How I Started Speaking Fluent English by Pretending to be a Gangster
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”! (more…)
Video for YearOfEnglish.com subscribers: Learn English Vocabulary That’s Relevant for YOUR Life!
You’ve Got to Do All the Heavy Lifting YOURSELF!
English Idiomatic Expression: “More often than not”
Hello boys and girls on this beautiful Sunday evening! :grin: This is my last blog post of the week, and this time around let’s look at the following phrase: “More often than not”. To be honest with you guys, I’ve been meaning to record a video dedicated to this particular phrase for quite some time now, but somehow I never got around to it for some reason or another… Anyway, the phrase “more often than not” is a very handy way of referring to something that happens most of the time. You can use this phrase in the beginning, in the middle or in the very end of the sentence, and it’s also going to make your speech a bit more conversationally friendlier. (more…)
Useful Tips on Improving Your English Using Google
In the previous article about using Google as an English improving tool I looked at the basics of Google Search suggestions. I brought up a good number of examples on how Google immediately displays the most relevant contextual suggestions for your search term if you want to figure out in what context the particular English word is used. Unfortunately, we also concluded that on many occasions Google won’t show you the most relevant collocations when you type in a certain word. The reason behind that is simple enough – Google isn’t used only by linguists, of course; billions of searches are performed every day based on popular trends and news, and it all affects the search suggestions. Not all is that bad, however, if you know certain ways and techniques to get the best out of what Google offers! Here’s my take on the whole Google search thing (find more phrases with the word ‘thing’ here) – if you have to find out meaning of a new English word and see how it’s used in context, use the best English dictionary websites to look them up. Sites like Dictionary.com and TheFreeDictionary.com will display sample sentences along with a very detailed explanation for the word you’re looking up, and you’ll be also given a bunch of synonyms and antonyms to help you understand all connotations of your search term. On the other hand, on occasions when you DO have an idea of what a particular word might mean and how it might be used, but you’re not 100% sure of what collocations and idioms are there containing that word, or if you’re unsure of correctness of a particular phrase – Google is the quickest and handiest tool for the purpose! OK, I won’t keep you waiting for any longer, my friends, so I’ll cut the rant short and let’s get down to business! (more…)
FGC Goal #1: American Slang Phrase #5 – IT HAS WRONG WRITTEN ALL OVER IT!
Best English Phrase Memorization Techniques for Those Who Want to Speak Fluent English
Hello my fellow English language fanatics! ;-) I’ve been publishing videos and articles on this blog for years on end, and if you’ve been following my website for some time you’ll know that my main focus is spoken English development because I write for those foreigners who are struggling to speak fluently while being quite good at other aspects of their English. One of the main aspects of oral fluency development is phraseology acquisition – or if put in simple terms – building your vocabulary of English word combinations and phrases (why am I not talking about individual English words? Read THIS article to find out why!). Spaced repetition is by far the most effective way of learning those phrases, and it’s based on the following simple principles: You repeat a phrase a number of times until it sticks with you and you can repeat it automatically; You review that phrase later on that day, then the following day, and then in a few days’ time. Simple as that! ;-) That’s what I’ve been doing to build my own English phraseology, and that’s what all my customers are doing when improving their English with help of the English Harmony System. One closely related subject that I haven’t touched upon on my blog, however, is different memorization techniques that you might use to memorize your English phraseology even faster and more efficiently, and that’s exactly what I’m going to look at in this article! SIDENOTE: please bear in mind that I’m not going to look at individual English word memorization techniques in this article because by far the best way to acquire new English vocab is by learning it in the CONTEXT which essentially means memorizing entire phrases and sentences is pretty much the only way forward! (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Such and similar”
Update From Robby: New Job, Fluency Star Finished, Spoken English Self-practice Still Going Strong!
