Robby Kukurs

I’m Robby, and I’m a non-native English speaker. Throughout my entire life I’ve always wanted to speak in English fluently, but because of the way English is taught in schools, I always struggled with my spoken English.

I couldn't learn to speak fluent English for 5 years - read about what I was doing to learn to speak fluently HERE - are YOU in the same situation?

Then, one fine day, after years of constant pursuit of English fluency, I realized the key aspect of spoken English improvement – learning English phrases and word combinations instead of studying grammar rules and trying to construct sentences in your head from scratch!

If you’re interested in improving your English fluency too, please check out the English Harmony System which is a product I created to help all my fellow foreigners to better their spoken English and achieve so much more in professional, social and personal life.

English Harmony System

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For those foreign English speakers whose English understanding, writing and grammar is already good but they're struggling with spoken English!

Imprints natural English speech patterns in your mind - revolutionary speech exercising technology!

Builds your English confidence - no more situations when you stop and hesitate when speaking English!

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9RoRzEzdwU 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

Is it OK to Pretend to Understand What an English Speaker Says When You Don’t?

The other day one of my Irish workmates was telling me a joke. He started off speaking the way he normally does and I could easily make out what he was saying. After all – I’ve spent nearly ten years in Ireland and by now I’ve managed to understand different regional accents and also different types of speech – muffled, very fast, with word endings dropped and so on. It’s not always possible, however, to understand native English speakers, especially when they throw in some slang words and expressions you haven’t heard being used before, and the indistinct speech makes it every harder to figure out what they’re saying :!: As you can imagine, I had to pretend that I got the joke my workmate Louis was telling me and I just gave a short laugh as a sign that his joke was really good… Please, don’t blame me! I know that it’s not quite right to pretend to understand what native English speakers tell you because you run the risk of making a fool of yourself. In fact, you shouldn’t pretend regardless of the speaker’s national background. It should never be a problem to admit that you didn’t get what was being said, even if it’s another foreigner trying to explain you something! You see, denial originates in fear of being perceived as a poor English speaker, but then you can get yourself in even more embarrassing situations trying to conceal the fact that you didn’t understand something. Admitting the truth almost always pays and you should treat such moments very casually; don’t make a big deal out of them. If you radiate confidence, few people will ever think of associating the fact that you asked them to repeat what they just said or to explain what they meant with bad language skills. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to end the conversation quickly and avoid discussing the same topic, it might give an impression of someone who’s not very comfortable using the English language. So how do you know when you should definitely tell your conversation partner to repeat what they just said or say it slower and when it’s OK to pretend you understood them? (more…)

When You Improve Your Spoken English, You Improve Your Entire Life Along With It!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQFBCNTiP3E You’re working on your spoken English improvement day in, day out. You’re acquiring new English phraseology and vocabulary, you’re engaging in regular spoken English self-practice, you’re seizing every opportunity to speak with other English speakers. Slowly but surely, your ability to speak in English becomes more pronounced, and you’re capable of verbalizing your thoughts with an ever increasing proficiency. Those aren’t the only changes taking place though. Your constant striving for betterment and improvement brings other changes along. You’re becoming more informed, you’re broadening your horizons and you’re becoming more intelligent. You’re becoming better at organizing your life in other areas – not just English fluency improvement – and that has a positive effect on your life quality and as a result you become more successful in everything you do! Do you think it’s not true? Well, watch the video above to hear everything I have to say in this regard! Chat soon, Robby ;-)

English Fluency Monitoring & Management

Funny English Phrases #3 – Money & Finance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tanOR87RZms Are you prepared to learn some money and finance related English idiomatic expressions? Then watch the 3rd Funny English Phrase video and you’ll learn the following expressions: To go to the wall The check bounced To buy a lemon Never bite the hand that feeds you Money talks To make sure you add those expressions to your active English vocabulary, please read them out loud a few times, memorize them, and eventually make a conversation with yourself. You don’t necessarily have to make it funny like I did in the video; all you have to do is use those phrases in your own sentences so that you become comfortable using them in real life English conversations. Enjoy! Robby ;-)

Don’t Analyze the English Language Too Much – It’s Not Good for Your Fluency!

