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.

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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!

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Builds your English confidence - no more situations when you stop and hesitate when speaking English!

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…)

Funny English Phrases: Discussing Relationships

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6G2ecxdObN4 Are you YearOfEnglish.com member? If not – you still have a chance to subscribe to that website HERE and receive various English fluency improvement related information tips in your e-mail till the end of this year! If yes – you’re welcome to watch the funny English phrase video above I’ve prepared for you! This time around I've stuffed the video full with phrases that might come in handy when you discuss your relationship with a friend of yours. Yes, I know it’s not good to talk about people behind their back – especially if the person in question is your partner, girlfriend or spouse. Still, it’s one of the things people do when they’ve had a bad day at home and they want to unwind – they meet up with their friends and share those experiences with them… After all – what are friends meant for?! :grin: (more…)

Is It Easy to Switch Between Your Native Language and English?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75VIcrMjcFM Hello my blog readers! Personally I sometimes find it a bit difficult to go back to using my language when I’ve been speaking in English all day long, and while it may sound a bit weird considering Latvian is my native language, I guess it’s not that uncommon among foreign English speakers living and working in an English speaking environment. As far as my ability to switch TO English goes, I also experience slight difficulties from time to time. If I’m surrounded by other Latvians and I have to start speaking in English for some reason or another  – a phone call, for example – I can’t just jump back into my most fluent state. Most of the time it takes a few minutes for my mind to adjust to the English speech, and then I can speak 100% confidently and fluently. How to explain this phenomenon? Well, over the years while working on my own English and trying to maintain a high level of oral fluency I’ve figured out a few factors contributing into this phenomenon: (more…)

Are You Being Judged or Even Discriminated Against Because of Your English?!

Your English Teacher’s Expertise Means Little When It Comes To YOUR Ability To Speak!

Some time ago I watched a video where a non-native English teacher was teaching a large class of English students. You know the way you sometimes browse YouTube videos and one video leads to another and you end up watching something you didn’t even intend to look for in the first place? So the Chinese man was teaching his fellow countrymen and women, and he was literally radiating knowledge and expertise. He was really eloquent, he was writing plenty of sample English sentences on a whiteboard to illustrate the grammar related points he was making, and he was talking non-stop thus making a really, really professional impression of himself. And guess what the poor students were doing while our super-teacher was entertaining himself in front of the classroom? They were all crouched over their copybooks frantically trying to write down every single bit of the precious information their English teacher was throwing at them! And believe me – there was A LOT of information to be processed because their teacher was really knowledgeable and you could just tell the guy must have worked really hard to achieve such a level of expertise in the English language and its grammar aspects in particular. What about the students though? Did their super-teacher pass all that knowledge, skill, expertise and ability to speak in English fluently directly onto them by being so generous with information in front of the classroom? Well, I strongly doubt it, and that’s the very reason I decided to write this article! (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “Largely Due to The Fact”

12 English Phrases Meaning Something Completely DIFFERENT to What You Might Think They Mean!

I often touch upon the subject of English idiomatic expressions on this blog for the simple reason that more often than not our every-day speech consists of such and similar word combinations and it’s making our speech so much more easier! Just look at the above paragraph – it’s stuffed with various idiomatic expressions and collocations, and the one common trait they all share is that you have to learn the EXACT way they’re used so that you can learn them off by heart and then use them in your own conversations. Then there are proper English idioms you can’t even understand unless you actually know what they mean – such as “It’s no skin off my nose” or “Until the cows come home”. There are, however, certain English phrases that may at first sound as if they don’t have any double-meanings AT ALL, yet they mean something completely different! If you’re an advanced English speaker and you’ve been communicating with real people in real life for years, this list will probably reveal nothing new to you. If you’re someone who’s just starting off in an English speaking country, for example, the following phrases might turn out to be an eye-opener for you! ;-) (more…)

“Can’t Improve English Because I Live in Non-English Speaking Country…” is Often Just an EXCUSE!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MbvfrM4T8Q I’ve been living in an English speaking country for more than 11 years, and I’ve been speaking fluent English for more than 6 out of those 11 years. It took me 5 years to achieve fluency, and looking back at it now I can clearly see what I was doing wrong and was I was doing right to realize my dream. Did I become a fluent English speaker because of constantly speaking with others? Nope. I’ve always been working on my English without any need for others. Did I achieve English fluency by virtue of residence in an English speaking country? Nope. I’d been constantly learning the English language way before the idea of emigration was even conceived! Was moving to an English speaking country the single biggest reason why I was able to improve my English to a level where I’m very comfortable with my own speech? Yes, but not for the reasons you may think. It didn’t happen because I found myself in an English speaking society, and that would somehow magically result in me picking up the English language. The heck, there are a lot of foreigners living down here who spend all their time in their own language bubble and don’t even try to improve their English! (more…)