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! Hi Guys! Today I'm bringing you a quick update on what I've been up to this summer, and you wouldn't believe how busy I've been doing all the following: Finishing my IT certification; Organizing my work experience; Preparing for a job interview; Starting in a new job; ...and all the while keeping teaching my Fluency Star students at night! (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Largely Due to The Fact”
Hello all English learners out there! :-) If you’re a hard-working English learner, you have acquired good English speaking, writing and reading skills LARGELY DUE TO THE FACT that you’ve put long hours and dedication into the process. If all you’re doing in order to improve your English is checking some news articles in English every now and then, you’re in a poor English fluency state and it’s LARGELY DUE TO THE FACT that you haven’t been making any real effort in terms of English improvement. As you can clearly see from the paragraphs above, today’s English idiomatic expression is LARGELY DUE TO THE FACT, and it’s a very handy phrase for situations when you want to sound smart and intelligent. (more…)
Should We Make Sure Everything We Say Is Grammatically Super-correct? My Opinion on Correct English!
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, it's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video we're going to discuss the correctness of the English language. And the fact of the matter is that there's so many things that we say in our English conversations that would be considered as incorrect if we went by the textbook English grammar rules. And if you paid particular attention to the last sentence - I said something incorrectly! I said “there's so many things” whereas in reality I should have said “there are so many things” because the noun “things” obviously is in plural in this case so the verb “to be” should have been conjugated to reflect that, I should have said “there are so many things”. And this is just one of those examples where something that's incorrect, it has been accepted in the general public and everyone speaks like that and there's nothing wrong with it. So it begs the question and as a matter of fact this particular phrase “it begs the question – to beg a question” has also been criticized as being incorrect English, right? In reality we should say “it raises a question”. But this phrase “it begs a question” is also used by everyone. And I would say that it actually makes it correct. (more…)
Share Your Humiliating English Conversation Experiences & Get Advice!
Do You Really Suck At Speaking English?
I’ve received countless e-mails saying basically the same thing – “Robby, I’m a useless English speaker, when I try to speak with other English speakers – especially native ones – I get very nervous. I’m struggling to say the right words and I hesitate a lot when speaking…” Well… Maybe you’re right… to a point. You’re useless as far as you believe you are, and the more you convince yourself of it, the deeper the conviction gets ingrained into your mind. It’s the so called self-fulfilling prophecy when something happens just because you believe it will happen :!: Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting you should turn a blind eye to the problem and just ignore it. While ignorance may be bliss on some occasions – such as ignoring strangers’ opinion of your level of English simply because they can’t possibly know how well you speak just because you’ve made a mistake when speaking with them – you still have to deal with your emotional and mental issues preventing you from fully enjoying English conversations. So what I’m saying is – even though the issue is there, you have to change the way you view it. You have to analyze the nature of the issue, make conclusions and see if you really are as useless as you think. Subsequently, you should come to realize that the issue isn’t as bad as you believe it is, and that conclusion in turn should make you into a more confident English speaker. Essentially it’s the same self-fulfilling prophecy – only now you have to get it to work to your favor! Now, are you ready to turn your assumption that you suck at speaking English on its head? (more…)
How to Talk About a Subject in English for a LONG Time
How to Become a Good English Interpreter and Translate TV Shows Into Your Native Language
Fluent English can ONLY be acquired by learning IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS - and that's why I'm going to highlight them for you in RED! As you may already have noticed, sometimes I create blog posts and videos based on my blog visitors’ comments and questions. This article is not an exception, and here’s the original comment that inspired me to write it: So basically the problem I’m going to discuss in this blog post is the following: “How to develop your ability to translate from English to your native language INSTANTLY?” Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this matter, just let me tell you that I’ve actually written about this particular phenomenon of not being able to translate a TV show into my native language while watching it with others – you may read about it HERE. It goes to show that this problem isn't unique – I would even go so far as to say that it’s NOT ACTUALLY A PROBLEM at all! (more…)
How I Stopped Being a Non-native English Speaker…
Why Can’t I Speak With My Fellow Native Speakers in English Fluently?