Learning English Phrases Beats Learning Individual Words Hands Down!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXFEYFljVW0

FGC Goal #1: American Slang Phrase #3 – ZONED OUT

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nj2BeNh1uV0 Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Good morning my friends! :grin: So far so good – I’m on the third American phrase today and there’s only 47 more phrases to go! Today’s American slang phrase is to be ZONED OUT and it’s an informal way of describing when someone is daydreaming or in a state of absolute relaxation. You know the feeling when someone talks to you but you don’t even hear them? That’s a typical example of you being ZONED OUT, so next time it happens you can say to that person: (more…)

How Robby Improves His Spoken English

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/rF8ZZt20Me8 I've been going on about improving spoken English for years and given you countless advice on how to become a better English speaker. If you're a bit tired of it all, watch this video where I'm telling about my own spoken English improving routine and what I do on a daily basis to maintain a high level of English fluency. In this video you'll find out the following things: why I still keep practicing spoken English with myself despite having a full time job in an English speaking environment; why I threw away all my English - Latvian pocket dictionaries and now I'm having a pocket phrase book; how playing a guitar helps me have real English conversations with friends and work colleagues; why I read fantasy fiction in English during my breaks at work! If you've any questions to ask in relation to this video or if you want to share your own English improving experiences - use the comments box below! Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

Read This if You’re Dreading Making Phone Calls in English!

English Grammar vs Spoken English

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/NyVWa3Y2J48 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…)

St Patrick’s Day Greetings

SUPER Important for English Fluency: SLOW Down Your Speech!

I can’t stress enough how important it is NOT to try and speak very fast! I’ve been doing it myself for a long, long time – mostly to impress others and HERE you can read why trying to impress others is a really stupid idea. You know yourself how it goes – you’re speaking with someone and you want the other person to feel how good your English is. It’s as if you are COMPELLED to speak as fast as native English speakers, which is also a very stupid idea on two accounts: First – people will notice that you’re a foreigner ANYWAY, Second – you should NEVER COMPARE your English with that of others because it will always make you feel inadequate! I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that speaking too fast is one of the BIGGEST mistakes all foreign English speakers are making all over the world :!: It’s the reason #1 why non-native speakers get stuck for words in English. It’s the reason #1 why we mispronounce words when speaking in English. And it’s the reason #1 why we think we suck at speaking in English. The solution to this issue is quite obvious, as a matter of fact – it’s staring right in your face: SLOW YOUR SPEECH DOWN! In real life, however, it’s easier said than done. Unless someone tells you: “Hey, just slow down a bit and you’ll be able to speak so much more fluently!”, for some strange reason you’re unable to figure it out for yourself. And even when you know you should be speaking slower, you still catch yourself trying to speak faster than your natural ability allows you. It’s like a vicious circle that you find very, very hard to get out of. So, keep reading this article and you’ll learn: Why you’re trying to speak in English very fast; Why fast speech is very detrimental to your fluency; What you can do to overcome this problem! (more…)

Is It Possible to Become TOTALLY Fluent In English After 24 Years?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLWqdebqOzI I received an e-mail (or a comment – can’t really remember what it was because it got deleted by mistake!) the other day by one of my blog readers where he asked if it’s possible to master total fluency of the English language while living in an English speaking country for 24 years. As an example he provided the following video of two foreign English speakers involved in a debate in a TV studio – please check out the video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6tfkPwIpL0 I have to admit that the two professional journalists in the studio are completely fluent indeed, and it’s also a fact that 99% of other foreigners would look up to them because of their ability to speak fluently. (more…)

English Collocation: The Worst Case Scenario

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlQEewQET5I 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 ;-)

Crash Course in American English Pronunciation & Slang: Interview With Anthony from AmericanAnthony.com!

How to Practice English for FREE? Make Phone Calls!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HljzJtlc0F4 Hi Guys! :-) How about getting out of your comfort zone and practice your English by calling people you don’t know? Does that sound scary? Well – it is! But that’s the thing about real life conversations – they’re always a little bit scary because there’s always a certain amount of stress involved. And where there’s stress, there’s always the chance you’ll be making some mistakes, start hesitating a bit or maybe you’ll even forget a very simple word in the middle of the conversation. But it’s alright because guess what? If you do it by calling random companies, you’ll be speaking with PEOPLE YOU DON’T KNOW so you shouldn’t care of what they think of your English :!: They may think you’re the worst English speaker out there, but who cares? The moment you drop the phone, that person is gone from your life! So, watch this video where I’m showing you how I contact some random company and speak with their sales agent. You may notice that I’m slightly stressed out when speaking and I’m making a few small mistakes here and there, but it’s all part of the game! You can’t expect to speak fluently with real people in real life if you don’t PRACTICE this skill, and calling some random companies and making inquiries is one of the best ways of doing it! Related articles: Ring Utility Company Phone Lines to Practice Your Spoken English! Read This if You’re Dreading Making Phone Calls in English! My Phone-call to Airline Support & All the Embarrassing Experiences Robby P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

You Won’t Fool a Native English Speaker During a Job Interview So Better Stop Trying!

