3 Lessons Learned While Living Among Native English Speakers for 10 Years
1. Native English speakers will judge your ability to speak English based on their experiences with you – not your true knowledge. Why? Simple – all they can see is your performance, they can’t get inside your head! It’s just a fact of life – you’ll be judged based on how you respond to certain situations, and you’d better be prepared to face up to some challenges if you want to come across as a good English speaker! Basically what I’ve learned is that it’s not necessarily about how well you ARE ABLE to speak in English; on most occasions it’s more important to be able to react fast, not get tongue-tied and ignore your own embarrassment (seriously, it’s not that hard. If it helps, tell yourself that even native English speakers get tongue-tied sometimes!). Let me give you an example. The other day a big customer of ours had arrived and we were all having a chat in our knitwear factory’s hall. A couple of Polish girls happened to walk by having just finished their shift and our man said something to one of them – just a friendly jest. The Polish girl obviously didn’t get what he said to her, but instead of saying “Excuse me, can you say it again?” she just smiled awkwardly and walked away. (more…)
“What Are the Most Commonly Used English Words?” is the Wrong Question!
English Becomes Worse When Speaking With Another Foreigner? Is It REALLY Possible?!
Practical English Grammar Present Perfect vs. Simple Past
Fluent English can ONLY be acquired by learning IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS - and that's why I'm going to highlight them for you in RED! Here’s how to improve your English listening skills when listening to my video: put the headphones on, playback the video and write it all down while listening to it! Video Transcript Below: Hi guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog. Currently I'm having my Monday morning tea. Cheers! You see how big, how huge this mug is? This is the kind of mug I like, you know what I mean? This is what I call proper tea drinking. You can make yourself almost a liter of tea and drink it, right? Anyhow, in today's video I'm going to look at the following topic: Simple Past versus Present Simple. And this is, as a matter of fact, a thing that confuses the hell out of so many foreign English speakers, right? And ironically enough I haven't actually recorded a video about this particular topic in the past which is kind of weird because I've been publishing my videos for years on end. At this stage it's actually 8 years since I'm running the English Harmony blog or actually 9 years. Yeah, going 9 years this year to be honest with you. I started it in 2007 if I'm not mistaken so next year going 10 years, you know what I mean? It is going to be a big anniversary. Anyhow, it's surprising that I haven't actually touched upon this particular topic comparing the simple past “I did it” for instance against present simple “I've done it” and when you use one or the other, you know what I mean? And the reason I'm saying that it confuses the hell out of so many foreigners is because I've had first-hand experience dealing with people who are not really sure on how to use these two tenses, right? As a matter of fact, one of my Fluency Star students served as an inspiration for this video because that person was kind of not really sure on how it's done and then I explained it to her and she was very happy about my explanation because it's pretty straight forward if you boil it down to the very basics, right? So first things first, “I've done it.” For instance “I've been to London” which is not really true in my case because believe it or not, I've never been to London, right? And it's very weird because I live in Ireland which is very close to England, so it's just one small hop with a plane, like a half an hour flight or something and you're in London, you know what I mean? And with these days’ prices where you can go to London just paying literally 20 or 30 Euros, you know what I mean? It's no excuse not to go there but on the downside obviously when you go there you have to book a hotel and so on and so forth. And then you have to go sightseeing and all those costs add up and eventually you end up spending a fortune, you know what I mean? So I guess I've just kept putting it off and off and off. And anyhow, I'm going to do it one fine day I would imagine but anyhow, going back to the subject; “I've been to London,” right? And then you can also say I went to London, okay? So what is the difference? First things first, you don't have to be kind of analyzing your English language – language? What did I just say? Language. See, I just made a mistake but it just goes to show that making mistakes is a crucial part of the whole fluency improvement thing, right? Anyhow, you see, today I'm all over the place. I just keep varying up the subject and touching upon random things. So “I've been to London, right?” It's a general statement. You're not specifying a specific point in time. And mark this guys, point in time. This is the crucial bit, right? Whenever there is a time mentioned, a specific time, a year, a day, month, week, whatever, that's when you use simple past. (more…)
English Harmony System Update: de Luxe Edition!
