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.

English Harmony System

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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!

Imprints natural English speech patterns in your mind - revolutionary speech exercising technology!

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

How To Speak English Like A Native – Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT-bpRbz9ks Today I’m going to continue with the last episode’s topic about how to manage situations when you’re kind of stuck when asked something in English. Now I’ll recap the last episode in a couple of words so that you can refresh your memory! ;-) So the first step on your way to gaining a total confidence in your English is awareness of the fact that you actually can talk about any topic in English as if it were your native tongue. Once you’ve convinced yourself that you CAN – and bear it in mind – it’s very important :!: – you’ve broken down the mental barrier that’s been preventing you from successful English communication. Then you can start actually thinking over the question the very same way you’d consider a question asked in your native language. Instead of frantically thinking what you can tell about the topic or question you just take one thing at a time, give the person a couple of counter-questions to get the conversation going, and of course don’t hesitate to use idioms like as a matter of fact, if I’m not mistaken, to the best of my knowledge and similar, to fill in the pauses in your conversation and take time. As you may have noticed, any conversation in any language is filled with such filler phrases. Although some may argue that they serve no purpose at all and only litter our language, I don’t fully agree. If we take out everything we can from a conversation or a story leaving only dry facts, it suddenly becomes very boring... :-( OK, but now as promised – two powerful tips of the speech issue management and at the end of the episode – about managing casual conversations! (more…)

Using Perfect Simple And Passive Voice In Spoken English

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/0d2vKh7YwLA Hello everyone who watches my video blog – thanks for tuning in and finding time for watching my next video! I can assure you – your time won’t be wasted because today I’m going to highlight important aspects on using different English grammar tenses in live English conversations. First of all I want to give you an example. Here’s a simple phrase you’d use when you’d have finished doing something – I’ve done it. This is Present Perfect Simple – a grammar form to describe an action that has been finished at some time in the past but the actual time of its completion isn’t known. Well, so far it’s all fairly simple and understandable, and you shouldn’t have any difficulties with using a simple phrase like I’ve done it. But now let’s take it one step further and look at the same phrase only in Passive Voice this time. Just a quick reminder for those not sure what Passive Voice is – it’s a way of describing an event without mentioning who did it. (more…)

English Idiom: “It’s Not to Be Sniffed At!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKQ7Edx8v80 Do you know what people generally mean when they say IT’S NOT TO BE SNIFFED AT? More often than not, they say this kind of thing when a certain amount of money is offered, for example, and the person in question perceives it to be worth considering. In theory you can also say IT’S NOT TO BE SNIFFED AT in relation to just about anything you perceive worth risking for or taking any other type of action. (more…)

Concluding 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course

What I’ve Realized Having Lived in an English Speaking Country for 14 Years

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! Related articles: Emigration to an English Speaking Country: My Honest Opinion Top 15 Invaluable Pieces of Advice for Foreigners Settling Down in an English Speaking Country What To Do If You Can’t Speak With Natives in an English Speaking Country If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably heard me talking about living in Ireland which, as you may already know, is an English speaking country. In hindsight, I can say that it’s been one hell of a transformation – I’ve gone from a foreigner who’s barely capable of speaking conversational English to an English fluency mentor who’s teaching other foreign English speakers. I’ve experienced all the ups and downs one can encounter while living in an English speaking country. I’ve been told I’m a useless English speaker. I’ve been in all sorts of embarrassing situations – starting from not being able to order a meal in McDonald’s and ending with screwing up job interviews because of my inability to provide a coherent answer. But the great thing is that now, with all that experience under my belt, I can tell my students with the utmost certainty what kind of an attitude they need to adopt in order to survive and thrive as English speakers living in an English speaking country. It feels so great being in a position to help out others, and frankly speaking, I don’t regret anything that’s happened to me while I was a struggling English speaker. I like to think that everything that happens, happens for a reason, and I just HAD to endure all the hardship and suffering to emerge a fluent English speaker equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to help others who find themselves in the same boat. But now, let me tell you what I’ve realized over the 14 year long stay in Ireland; as you can imagine, I know a thing or two about life in an English speaking country! (more…)

How to Talk About Past & Future Without Using Corresponding English Tenses

Forget About “Words of the Day” – Learn How to Use Known Words in a New Way!