English Fluency Doesn’t Mean Being Able To Speak About EVERYTHING

I’d be totally lost if you started talking with me about herbal medicine, carpentry or car tuning and modification. On the other hand, I’d have a comfortable conversation with someone who’s dealing with knitwear because I’ve been working in a knitwear factory for well over three years now and I know the manufacturing process inside out! Do you see where I’m coming from? You can’t expect anyone to speak equally well about any given topic in English because every person’s profile is different :!: I would find it difficult to name but a few popular flowers such as roses, daffodils and tulips. Some other foreign English speaker working in a flower farm could probably name any possible flower that can be seen in a flower shop! And it’s not just limited to specific industry terms. If you started bombarding me with the latest news from the English Premier League, nearly all of that information would be lost on me because I’m not into soccer. Well, if you were patient with me and took time to explain little details and everything, then yes, of course I’d understand. It’s just that when I hear other guys discuss soccer at work, I don’t even try to follow their conversations – let alone trying to take part in the discussion! I mean – what’s the point in pretending to be a know-it-all if I actually don’t know much about this or that particular subject? (more…)

How I Define Real English Fluency

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/20yRATIyU3Q 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…)

Don’t Judge Foreign English Speakers by Their Mistakes!

I have to make a confession to you, my fellow foreigners… Despite having struggled with English fluency myself, and despite making mistakes while speaking myself, I do sometimes make assumptions about other foreigners and their level of English … You see, the strange thing about it is that I’m fully aware of the fact that making mistakes and struggling for words is normal. I know only too well that there’s a multitude of different factors affecting one’s spoken English performance – starting with stress and anxiety and ending with such complicated English fluency issues as preparing speech in one’s head before speaking and a total information overload. After all, I have a first-hand experience of what it feels like when you know EXACTLY what you want to say, but your mouth suddenly disobeys you and says the wrong thing… So quite naturally I’d expect myself to be the last person to draw hasty conclusions about somebody’s level of English, yet it does occasionally happen! Of course, the moment I catch myself thinking something like – “All right, I have to choose slightly simpler words when talking to him because he just used a completely wrong English Grammar Tense, so most likely he won’t understand me if I speak the way I speak with native English speakers…” – I immediately say to myself: “Robby, common, don’t be such a meanie, are you always perfect yourself?!” Imagine, if it takes me so much effort to stop patronizing others, how must native English speakers feel when they hear me make some stupid mistake when speaking to them? Can I blame them for assuming that my English is poor just because I mispronounced a very simple word? I, for instance, stressed the wrong syllable in the word ‘monopoly’ the other day. I said [‘monopoli] instead of [mo’nopoli], and had my workmate Will not known me for years, he probably would have judged my English skills by that one stupid mistake! On another occasion, I made a mistake by misplacing a word in a phrase. I said “Fair done!” which is a mix of two phrases – “Well done” and “Fair play to you!” Once again, for someone who doesn’t know me this would be a reason good enough to extrapolate that mistake to everything I might say. It’s the so called reverse halo effect, and now let’s look at this phenomenon in depth! (more…)

How to Develop Your Ability to THINK in English

English Idiomatic Expression: “You know what I mean?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0i7zojzhcbc If you think that the phrase “You know what I mean?” doesn’t warrant a second glance and is one of those overused phrases that one should rather eliminate from one’s vocabulary – you’d better think twice! This expression allows us deal with situations when we’re stuck for words and we just can’t finish off a sentence, for example. If you think it’s better to say nothing and just stare at your conversation partner than say “You know what I mean?” – good for you! Personally I will go for “You know what I mean?” over an awkward moment of silence any day, and while this phrase can indeed be overused if you get into the habit of saying it after every sentence, it’s still a great way of implying that both you and your conversation partner know what you’re talking about anyway, and any further explanations can be omitted. Chat soon, Robby ;-)

Speaking in Short Sentences? It’s Normal!

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…)

You Don’t Have to Know a SINGLE Grammar Rule to Speak Fluent English!

In this article, you’re going to find out: Why English grammar ISN’T necessary to speak fluent English; Why the most complicated grammar constructs are actually quite SIMPLE; How to use your brain’s natural ability to absorb grammatically correct speech patterns without analyzing them; How to use all the above to improve your spoken English! I know for a fact that many of you, my non-native English speaking friends, are struggling with English grammar. You’ve been studying grammar for YEARS only to discover that it doesn’t really help you speak fluently. YET you’re sticking with it. You’re hoping that there will be a point in time where you start speaking fluently once a significant amount of English grammar has been acquired. But guess what? Such a time will never come :!: Read about my 5 year long journey to English fluency HERE to see that the moment I STOPPED caring about grammar was the moment I started speaking fluent English. And keep reading this article to see WHY you don’t have to know formal English grammar rules in order to speak fluently ;-) (more…)