Everything About TOEFL: Interview With Paul & Rachael from LanguageTrainers.com
In this video I’m interviewing Paul and Rachael from LanguageTrainers.com and we’re looking at the following TOEFL related questions: What TOEFL is all about? Is TOEFL the American counterpart of IELTS? When is TOEFL the right option for you? Is it possible to score a high mark in TOEFL just by improving your overall English skills through full English immersion? Is writing is the most important skillset necessary to pass TOEFL? What study tools are the best for practicing reading and listening skills? What do the speakers sound like in the TOEFL listening section? How long does the speaking part of TOEFL last? Is it possible to achieve your target TOEFL score if you’re not orally that fluent in English? How exactly is the student expected to perform during the TOEFL speaking part? How is grammar accessed during the TOEFL test? Is it necessary for students to focus on grammar studies predominantly when preparing for TOEFL? Links mentioned during the interview: English Listening Tests English Accent Game Connecting Your Ideas in English Writing (more…)
Just a Handful of English Phrases Will Enable You to Speak so Much More Fluently (Article #2)!
Click HERE to read the FIRST article made up of English phrases! Hi guys! Did you know you don’t need to learn MASSIVE amount of specific vocabulary in order to be able to discuss various subjects with ease? You need to focus on acquiring idiomatic expressions and phrases instead, and they will enable you to talk about a wide variety of topics! As far as specific vocab is concerned – well, sure enough, you can’t do without it! But the thing is – you can get by using only a handful of industry terms while letting the idiomatic expressions make up most of your speech. Now, I’m going to pick a random subject – Forex trading – and let’s see what the specific vocab vs idiomatic expression ratio is in the written piece I’m going to create! ;-) (more…)
How to Practice English for FREE? Make Phone Calls!
Using Native Language in the English Class? Non-sense!
Video Transcript Below: Hello my fellow foreign English speakers! I'm Robby and I'm bringing you another video episode in the English Harmony video blog. And today's topic is teaching English via native language which is something that totally blows my mind at this stage in my life because now I know for a fact that English can be taught successfully only using English as the medium. Well, obviously in the very early stages of learning the language you would have to use your native language to understand the basic concepts of English, right? But as you progress through your learning curve and you get to know a whole lot more English words and phraseology and all that, there is no reason why you couldn't do away with the native language altogether, right? And here's a funny thing. Here in this country – I live in Ireland – and in this country when they teach foreign languages at school, at least to the best of my knowledge, they still use English during the lessons which doesn't make any sense at all. Because in other countries, such as Germany for example, when they learn English they only use English in the classroom which is something that makes a whole lot of sense! (more…)
How English Idiomatic Expressions Helped Me Deal With a REALLY Stressful Conversation
What Any Foreign English Speaker Can Learn from Benicio Del Toro
One of the biggest traps that foreign English speakers fall for is trying to speak TOO FAST. You know what? Even I still fall for it every once in a while, and every time it happens I literally have to persuade myself by saying – “Robby, calm down, don’t rush, you know it for a fact that it doesn’t matter if it takes you 10 seconds longer to get the message across! Take your time, slow down and you’re going to be much easier to understand!” Yet so many foreigners are under the wrong impression that to speak fluent English you must speak fast. Well, most native English speakers would indeed speak English quite fast – just like any other native language speaker would speak their language. It’s not always the case though. There are situations when EVEN NATIVE SPEAKERS would find it hard to maintain a continuous, fast speech. Stressful environment, high expectations from others, not being familiar with the topic that’s being discussed – all these and a number of other factors may seriously impede any native English speaker’s natural ability to produce fast, continuous and uninterrupted speech. So if even native English speakers can run into such problems, why would foreigners like me and you be any different? I think that our ability to speak English shouldn’t be judged on our nationality grounds. We, just like any native English speaker, are entitled to have moments of confusion, take time to make the point, and it shouldn’t be perceived as an inability to speak fluent English. It should be taken for what it is – slower speech - and it shouldn’t be attributed to our foreign national background! On many occasions a slow and controlled manner of speech doesn’t even indicate any issues the speaker might be having. It’s just the way the particular person speaks, and whether others like it or not, they have to accept it, full stop :!: One of my favorite actors Benicio Del Toro, for example, quite often speaks slowly and takes his time choosing the right words when giving interviews. He doesn’t give a damn about what others might think about it! And mind this – he’s a Hollywood celebrity and speaks fluent English. Well, originally he’s from Puerto Rico and speaks Spanish, but he’s spent most of his life in the States and his English is absolutely fluent. So here’s what you can learn from Benicio: It’s OK to pause in a mid-sentence; It’s OK to repeat a word a number of times to buy time; It’s OK to speak very slowly! (more…)
FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #37: YOU GUYS HEAR ABOUT?
