How I Started Speaking Fluent English by Pretending to be a Gangster

By Robby

If you are new here please read this first.

Improve Spoken English

Probably one of the weirdest strategies among my English fluency improving methods is speaking with a hard foreign accent – and that’s what the original English Harmony eBook was based upon.

It’s actually quite straightforward if you think about it:

  • You make an awful lot of effort in order to sound native in terms of pronunciation;
  • You become conscious of your own speech and you start doubting yourself every time you open your mouth to say something;
  • Your speech becomes very hesitant, your mind is racing and you find it difficult to verbalize your thoughts in English.

So if you forget about the pronunciation aspect while you’re speaking by allowing your mouth to speak the way it wants, you may just be able to speak more clearly and stop hesitating and preparing speech in your head before speaking out loud.

Do you want to know what lead to this discovery?

It was my fascination with one of the greatest mafia films ever – “GoodFellas”!

You see – the Italian-American accent spoken by the mobsters in the film is somewhat similar to my own East-European accent. They pronounce the ‘th’ sound quite hard, the letter ‘o’ in worlds like “coffee” is pronounced with mouth wide open and would also bear similarities with the way we Latvians speak.

So one night after watching “GoodFellas” I was going back to the “What’s so funny about me?” scene where Joe Pesci is messing with one of his mobster friends portrayed by Ray Liotta.

For someone watching the film for the first time it may seem that he’s about to blow his friends brains out being the psychopathic killer that he is in the film. Eventually it appears he’s just been messing, but it doesn’t make the scene any less enjoyable.

Actually it’s one of my favorite scenes in the whole film, and every time I watch it, I can’t help but to imagine what it would feel like to be in such a situation for real…

Anyway, I was pretending to speak like Joe Pesci in the film and right after I pronounced the first sentence “You think I’m funny?” I felt that the awkwardness in terms of speaking fluently is disappearing and I started feeling that I could speak in English as if I were speaking my own language. I couldn’t believe that simply changing the way I talked and pronounced words could have such an immediate positive effect on my English fluency!

After this realization struck me, I resorted to this hard accent method whenever I found myself struggling to speak in plain, understandable English. And you know what? It helped most of the times! Having had a short conversation with myself in a heavily accented English I would feel my natural fluency returning.

I know it sounds weird to say the least, but it worked and it was a solid English fluency management method I could rely on ❗

I’ve refined my English fluency management strategies over the years, and I’ve written extensively about them; here’s just a few to give you an idea of how diverse are the techniques you can implement to get your English fluency back on track:

The simplest and easiest of them all, however, still remains doing away with your normal English pronunciation and adopting a harder accent – or whatever way you’d speak when speaking with your native accent. It’s helped me countless times to get my English speech going, and I don’t see any reasons why it couldn’t help you!


P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!

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


English Harmony System

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

English Harmony System
  • Not really, because in this case my native accent is somewhat similar to the Italian-American accent!

    They pronounce the “th” sound like “t” or “d”; also “t” is pronounced very, very similar to my native language.

  • Serpiro

    Doesn’t your advice sound a little bit contradictory in relation with the previous one in which you say that we shouldn’t care to much with our foreign accent?

  • Trying to be 100% accurate when speaking in a foreign language may interfere with your flow of thoughts, consequently producing a less fluent speech.

    That’s not to say you shouldn’t try to improve your pronunciation. Just bear in mind that you can still be understood if your accent sounds foreign.