3 Similarities Between Speaking in English And Driving a Car

I’ve been a driver for a good few years – since 2006, if I’m not mistaken, and nowadays driving comes just as easy to me as walking or running! There was a time, however, when I wasn’t comfortable while sitting behind the wheel. As you can imagine, any learner driver has their bad moments, and when I look back at my first attempts to drive a car, I can only be thankful to God I didn’t cause any accidents because there were too many opportunities for that to happen! “What’s driving got to do with speaking in English?” – you may ask. “This is a blog for foreign English speakers – not drivers!” For starters, both processes are life-skills you have to LEARN, so no matter which one you’re looking at – spoken English performance or driving a car – they both involve a great deal of learning before you get any good at it. Furthermore, both driving and speaking in English can be easily affected by a multitude of mental and emotional factors, and that’s where it gets really interesting, my friends foreign English speakers! ;-) (more…)

You Have to SUCK at Spoken English Fluency in Order to SUCCEED!

English Idiomatic Expression “This Time Around”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SpeIvaFau8A This time around we’re going to look at how to use the following English Idiomatic Expression in your daily English conversations: THIS TIME AROUND. Did you just notice something odd, by the way? The above sentence begins and ends with the same expression, and it’s all because today’s expression THIS TIME AROUND can be used whenever: You’re meeting someone for the second or any subsequent time and letting them know that something is happening differently; You’re telling someone about what other people are doing differently this time; You’re communicating with a larger audience – just like me! – and you’re starting yet another presentation! Now, is it 100% clear to you how this phrase is used? (more…)

7 English Words & Phrases I Thought Were Wrong (But Then It Turned Out I WAS WRONG)!

Great Topic for Spoken English Self-Practice: Daily Events & Planning Next Day!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6XMk9UnhkU Hi guys from YearOfEnglish.com - this is another video installment I created with you in mind, and this time around (surprise, surprise!) I’m going to talk about spoken English self-practice and what you should talk about during those self-practice sessions to insure you don’t run out of things to discuss. The reason I recorded this video is quite simple: Not having anything to talk about seems to be the biggest issue for my fellow foreigners, and that’ also the single biggest reason why many of you guys are abandoning spoken English self-practice altogether! So, what is this topic you can discuss on your own day in, day out, without getting bored and always finding you have something NEW to say? (more…)

I’m Addicted to Spoken English Practice… HELP ME!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLVfbtUnAbs I’m desperate. :mad: I don’t know what to do. I’m a serious addict and I just can’t seem to be able to stop the terrible habit no matter how hard I try… :sad: Want to know what it is? It’s SPEAKING IN ENGLISH WITH MYSELF. There – I said it. I know, I know, it’s crazy, it’s pathetic, and you’ll probably think I’ve totally lost my mind by coming out with this announcement in public, but I have no choice but to share it with you, my friends - simply because I can’t take it any longer!!! I’ve tried different things in order to break this habit of constant spoken English self-practice. I’ve been reading a lot of English fiction just to prevent myself from speaking, but it didn’t work! Every time I’ve done some reading, I found myself discussing its contents with myself a short time later, and I seemingly don’t have any control over it… I’ve tried watching a lot of TV in English - different TV dramas, educational programs – you name it! And guess what? I always end up doing the same thing – speaking about what I’ve seen, and I’ve also started mimicking actors and narrators in order to learn to speak in English with American and British pronunciation – how crazy is that?! I mean – why can’t I just enjoy a lot of passive English content just like most foreign English speakers do, and be OK with that? (more…)

English Collocation: “Sparked Heated Debates”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWdft2DTxXk When controversial issues of any nature are discussed in various public places such as: Work meetings; Parliaments; Classrooms; Websites; and many more, there’s always the chance that those debates are going to get quite emotional! Now, do you know how native English speakers refer to events when comments made by one of the people result in fierce arguments? The say that those comments SPARK HEATED DEBATES! This three-word combination is the so-called English collocation; it’s not a strong idiom (in an idiom, you can’t replace some words with others!) because it’s not very strict and you can say the same thing in a number of different ways: (more…)

Nonsense of Learning English by Listening to Fast English Spoken by Locals

Do You Find Certain English Grammar Constructs TOO DIFFICULT To Learn? Try This Easy 3 Step Plan!

