How to Raise Multilingual Children with English as a Second Language?
10 Classic Novels for Students of English as a Foreign Language
How Words Hook Up With Each Other in Spoken English
Do I make myself clear now?
Are you having difficulty understanding what a character said in a TV series or a movie? You think your vocabulary is strong enough to communicate fluently, but when it comes to understanding native TV series or movies, you get baffled. If that's you, there is nothing to worry about, because today we will decode the cause, and why it happens? (more…)
Useful Sophisticated English Words & Phrases
When I arrived in Ireland 15 years ago, I went onto a mission of learning English vocabulary because I thought it was going to help me overcome my fluency issues. As a result, I acquired hundreds upon hundreds long English vocabulary lists also containing plenty of words that even native English speakers don’t use and they simply didn’t have a clue what they meant when I tried using them in real life! I like to call such English vocabulary “sophisticated”, and I’ve also written extensively on this topic on my blog, here’s a couple of articles: Don’t Learn Some Obscure English Words that Even Native Speakers DON’T KNOW! Simple vs Sophisticated Vocabulary? It’s All Just Semantics (Interpretation)! Now I know better than to learn English words that no-body uses in day-to-day communication; I’d rather use to learn the vocabulary I already know in DIFFERENT WAYS thus enabling me to speak about virtually any topic. Sometimes, however, knowing how to use certain sophisticated English words comes in handy and as it was pointed out by one of my YouTube commentators, some English tests and exams may include such vocabulary. So, without further ado, let’s learn some useful English expressions containing words that you may not have heard before – or maybe you’ve heard them a few times and wondered what they actually mean. Needless to say, it’s strongly advised you acquire this sophisticated vocabulary by learning the entire word combination thus ensuring you’ll be able to USE the word in question! (Read this article to understand what exactly I’m talking about here) (more…)
5 Memory Improvement Tips for Language Learners
It’s Normal to Forget English Phrases, Expressions and Collocations!
Here’s how to improve your spoken English when reading this article: read it out loud, then read out loud the collocations highlighted in red 10 times each to memorize them, then look away from the monitor and try and say 3 sample sentences for each of those collocations! For best results record your speech so that you can go back, spot any mistakes you might have made, and then do some more spoken English practice by correcting yourself! Has it ever crossed your mind that there’s certain English phrases you’ve stopped using? Here’s what made me realize it – when I check back my older blog articles and videos, I come across certain means of expression I don’t really use these days! For instance, when I watch my videos recorded back in 2011, I notice that back then I was using the phrasal verb COME ALONG quite often, and come to think of it, these days I don’t really use it anymore! Here’s another example – when I was updating my Fluency Star website, I read a sentence I’d written a couple of years ago: “… students OUGHT TO be punished…” and it immediately made me remember the TV show Mythbusters where Jamie was using this English auxiliary verb quite often, and I’d picked up that habit from him. Nowadays I don’t really watch Mythbusters anymore, and as a consequence I’ve actually stopped using OUGHT TO in my own English writing and conversations! Now, quite naturally it might beg the question – is this a worrying trend? Should I be concerned that I don’t use certain English means of expression anymore? Is that indicative of worsening English skills? Or maybe it means I have some sort of a memory problem and I should get checked out for an early-onset Alzheimer’s? ;-) Well, it’s not all that bad, my friends! I’m not developing dementia any time soon, and neither are you – forgetting certain English means of expression is totally normal, so please read this article to find out why it happens! (more…)
Forget About “Words of the Day” – Learn How to Use Known Words in a New Way!
How to Develop Your Ability to GUESS New English Word Meanings
Here’s how to improve your spoken English when reading this article: read it out loud, then read out loud the collocations highlighted in red 10 times each to memorize them, then look away from the monitor and try and say 3 sample sentences for each of those collocations! For best results record your speech so that you can go back, spot any mistakes you might have made, and then do some more spoken English practice by correcting yourself! May I ask you a question – what do you do when seeing an unfamiliar English word? Here’s what people normally do: Look up the new word in a dictionary Ask someone what it means Forget about it and only look it up if seeing it for the second or third time But have you ever tried to GUESS the meaning of the unfamiliar word? Well, not that many people try to do that, but it’s worth to give it a shot! Don’t be immediately looking up the meaning of the new word, try and think a little bit if you can find any connection between the new word and some other English word that you’re already familiar with! Let’s imagine for second that you’re not familiar with the following word – “enclosure”. If you just tell yourself – “I haven’t got a clue what “enclosure” is!” – it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and you’re not going to figure out what it means simply because you’re not even trying to do it. If, on the other hand, you’re thinking along the following lines: “Hold on, “enclosure” – it might have something to do with the word “close”, right? So there’s a good chance it defines something that is closed…” – you’re opening your mind and tapping into your brain resources. This type of thinking will develop a more thorough understanding of the English language and its vocabulary and will provide a small boost in all areas of your English development – comprehension, reading, and speaking. And on top of that, I truly hope that this article will serve as an eye-opener and make you realize that a lot of English words are related! ;-) (more…)
Differences Between Your Active and Passive English Vocabulary
How to Learn English Synonyms and Antonyms Effectively
Spent Years Learning English Words from Newspapers… Then Burned It All to Ashes!
