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
English Idiomatic Expression: “You Don’t Want To…”
Hello my friends foreign English speakers! ;-) Here’s another English idiomatic expression for you to learn and use in your daily English conversations and also spoken English practice sessions: YOU DON’T WANT TO This particular English phrase simply means “YOU SHOULDN’T…” and it’s used by native English speakers in situations when telling someone that they shouldn’t do something would sound a bit too harsh and patronizing. Imagine yourself in a situation when you’re introduced to a new work colleague and you’re given the task of showing him the ropes (explaining how the job is done.) You’d be telling your new colleague a lot of things that they shouldn’t do over the course of the day, so every time you’re saying YOU SHOULDN'T DO IT and DON’T DO IT, it may start sounding as if you’re annoyed with them. Not that it’s a big deal – and if your voice and body language clearly shows your good intentions, you shouldn’t have any problems with telling someone that they shouldn’t do something. It’s just that it may sound a bit friendlier if you use the phrase YOU DON’T WANT TO DO IT! And here's the exact phrases where you'd be using this idiomatic expression: (more…)
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…)
You ARE What You DO!
Just to Let You Know I’m Still HERE!
Hi Guys! ;-) Just to give you a quick update on what I'm doing now and why I haven't published any videos lately - I'm busy as hell preparing new content for the website, and I want to make sure there's plenty of articles lined up for publishing. Soon enough you'll start hearing more often from me, and I promise you this - all the videos and articles I'm preparing are going to be really useful and actionable! Chat to you soon, Robby
My Plans for English Harmony in 2015
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…)