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!

3 Basic Rules of Effective English Communication

Whether you find it difficult to get fully involved in simple English conversations or giving speeches in front of a group of people, the same basic rules of effective English communication apply in virtually all situations. Without further ado, let’s look at the 3 basic rules of effective English communication: Rule #1: Know WHAT you want to say! Rule #2: Have EFFICIENT vocabulary and phraseology! Rule #3: PRACTICE as much as you can! Sounds too simplistic? I bet you’ll be surprised to find out how much there actually is to these simple 3 rules! Yes, it’s common sense that one needs to know WHAT to say, but if you think about it in depth, you’ll realize that on way too many occasions you’ve actually tried to say something despite NOT HAVING A CLUE as to what exactly you’re going to say! The rule about having efficient English vocabulary, however, is multifaceted. While superficial thinking might result in a simple conclusion: “Yes, of course I need to have enough means of expression to explain myself properly, what’s so surprising about this?”, there’s another dimension to this problem. Namely – the average foreign speaker often lacks confidence and isn’t aware of how much he or she actually knows, and if you know how to use your English vocabulary right, you can talk about almost any topic! This brings us to the third rule – frequent practice. Yes, also a very simple and common-sense suggestion; yet way too many foreigners expect to be effective communicators without trying hard enough. Just because you’ve spent years studying the language doesn’t mean you’ve become a fluent English speaker, and frequent practice is paramount when it comes to English fluency! (more…)

Why Reading an English Newspaper is 100 Times Better than Studying a Grammar Workbook

Let’s imagine you have to pick only one English learning and improving material to take with you to a remote island. What would it be? An English grammar book? A fiction book in English? An English workbook? Never mind them all! What you need is a bunch of newspapers and your English will come along nicely! ;-) The reason why I value newspapers so highly – especially tabloids - is because their purpose is to provide normal, everyday people with easy-to-digest news and English used in them is very close to the spoken language heard on the street, at work, on TV and radio. You can read tabloids very easily and in the process you’ll acquire the same means of expression used in interpersonal communication. While some academics might hold to a view that spoken English has low standards because of abundance of phrasal verbs and informal expressions, my experience tells me tabloid language will make your communication with other English speakers so much easier. After all, what kind of conversations are you involved on a regular basis – normal, everyday chatting or highly intellectual, academically inspired discussions? I think that without a shadow of a doubt the former kind of communication is by far more necessary for the average foreign English speaker, so let’s look at the benefits of reading English newspapers and tabloids in a bigger detail. Also, you’ll find out how just by scanning tabloid headlines you can stay up-to-date with current affairs and offer your opinion on different topics when having a chat with your friends at a launch table! (more…)

5 Ways of Passive English Immersion

Recently I wrote an article about 4 Ways of Active English Immersion which included thinking, counting and also speaking with yourself in English – mad stuff altogether! But in order to achieve complete English fluency you should be prepared to resort to unconventional methods, and I really suggest you put my advice to good use if you want to see your spoken English come along. Let’s face the truth, however – you can’t possibly speak English ALL THE TIME. There will be times when you just lie down on a couch to relax after a hard day’s work when all you want to do is enjoy a movie or your favorite TV show, or have a read… As you might have already guessed, today’s blog post is about passive English immersion. It’s when you don’t get actively involved in the process through speaking but you soak up the information by listening, watching and reading. Before we look at the ways you can achieve passive English immersion, here’s another nugget of information for you. It’s been widely claimed that the first stage of any language acquisition is mostly listening and only then comes the speaking phase. Parallels are drawn between studying English and how small children learn their first language. Apparently the child doesn’t know how to speak and he only listens to adults and then starts to replicate sounds, words, and sentences. The proponents of this theory conclude that adult language learners should replicate this language acquisition model because it’s obviously the most natural one, isn’t it? This notion has become so common that many English teachers will even tell you to focus predominantly on listening and reading in order to prepare yourself for the next stage which is speaking… My dear foreign English speakers! It’s the biggest load of crap you’ll ever come across when it comes to learning and improving the English language! The simple truth is – and you can read my life story here - that you just won’t become a fluent English speaker no matter how much time you spend on reading and listening. Passive English immersion is great combined with active immersion and the priority ALWAYS goes to the latter one :!: It’s your MOUTH that you speak with, not your eyes or your ears, and I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to get it? If you spend most of your time listening and reading, you’ll develop huge passive vocabulary (words you RECOGNIZE but struggle using in real life conversations). If you spend most of your time speaking, on the other hand, you’ll develop your ability to speak, and it should be the top priority to any foreign English speaker. So – use the following passive English immersion methods in between your active immersion activities, and you will see your English improve in no time! (more…)

4 Ways of Active English Immersion for Foreign English Speakers

Speaking English in Unfamiliar Settings: Why You’re Ashamed of Speaking With Your Friends in English