My dear fellow foreign English speakers! I’m happy to announce the updated version of the English Harmony System, and this time around it’s called DE LUXE EDITION :!: Get your copy of the English Harmony System de Luxe Edition RIGHT NOW! I’ve been working on this update for what seems like forever, but finally it’s ready to be released to the general public and I’m really excited to make this announcement today! :grin: So, without a further ado, let me tell you what exactly the new System’s update consists of, and what you can expect the new de Luxe Edition to do to your spoken English fluency. (more…)
Nonsense of Learning English by Listening to Fast English Spoken by Locals
FGC Goal #1: American Slang Phrase #5 – IT HAS WRONG WRITTEN ALL OVER IT!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEXh59NTBnY Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Good Morning on this wonderful Thursday morning! I got up at 5:30 AM, had my breakfast and my morning coffee while reading a few pages out of my current book (which is the source of all these American phrases I’m learning at the moment), and then I recorded another video for you, my friends! This time around the American phrase in question is IT HAS WRONG WRITTEN ALL OVER IT, and it’s a handy way to describe a situation when you have a premonition about something and you feel at an instinct level that the situation it going to spell trouble if you don’t stay away from it! Here’s the last time I had such a feeling about something. It happened early this year – mid-January, to be more specific. I was having slight problems with my website loading time; my English Harmony blog just wouldn’t load quickly enough. It would take good two minutes for the site to load fully, so I started considering moving the entire website to a different server. (more…)
30-Day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 3- Traffic
Paraphrasing – A Brilliant Method Of Improving Your Spoken English!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCPJAzEVRLY On a daily basis, we all find ourselves in situations when we can’t find the correct word to say. You know what you want to say, but it just won’t come out! Many people refer to the phenomenon as being 'tongue-tied'. For foreign English speakers, this problem can be even more pronounced. You might have heard some news or read an article in a newspaper, and you want to tell the story to others. The problem arises when you just can’t remember the news word-for-word. Let’s look into the problem by using an example. The news on the previous evening announced: - The president issued a warning to all opposing his bill. You want to discuss the implications of the Presidents warning with your work colleagues, but you can’t remember the exact words. The solution is to PARAPHRASE the statement. Paraphrasing is defined as: -verb: express the meaning of something using different words. -noun: a rewording of a passage. Therefore, if we paraphrase the statement above, it can be said in many different ways e.g.: - The president issued a warning to those against his bill, or -The President warned those opposing the bill. All three statements convey the same message in different words. The statement has been somewhat simplified but does not lose its meaning! No one to whom you speak will correct you to say that's not EXACTLY what they said on the news! No one will even notice that the words have been changed. Paraphrasing means you don't have to be tongue-tied. You won’t have the feeling of knowing what you want to say, of having a word on the tip of your tongue, and not being able to say what you want. (more…)
New English DIY Terms I Learned This Summer While Redecorating My New House
Simple vs Sophisticated Vocabulary? It’s All Just Semantics (Interpretation)!
“WELL…” – the Simplest English Hesitation Word!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWRsCjBdOds VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony Video Blog! In this video, I'm going to give you the simplest hesitation filler phrase possible, and here it is: "Well…" It's just a word - "well." And that's how you can begin sentences when you have to buy some time and when you can't really answer immediately. So, basically, a person asks you a question and then you begin your response with saying: "Well…" which buys you a few seconds during which you can actually think about the matter at hand and come up with a reasonable response. Whereas, if you're not saying anything, there's a bigger chance that you'll just get stuck for words. Imagine someone stopping you on the side of the road and asking you for directions to the local police station for example. If you just go like this, "Uh, Uh," it's very easy to get stuck for words. But, if you open your mouth and just say this simple word "well…" it kind of opens up your mouth and forces you to say something extra. And even though those extra bits that you're going to say may come out with a few mistakes, you know, they may come out a big erroneous, it doesn't matter because at the very least you would have said something, right? The word "well" gives you something to say, and it instantly makes you sound like a native English speaker, and do you want to know why? For the simple reason that all native English speakers use the word "well" to hesitate! (more…)
Spoken English Practice While Driving to Work
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj8x_bp-9fA Are you curious about how I do my daily spoken English practice? Then here you can have a peek at my typical morning in a car while commuting to work. It takes me around 30 minutes to make the full journey, but don’t worry – I recorded only 15 minutes of it so that you don’t have to spend that much time glued to the monitor! Basically this gives you a pretty good idea of what your own spoken English practice might look like if you’ve been considering doing it but never really got round to it. It’s easy, you’re just voicing your thoughts and killing your time while at the same time improving your fluency. Sounds like a win-win situation for me, what do you think? ;-) Robby
Spent Years Learning English Words from Newspapers… Then Burned It All to Ashes!
