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!

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…)

Practicing Spoken English in Car: Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuOASHRMG00 Here’s another video where you can watch me speaking in English with myself while commuting to work, and this time around I’m trying a different approach to kick-start my English fluency: speaking as fast as possible. It’s one of the different English fluency management strategies, and I know I have to resort to this one because my fluency started dwindling yesterday afternoon. The day before was perfect, my fluency peaked at a two week high, but as it sometimes happens – a peak is followed by a drop :mad: , so I have to figure out a way of reverting back to my normal state of fluency. This is how I manage my fluency, and there are a lot of different strategies: slowing your speech down speaking with an accent (or rather allowing your native accent to come to fore) speaking using short sentences spitting out the first thing that crosses your mind instead of composing sentences in your head All these strategies have been tried and tested over the years, and it’s all a result of my own pursuit after English fluency. (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

11 Things English Fluency Has Given Me

Do You Speak English Enough? You’ve Gotta Speak ALL THE TIME!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLvjnC515co Are you immersed into the English language 27/7/365 - meaning you are married to an English speaker or you only go out with other English speakers? If so - great, your spoken English is probably good enough and you don't really have any fluency related issues! ;-) IF your English exposure is limited, however, you just HAVE to do some additional spoken English practicing, there's no doubt about that as it's been proven by my personal experience. What am I talking about here? Well - watch the video above and you'll find out EXACTLY what I'm on about here: * my history as a failed English speaker * importance of a daily spoken English practice to keep your fluency sharp * why MOUTH for you is the most important body part! Stay fluent, stay confident, and all kinds of comments welcome here! Robby ;-)

Why It’s a Bad Idea to Categorize English Idioms when Learning Them!

Is It Possible to Be Fluent without Knowing Grammar?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=371dNk05ziEU Aspiration to become a fluent English speaker is what brought you to my blog, isn't that right? Then let me take a wild guess - at least at some point in your pursuit after English fluency you've been engaged in a lot of English grammar studies, am I now right? Well, in reality you don't need to be a grammar genius to speak English fluently. First of all, only a few grammar Tenses are actually used in real life conversations. Secondly - phrases and expressions constitute large amount of spoken English. And thirdly... Well - watch this video to hear everything for yourself! Stay fluent, Robby ;-)

My 5 Year Long Journey to English Fluency

I got out of the plane in the Dublin airport. The weather was great despite rumors that it rains 360 days a year in Ireland. I was full of expectations, and I was also slightly worried because all I knew for sure was that I’d signed up for a job in a warehouse. Everything else was left to my imagination and such insignificant details as where I’m going to live and how much I’ll have to pay for accommodation hadn’t been really communicated neither to me nor to other Latvian guys I met at the airport having signed up with the same international job recruitment agency. I didn’t care too much about it anyway. I’d nothing to lose because all I had was 50 euro in my pocket and a promise of a better life. In a couple of weeks’ time it turned out I’d singed up with the right agency. I was working for a large multinational logistics company, pay was good, and I was able to start stashing away significant amount of money on a weekly basis which was impossible in my previous life in Latvia where I’d been barely able to make my ends meet. Little that I knew back then, however, that my stay in Ireland wasn’t going to be just about making a better life for myself and my family. I couldn’t have imagined that living in an English speaking country would challenge me as an English speaker in ways I didn’t even know existed. It turned out that my English was quite poor for practical daily life and soon after my arrival in Ireland I started trying to improve my English so that I could function properly in an English speaking society. It took me long years to figure out that textbook based grammar studies and learning large English vocabulary lists didn’t really improve my ability to communicate with other English speakers. Now, 10 years on, long after I finally achieved English fluency I can say with honesty that it’s been one hell of a journey! Want to find out more about it? Then read the rest of this article! ;-) (more…)

Your English Has to Be Just Good Enough for You to Be Successful!

Check out the following videos (at the very least listen to 20 - 30 secs of how these foreign English speakers speak): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgbdNNfotwM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJolDZMM67Q What do you think all these people have in common except for being foreign English speakers? First of all, their English ISN’T PERFECT :!: If you’re one of those perfectionists out there who’s constantly watching out for mistakes made by other foreign English speakers, you’ll notice small flaws and imperfections in Dr. Coldwell’s and Wagner’s spoken English. Secondly, they’re 100% CONFIDENT :!: Lastly, they’re really PASSIONATE about what they’re doing :!: and they’re totally focused on the matter at hand when speaking about it. What does this all mean for you as a foreign English speaker? If you’re really dedicated to something, you can become very successful without focusing on perfecting your spoken English! You may spend your whole life trying to achieve a near-native level of English – but then it’s going to be too late to realize your dreams in terms of your professional and social life. Or you can SET YOUR GOALS NOW, start taking action and improve your English as you go along according to the specific needs and requirements of the particular industry or a different aspect of your life. Remember – your English has to be just good enough for you to be successful ;-) (more…)