Hello my friends foreign English speakers! Have you ever found certain grammar constructs too difficult to understand and learn? Welcome to the club! I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that this is something that all foreign English speakers have in common, and even if you don’t feel that way now, there’s definitely been a time in your life when you’ve found this or that particular English sentence hard to understand, mimic and use in your own conversations. Let’s just take the sentence from the paragraph above and examine it a little: “There’s definitely been a time in your life when you’ve found this or that particular English sentence hard to understand.” Now, would you be comfortable with using a similar grammar construct in your own speech? Are you often saying things such as “There have been similar situations when I’ve…” or “There’s been only one time when I’ve…”? If your answer is positive – well done! Your spoken English is seemingly up to scratch and you may ignore the rest of this article because you don’t need my help splitting English sentences in order to make it easier for you to speak them out loud. If, however, you struggle to a smaller or bigger degree with delivering similar seemingly complex constructs when speaking and you find it hard to wrap your head around sentences similar to this one: “Why is it that when Martin’s been out partying you don’t say anything yet had I stayed out all night long you would have killed me?”, you definitely have to read the rest of this blog post! ;-) (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “Which Brings Us To The Next Point”

English Fiction Books I’m Going to Read Before I Die (Kick the Bucket)!

Hi boys and girls, My name is Robby, I’m a foreigner (Latvian, to be more specific), and I’ve been reading ONLY English fiction for the last 8 or 9 years. I started off by trying to improve my English fluency by reading newspapers followed by simple children books, and soon enough I’d achieved complete English reading fluency while at the same time my vocabulary was still quite limited (I learned how to infer meaning of less known words and expressions from the context alone!) A few years down the line, however, I realized that reading had done relatively little to my ability to speak. Spoken English self-practice turned out to be the most effective way of improving my oral fluency, and so I've been focusing on that aspect of my English improving routine ever since. Nonetheless, reading English fiction became my passion – I’ve read dozens upon dozens of heroic fantasy books as well as plenty of dystopian fiction which is currently my favorite genre and I plain LOVE IT! If you’re a foreigner – just like me! – and you also love reading English fiction (or maybe you’ve always wanted to do it but don’t know where to start?), here’s a list of books I've lined up for reading this year (maybe it’s something that’s going to pique your interest as well!): (more…)

3 Life Lessons For Foreign English Speakers to Learn From ARNIE

I grew up watching Hollywood action films starring actors such as Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude van Damme and most notably – Arnold Schwarzenegger, otherwise known as ARNIE :!: Well, I’m pretty sure I don’t have to be telling you that Arnie’s a former bodybuilding champion having won Mister Olympia title seven times. His acting career and his trademark catch-phrase “I’ll be back” from the Terminator franchise is also something that EVERY person on the planet has heard of. OK, I’ll admit he mightn’t be THAT popular nowadays among teenagers for the simple reason that new actors are constantly replacing the older ones and jacked up guys like Chris Hemsworth, Jason Statham, Hugh Jackman and dozens of others have claimed their place in the Hollywood action film scene. You can’t deny, however, that for as long as Arnie is alive and kicking – and also beyond - he’ll be known as one of the most successful and iconic people on the planet. And guess what? He’s a foreign English speaker – just like you and me! He’s been ridiculed because of his accent, he’s lost the count of times he’s been told to stop pursuing his unrealistic dreams and did you know that up until his early twenties he didn’t speak any English at all? It didn’t stop him to pursue his dreams, however. He didn’t give a damn about his lack of English skills or his terrible Austrian accent. He focused on his dreams and goals eventually becoming the Governor of California (which is, believe it or not, the ninth largest economy in the world!) – and all that despite him not being a native English speaker! Fair enough, me or you aren’t like Arnie, but there’s still a lot we can learn from him! :grin: (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “Needless To Say”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxhjUfwfnck Hello boys and girls, I’m back with another English idiomatic expression! This time around I’m going to look at the following phrase: “needless to say”, and I think this one is quite self-explanatory. Basically you can use this phrase whenever you’re going to say something common sense, something that is very logical and straightforward, something that may as well not be said because it kind of goes without saying. Let’s say, for example, you’re filling your friend in on something that happened while he wasn’t at work, and here’s what you’re saying: “… and then Jane told him everything she thought of him and needless to say, he hasn’t spoken to her since!” (more…)

What Do Small Children, Pets & The English Language Have In Common?

English Idiomatic Expression – “Opportunity Presents Itself”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwAd3ZHLtkc After a 3 month period (it’s got to do with getting my own place and doing loads of DIY over the summer period!) away from this blog, I’m back more determined than ever to keep publishing loads of English idiomatic expressions, sample sentences and ways of using them in your daily English conversations! Today’s video features the following expression - “opportunity presents itself” – and while it’s quite self-explanatory, you’ve got to repeat it many times over in the right context in order to be able to use it as part of a live speech. You’re welcome to watch the video above where I’m using the phrase “opportunity presents itself” quite a lot, and on top of that you can also read the following sample sentences, repeat them, and memorize them so that they become your second nature: (more…)

How English Idiomatic Expressions Helped Me Deal With a REALLY Stressful Conversation