English idiomatic expression: “Pretty much the same”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phx30Q6P-Uw Hi guys, in the video above you can find out how to use the following English idiomatic expression: “Pretty much the same”. Why such and similar expressions are very important for us, foreigners? First of all – they enable us to speak instinctively and spontaneously. Once you’ve memorized a phrase, you can produce it at an instant when the right situation presents itself! Secondly – they drastically reduce the amount of mistakes you might potentially make when speaking because you learn a correct phrase AS IT IS and you’ll only ever use it without changing it! So watch the video above, make sure to repeat the phrase a few times in order to memorize it, and also make sure to come up with a few sample sentences on your own to imprint the idiomatic expression “Pretty much the same” into your mind. Chat soon, Robby ;-)
How to Improve Spoken English While Entering Sales Orders on a PC
Speaking With Yourself Isn’t As Different From Speaking With Others As You Might Have Thought!
I’m a strong proponent of spoken English self-practice – I’ve been doing it for years and I attribute much of my English fluency development to those countless hours of speaking English with myself. I’ve touched upon this subject on this blog a few times before, but today I’m going to provide you with clear and obvious benefits of such spoken English self-practice. If you think that only lunatics speak with themselves and that speaking with real people in real life is the only way forward for foreign English speakers to improve fluency, please read this article and you may actually change your mind :!: Yes, I’ve said it before that you DON’T HAVE TO SPEAK OUT LOUD – you can speak in a very light whisper. I’ve also mentioned it before that you can just speak in your mind barely moving your lips which would be an equivalent of simply verbalizing your thoughts. But if those reasons aren’t enough to persuade you to practice English with yourself and you think that the very CONCEPT OF SELF-PRACTICE IS FLAWED, keep reading and I promise I’ll reveal some aspects of the whole speak-English-with-yourself thing you haven’t ever considered! ;-) (more…)
Have You Ever Thought About Your MOUTH As a MUSCLE?
Traditional English Teaching Industry Instils Anxiety and Lack of Self-Confidence!
Is It Possible To Sound Too Fluent in English?
Most of you guys visiting this blog have certain English fluency related issues, the most typical of which is the tendency of getting “stuck” while speaking. It’s the terrible feeling of “I know exactly what I want to say, yet for some reason or another I can’t seem to be able to say it out loud!” So I guess if you were to hear another foreign English speaker who can speak for hours on end in a way that it would seem you just can’t shut them up, you’d be thinking to yourself – “I wish I could speak like that…” Well, as the old saying goes – be careful what you wish for! (more…)
FGC Goal #1: American Collocation #9: ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnsbzJXjunE Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Good morning on this wonderful Saturday morning! :grin: Saturday mornings are ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE the same as working day mornings for me. I still have to record a video and publish it on my YouTube channel and write a blog post for this blog, so there’s no real difference in terms of my morning routine – getting up at 5:40 AM, having a breakfast, recording a video… The simple fact, however, that I don’t have to be ready to get into the car at 8:00 AM and go to work makes a world of difference to my mental state! Not that I wouldn’t be able to motivate myself to do the right things every day, it’s just that when you don’t have to go do work, it almost feels as if there’s something big and exciting going to happen! You mightn’t even have planned anything in particular for your day off, but it still gives that added dimension to your life! I, for example, don’t even get to sleep much longer on weekend mornings than on working day mornings; I wake up before 6:00 AM no matter which day of the week it is, yet it’s always easier for me to get out of the bed on a weekend morning for some reason or another. Anyway, today’s American English phrase is ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE and it’s one of those self-repetitious sayings that don’t necessarily make sense yet they’re handy to use in conversations for the simple reason that they sound good! (more…)
I’m a Useless English Teacher Because I Make Mistakes… And I Should Go Back to Farm!
