My Phone-call to Airline Support & All the Embarrassing Experiences
A couple of days ago I had to make a phone call to my local airline company’s Ryanair support line to sort out a few queries over my family’s summer flight to our home country. I got through to the call center within a matter of seconds for the simple reason that it was one of those premium rate phone numbers. I doubt that would be the case had it been a normal phone line or a toll-free phone number; most likely I would have to spend at least five minutes on the line! Anyway, my customer support agent was a Russian girl so the first thought that crossed my mind was – “Cool! It’s going to be quite easy to speak with her because she’s also a foreign English speaker – just like me!” You see, the thing is that on some occasions it’s easier to speak with another fellow foreign English speaker than a native English speaker, so I thought this chat was going to be a walk in the park. A short time later, I realized it wasn’t the case with this particular conversation. I was having a hard time understanding if the person on the other end of the phone line actually understood me, so I constantly had to second-guess her replies which made the conversation not-so easy, to say the least! (more…)
Is It Possible To Sound Too Fluent in English?
Take Advantage of People Who Make You Really Fluent in English!
7 Reasons Why Having Been Born a Foreigner Is One of the Best Things That Ever Happened to You!
I have a friend who’s made incredible achievements in terms of his professional life and he’s also very comfortable when it comes to his finances, but quite often he would tell me how much more he would have achieved if he’d been born in an English speaking country. While I can’t deny that there’s a lot of truth to what he’s saying, I can also tell you that being a foreigner isn’t always a handicap – especially if you know what you want to achieve in life! Here I came up with a list of things that should open your eyes and make you realize how lucky you actually are having been born a foreigner! (more…)
Using Native Language in the English Class? Non-sense!
13 Music Idioms- Learning with Theme
Happy New Year Everyone!!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVL0GvzXQsc Hello Everybody! ;-) This year has finally drawn to an end, and I have to tell you my friends that it's been one hell of a ride :!: I've created a couple more products on top of the English Harmony System, namely - Fluency Gym Coach Program (helping my fellow foreigners with confidence and goal-setting when it comes to English improvement) and Accent Genie Program (focusing on American Pronunciation); I've started a couple of new blogs - EasyIdioms.com and BestEnglishFiction.com (I haven't been updating them as often as I'd like though...); I've finally bought my own house (well - 90% of the money is borrowed from the bank anyway, so technically it won't be mine for another 30 years...) and the redecoration work kept me busy during the summer months - having said all that, however, I never stopped delivering articles and videos on my blogs EnglishHarmony.com and AccentAdventure.com! On top of that, I've been going to my 9 - 5 job on a daily basis so as you can imagine I've been busy as hell but I've truly ENJOYED every single second of it! Why? Because receiving e-mails and comments such as this one, for example, makes it all worthwhile: That's right my friends. It's only thanks to YOU that I'm sitting here in my home office behind the laptop and making all these videos and articles. If not for YOU, there'd be no-one to read it all, there'd be no-one to watch my videos, there'd be no-one to leave comments on my YouTube channel and my blog. And if not for those who've committed with their money and dedication - namely, my CUSTOMERS, I wouldn't be able to run my operation because - let's face the truth my friends - I wouldn't have the financing necessary to run my websites, create the products and produce the videos! So I'd like to take this opportunity and THANK YOU ALL VERY, VERY MUCH for staying with me throughout this year, and may all your wishes come true in the New Year 2014!!!