A while ago I published an article called Just Because You Have English Textbooks Doesn’t Mean You Possess That Knowledge! and it was all about the widespread misconception of English textbooks and other printed materials making people “own” that knowledge. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth! For the most part, English learners would collect all sorts of English books to create an illusion for themselves that they’re doing something in order to learn the language. And so it happens that a couple of days ago Sachin, who is one of my long-term blog readers, posted the following comment on that blog post: Robby in my school/ college days I was hopeless in my language skills, my native language, 2nd language (Hindi) and English... all of them. I had flunk in last two languages 2-3 times and could barely manage to cross 40% in my native language (35% was passing). During that time I was told to read Editorial of English newspaper and mark difficult words from it, practice it and you will be fluent in English...:=O I did that religiously for a long period of time, hoping that at some point God will see may efforts and will have mercy on me and turn on the language button which was in off mode since birth. Honestly I was waiting for miracle to happen but nothing happened for long time...:'( I had a big file of those editorials and word power. I never heard those words in my daily life....and finally a few years ago I burned those files to ashes... :D (more…)
Passive English Immersion is Good for Keeping Your Vocab Refreshed
= Video Transcript Below = Hi guys and hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! It's me, Robby from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video I'm going to be telling you why exactly reading in English, listening to the radio in English and watching TV in English – basically I'm going to telling you why all that is important. Why it's necessary to expose yourself to the English language. And contrary to most people's expectations it's not important because it kind of makes you soak up all that knowledge, right? But it's quite the opposite. It's important because you can refresh your vocabulary, your vocabulary that you've already learned by way of spoken English practice. (more…)
Seeing Forgotten English Words the Next Day & the “Gut Feeling”
Creating English Sentences Using New Words? Waste of Time!
Does the following scenario ring a bell with you? -> You’re looking at a list of new English words given to you by your English teacher Your task is to use each of those words in a new sentence You’re going mad trying to think of example sentences… Eventually you create sentences in your native language containing those new words and then you translate them into English! Needless to say, this entire exercise is a total waste of your precious time and chances are, you’re not going to be able to use those new English words even when you’ve managed to insert them into sentences! Why? Well, keep reading this article and you’ll learn a thing or two about such practice of creating new English sentences using new vocabulary words – and you’ll also find out why learning READY-TO-GO sentences instead of creating new ones is the BEST way of acquiring those new English words! (more…)
Why You Forget English Words and How to Avoid It
Don’t Judge Other People’s English Because of Lack of Vocabulary
VIDEO SCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! I'm Robby from EnglishHarmony.com and I'm your friend and mentor. Today, we're going to talk about the following thing: You should never judge other people if they don't know particular English words! Say, for example, you're talking to someone, whether a native speaker or a foreign English speaker, and you're using a specific English word that that person doesn't know. You should never judge them for it because there's around a million words in the English language. Well, some sources quote two million words but I think it's a stretch. I think a million would probably be the most realistic figure that we could put on the English vocabulary so just think about it: there's a million words in the language. Now, the average adult English speaker, if he or she is a native English speaker and they're well educated, then they might know around twenty-five, thirty thousand words, right? So, just think about the chances of them not knowing some very obscure English word that you've just learned and you're using it, right? The chances are that that person probably doesn't know that word and even if you think that this scenario whereby you, as a foreigner, say something and a native speaker doesn't understand it is VERY unlikely to happen, you are wrong, my friend! (more…)
Learn Only ONE Way of Using New English Vocabulary Words at Any Given Time!
Contextual English Vocab Building: Using TheFreedictionary.com the SMART Way!
