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 express opposing ideas in English

Hey there everyone, How are you all doing? On cloud nine? Of course, you must be, it’s Christmas Eve and New Year is about to begin after a few days and everybody is super pumped up for everything. So what do you like to eat more during these eves? Cake or pizza? Wait!!! What did you just say? Pizza? Or Cake? You must be thinking what am I rambling on, isn’t it? I got no problem if you like any of the above two options, but same scenario (one-word answers) occurs whenever I hear a non-native stating their choice. Conversation is all about two or more people interacting equally with each other. Now if a person asks you about choices and you give him a one-word answer, it kind of puts him on the stand to lead and balance the vacuum you created for the further conversation. And I can tell from my personal experience that following up every time after such gaps is definitely not a piece of cake on the other end, hence the conversation ends out of nowhere. It doesn’t mean that I am telling you to exaggerate the situations or answers. The thing is, one-word answering is one of the top conversation killers in spoken English. Well, how to deal with such issues? Luckily, dealing with these issues is not that tough how it seems. Using one of the three formats of sentences that I am about to mention down below, you will start noticing your conversation skills improving and you the one leading the conversation. So without beating around the bush, let’s begin: Method 1: Question: What do you like- Pizza or Cake? Answer: Although some people like cake, I prefer pizza because I love its toppings and cheese. Method 2: Question: What do you like- Pizza or cake? Answer: Some people like cake; however, I prefer pizza because I love its toppings and cheese. Method 3: Question: What do you like- Pizza or cake? Answer: Even though some people like cake, I prefer pizza because I love its toppings and cheese.   In all three methods above, we have talked about the negative part first and then explained why we prefer our respective choice. You can see yourself how better it sounds than just one-word answers like- Pizza or cake. Make sure you start applying these strategies in your spoken English and you will notice your conversation skills improving day by day. Merry Christmas to you and your family and enjoy your time. May you have an amazing year ahead! Till then, keep learning and improving. Bye-bye.

My Plans for English Harmony in 2015

So much has happened during the last few months in my life… I changed my job a couple of months ago... I re-opened my English fluency coaching program Fluency Star... And then I quit my new job having worked there for just over two months :!: You see, I realized I can’t really cope with such a massive workload and the only logical solution was to quit my new job so that I can do both – teach my students via Skype and maintain this blog. If you’ve been following English Harmony for a while you’ll notice that I haven’t been posting a lot of blog posts lately. To be more specific - it’s been 2 weeks now without posting a single blog entry! To put it in perspective – there was a time when I was publishing 3 articles every week. If you visited my blog on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you would always find a new article or a video, but during the last few months it’s been fairly irregular. I’ve published something whenever I could find enough time for it, but if I put myself in your shoes, I can definitely see that it’s not good enough. I don’t have to be a genius to figure out that you’d rather come to my blog with the sure knowledge of finding new content every couple of days, so it’s the first thing I’ve planned for the English Harmony website this year: (more…)

How Many Hours a Day Should I Practice My English?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/l3fupg-ai6o   (more…)

English Collocation: “Sparked Heated Debates”

Is English Difficult Or Easy To Learn?

Today I got to read an article written by an English teacher Locke McKenzie where he expresses quite an interesting view on difficulty of English language compared to other European languages – mainly German. The article was tweeted by Tim Ferris so I thought – must be something of value – and I spent some of my precious time :-) reading it. Basically Locke McKenzie is saying that even though initially it seems that learning English is child’s game compared to learning numerous verb conjugations, noun genders and absurd tenses in languages like Spanish, German and Polish, it’s not that simple at all… He describes his experience with German students in a classroom when trying to teach them which verbs are followed by gerund and which – by infinitive. For example – following English grammar rules the verb to enjoy is followed by gerund as in Locke’s example – I enjoy baking cookies. The students were asking him how they could know which words are followed by gerund on which he was forced to answer – there’s no rule… This, and also various English grammar tenses which were difficult for the German students to grasp, made the article’s author to conclude with the following words, I quote: We have a mongrel language that has taken on words and rules unnecessarily, adding bits and pieces of whatever we like until there is no sense of order at all. Our language is slowly dissolving into nonsense. Poets and creatives should be appalled. It isn’t good for anything but business and politics, the only sectors where the more cryptically you talk, the better your chances of striking a deal. With all due respect to the article’s author I really want to disagree. (more…)

Fluency Gym Coach Goal #1 Complete: 50 American Phrases Acquired!