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’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of the “word of the day”, right? Every dictionary website on the Net has such words featured as a way of encouraging English learners worldwide to acquire new English vocabulary. Well, on the surface it looks like a great idea, and you may be under the impression that the more English vocabulary you know, the more fluent you’re going to be, so you’re singing up for such words being delivered to your inbox every day and you’re feeling like you’re really contributing to your English skills. In reality veteran English learners like myself will tell you right off the bat that learning new vocabulary words alone isn’t going to cut it. You’ll be just stuffing your brain full of some obscure English words with little to no opportunity of using them! Let me illustrate my point by doing a quick Google search for the term “word of the day”. Here’s what words are coming up: Pulchritude Biophilia Castellated There’s only one thing I can say – WTF?!? When, tell me when are you going to use such words? WHEN?!? NEVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!!! Such vocabulary building serves no practical purpose whatsoever – unless, of course, you’re doing it so that you can annoy everyone around you by saying things nobody has a clue about! (more…)

What Exactly I Mean By Saying “Don’t Study English Grammar”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8hrNV8ZVHw VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi, guys! Hello, boys and girls! It's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video, I'm going to finally put the whole matter of English grammar studies to rest once and for all. And a funny thing that I realized today is that, whenever I'm referring to studying grammar, studying English grammar rules, and whenever I'm saying that it's not really necessary in order to improve your English, I'm not being very precise about it. I'm actually being very vague in my terms. I'm saying it's not worthwhile studying English grammar and then I always get a certain amount of comments and response from people saying: "Hold on a second, Robby. You can't actually totally ignore the grammar aspect of the English language!" And then my response to that is always: "Well, you have to learn the English language contextually and that way you're going to acquire all of the grammar quite naturally," which is true. But, I'm not actually defining what I mean, in fact, by saying it's not worth studying English grammar. And, if I'm not mistaken, I've never actually - to the best of my knowledge - I've never actually stated on my blog explicitly what exactly I mean by that, right? And I'm sorry. I have to take a drink. That's my coffee, nightly coffee, right? As a matter of fact, a while back I promised to myself that I would not have any coffee late at night, and there you go. I'm breaking my promise yet again! But, I'm addicted to coffee. So, that's one of the things that I'm still addicted to. I don't drink. I don't smoke. So, for Christ sakes, I have to do something, right? But, it's just a joke. Obviously, you don't have to do something. If you don't have any addictions, that's even better than having one addiction, which in my case is caffeine, right? But anyway, going back to the subject of grammar, I've never stated that by saying it's not worthwhile studying English grammar rules what I mean by that. (more…)

5 Things About Robby & The English Language You Probably Didn’t Know

1. Sometimes I still mix up English personal pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’. I know it may sound silly, and some of you might think – “Hold on, there’s something dodgy going on… How come somebody who speaks fluent English can be making such simple mistakes?” You should never judge a foreigner’s abilities as an English speaker by the mistakes they’re making regardless of how simple they are! The fact that I can speak fluently doesn’t mean I’ll be getting the basics right 100% of the time. Especially considering times when I’m a little bit stressed out and I have to make my point very quickly. That’s when I may make a few mistakes and referring to a female person with the personal pronoun ‘he’ is one of them! By the way, I have an explanation for that. (more…)

Correct Yourself When Speaking in English Without Others Noticing!

3 Ways of Hard-wiring Unnatural English Collocations into Your Brain

When fluent English speakers speak, they don’t stick separate words together. Every word they pronounce automatically triggers the next one; the whole sentence is rather a chain of words linked together. Let’s say, for example, you’re asked a question “Would you like to come along to a party on Saturday night?” Most likely your response would begin with words “Thanks for…” and then you’d follow it by either “…asking” or “…inviting”, and come to think of it, when you pronounce the first words “thanks for…” the rest of the phrase kind of comes out of your mouth by itself, doesn’t it? That’s a typical example of collocating English words – they would normally go together in spoken and also written English, and foreign English speakers find it much easier to speak if their vocabulary has been built based on collocations as opposed to memorizing separate words. Well, the aforementioned phrase was a very simple response, and most likely you’d be able to respond using such a simple phrase even if you didn’t memorize it as a single unit of spoken language. Yet I’d say you picked it up by mimicking other English speakers because you surely must have heard someone say “Thanks for asking” or “Thanks for inviting” and that’s why the phrase got imprinted into your mind. Of course, by listening alone you won’t become fluent, you need to speak to add new phrases to your active English vocabulary, but I can’t deny that it does work to some extent. Anyway, when the wrong methods are used and wrong associations between English words are established, you may unwillingly create unnatural collocations. They manifest themselves in the following way – you start speaking by saying a word or two, but instead of continuing with a word that logically complements the phrase, you say something completely unrelated, something out of context, so to speak. OR, such out-of-place words may start pushing themselves into your mind even before you speak, and you may get a feeling as if someone else has taken control of your mind. Freaky? That’s how I used to feel and that’s how many other foreign English speakers feel if they use the wrong English learning methods. But now I’m going to list the worst of them so that you can avoid them like the plague! (more…)

Are you making these collocation mistakes?