3 Things ANY Foreigner Can Implement To Boost Their English Communication Skills!
How Many Hours a Day Should I Practice My English?
Repetition in Terms of English Learning & Weightlifting is the same!
When you go to gym and engage is resistance training, you perceive sets of repetitions as an integral part of your fitness routine. When you learn and improve your English, however, you may find that you have some subliminal aversion (you perceive it as something bad despite not really knowing why) to the very term ‘repetition’! You might perceive it as something robotic, something mechanical. But it doesn't necessary have to be like that :!: Yes, traditionally repetition and memorization is performed in a boring and mechanical fashion whereby you repeat individual English vocabulary words followed by the translation in your native language (and it’s very wrong, please read this article to find out why!) I wholeheartedly agree that this kind of repetition is boring indeed and it’s also detached from your real needs as a foreign English speaker. What you need instead is – contextual repetition & memorization. (more…)
Funny English Phrases: Death & Dying Related English Idioms
Shocking: Native English Speakers Don’t Always Spot Your Mistakes!
I’m actually tired of repeating the same thing in nearly every blog post but it’s so important that I just can’t help pointing it out once more – you shouldn’t be so conscious of your mistakes made when speaking English! Today I’m going to provide another good reason as to why you shouldn’t be so stressed out when the inevitable happens and you catch yourself having said something weird – be it a wrong word, a wrong grammar Tense or a wrong word combination. So, the reason is the following – when you converse with a native English speaker, they will actually miss many of your mistakes, so your English speech won’t actually sound anywhere near as bad as you think :!: So if you have a tendency to hesitate and struggle for the rightwords to say and eventually get some of them wrong, don’t be overly concerned about what your conversation partner thinks of your level of English – many of those small mistakes will pass unnoticed. But in case if you’re wandering how I can be so sure about making such a claim – after all I’m a foreign English speaker and not a native one – here’s the reason. It’s because I’ve actually asked many of my native English speaking work colleagues what they think of my spoken English level on my bad English days and on many occasions they didn’t have a clue what bad English I was talking about! You see, sometimes when I’m having a down period in terms of English fluency, I struggle a little bit to put my thoughts into words. Over time my fluency has gone up big time because it inevitably happens with anyone living in an English speaking environment, but still I have days when I just can’t perform at a 100% of my ability. So whenever I drop the question to any of my native English speaking colleagues – “By the way, have you noticed that today I keep struggling to find the right words to say and I hesitate all the time?” – their response is pretty much the same – “Well… Not really!” (more…)
11 Love and Relationship Phrases for this Valentine’s Day
Thinking in English Happens With Your Mouth
This video is dedicated to Juhapekka’s last comment on my blog where he says that he’d really like to be able to think about the most sophisticated and complex subjects in English, but he’s not really able to. Juhapekka is a Finnish guy and he’s a frequent commentator on my blog - he’s posted a good few comments and they’re very profound and I really, really appreciate his contribution to my blog. So, thank you once more Juhapekka! ;-) But now let’s get down to the business and let me respond to the actual comment. Let me tell you right up-front that it’s going to be useful to everyone – not just Juhapekka – so just watch the video above (or listen to the audio file just above the video in case you can’t access YouTube content) and you’ll definitely find something useful for your own English improvement routine. (more…)
5 Things About Robby & The English Language You Probably Didn’t Know
Can You Speak Fluent English Without Learning Idioms?
English Phrasal Verb “To Pull Off”
“To pull off” is a very handy, informal way of saying “to manage to do something”. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, you’re witnessing an incredible feet being accomplished. Let’s imagine that you’re working out in a gym with your friend and he does a 150 pound bench press which is totally off the charts! Now, the natural question you want to ask your friend is the following: “Hey dude, that was crazy, how did you pull it off?!” This phrasal verb can also be used when someone is engaged in some risky undertaking and their venture ends with success; basically what I’m talking about here is doing something risky and managing to do it without getting caught. (more…)