Why I Love “GONE” Series & Why It’s the Perfect English Fiction for Foreign English Speakers
FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #25: I JUST…, IS ALL!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ztvsgZl1L8 Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Hello my friends! Yesterday I published the second video where I’m using multiple phrases in a single spoken English self-practice session, and this time around I did phrases 13 through to 24 which forms the second set of dozen phrases out of my 50 American Phrase Acquisition Mission. Now I’m ready to move on, and let me introduce you to the phrase number 25 which is somewhat unusual: I JUST…, IS ALL! So, in what situations can you possibly use this colloquial expression? (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Let Me Draw Your Attention to The Fact That…”
Here’s how to improve your English listening skills when listening to my video: put the headphones on, playback the video and write it all down while listening to it! Video Transcript Below: Hi guys! Hi boys and girls and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog. I welcome you to this video on this nice Sunday afternoon. However, let me draw your attention to the fact that it might not be a Sunday that this video is published on YouTube, simply because I tend to record a bunch of videos and then I publish them as I see fit, basically, right? And, if you notice that I used this phrase that we're going to be talking about today, “let me draw your attention to the fact”... I used it, previously, a couple of seconds ago there. And that was pretty much the first example scenario, how would you use it, right? It's simply to draw somebody's attention to a specific fact, right? And also, let me draw your attention to the fact that this phrase is somewhat more professional, formal, if you know what I mean. You wouldn't be, probably, using this phrase when chatting with your friends in a very, very informal setting, you know? You might use it, it won't hurt, you know? But, it's just that it's probably, typically used in a professional environment. Imagine giving a presentation, or giving a speech, and that's when you would use this phrase. But if you want to hear more example scenarios when this phrase is used, please bear with me for a few more moments and you will hear more from me, right? (more…)
How to Sell Your English Skills and Put On a Show Every Time You Speak
Everybody is a salesperson – even if you’re not aware of it. If you’re looking for a new job, you’re going to attend quite a few job interviews trying to do your best to sell your skill set and experience. When you’re meeting a potential partner you’re automatically putting on a performance to show yourself off – you’re essentially selling yourself just like any professional marketer would sell a product or a service. By concealing the downsides and emphasizing the advantages you’re increasing your chances of having the edge over your rivals, right? Same goes with nearly every other aspect of your life whenever you’re doing something that may possibly work to your benefit. When you’re cooking for your family – you’re selling your cooking skills. When you’re being professional and nice to a customer on the phone – you’re selling your customer service skills in order to remain in high estimation among the management of your company and earn promotion in the future. But here’s the thing – and every good marketer is going to confirm this – it’s very important HOW you sell it; you will outdo your competition 9 times out of 10 even if what you sell isn’t as good as your competitor’s! You may not be a professional cook, yet if you’ve served the food nicely and used enough spices, it may be just as tasty as what your partner cooks. “OK, I get it Robbie, but what it’s got to do with the English language? Your blog is about dealing with spoken English issues but you keep ranting about sales and marketing related stuff!” Fair enough, I understand your impatience; however, I didn’t come up with these sales and marketing related examples out of thin air. There is a very direct connection between being a good marketer and a foreign English speaker. Namely, you have to SELL YOURSELF as an English speaker :!: (more…)
Shocking Reality About Foreign Accent and Fluent English
Another 3 Reasons Why Learning English at School Sucks!