Learn Pronunciation by Equating English Sounds to Your Native Language!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzs2YgGuwFk Hello everyone! ;-) Today let’s touch upon some English pronunciation related topic, namely - how you learn pronunciation of new English words and how to mimic the original pronunciation to the best of your benefit when you are trying to speak them out loud. And here's a very interesting situation I encountered a few days ago at work. There’s a Polish girl in my workplace who's only learning to speak English and she asks me questions through her friend whose English is much better and every day I have to answer a few questions in relation to how you say this or that particular thing in English or how you pronounce a certain word or phrase. The other day, she asked me through her friend how to pronounce the word "drank" and then, to my big surprise, she repeated in perfect English "drank" and guess what happened? I tried to think of why she didn't make the typical mistake that so many foreign English speakers do when they read an English word letter by letter and then they would most likely say something like "drrrank" in case that particular language has the rolling ‘R’, as in my language. In Latvian, we roll the ‘R’s and many native counterparts of mine would have said "drrrank" with a rolled ‘R’ sound! So in this particular case Polish is a Slavic language, which is quite close to Russian. And it happens so that I speak Russian too and I know for a fact that all these languages have the rolling ‘R’s - so why did she not say, "drrrank"? Why'd she say "drank" in perfect English? Here’s why: she equated the English sounds to her native Polish sounds because she wasn’t looking at a written word but was simply trying to MIMIC what she heard! (more…)

Counting in English Helps Your Fluency!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QR14ygdJkWg Believe it or not, aside from running the English Harmony blog, I have a full time job! I work in a knitwear manufacturing company, and my job involves packing customers’ orders so there’s a lot of counting going on. Sometimes I spend entire days looking at order printouts and calling out product codes and quantities to myself while I’m packing the respective garments. Can you guess where this is all leading to? Yes, I do all counting and number crunching in English :!: “Is it a big deal?” you may ask. “Why should I bother myself with counting in English while working in similar conditions? I use English when I need to talk to someone, but other than that I’m happy to use my native language when being on my own and doing mundane tasks at work!” With all due respect, my dear blog reader, but I have to disagree! Partially it's because I always tend to disagree with popular beliefs and assumptions, but for the most part it's because it's very IMPORTANT to develop one's ability to THINK in English. So read on to find out WHY counting merchandise at work or calling our product codes to yourself in English is beneficial to your English fluency :!: (more…)

English Words I Used to Mispronounce

At this stage I’ve lived in an English speaking country for more than 12 years, and I can call myself an English speaker for more than that because I was speaking the language long before I came to Ireland all those years ago. Anyway, having been an English speaker for so long doesn’t mean my language is free from errors. Every now and then I realize I’ve been making some sort of a mistake. It might be a specific English word that I’ve been using wrong. A couple of weeks ago, for example, I found out that the English word “deal-breaker” has a negative connotation rather than a positive one! I thought that if something is a “deal-breaker”, it’s the most appealing feature among all others, but it turns out it’s quite the opposite – a “deal-breaker” is the biggest risk factor! It could also be an English idiomatic expression I’ve been using the wrong way. Only this week I found out that the idiom “rule of thumb” doesn’t actually mean a very strict rule – which is what I’d thought – it actually means a general rule that can be widely applied. On some occasions though, it turns out I’ve been MISPRONOUNCING a specific word for years without realizing it, and that’s what today’s article is all about! Before we begin, just let me tell you one thing – making these kinds of mistakes is completely normal! Nobody is perfect, and I know for a fact I’ll keep correcting my English till the day I die – but I’m not feeling like my English sucks because of it. I just do it as a normal part of my English improving process, and I warmly suggest you approach your own errors the same way! And now, without further ado, let’s look at the English words I’d been mispronouncing without realizing it! (more…)

How To Achieve Fluent English Reading Knowing Only 70 – 80 % of Vocabulary!

There’s Always Someone Worse Off Than You!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK5J94FKo3M

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

Funny English Phrases #1 – Buying a Pair of Jeans

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ELDaqPlEW8 Hi my friends foreign English speakers! You must have noticed I’m not posting here on my blog as often as I used to, but you can rest assured that I’m not neglecting this project! I’m simply too busy editing new English Harmony lessons and working with my partner Will who creates all content for the lessons. So, while I’m working on the major English Harmony System’s update, I decided to post weekly short videos stuffed with useful everyday English phrases you can use in different situations – when shopping, visiting your doctor or even facing an interviewer in a job interview. Today’s video is dedicated to shopping. Watch it, and who knows - maybe some of those phrases will come handy the next time you’re out shopping for new clothes! Robby ;-)

Why When We Stress Out Our Fluency Deteriorates?