11 Reasons Why the English Language Is Super-Easy to Learn and Speak
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! I’ve been an English speaker for the better part of my life, and I’ve always found this language quite easy to learn and speak. Now, when I’m saying “easy to learn and speak”, I don’t mean to say that nobody has any problems when learning and speaking in English. I’m only too well aware that millions of foreign English speakers just like me are struggling with English. But guess what? We’re struggling for all the wrong reasons! We find it hard to learn and speak in English because we tend to use the wrong learning methods, we tend to over-analyze every single aspect of English from the grammar standpoint, and we focus too much on the irregularities of the language. I mean – show me a language that doesn’t have any irregularities except for artificial ones such as Esperanto? Any language on the planet has something unique about it, and the fact of the matter is that we can find all the reasons in the world why it’s very difficult to for us to learn English. There’s irregular verbs, irregular nouns, thousands upon thousands of phrasal verbs, hundreds of grammar rules and exceptions to those rules, spelling irregularities – the list goes on and on, and if we choose to go with this perceived difficulty of the language, then I can’t see any reason why I couldn’t write an article called “Why English is the most difficult language on the planet to learn and speak”! Except that I choose to look past those perceived difficulties which can all be easily overcome once you embrace contextual learning of the English language. Instead, I choose to see how easy English is, so keep reading to find out why English is super-easy to learn and speak! Also, please bear in mind that I’m not claiming that English is THE EASIEST language to learn. I’m not making any comparisons here, I’m merely going to list facts about English that illustrate how easy it is to learn and speak it. (more…)
Check Out My NEW Blog AccentAdventure.com!
Must-Follow YouTube Channels by Foreign English Speakers!
I’ve been publishing videos on my English Harmony YouTube channel for a good few years now, and there was a time when I thought I was pretty much the only foreign English speaker publishing videos on YouTube. Sure enough, I’d seen some videos made by beginner and lower-intermediate English learners in a bid to exercise their spoken English skills, and it’s all nice and well, but what I’m talking about when saying I thought I was the only foreigner publishing videos is a well-established YouTube channel with massive following! Needless to say, I proved wrong. It turns out there are more non-native English speakers publishing on YouTube on a regular basis, and their videos are really interesting and engaging :!: Well, you see – probably the biggest obstacle in finding such YouTube channels was the fact that initially I was looking only in the English learning and teaching niche. And I’ve got to tell you that in this niche I’m indeed pretty much the only foreigner. Once I started looking beyond English learning and improving though, I started finding well-established YouTube channels where other foreign English speakers were sharing their thoughts and expertise on various other things. And it only goes to show that pretty much the only way to achieve complete English fluency is by enjoying life and things you LOVE instead of focusing on English learning related materials! So, without further ado, let me introduce you to these YouTube channels run by foreign English speakers, and I’m 100% sure you’ll find at least one of them extremely captivating and relevant to your own interests as well as providing an extra motivation to keep improving your spoken English to a level where you could possibly start recording similar videos and who knows… maybe you’ll even start a YouTube channel of your own one day! (more…)
Popular Misconceptions About Foreign English Speakers
What’s The Worst That Could Happen If You Make a Mistake When Speaking in English
Is Learning English grammar not important for speaking?
English grammar is not necessary for speaking fluently; you only need to focus on idioms, phraseology, and slangs in order to communicate like a native. It is for this reason that even after years of learning English grammar at school you can’t speak fluently. Well, that’s somewhat you read when you hit up my personal blog, or be it English Harmony or any other English learning blog. (more…)
Can’t Say a Word in English Because Of Embarrassment… Is That Normal?