Recently I published a blog post called “4 Reasons Why Studying English at School Won’t Make You a Fluent English Speaker” where I discussed drawbacks of the traditional way of studying the English language.Â I’ll give you a quick overview of the previous article but of course if you haven’t read it you’d better check it out – it might prove to be quite an eye-opener for you! So why am I so much against the traditional English teaching methods? :!: First of all, the grammar translation method which is still prevalent even in this day and age, was founded back in the 18th century. Back in the olden days foreign language learning was still in its infancy and academics assumed that it had to follow the same pattern as other disciplines – Math, Physics, and Chemistry. Fast forward to the 21st century… and they still teach English at school with the same grammar translation method that is unnatural and uses students’ native language as reference medium to acquire the target language! :!: Second reason – school English studies focus on STUDYING the language rather than LEARNING English. English students are required to know all about grammar constructs, word types and syntax but real, spoken English is being neglected at the same time. This doesn’t make any sense to me; it’s like learning all about your leg muscle fibers and leg movement kinetics if your main goal is to learn how to dance! :!: The third reason is something even you might find hard to agree with, namely – English grammar difficulty levels. What I’m saying is – there’s no such thing as difficult or easy grammar, if you learn English naturally all grammar already comes with it and the ability of speaking efficiently is mainly down to every individual’s vocabulary size. The old school supporters argue that it’s not the case and one has to spend long years studying English Grammar from the beginner’s level up to advanced. But you’d better go back to the original blog post to read about it in depth and figure out where you stand on this. :!: Lastly I presented a number of counterarguments to approaching English and exact sciences with the same teaching methods. To put it simply, it’s all about recognizing that in the word driven by technological advancements during the Industrial Revolution, exact sciences where in the biggest demand and the modern educational system still mirrors those old, archaic assumptions about how students are to be taught subjects at schools and colleges. But why am I returning to the same topic again? Well, I simply couldn’t pack all the information I wanted to in a single blog post because there’s a whole lot more to say about the traditional way of teaching English! So here we go again with another 3 shocking reasons why academic English studies inhibit your English learning progress. (more…)
Customer Support & Service Industry English Phrases
Traditional English Teaching Industry Instils Anxiety and Lack of Self-Confidence!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baYGHB9oCSA A few days ago I was surfing the Net for English pronunciation improvement related info, and I came across an article that is an embodiment of everything that I don’t like about the traditional English teaching industry and the way non-native English speakers are perceived. I’m not going to provide a link to the actual article because I don’t want to potentially start a war with its author; suffice it to say that the headline of the article implies you have to hide your foreign accent and then they compare the size of English vocabulary of an 8 year of native English speaking child with that of a typical non-native English speaker. The conclusion was that you’d better make sure to build your English vocabulary by learning 4 new English words a day if you even want to stand a chance of coming close to a 15 year old native English speaker (it’s supposedly the age when a person has acquired pretty much a full working vocabulary in their native language.) Here’s a number of problems I want to point out in relation to all the aforementioned English learning principles: (more…)
How To Speak English Like A Native – Part 1
How To Achieve Fluent English Reading Knowing Only 70 – 80 % of Vocabulary!
Tricks with English Words – Horse Show or Horror Show?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSL5kMBnHE8 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…)
Don’t Analyze Your English – Part 2: Why Questions Beginning With WHY Are the Worst!
English Idiomatic Expression: “To be honest with you”
Building English Vocabulary – Part 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlwBcmydYbo Vocabulary Building Part 2 | Vocabulary Building Part 3 Are you considering building up your English vocabulary? Well, it’s time to get started boys and girls! Let’s take out our English dictionaries and write down the new English word that you’ve just heard for the first time. It can also happen that you’ve already heard the word a few times and been wondering since what it actually means. In either case, you just put it down in your dictionary followed by a translation in your language. Now you can repeat the word a few times till it settles in your memory. Nice! Another word added to your English vocabulary! Another surefire way to build your English vocabulary is using flashcards. Just carry them with you and whenever you get a chance – memorize and repeat new English words. Sure your spoken English will improve in no time! Well, not really... It took me years and more than 7000 English words memorized using the techniques mentioned above to realize it’s making very little difference to my English speech. I had grown my vocabulary a great deal, no doubt about that. I new all those English words, I could understand them whenever they were used by others, and I could enjoy understanding the English language fully. Watching films, reading fiction, listening radio shows and news – and all that in English. Not bad, is it? (more…)
3 Similarities Between Speaking in English And Driving a Car
Happy New Year 2015! + Draw Results
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iPXbzmfB-0 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 Learn A New Language In Super-short Time!
Asking for And Giving Directions in English – So Trivial Yet Essential!