Unless you live in a full English immersion 24/7/365 (which is quite an unrealistic scenario unless you’re married into an English speaking family and lost all connections with your home country…), you’re using both – English and your native language on a continuous basis. Usage of English, however, is most likely limited to certain times of the day and certain locations. Traditionally, you’d speak in your native language with your family members and English at work and friends. Sometimes, however, you might be required to speak English on occasions that would normally be associated with using your native language and it may pose some difficulties – and that’s what I’m going to look at in today’s blog post. Are foreign English speakers capable of switching over to English easily or it poses some challenges? Should you aim for long periods of time when you speak and think only in English to facilitate English fluency? And if it’s beneficial to your spoken English improvement – is it a good idea trying to talk your friend into speaking English with you? All these and more questions are going to be discussed in today’s blog post so keep reading it if you’ve ever been wondering why is it that the longer you speak in English, the easier it becomes and why it’s more difficult to communicate in English in unfamiliar settings! (more…)

3 Things ANY Foreigner Can Implement To Boost Their English Communication Skills!

How To Hesitate Like A Native English Speaker

You may like it or not, but every English speaker – be it native or foreign – is bound to hesitate at some stage during a conversation. While excessive hesitation is a sure sign of an English fluency issue whereby you constantly keep mixing up things in your head while speaking, in moderate amounts it doesn’t indicate any serious fluency problems. It’s just normal that you would pause a little bit when you’re not sure on how to put it in the right words – and I’m not talking about you being unable to choose the right English words here. I’m talking about situations when you’re asked some question that you can’t give a straightforward answer to; or situations when you’re a bit tired or just can’t seem to be able to gather thoughts for some reason. It can also happen when you speak in your native language, so you don’t have to feel as if you’re unable to communicate in English properly just because your brain doesn’t fire on all cylinders on this particular day. Some will probably judge your spoken English skills by those occasions when you hesitate a little bit, but you shouldn’t really mind them or else you risk putting your sanity on the line :!: Anyway, there is something that any foreign English speaker should know about hesitation if they want to sound natural, so read on if you want to find out how to hesitate like a native English speaker! ;-) (more…)

Focus on What You CAN Say in English Instead of What You CAN’T!

When You Focus Too Much on What You CAN’T Say in English… … you find it very hard to concentrate on the topic at hand; your mind seems to be drifting away in a hundred different directions leaving you unable to have a normal conversation… … you have a feeling as if the stuff you want to say is right in front of you yet you can’t read it out… … you keep confusing words and making mistakes when speaking… … you constantly question yourself if you said it correctly – as a result you start making even more and more mistakes… … you’re just unable to produce normal, fluent English speech. What can be worse for you as a foreign English speaker? :sad: But let’s begin by looking at this issue by drawing parallels between spoken English and another type of activity I’m into. (more…)

Don’t Be Conscious Of Your Own English Conversations!

Probably the most important piece of advice for foreign English speakers who wish to improve their English fluency is to shift their focus from technical details of their speech to the actual conversation and the person they’re speaking with. You know, we foreigners often tend to over-analyze when we speak English and it can lead to making all sorts of stupid mistakes. Being a perfectionist isn't going to make you into a fluent English speaker, so I’d say it’s very, very important to learn how to let it go and speak without being conscious of the way you speak, the way you pronounce words, and finally – the actual words you choose when speaking! It’s even possible to speak fluent English with a limited active vocabulary, and as far as you don’t think about what you can’t say but just say what you can, you’ll be more conversationally fluent than some other person who might possess more formal knowledge yet they’re too conscious to put it to good use! In other words, it’s all about being fully involved when speaking with someone instead of adopting an observer’s role and scrutinizing your own speech :!: Well, I know, I know that it’s easier said than done, but you just have to keep trying. Every time you’re having a conversation with someone in English, you have to force yourself to forget about formal English knowledge and grammar rules, and just speak. (more…)

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

Don’t Compare Your English With Others!

Today’s blog post’s topic is about the importance of not comparing your English with others. And I don’t mean it in a way that you’d have to ignore English spoken by people around you. It’s quite the opposite - I want you to perceive this piece of advice as an encouragement not to feel inferior to other English speakers :!: The sense of inadequacy and worthlessness as an English speaker can sometimes overwhelm you and it can have a detrimental effect on your English fluency. The goal of my English Harmony project is to help foreigners deal with occasional drops in spoken English fluency which are quite common in those who’ve followed the traditional path of English learning by focusing on writing and studying English grammar. So not only you have to deal with the actual speech issue itself; you also have to be mentally tough and resilient to maintain the ability to communicate with others when going through the bad English fluency phrase while hearing others perform much better than you :!: Here’s a typical scenario – and if you have the English fluency issue you definitely would have had similar moments. You arrive at work, and say hello to your co-workers, but for some reason your English isn’t as good as normally so you feel that you’re struggling a bit to say the simplest things - like morning greetings. Anyway, you’re already under mental pressure to keep your speech steady and slow – otherwise you risk running into even bigger issues like getting completely stuck in a middle of conversation and getting a total blackout in your mind. And then suddenly you hear some other foreign English speakers having a chat and they just speak away fluently and effortlessly. Or it could even be you involved in a chat with, for instance, your native speaking colleague and another foreign person. The other foreigner speaks freely, but you constantly catch yourself struggling with picking the right word, or expressing your thoughts clearly. So tell me, what would be the most natural reaction on this? Of course, anyone who’s in the situation I just described would start comparing their performance with the other foreign person’s performance :!: It’s a totally natural competitiveness and in normal circumstances facilitates one’s desire to compete, to become better at it. (more…)