Fluent English can ONLY be acquired by learning IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS - and that's why I'm going to highlight them for you in RED! Here’s how to improve your English listening skills when listening to my video: put the headphones on, playback the video and write it all down while listening to it! Video Transcript Below: Hi guys, hello boys and girls and hello my dear foreign English speakers. Welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog and tonight I'm going to record a video as a video response to one of my YouTube commentators. But just before that, allow me to take a sip of my evening decaf coffee, right? Cheers my friends! So this person, Triple H and he is as a matter of fact, one of the most prolific commentators on my channel and I really hope that you don't mind Triple H me reading out your comment because it's going to help everybody, the whole audience for that matter. So Triple H shares a very embarrassing moment that happened to him at the embassy. So basically the woman or personnel asked him who was going to collect his passport. And basically he didn't get her accent, her pronunciation so she had to say it 4 times over and he couldn't get it. And she pronounced basically the word “when” as “wha” and “who” as “he”. Yeah, well, there are certain distinct accents whereby native English speakers pronounce words completely differently to what you would have expected, right? So after that incident his fluency went down the drain, out the window and afterwards he couldn't say one word. So the question is do you think it's common? (more…)
How English Fluency Issue Manifests Itself
English Verb “To GET” & How To Use It in Phrasal Verbs, Expressions & More!
I love simple, short English verbs such as TO DO, TO PUT, TO GET and others - the reason being: the same verb can be used in a huge number of different situations thus making it possible for you to communicate about A LOT without spending a lot of time on learning massive amounts of new English vocabulary! Just look at how the simple verb TO GET replaces other words: Do you understand me? – Do you GET me? (As a matter of fact, this is what you should say when asking people if they understood what you’ve just said – a lot of foreigners overuse the verb “to understand”!) How much do you earn? – How much do you GET? Will you arrive on time? – Will you GET there on time? Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that you didn’t know the words “to understand”, “to earn” and “to arrive”. If that were the case, you’d hardly be able to formulate the above questions without using the word TO GET, and it just goes to show how effective it is to learn how to… Use One Word in 100 Different Ways Instead of Learning 100 Different Words! Well, obviously I’m not trying to discourage you from learning more English words and widening your vocabulary, it’s just that I’ve always believed it’s much easier to learn to speak English fluently with limited vocabulary and THEN learn more words. Unfortunately, so many foreign English speakers (I was one of them, by the way!) are trying to build massive vocabularies believing that it will somehow make them fluent while in reality nothing could be further from the truth … Anyway, let’s stop beating around the bush and here’s all you’ll ever need to know about the English verb TO GET! ;-) (more…)
You Won’t Fool a Native English Speaker During a Job Interview So Better Stop Trying!
Is It Possible to Become TOTALLY Fluent In English After 24 Years?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLWqdebqOzI I received an e-mail (or a comment – can’t really remember what it was because it got deleted by mistake!) the other day by one of my blog readers where he asked if it’s possible to master total fluency of the English language while living in an English speaking country for 24 years. As an example he provided the following video of two foreign English speakers involved in a debate in a TV studio – please check out the video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6tfkPwIpL0 I have to admit that the two professional journalists in the studio are completely fluent indeed, and it’s also a fact that 99% of other foreigners would look up to them because of their ability to speak fluently. (more…)
New Year’s Resolution in 2013 – Take Real Action & Become Fluent!
Don’t Look for a Silver Bullet when Improving Your English!
Don’t Learn Some Obscure English Words that Even Native Speakers DON’T KNOW!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld6b7-NeD58 If you’re obsessed with building a MASSIVE English vocabulary (just like I was all those years ago!), you might have fallen for the trap of learning some pretty sophisticated English words taken from English fiction you might be reading, or from any other source of information. Now, while there’s nothing wrong with learning such vocabulary words for as long as you acquire them contextually, there’s another aspect to contributing vast amount of time and effort into the process – namely, USEFULNESS. You simply have to ask yourself the following question: Is this particular English word going to come in handy in my everyday life? More often than not, little known words just aren’t used in daily English conversations; just because they’re used by authors in order to illustrate this or that particular concept in the very depth in their pieces of literature, doesn’t mean they’re used in colloquial English (which is the main focus of us – foreigners who aspire to become fluent English speakers!) Let’s take, for example, a couple of words so that you get the full picture on what exactly I’m talking about here (I’m heading straight to Dictionary.com website to pick some recent “words of the day”): (more…)