English Idiomatic Expression: “It goes to show”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EHDvmpY7Vg Today’s English phrase “It goes to show” provides a very handy way of drawing a conclusion during a conversation; basically it links the two parts of your statement together – the first part where you’re explaining the nature of the problem, and the second part where you’re revealing the subsequent conclusion. This phrase can take many forms – depending on context: “It goes to show” “It just goes to show” “It simply goes to show” “Which goes to show” (more…)
33 Word Shortenings Any Foreign English Speaker Should Know!
VOCAB – this is a short version of ‘vocabulary’ and while it’s not something you’ll be using on a very regular basis, it’s always good to know that you can say things like: “I want to build my English vocab” or “I just added another useful English phrase to my vocab!” LIMO – short for ‘limousine’. Next time around when you see one, you can nudge your friend and tell him – “Hey man, look at that cool limo!” CELEB – I’m pretty sure you knew this one, but I had to put it on the list to make it complete! It’s obviously short for ‘celebrity’ and I wouldn’t be surprised if 20 years down the line people wouldn’t remember the original word at all! PIC – this is a very handy way of referring to a picture or a photograph. “Hold on a sec, I’ll take a pic and then we’re good to go!” SEC – this is how you can shorten the word ‘second’. As a matter of fact, I used this word in the sample sentence above, and here’s a couple more sample phrases: “Wait a sec!” or “Be back in a sec!” DECAF – this is a short version of ‘decaffeinated coffee’ and it will definitely come in handy when putting in an order in a coffee shop late in the evening – “I’d like a large decaf latte, please!” DETOX – this is a popular word in terms of dieting, and it refers to detoxification whereby you get your body rid of all sorts of toxins. ‘A detox diet’, for example, is a diet consisting mostly of juices, fresh salads and veggies and helps you get much healthier within a matter of days! (more…)
How Do I Force Myself Into Reading English Fiction?
Two Kinds of Mistakes Made by Foreigners When Speaking English
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2woUXuLZQDY I’ve been writing extensively about the topic of making mistakes when speaking in English, and I’m sure you know my stance by now – you don’t have to worry about making mistakes too much :!: You’re much better off making sure you use a lot of popular phrases and word combinations when speaking and that way you’ll be constantly working on your fluency! There are folks, however, who feel strongly about this topic. They think I’m sending the wrong message to my audience by condoning erroneous speech. They are strong proponents of the ‘make sure to speak 100% correctly whenever opening your mouth’ approach, and they’re worried my articles and videos will teach my fellow foreigners bad habits and they won’t be able to get rid of their spoken English mistakes! Let me address this issue now and settle the matter once and for all so that we’re on the same page when discussing any mistake related issues in the future! ;-) (more…)
Which is Better – Direct or Indirect Speech?
Is It Easy to Switch Between Your Native Language and English?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75VIcrMjcFM Hello my blog readers! Personally I sometimes find it a bit difficult to go back to using my language when I’ve been speaking in English all day long, and while it may sound a bit weird considering Latvian is my native language, I guess it’s not that uncommon among foreign English speakers living and working in an English speaking environment. As far as my ability to switch TO English goes, I also experience slight difficulties from time to time. If I’m surrounded by other Latvians and I have to start speaking in English for some reason or another – a phone call, for example – I can’t just jump back into my most fluent state. Most of the time it takes a few minutes for my mind to adjust to the English speech, and then I can speak 100% confidently and fluently. How to explain this phenomenon? Well, over the years while working on my own English and trying to maintain a high level of oral fluency I’ve figured out a few factors contributing into this phenomenon: (more…)
“Beat – Beat – Beaten”: Learn Irregular English Verbs Through Expressions!
English Fiction Books I’m Going to Read Before I Die (Kick the Bucket)!
English Harmony System’s Review
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/WLlsp4H-zMc I want you to meet someone, my fellow foreign English speakers! Her name is Diana and she runs a great English learning website Helping You Learn English. Diana is an English teaching professional, and I guess that if she’s saying that my English Harmony System might just be the one thing you need to improve your English fluency, there is something to it, right? Anyway, let’s cut the rant, just watch the video above to see what Diana is saying in her review of the English Harmony System 2.0!