English Idiomatic Expression “Good Night’s Sleep”

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, that's me, Robby from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! Currently I'm having my morning tea. As a matter of fact, it's green tea with lemon. One smart person suggested a while back that I drink green tea with lemon as a way of boosting my immune system and whatnot and it actually helped, you know what I mean? So that was a very wise suggestion on that person's part. Anyhow, today we're going to look at the following English idiomatic expression. As a matter of fact, I forgot what the expression was. Seriously, what's wrong with me? It just slipped my mind. I cannot believe that, it's unbelievable. I remember it now but it just goes to show that my head is full of different thoughts and everything and it's all too easy to me to forget the stuff that I actually wanted to put in this video, right? So today's idiomatic expression is a “good night's sleep”, right? And it may sound very simple. In fact, it's super simple, a good night's sleep, right? When you've had a good night's sleep obviously you slept very well. However, there's a reason for me to creating a whole video dedicated to this particular idiomatic expression. And if you want to find out what the reason is, please bear with me for a few more minutes and everything is going to become crystal clear to you, my friends. (more…)

Why Learning Long English Phrases Is MORE Beneficial to Your Fluency!

I get this question asked quite often: Sometimes a single English word might have up to 20 different meanings; how do I know which one to learn? My answer is always the same: Never learn meanings of individual words; ALWAYS learn them in context! Let’s say for instance, you’ve come across a new word VIGOR. Here’s what TheFreeDictionary.com returns when you do a lookup on the word VIGOR: Physical or mental strength, energy, or force. The capacity for natural growth and survival, as of plants or animals. Strong feeling; enthusiasm or intensity. Legal effectiveness or validity. Now, try and learn this entire list, I and guarantee you won’t be able to use the word VIGOR in your English conversations! Why? It’s simple enough – if you learn these abstract descriptions, you won’t create any associations in your brain between the new word VIGOR and other English words you know. Human brain works based on associated content, and all you have to do in order to be able to use the new word VIGOR is learn a word combination RENEWED VIGOR, for example. RENEWED VIGOR = renewed energy – that’s all you have to learn in order to start using the new English word without ANY advance planning as to what and how you’re going to say this or that particular thing! Here’s another question that might quite naturally arise: How do I know what other words the new word goes together with? Well, I have an answer prepared for this one as well – simply use Google (read this article on how it’s done for the best results). But here’s the million dollar question: How do I know how LONG the phrase has to be? Is two words enough? Or maybe I have to learn a whole sentence? I just found this one on Google - COME BACK WITH RENEWED VIGOR – should I learn the entire sentence? Now, it’s worth looking into the subject a bit deeper so read the rest of this article to find out the ideal length of English phrases you’re learning! (more…)

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…)

You ARE What You DO!

Can You Become Fluent in English if You Don’t Have a Talent for Languages?

Time and time again I’ve been told by all sorts of different people that I have a talent for languages. And when they find out I speak three languages fluently – Latvian, Russian and English – their opinion of my abilities is pretty much identical: “Robby, you’re naturally gifted when it comes to language learning! I wish I were like you!” And guess what? I think it’s a load of crap! I honestly believe that my ability to speak three languages fluently has nothing to do with my alleged talent for languages. And I also believe that ANYONE is capable of learning to speak English fluently regardless of whether you believe you have a talent for it or not. It’s just that most people don’t realize they have the potential to become fluent in English due to one or all of the following reasons: They think they’re not naturally gifted so they don’t WORK HARD on their English Deep down inside they know they’re too lazy to do something about their English skills so they use the lack of talent as an EXCUSE They’re using the WRONG METHODS to improve their English so the whole “I’m not naturally gifted at languages” thing becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy! Now, would you like me to prove to you that YOU DEFINITELY have what it takes to become fluent in English – and any other language for that matter? Then keep reading this article and don’t forget to leave a comment when you’re done! (more…)

English Improvement Trend & Inevitable Fluency Fluctuations – Why Is It Happening to Me?

English Idiomatic Expression: “You Don’t Want To…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_8DMom1pYk Hello my friends foreign English speakers! ;-) Here’s another English idiomatic expression for you to learn and use in your daily English conversations and also spoken English practice sessions: YOU DON’T WANT TO This particular English phrase simply means “YOU SHOULDN’T…” and it’s used by native English speakers in situations when telling someone that they shouldn’t do something would sound a bit too harsh and patronizing. Imagine yourself in a situation when you’re introduced to a new work colleague and you’re given the task of showing him the ropes (explaining how the job is done.) You’d be telling your new colleague a lot of things that they shouldn’t do over the course of the day, so every time you’re saying YOU SHOULDN'T DO IT and DON’T DO IT, it may start sounding as if you’re annoyed with them. Not that it’s a big deal – and if your voice and body language clearly shows your good intentions, you shouldn’t have any problems with telling someone that they shouldn’t do something. It’s just that it may sound a bit friendlier if you use the phrase YOU DON’T WANT TO DO IT! And here's the exact phrases where you'd be using this idiomatic expression: (more…)

Isn’t English “Improving” and “Learning” the Same?!