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

Don’t Try to Speak in English as if You Were Writing!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGJr9vMqMnE Many of us, foreign English speakers, learnt the English language as a written language due to the specific nature of academic English curriculum which emphasizes a student’s ability to read and write well. Spoken fluency is being neglected, and as a result our minds adopt what I like to call a ‘writing mode’. It’s when you’re so used to writing and working with English grammar textbooks, that it’s become your second nature to plan grammatically correct sentences in your head before actually speaking them out loud :!: As a result, your English fluency suffers because you find it hard to: Speak spontaneously and fluently (your speech preparation prevents that!) Use new English words and expressions (fear of making mistakes works against it!) Simply enjoy having a conversation with someone in English (you’re too anxious to say it all correctly!) Watch the video above to see how to make a smooth transition from the ‘writing mode’ of you mind into a ‘speaking mode’ so that you can speak fluently and confidently! (more…)

Don’t Make Conscious Effort When Improving Your English

3 Situations When It Might Be Easier For You To Speak in English With Your Fellow Foreigners

Some time ago I published an article called “5 Reasons Why It’s Easier To Speak With Native English Speakers Than Other Foreigners”. In today’s article I’m going to look at reasons why on certain occasions it might be actually easier to speak in English with another foreigner :!: As I already pointed out in the first article – on most occasions it’s all a matter of perspective. All other things being equal – such as your level of English fluency, language comprehension etc. – you may feel more comfortable speaking with another foreigner simply because you’re not ashamed of saying something wrong (which inevitably happens during any conversation). Or it also could be that you spend most of your time working in an international team, and speaking with native English speakers is an exception rather than a rule. "It is mostly our OWN mental inhibitions that make us favor conversations with natives or foreigners!" And of course – it varies from person to person a great deal! While you mightn't have any problems chatting with your native English speaking work colleague, your supervisor might be giving you the creeps and you always stutter and find it difficult to explain yourself in his or her presence. Anyway, here are the 3 situations when you may find it easier to speak with your fellow foreign English speaker instead of a native speaker. Enjoy! ;-) (more…)

Check Out My First EVER Interviews – All About Me, English Fluency & How To Stop Struggling When Speaking in English!

 Recently I got interviewed by two English teachers for their websites – Ben who lives in Spain and Nate who’s settled down in Japan. These are my first interviews I’ve ever done, and as you can imagine, I had to use some of my own English fluency management strategies to keep a cool head, gather my thoughts and speak fluently because stress levels were high – especially in the beginning of those interviews! :grin: Listen to my interview with Ben HERE! And here you can watch 2 YouTube videos containing fragments from my interview with Ben: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5ZWgF1pCy8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTQ39kQxee8 Click HERE to listen to me talking with Nate! What you can expect to hear in those interviews is pretty much everything about my background as a foreign English speaker – starting from my years long struggling to speak English fluently and ending with useful tips for my fellow foreigners on how to maintain fluent English speech. You'll also find out in those interviews: what is a "writing mode" of your mind and why it prevents you from speaking English fluently (interview with Ben) why speaking with yourself is the best way to improve your English when there's no-one to talk to (interview with Nate) and a whole lot more! So if you've got nothing to do on this Friday night (or any other day of the week), sit down at your laptop or PC and listen to me spilling the beans about what real English fluency is all about: Listen to my interview with Ben HERE! Click HERE to listen to me talking with Nate! Let me know what you think in the comments below! ;-)

1001 Ways To Use The Simplest English Verb “To PUT”!

When I was a kid and only started to familiarize myself with the basics of the English language, one of the first English words I learnt must have been the verb ‘to put’. Why I think so? Well, I remember translating the name of one of the Tom & Jerry cartoons called “Puttin’ On The Dog” in my notebook, and it would have been one of my first encounters with the English language. Shortly after, I was introduced to Ogden’s “Basic English” and the verb ‘to put’ was one of the 850 English words you would have to learn to become a competent English user. Ogden’s key principle was simplicity and he claimed that it is possible to paraphrase any English sentence using only 850 Basic English vocabulary words. I’ll admit that on many occasions important connotations are lost by reducing concepts to the Basic English vocabulary, there is no doubt about it. Let’s say for example, “He was shot in the head” would become “They used a gun to put a small metal thing in his head”. See what I’m talking about? Still, it’s a great example of how ANYTHING can be explained using very simple words so lack of vocabulary is really no excuse for not being able to explain something in English, my friends foreigners! How does this all tie in with the headline of this article? You see, the thing is that English verbs such as ‘to PUT’ and similar play an important role in helping struggling foreign English speakers to ride over bumps in their fluency :!: When you struggle to express your opinion in English using vocabulary you would normally use, it’s very easy to paraphrase more complex verbs by using ‘to PUT’ combined with the appropriate noun. Can’t think of the verb ‘to return’? Use ‘to put back’ instead! Got stuck in the middle of a sentence because you just can’t describe the concept of forgetting painful experiences and moving on? (different phrases – “get over it”, “just forget about it” – are floating in your mind but you can’t seem to use the right one in that split second?) Use "put it behind you" instead! And, considering that you are by no means limited to Ogden’s 850 words, it’s not hard to imagine that your speech is not going to sound too simplistic because of it! You can say things like – “Put a bullet in his head” - which is a totally valid English expression without the risk of sounding as if your English vocabulary consists of only 850 words. (more…)

You Can’t Listen Your Way to Fluency!