Here’s a typical question I get asked by my blog readers and customers all the time: “When I speak with other English speakers, I always get embarrassed, and then I start stressing out, and then I just can’t speak anymore. Why is it happening?” Why? Well, the answer is in the very question you’re asking! You’re STRESSED OUT, and that’s why you can’t speak fluently anymore! That’s it, my friend – stress is the single biggest reason affecting your fluency (and that of hundreds of thousands of other foreign English speakers worldwide!). It’s the STRESS that makes you do all the following: Hesitate, Make stupid mistakes, Get stuck for words, Lose the thread of your thoughts… ... while at the same time you’re being fully aware of the fact that if you’re not in stressful situations, your spoken English level is fairly good. Why is it that stress affects our English fluency big time? Well, read this article and you’ll found out just that – and much more! :grin: (more…)

English Harmony System’s Review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/WLlsp4H-zMc I want you to meet someone, my fellow foreign English speakers! Her name is Diana and she runs a great English learning website Helping You Learn English. Diana is an English teaching professional, and I guess that if she’s saying that my English Harmony System might just be the one thing you need to improve your English fluency, there is something to it, right? Anyway, let’s cut the rant, just watch the video above to see what Diana is saying in her review of the English Harmony System 2.0!

Answering Questions: Can’t Practice Fluency, What to Do If My Fluency Dwindles When I Speak With Others and More…

Can You Speak Fluent English Without Learning Idioms?

Apparently you can’t get far in spoken English if you don’t know the traditional English idioms – so they say. For instance, the idiom “Till the cows come home” means “for a very long time” so you should be certain to use this idiom every now and then when you want to emphasize futility of the action you’re discussing – “You can try to please your boss’s every whim till cows come home, but you still won’t get that promotion.” Or this one – “The pot calling the kettle black”. This idiom is used to point out to a person accusing someone that he’s not all that innocent himself. Is it true though? Do you really have to go the extra mile (you see – I just used another idiom so they have to be useful, right?) learning such and similar English idioms to sound fluent and be able to communicate easily with other English speakers? Well, I can’t actually give you a definitive answer to this question without first discussing the nature of English idioms and how they’re used. So let me bring up an example so that you can start seeing the big picture (see – another idiom!). I remember an occasion when my daughters had their friend around and it started raining really heavily. As they say here in Ireland – it was lashing outside! I made a comment about the heavy rainfall and used the typical (so they say…) idiom – “It’s raining cats and dogs.” And you know what? None of the kids had the slightest idea of what I was talking about :!: Fair enough, my daughters moved to Ireland when they were four, so it’s understandable that they mightn’t have known the expression I used. Their friend, however, was a native English speaker so I kind of expected hear to know this popular (or so I was led to believe!) English idiom. Why, don’t all English speaking people exclaim “It’s raining cats and dogs!” when it’s raining outside? According to so many English learning related websites it’s true, and you’ll be given a list of such and similar archaic phrases as your typical idioms to learn in every second English grammar book! (more…)

Dictation: Benefits of Listening to English & Writing It Down!

You Think I Speak Fluent English Because I Live In Ireland? Nope!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zY26OWULGvo

Video for YearOfEnglish.com subscribers: Learn English Vocabulary That’s Relevant for YOUR Life!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q6CzZVCN54 Hello guys from YearOfEnglish.com and also anybody else having dropped by my blog :!: In today’s video I’m touching upon the subject of vocabulary building, and needless to say it’s all within the context of spoken English self-practice. Why? Simple enough – if you’re serious about your ability to SPEAK, you have to speak, and speaking with yourself is by far the best tool available to ANY foreign English speaker ANYWHERE on this planet! Speaking of vocabulary building, here’s a synopsis of the video above: Engage in spoken English self-practice and write down things (using English ONLY!) you can’t say; Go online and find those new English words you were struggling for; Memorize those words WITHIN CONTEXT – put them in sample sentences and use Google to see how this or that particular word is used; Do more spoken English self-practice sessions and make sure to use your newly acquired vocab! The video above, however, contains more info that just that, so please make sure to watch it if you’ve got 10 spare minutes – you’ll thank yourself for it later on! ;-) Thanks for tuning in, Robby P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!  

