just can’t understand what your English speaking conversation partner is talking about, and I recorded this video to address this particular issue! ;-) If you’ve also had similar experiences in the past and it keeps happening to you every now and then that you don’t understand a particular person and you feel very embarrassed about the whole experience – please watch the video above and you’ll find out what exactly you can do about it. Any questions and comments are welcome! ;-) Robby

Share Your Humiliating English Conversation Experiences & Get Advice!

Contextual English Vocab Building: Using TheFreedictionary.com the SMART Way!

A good while ago I published a video in which I touched upon contextual English learning and I also provided the opportunity for everyone in that video to do a simple test so that they can see for themselves how effective contextual vocabulary building is as opposed to the traditional way. Check out that video HERE! A few days ago I got a comment on that video asking for a good website to learn English vocabulary in context to which I responded by saying that TheFreeDictionary.com is one of the best dictionary websites out there containing a large array of English phrases and collocations which is exactly what you want when learning English contextually. Yesterday I got another comment by the same person asking how exactly TheFreeDictionary.com website is to be used for the purpose of contextual learning, and so I decided to record this video providing the EXACT instructions on how to look up phrases and expressions containing specific words on that website. (more…)

3 Easy Steps of Dealing With Fear of Public Speaking for Non-native English Speakers

Are you afraid of speaking in public – be it a company meeting, parents meeting at school or a college presentation where you’re required to speak in front of the entire class? Truth be told – most people are afraid of speaking in public, but to make matters worse, we’re in a situation of being non-native English speakers thus making us even MORE vulnerable to possible hick-ups during the speech! I mean – where the native English speaker has to deal with anxiety and stage fever, we also have to deal with our English fluency issues which are most likely to get exacerbated while we’re freaking out on the stage or in front of expectant listeners, so I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that dealing with public speaking anxiety is even more difficult for foreigners like me and you! It shouldn’t deter you from dealing with the issue though, and if you have an important meeting or a presentation coming up soon, please read the rest of this article where I’m going to tell you EXACTLY how to deal with your fear of public speaking by: Accepting and embracing you fear; Preparing for the event by a way of speech automation; Lessening your anxiety through worst case scenario analysis! So what are you waiting for? Read this article and deal with your public speaking anxiety in 3 easy steps :!: (more…)

English Collocation: The Worst Case Scenario

Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers :!: In today’s English Idiomatic Expression video we’re going to look at the following collocation: THE WORST CASE SCENARIO. It’s a way native English speakers (and also fluent foreign English speakers, of course!) refer to the worst possible turn of events, and traditionally we discuss such possibilities when: Trying to persuade someone to do something (Common, why are you afraid to go to the event, the worst case scenario is you being asked a question, and it’s no big deal really!) Discussing the various eventualities and trying to prepare for the worst (So, the worst case scenario is the whole computer network going down, see we need to buy another backup server!) Want to find out more about this particular English collocation? Then watch the video above (or listen to the audio just above the video!) and don’t forget to use this new English collocation in your own English conversations! Regards, Robby ;-)

How to Improve Your English if You’ve Very Little Time?

Idiomatic Expression: “In a spur of the moment”

Hi boys and girls! :-) In today’s English idiomatic expression video I’m using the following English phrase – IN A SPUR OF THE MOMENT. When and how to use this particular English expression? Well, most commonly it’s used whenever you want to express the spontaneous nature of some event, but to learn about more ways of using this particular English phrase, please watch the video above! Cheers, Robby ;-)

My Shocking Web-research Experiences Into English Fluency Related Websites

Is It Possible to Preserve National Identity When You’ve Lost Your Native Language?

This is a follow-up on the previous blog post where I touched upon a related concept - Dominance of English and its Lack of Appreciation for Smaller Languages. The reason why I recorded this video is simple enough. I published the previous video where I voiced my opinion on the dominance of the English language and concluded that we can’t really blame English for decline of smaller languages in the world – after all, it’s the PEOPLE who make countless choices as individuals driven by their social and economic needs that determine if speakers of a particular language are going to decline in a long run. Then I got a sudden realization – “Hold on, does losing a native language NECESSARILY mean losing one’s national identity? The moment anyone mentions languages dying out it’s perceived as a terrible and tragic event, but do those people really lose their native characteristics and heritage just because they’ve started speaking in English?” And so I recorded this video where I’m revealing what I actually think about the whole thing, and here’s the exact script of it: (more…)

Is English Harmony GOOD and All the Rest is BAD?

If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you’ll know that I’m all against the traditional, mainstream English studies. They focus mostly on writing, reading and learning grammar rules – needless to say, spoken English fluency gets neglected big time and so hundreds of thousands of English students keep struggling with their English without even realizing why it’s happening. That’s why I started this website, and that’s why I created the product – English Harmony System  - which is the only product out there that uses the spaced repetition approach and video technology in order to imprint natural English sentence structures into people’s minds so that they can start speaking natural, more fluent English. One day I got an e-mail from Francisco, however, in which he asks me to be a bit more ethical when talking about the issues mentioned above. He thinks that: Not ALL schools are bad and that there are plenty of good schools where English is taught in a way that facilitates English fluency; Conversational fluency is fine, however, there’s more than that – one may want to acquire an academic, deeper English knowledge and why would I claim it’s all bad? There are so many needs for foreigners – passing English tests and exams, business English etc., and surely my English Harmony System doesn’t cater for those needs! I’m taking advantage of those who are let down by the traditional English teaching system by shoving my product in their faces and taking their money; I’m claiming my product to be the BEST one in the market but there are more products like mine out there; why am I not being honest? Now, here’s my take on the whole thing: (more…)