Highlights of July 2011

By Robby

If you are new here please read this first.

English Harmony Author The month of July has come to an end, so let’s look back at the most important blog posts – in case you didn’t get a chance to read them all.

I started the month with a blog post about changing your perspective on the way you conduct English conversations with people. If you often experience embarrassment when speaking in English with certain people in certain situations, in this article you’ll find valuable advice on how to lower your stress levels on such occasions. Of course, I can’t make miracles happen and make you into a super-confident foreign English speaker in five minutes while you’re reading the article. You have to work with yourself but what I can do through such and similar articles is – make you realize what EXACTLY you should be focusing on in order to deal with confidence and mindset issues when speaking English.

Another blog post that comes highly recommended explains why I’m highlighting bits of my blog posts in red and it’s all about idiomatic expressions and collocations. This is very important stuff so if you’ve very little time, just read this blog post because it explains the essence of natural English fluency – using word combinations spoken by native English speakers!

In another blog post about speaking English with hard foreign accent I’m touching the subject of foreign accent once more, only this time from another angle. Basically this article is about how you can deal with situations when you experience drops in English fluency by putting on much harder foreign accent than you normally would. Controversial? That’s just the way I am!

For those who are moving or have recently moved to an English speaking country, I have 15 pieces of advice on how to make the best out of it and also improve your spoken English along the way. Have a read, and I bet that you’ll make use of information having been accumulated over nearly 10 years since I’ve been living in Ireland!

I’ve also some useful English phrases in store for you, and this time it’s about what you can say using one of the most common English words – ‘thing’. You’ll be amazed at how much it’s possible to express using phrases where the word ‘thing’ is in – starting from “How are things?” and ending with “The next big thing”. So have a look for yourself, memorize at least a few of them and I’m sure they’ll come in handy for you!

Now that you’ve looked at my most important July blog posts, I want to show you a blog post from October last year called Speaking fluent English with limited vocabulary. The reason for this is because it will remind you once more of importance of things like elimination of translation from your native language and preparation of English text in your head before you speak it out loud. These things just can’t be overstated to a struggling foreign English speaker! More so if you currently find yourself in a phase of deteriorated English fluency and you feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of English you DON’T KNOW – just read this article. It’s an eye opener – you can take my word for it!

And here are some interesting articles on other English improving and language learning blogs:

Do you have a different personality when speaking English? In this blog post Aaron from PhraseMix is asking a rhetorical question about how you sell yourself when you speak English. It may make you realize you’re behaving differently around English speakers because you feel uneasy about your English skills, or simply because it’s natural to change your demeanor when speaking with different people.

Why does the language have to be so weird? This is a very useful article written by Benny Lewis from FluentIn3Months and in it Benny explains in a very easy-to-understand way how accept seemingly illogical grammatical features in other languages. I’ve mentioned it countless times on my blog that thinking in English is crucial in becoming a fluent English speaker, and Benny’s article might just do the trick and make you understand that you have to fully accept things as they’re said in English instead of questioning them! The more you analyze, the harder it gets for you to speak clearly and effortlessly, so the only way forward is by mimicking native speakers without necessarily understanding WHY certain things are said in a certain way. Benny himself is a native English speaker and he’s blogging about learning other languages, this article however, is as much useful to foreign English speakers as to any other language learners.

Lastly, I want you to read Gabriela’s experience as an English learner and her struggle with English speaking. Her story pretty much resembles mine, and once you’re reading my blog I think I can hazard a guess that you’ve been in the same boat at some stage. Hopefully by now it’s clear to you that studying English grammar alone won’t make you into a fluent English speaker!

Best of luck,

Robby 😉

P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!

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  • Hi David,nnYeap, confidence related issues are among the top issues I’m dealing with here on my blog, along with speech anxiety and establishing natural speech patterns as opposed to the traditional grammar-translation method.nWhat you said about your teaching approach being totally different makes sense as you’re not a Czech national and you don’t use Czech as medium to teach English, I suppose. That’s something I’ve never given much consideration, it calls for a blog post dedicated to this topic!nnThanks for the comment!

  • Hi Robby thanks for highlighting Gabriela’s story.u00a0nnAt first I found it hard to get what you were saying about your prior learning at school, as my teacher training is totally different to what you + Gabriela experienced at school. World’s apart in fact. But now I can see how this led you both to where you are today.u00a0Interestingly, even though she has started proficiency (C2) level, she doesn’t see herself as being particularly good at English.Even though I had a more forward-thinking training programme, ‘instilling confidence in learners’ was not really on the syllabus. However I think it’s the missing link – and on this one the language bloggers out there are way ahead of the current thinking in TEFL.