Passive English Immersion is Good for Keeping Your Vocab Refreshed

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BWjogRWhRqs

Tell Me What to Write About in 2015 and Win FREE Copy of EH System!

It Doesn’t Matter Who You Speak With – It’s All in Your HEAD!

Sometimes I don’t feel confident when speaking with native English speakers – I have an uneasy feeling that they’d judge my English skills and make the wrong assumptions. Sometimes I struggle when speaking with another foreign English speaker. I have difficulties choosing the right words if I’m not sure if he or she will understand me. As a result I may start hesitating and making silly mistakes and the other person may sound even more fluent than me! When I speak with a foreigner with a similar English fluency level, I may try to prove I’m a better English speaker. Eventually I also risk losing the natural flow of the language because of the excitement such a challenge inevitably entails. As you can see – you can’t win here, no matter who I speak with there’s a chance my English fluency is going to deteriorate… So the question is – how to deal with this? :mad: The answer, as often is the case, lies in the head ;-) (more…)

What Not To Expect While Learning a Foreign Language

English Possessive Case And All The Tricky Stuff!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/sM3-Dknc8N8 Hi Folks, This is the first video in the English Harmony Practical Grammar video series. The grammar videos are still going to be part of my usual video blog. I just came up with this idea of the English Harmony Practical Grammar brand because I know that many of you are using grammar as a starting point to improve your English. But my English grammar lessons will be different – you’ll learn how to use it in real life conversations! I’m not going to repeat what you can find on a million websites on the Internet, or read in any English grammar book. Instead I’ll be giving you interesting and practical interpretation of ordinary English grammar – and it will be much more useful to you, believe me! Moreover, I’ll put all my experience, mistakes and conclusions that I’ve had throughout the years of improving my English into these lessons for the biggest benefit to you! So today’s topic – the possessive case in English language. If you’re not sure what it is – read more about the possessive case here. It’s simple enough, and your English teacher probably didn’t dedicate more than ten minutes to the possessive case in the classroom. However, it’s not that simple at all! I can remember myself struggling with the possessive form of nouns a few years ago – I was applying the same grammar rules on English that I would on my own language. As a result I was using the possessive case way too often! (more…)

English Learning Principles for Total Beginners

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5hc8tpzPI Here are other links mentioned throughout the video: https://englishharmony.com/why-cant-speak-fluently/ http://accentadventure.com/sentences/ https://englishharmony.com/kids-vs-adults/ https://englishharmony.com/present-continuous-vs-present-simple/ Throughout the years while I've been running this blog, I've always focused upon needs of those non-native English speakers who find themselves in a situation I was in a number of years ago - unable to speak fluently despite possessing fairly good grammar, reading, writing and comprehension skills in English. In other words, I'm catering to those foreigners who are long past the beginners English level in terms of general English knowledge and they've developed what I like to call a "writing mode" syndrome. But what about those who only start the journey into the English language now? Obviously, they wouldn't be able to read and understand this article for the simple reason that they haven't built and developed their vocabulary and all the rest, but I can definitely imagine a scenario whereby someone who just starts learning the English language is receiving some useful info from a person having read this article. Maybe it's YOU who can help some friend of yours to acquire the English language the right way and AVOID all the pitfalls that we've been falling for and that have prevented us from developing natural English fluency from the outset: Learning meanings of individual words; Learning grammar rules and creating sentences by applying them; Translating directly from our native languages; and many more! Well, I know only too well that the worldwide dominance of the traditional grammar-translation way of teaching languages - English included - is so deeply ingrained in people's minds that you'll find it very hard (on most occasions - even impossible!) to convince people NOT TO learn vocabulary lists, NOT TO try to understand the exact meaning of new words and NOT TO analyze the syntax of sentences too deeply by trying to find the exact equivalent of the given English sentence in their native languages. It's a constant uphill battle, and most of the times you'll fail. It's worth a try, however, because if you do succeed in persuading your friend to try out the contextual way of learning the English language right from the start, they will NEVER develop the English fluency issues in the first place! So, where to begin? Well, I guess a very good place to start would be by understanding that it’s SUPER-IMPORTANT to learn English word combinations right from the start - there's no need to learn individual English words :!: Why? OK, here we go! ;-) (more…)