Don’t Look for a Silver Bullet when Improving Your English!

Boring English Grammar or Cool Fiction – Make Up Your Mind!

All foreign English learners, improvers, grammar enthusiasts and bookworms – this blog post is for you :!: But first – a couple of words about me and my relationship with reading. I love reading! No – seriously, even though some of my blog posts might seem to be promoting spoken English exclusively, I do it for the sole purpose of encouraging foreign English speakers to speak. After all, this blog is dedicated to those who struggle with English SPEAKING and I’ll never tell you to read plenty of English literature and print media in order to improve your SPOKEN English because… it’s lies :shock: It’s big, fat lies told to you by traditional English learning proponents simply because they don’t know any better and also because they studied English at school following the very same methods. They still believe you can soak in all the English material you’re reading like a giant sponge and then start speaking and use all you’ve learnt and read. Folks, it just doesn’t happen that way, in order to speak you need to speak! However, it’s worth noting that I haven’t said a single word about English reading being bad as such. And I never will, because I’ve always been reading a lot throughout my life. Since I reached complete English reading fluency, I’ve been reading mostly historical fiction and fantasy in English, and I must tell you – I’m loving it! ;-) OK, I’ll get back to today’s story, so let’s cut the rant and get down to what I wanted to tell you! (more…)

7 Ways to Kill Your English before You Even Start Speaking

Over the years I keep seeing the same mistakes being made over and over again by those who want to improve their English. But it’s really shocking to see that not only is reading and writing based English learning encouraged but speaking English is discouraged! Moreover, I found this genius approach of improving English by cutting out speaking on an authority website - I'd better not give its name here... Well, it would be folly to hold the website responsible for all their contributors posts – after all, even Wikipedia.org is full of wrong and misleading facts. Still the first point on the article I read voices the standard notion in the industry – and here it is: 1. Talk less and listen more. Brilliant, isn’t it? Shut your mouth, foreign English speaker, don’t practice your speech but instead focus on passive language input! This is the gem among all recommendations I’ve read online targeted to foreigners who want to improve their English, and I can’t stress enough how WRONG it is. (more…)

How To Learn A New Language In Super-short Time!

A few months ago I came across a website of an Irish guy called Benny – and I must say I was really impressed with what I found out about him! Benny speaks 8 languages at the moment... I’m saying – at the moment – because God only knows how many he will speak at the time when you read this article! Basically this is what he does – he takes on 3 month long missions to learn a new language. Yes, you got me right – 3 months! :!: While for most people it would take 3 months to get around basics of a new language, Benny masters his target language to fluency. Amazing, isn’t it? Well, if you think he’s a genius capable of acquiring tens of thousands of words in the target language and master it to a complete fluency in 3 months – it’s not really the case. For Benny as well as for me achieving fluency in a language doesn’t mean acquiring all academic grammar knowledge about the language along with huge vocabulary. (more…)

Does It Irritate You If Native English Speakers Make Wrong Assumptions About Your English?

Is English Language Taking Over?

Here’s the dilemma – any language changes over time and can potentially become extinct. It’s part of natural cycle – nothing lasts forever. Yet, when I hear my daughters using English syntax when speaking our native language, it saddens me a lot. I know it’s not their fault that I chose to move to Ireland eight years ago. It’s not their fault that they can’t read and write Latvian properly. After all, we’re living in an English speaking country and they’re completely immersed in English environment. So tell me – should I be fighting for my national background’s preservation at all costs or should I allow things to take natural course? It’s not impossible that I won’t hear my grandchildren use my native tongue – but then there’s thousands of foreigners in Ireland who choose not to use their native language at home at all! Well, I don’t think it’s right speaking English at home despite having your own language – you shouldn’t be denying your national identity no matter what. Once you’re born Egyptian, Ukrainian, Spaniard, or Filipino, you’ll always remain as such. But as for the younger generation… What’s the use of teaching them the native writing and reading if they won’t use it anyway? They can speak with their parents and relatives in the native tongue – fair enough! But why would I want my children to be able to use our language fully? They read and write English only anyway! (more…)

What’s Common Between Running and Speaking English?