Sometimes It Makes More Sense to Acquire English Vocab as Part of Figurative Speech
If you’re a keen English student, there’s a good chance you dedicate a considerable amount of your time to learning new English vocabulary. If you’re a SMART English student, you’re learning new English vocabulary in context (basically I’m talking about phraseology here) because that’s pretty much the only way to ensure you can use that vocabulary as part of live, fluent English speech. If you’re REALLY SERIOUS about your fluency improvement, however, you’re also being selective about the way you choose which phrase containing this or that particular English word you assign the most importance to! Let’s take, for example, the word BOG. I guess you know the word, but in case you didn’t know what it means (nothing wrong with that!) – it’s land covering an area of an overgrown lake where there’s plenty of soggy, moist soil and people have been known to get sucked into bog sinkholes because it’s pretty much impossible to get out of one. So, let’s say you just learned the word BOG, and you’re going to learn the most commonly used collocations containing that word to make sure proper mental associations are created in your mind: I was walking on a bog Walking on a bog may be dangerous Sucked into a bog sinkhole Bog oak woodwork (specific type of hardwood that’s being recovered from a bog having been there for thousands of years) If you learn these collocations (it’s just a fancy way of referring to word combinations), you’re so much more likely to be able to USE the word BOG as part of a live conversation for the simple reason that the word BOG is going to be connected with other words so they’ll all come out of your mouth without you having to construct a sentence from scratch. (more…)
You Don’t Have to Learn the EXACT Meaning of New English Words!
It’s hard to eradicate habits picked up over years upon years spent studying English in a traditional setting – textbooks, translation, plenty of grammar studies – you know the drill! One of the most lasting effects of such English studies is the desire to figure out what EXACTLY a new English word means. Let’s say, for example, you’re listening to a radio news broadcast and they’re saying that the death toll has reached two hundred people following a massive volcano eruption on some distant Pacific island (this is totally fictional, my friend, so don’t go looking up news online about a recent volcano eruption – you won’t find anything!) So, the overall message is quite clear – two hundred people have lost their lives, and while you mightn’t know the word TOLL, the context reveals its meaning in an indirect way. Here’s what should be going on in your head as you hear the sentence “…volcano … death toll reached 200…”: VOLCANO + DEATH + 200 PEOPLE = simply means 200 people have lost their lives. It shouldn’t be like this: VOLCANO + DEATH + TOLL … what the heck is TOLL? Will anyone help me out with this one, please? Tell me what is TOLL, I need to know what it is!!! Here’s what I believe. I strongly believe that any foreign English speaker behaving like this knows deep down inside what the word in question MIGHT mean, and they also get the overall message. They simply like asking questions because it’s encouraged in a school setting, and this kind of behaviour carries on into the adult life making those folks question everything and anything that isn’t 100% understandable and clear-set. Are you one of those folks? Then keep reading this article and hopefully we’ll be able to deal with this problem once and for all! (more…)
New English DIY Terms I Learned This Summer While Redecorating My New House
YearOfEnglish.com: Create a Habit of Thinking of How Certain Things Might be Called in English!
Hello my foreigner friends from YearOfEnglish.com! (and everyone else, of course!) This time around let’s focus on building your English vocabulary and the related habits you should create for yourself. You see, the main problem is that many foreigner English speakers believe English vocabulary has to be built the following way: Learning abstract vocabulary lists; Learning meanings of individual words; Learning translations of words from your native language into English. Now, I can rubbish all these assumptions in an instant! First of all, vocabulary lists are abstract word compilations and they have very little – if anything! – to do with your life and things YOU have to talk about on a daily basis. Secondly, fluent English speech doesn’t happen just by sticking individual words together. Every English word is actually associated with other words creating word groups or the so-called collocations. Thirdly, if you keep translating from your native language, you won’t get rid of the habit of preparing the speech in your head prior to speaking it out loud and that’s not what I’d call true fluency! If you want to build your English vocab the natural way, you’re way better off by creating a routine of thinking of what new English words you should learn as you go about YOUR DAILY BUSINESS :!: (more…)
Video for YearOfEnglish.com subscribers: Learn English Vocabulary That’s Relevant for YOUR Life!
Rapid English Vocab Building in 3 Easy Steps!
Hi guys! In today’s article we’re going to focus on English vocabulary building the smart way. The English Harmony Way, to be more specific! You see, the reason why I’m touching upon the subject of vocabulary building is simple enough. I’m getting quite a few e-mails on a daily basis along with questions disguised as YouTube comments in relation to building English vocabulary and new words. “What’s the best way to learn new English vocabulary?” “One English word has up to 50 different meanings, do I have to learn them all at once?” “I’m trying to do spoken English self-practice as advised by you, Robby, but there are many English words I don’t know…” Now, despite me having published quite a few blog posts and videos about vocabulary building over the last couple of years, it’s never hurt anybody to repeat and reiterate the main points from time to time. As a matter of fact, it’s only a positive for the simple reason that repetition is the most efficient – if not the ONLY! – way that we humans learn anything! So, here are the 3 steps for building your English vocabulary in the most effective manner possible! (more…)
Don’t Learn Some Obscure English Words that Even Native Speakers DON’T KNOW!