Quite often I receive e-mails like this: “Dear Robby, I’m … from …. and I speak English very bad. Please help me, Robby, to master English fluency and learn how to speak with good grammar.” Mind this – I’m not mocking those foreigners who’ve just recently embarked upon English studies and have a long way to go before they’ll be able to call themselves fluent English speakers, readers and writers. I’d never do it because I’m a foreign English speaker myself and I can still remember times when, for instance, I’d listen to an English song having no clue as to what the lyrics is about! Anyway, I’m usually forced to reply to such e-mails with something along these lines: “Dear …, thanks for your e-mail, your interest is much appreciated. Unfortunately I don’t offer English teaching services as my website is about IMPROVING the SPOKEN aspect of English. Your general English knowledge would have to be pretty good before you could consider using the English Harmony System” So as you can see from the above paragraph, you won’t find much on my website if you’re an English LEARNER. If you’re making your first steps in learning English basics and you’re only getting to grips with proper sentence structure and so on – sorry, I’m not much of a help for you then. I understand it must be slightly confusing to read so much about improving English on my blog and then being told you already have to be able to speak, write and read very well. I suppose the majority of foreigners perceive the two concepts – learning and improving English as being nearly the same. To make the matters clear - here’s what I understand with IMPROVING English – and please don’t forget that I’m focusing on improving SPOKEN English here on English Harmony! ;-) (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “Easier said than done”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CDDY5rAB8U If you’ve been following my blog and watching my videos for a while, you’ll know that there’s one sentence I repeat in almost every video – “Make sure you repeat and memorize this phrase so that you can make it part of your daily English conversations!” The thing is – such and similar gems of wisdom are always quite simple yet at the same time it requires a lot of hard work to follow them in real life. Just think about all these cliche phrases thrown at us so often most of us have probable started ignoring them and they don’t really register with us anymore: “Enjoy alcohol responsibly!” “Please tick this checkbox to indicate you’ve read all the terms and conditions before signing up!” “Just do it!” All these things are easier said than done, and that’s actually our today’s phrase! ;-) (more…)

5 Ways of Passive English Immersion

Job Seeking for Foreigners: Talking About Your Past, Present and Future

So you’re a non-native English speaker, and you’d like to do one of the following: Move to an English speaking country and find a job there; Find a better job while living in an English speaking country; Find a job in an international company while living in your own country; Get promoted in your current job in an English speaking environment. Congratulations :grin: With making this decision to find a better job you’ve already made the first step towards it, and I can only salute you for your aspirations to further your career and make better life for yourself and your family! Now, tell me what’s the next step you’re going to take in order to follow through with your goal? Update your CV and go for the job interview? Well, sounds like a plan to me – but you can do a little bit more than that to increase your chances of landing the job of your dreams. Remember – most likely you’ll be competing with native English speakers (or other fellow foreigners of yours who’ll be speaking very good English) for the position you’re going for, so you may want to make sure you can talk about virtually ANYTHING you may be asked during the job interview. Having an up-to-date CV and doing some preparation for the interview just won’t cut it, and that’s when preparing to talk about your past, present and future comes into play. (more…)

20 Random Thoughts on English Fluency, Foreign English Speakers and Life in General

Car Video #3: Spontaneous Speech vs Slow Speech

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUCvR754R7U Here’s another video broadcast from my car on the way to work, my friends! If some of you are wondering why I’m recording myself while driving to work, here are the main reasons: I practice spoken English with myself on a daily basis I practice what I preach – speaking in English ALL THE TIME :!: I know you love watching my videos – so why not use my free time and record them whenever I get a chance? ;-) This time I’m discussing merits of speaking spontaneously as opposed to speaking slowly. Yes, you’ll make more mistakes when speaking faster, but on the flip side it’s a great way of developing your gut feeling for correct English! Does it sound like a contradiction? I mean – making more mistakes to develop correct English? Well, my friends – here’s how it happens: (more…)

Power of Memorizing English Sentences, Paragraphs and even Poems!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71b8GJkxHKM The traditional English teaching methods mostly rely upon grammar studies whereby the student is required to learn grammar rules. Next step is to learn new English vocabulary and then construct sentences by a way of sticking words together and applying grammar rules at the same time. Here at English Harmony we all know by now that such methods are ineffective to say the least; most foreigners never learn to speak fluent English because they try and construct sentences in their head instead of simply MEMORIZING NATURAL ENGLISH SPEECH PATTERNS. Memorization is the most natural way of acquiring a language, and while some people may think it’s too robotic and you don’t really learn anything because of the lack of analysis – here’s the deal: Analysis actually hampers your progress! (more…)