Relax Your Abs to Get Your English Fluency Rock-Hard!

When you speak in English with someone, there’s more than just your mind and mouth involved. You’ve probably rarely given it a thought, but when we speak, our WHOLE BODY participates in the verbal and non-verbal communication. Your body responds to stimuli emitted by your brain. That’s why you tense up in stressful situations – your embarrassment, anxiety and stress translates in real body reactions. So far nothing new, right? Let’s keep going! The feedback between your body and mind actually goes both ways. Not only your emotions influence your body reactions – the opposite is also true! Basically I’m talking about how you can influence your mind and mental performance in terms of English communication by controlling your body. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it’s another useful strategy to be added onto a number of English fluency management techniques I’ve spoken about in the very detail on this blog. (more…)

5 Reasons Why It’s Easier To Speak With Native English Speakers Than Other Foreigners

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…)

3 Killer Tips on How to Write in English Like a Native Speaker!

This blog’s main focus is the spoken English improvement, yet in reality I spend a lot of time creating written content for my blog visitors to enjoy. Here are a few facts about me and writing in English: I’ve been regularly creating written content in English for the last 6 years – I’ve worked in IT customer support (constant e-mailing), I’ve been involved in a few online projects (content creation – articles, video scripts) and I’ve been regularly writing articles for this blog. If I really set my mind to it, I can write a 1000 word article in about an hour. Of course, speed isn’t an indication of one’s ability to write fluently and in a native-like fashion; however, the point is – I write as if I were speaking, and that’s part of the success formula to become a good writer. A few years ago I was involved in an Internet-based project catering for a native English speaking audience and over the course of a couple of years NO-ONE EVER hinted that the content creator might be a foreigner – even though my English wasn’t as developed as it is now. So, the point I’m trying to make here is that writing like a native English speaker is easier than you may think! ;-) (more…)

What You Can Learn from My Countryman’s Adventures in Britain’s Got Talent

I want you to meet Gatis Kandis – he’s my fellow countryman and recently he was taking part in Britain’s Got Talent where he was doing stand-up comedy. He got through to semi-finals and while he got the first YES from the judges for the wrong reasons (he was branded by Simon Cowell as the funniest unfunniest comedian which I don’t think was true), there’s a great deal we can learn from him, and that’s why I decided to dedicate a whole article on my blog to him! First of all, he’s pursuing his dream of becoming a stand-up comedian while being a foreigner living in an English speaking country. It definitely took some courage and dedication to get onto the stage for the first time without knowing what the public reaction is going to be, but obviously it didn’t deter him from doing it. Secondly, there are always those who’ll point out a foreigner’s accent and mistake it for lack of English skills or whatever. I’m still getting the same treatment on certain occasions because of my own accent, and I’ve learnt a long time ago that ignorance is the only way to deal with it – obviously Gatis has adopted the same approach and it’s paying off big time! (more…)

My Honest Opinion on Developing English Listening Skills

Check Out the Most Popular Articles on This Blog!

One day I decided to check the statistics of my website and see which blog posts you’ve been reading the most. I selected the top 10 articles and I guess it provides a fair representation of what my average blog visitor is interested in, so you may want to check out the top 10 of English Harmony blog posts of all times! If you visit this blog frequently, you’ve probably read a good few of them, but I’m sure you’ll find at least a couple of links you haven’t encountered before and they might just provide you with some English fluency related info you’ve been looking for to no avail. So, let the countdown begin! (more…)

Popular Misconceptions About Foreign English Speakers

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…)

FREE eBook – Practical English Grammar!

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I hate spam as much as you do and I'll contact you only to send news about improving English fluency! Right after the request you’ll receive an e-mail with a confirmation link which will bring you straight to the download page. And here’s the good news – you can read this eBook on your computer or laptop as a PDF file, you'll get a MOBI version of it in case you have a Kindle eBook reader, but if you have an iPad - you can make use of the EPUB file! Bear in mind, my fellow foreigners, that this isn’t your traditional English grammar reference book or textbook :!: This “Practical English Grammar” eBook contains my own observations, analysis and interpretation of how English grammar is sometimes much different in real life than we expect it to be, and instead of having this “why would I speak like that, it’s not what my English teacher taught me!” attitude, I’m suggesting you to make it easier for yourself to speak English by speaking exactly like native English speakers speak! There are twelve chapters in the eBook covering aspects of English Grammar that you wouldn’t have probably even heard of – such as how to substitute Present Simple Tense for Present Continuous Tense in order to sound more natural and friendly - yet they’re very relevant for us, foreigners! And don’t worry, I’m not being very technical in the eBook and I’m not using very specific English Grammar related terms. All you need to know is what the Past Perfect Tense is and what GOING TO + Infinitive Future form is and you’ll understand everything I’m writing in the “Practical English Grammar” eBook! ;-) Wishing your Happy Reading, Robby