New English Vocabulary Word Phenomenon
Why It’s VERY Important to Speak Out LOUD When Learning New English Vocabulary Words!
I’m sure you know that it’s quite hard to change bad habits, don’t you? Once something has become your second nature, it’s more difficult to change it than making sure you’re getting it right from the get-go! Learning new English vocabulary is no different. Imagine yourself sitting in a classroom and writing down new English vocabulary words into your copybook. I had to do it at school, and I’m sure such practice is pretty much alive even in this day and age. Now, your first encounter with those new words is purely VISUAL. You’re looking at them, re-writing them into your copybook and with every additional exposure those new words get imprinted into your VISUAL MEMORY. No wonder you often visualize English words and sentences in front of your eyes when speaking which results in hesitant and interrupted speech! What’s even worse, while re-writing them into your notes, you may involuntarily read those new English words in your mind with incorrect pronunciation! As a result, wrong mental association is formed linking a particular English word with the corresponding wrong pronunciation. Furthermore, such visual and wrong pronunciation related associations are quite hard to eradicate considering that they’ve been created upon your first encounter with this or that particular new English word. First impressions are lasting impressions, and if you’ve built your English vocabulary the old-school way by writing and memorizing,… … you may have created thousands of visual and wrong associations in your mind which hamper your ability to speak fluent and natural English! Now, considering that traditional English studies are centered around reading and writing, it’s not hard to imagine that this issue of wrong mental imagery floating around your mind as you’re trying to speak is prevalent among foreign English speakers who are trying to achieve English fluency or improve their pronunciation! (more…)
“What Are the Most Commonly Used English Words?” is the Wrong Question!
Many of my fellow foreigners arrive to my blog while searching for the most commonly used English words, and there’s a good chance that you may be one of them! ‘The top 100 most commonly used English words’, ‘top 500 English words’, ‘English word frequency lists’ – such and similar keywords are used by thousands of foreign English speakers eager to improve their English fluency. But are these English word lists any good? Do they offer good value in terms of improving one’s ability to speak fluently? Frankly speaking, such frequency lists don’t provide a lot of practical value – if any! Why? Fair enough – give me a few moments and I’ll show you exactly why! ;-) (more…)
Simple vs Sophisticated Vocabulary? It’s All Just Semantics (Interpretation)!
How to Decide What New English Words to Learn?
I think that once past the learning stage and having large enough vocabulary to allow for free expression in nearly every situation, all foreign English speakers can call themselves fluent. Yet the process of improving one’s spoken English is lifelong, and it inevitably involves learning new English words and phrases on a regular basis. Bulk of that new vocabulary is picked up naturally during conversations with other English speakers, and to tell you the truth – anyone who spends a lot of time among English speakers will grow their vocabularies even if they don’t put much conscious effort into the process. If you’re eager to improve your English at a much faster rate, however, I bet you’re making sure to learn an extra number of new English words every now and then, don’t you? Well, if that’s the case, I’ll also hazard a guess that sometimes you’ve been wandering on what grounds you should choose new English vocabulary words to learn. Should you learn all new English words that come along regardless of how obscure they may be? Should you learn English word lists using online services such as Word Dynamo, for example? Or should you write down every new word you come across when reading English fiction and make sure you memorize them? If you often ask yourself such and similar questions, the rest of this blog post is definitely going to shed some light on the issue! (more…)
English Vocabulary Building – Part 3
English Vocabulary Building – Part 2
Vocabulary Building Part 1 | Vocabulary Building Part 3 Here we go with the next video episode – and this is the tenth one. Two and a half months in production – not bad, is it? I hope I have enough dedication to see the hundredth one online and there’s no better way to achieve it than by taking just one step at a time… ;-) This time let’s look at the following thing – eliminating your native language from the English vocabulary building process. If you’re like the majority of language learners, most likely you’re using your native language dictionary to explain new English words and phrases. You probably also have a pocket dictionary where you write down the new words and by repeating them on a daily basis they become a part of your overall English vocabulary. Haven’t you noticed, though, that you actually can’t use most of your vocabulary when you have to speak English? And have you not also noticed that sometimes when you try to think of an English word, your native language words start getting into your way? Well, it’s the typical English fluency issue I was facing for long years, and it’s partially down to memorizing new English words through my native language. (more…)