4 Reasons I Wish I Was Born a Native English Speaker
I don’t believe for a second that native English speakers would be superior to foreigners and those who hail from countries where other languages are used as means of communication of first choice. I’m very well aware, however, that people who are born native English speakers have an unfair advantage over non-native English speakers simply because they happen to speak the world’s language which avails them of more opportunities in life! What opportunities? Well, here’s a list of things English fluency has given me - only bear in mind that I’m a foreigner so it goes without saying that any native English speaker would avail of all the same PLUS a whole lot more because they've ALWAYS been fluent English speakers whereas I’ve acquired my fluency later in life. Sure enough, if you’re willing to work exceptionally hard, you can be extremely successful in life as a foreign English speaker – just think about people like Arnie, for example. Work like hell, never stop – and the world is your oyster, isn’t that right? It’s all nice and well, but the reality is a little bit different. We rarely hear about those non-native English speakers who are working really hard and still don’t achieve their ambitions just because they happen to come from a foreign background – it’s only the success stories that everyone hears about… So, here’s 4 reasons as to why I wish I was born a native English speaker, and if you feel that I’ve left something out – just post it in the comments section below! (more…)
“What Are the Most Commonly Used English Words?” is the Wrong Question!
Many of my fellow foreigners arrive to my blog while searching for the most commonly used English words, and there’s a good chance that you may be one of them! ‘The top 100 most commonly used English words’, ‘top 500 English words’, ‘English word frequency lists’ – such and similar keywords are used by thousands of foreign English speakers eager to improve their English fluency. But are these English word lists any good? Do they offer good value in terms of improving one’s ability to speak fluently? Frankly speaking, such frequency lists don’t provide a lot of practical value – if any! Why? Fair enough – give me a few moments and I’ll show you exactly why! ;-) (more…)
7 Ways to Kill Your English before You Even Start Speaking
Over the years I keep seeing the same mistakes being made over and over again by those who want to improve their English. But it’s really shocking to see that not only is reading and writing based English learning encouraged but speaking English is discouraged! Moreover, I found this genius approach of improving English by cutting out speaking on an authority website - I'd better not give its name here... Well, it would be folly to hold the website responsible for all their contributors posts – after all, even Wikipedia.org is full of wrong and misleading facts. Still the first point on the article I read voices the standard notion in the industry – and here it is: 1. Talk less and listen more. Brilliant, isn’t it? Shut your mouth, foreign English speaker, don’t practice your speech but instead focus on passive language input! This is the gem among all recommendations I’ve read online targeted to foreigners who want to improve their English, and I can’t stress enough how WRONG it is. (more…)
Put Yourself in a Position of Power: Don’t Be Sorry for Your Mistakes!
Happy New Year 2017 From English Harmony!
Happy New Year 2017 my friends foreign English speakers and all my followers! I’m wishing you a very happy, prosperous and successful New Year! Personally for me this last year has been very challenging and full of surprises, but I can proudly say that I accomplished what I set out to do and I secured a job in the IT sector as a foreign English speaker. Have you got similar dreams and ambitions? Do you feel like you’re kind of stuck and you would really like to change things? Do you plan to move to an English speaking country to study? Do you finally want to find a better job where you can realize your full potential and also use the English language? Or maybe you want to start your own YouTube channel about a specific topic and publish videos as a foreign English speaker? Everything is possible. EVERYTHING! Just set your goal for the year 2017, come up with a simple action plan and follow through with it. It really is THAT simple my friends! Have a very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2017! Your English fluency coach, Robby ;-)
Passive English Immersion is Good for Keeping Your Vocab Refreshed
How I Stopped Being a Non-native English Speaker…
Until about a year ago I considered myself a non-native English speaker. I arrived in Ireland back in 2002 from a small country in Baltic region. It’s roughly the size of Ireland but it has only half of Ireland’s population. Its capital is called Riga and our crimson-white-crimson flag represents a blood-stained stretcher used to carry mortally wounded soldiers from a battle-field. The country I’m talking about is called Latvia – andÂ I'mÂ one in a 1.5 million people on this planet whose native language is Latvian. Anyway, I chose the settle in an English speakingÂ country so I’m here for more than 8 years now and by the looks of it I’ll stay here for the foreseeable future. Living in an English speaking society has presented many challenges along the way – most of them due to my lack of English fluency. But I always faced up to the difficulties and thanks to my love for the English language I can enjoy communicating with locals easily and naturally. So after about 8 years spent in Ireland I stopped being a non-native English speaker! Brace yourself! I’m about to reveal one of the biggest secrets of integration into an English speaking society and how to stop being a non-native English speaker! :shock: So here we go… (more…)
Don’t Look for a Silver Bullet when Improving Your English!
Speaking in English Made Super Easy – Follow my Tweets and Just Stick Word Chunks Together!
5 Tools to Help You Write Grammatically Correct
No matter what type of text you are writing, grammatical accuracy is a primary requirement. You might have great ideas to share, but they will lose their value if readers stumble upon spelling or grammar mistakes. Luckily, nowadays it’s easier than ever to learn how to write and speak correctly. There are many online resources at hand. Let’s check out five top tools that will help you write properly! Grammarly Proofreader Grammarly is one of the most popular grammar checking apps. It is user-friendly and accessible. How does it work? You simply copy-paste the content in the proofreading window and follow the instructions that will pop up on the right. You will immediately see any grammar and spelling issues and suggestions on how to correct them. Grammarly comes in a free version that is available to anyone. For more benefits, you can also upgrade to the premium version that provides you additional features like Microsoft Word or Outlook Add-on. If you’re busy and always on the move, you can easily correct your discourse accessing this tool on your smartphone. In fact, there are many ways in which your mobile phone can help you improve your language. (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “It Goes Without Saying”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYrY39G9Gag Today’s idiomatic expression is ‘it goes without saying’, and here’s a typical way of using this phrase: It goes without saying that you can function so much more effectively in an English speaking society if you use various idiomatic expressions in your daily conversations! Basically you can use this phrase whenever you want to EMPHASIZE the fact that you’re going to mention something you consider a known fact, something that cannot be disputed. If you’ve been following my online activities for a while, you’ll know that I feel strongly about English idiomatic expressions, collocations, other informal means of expression and their importance when it comes to developing a foreigner’s ability to speak fluently. That’s why ‘it goes without saying’ is the ideal phrase to use whenever I’m touching upon the subject of English fluency development. Application of this phrase isn’t limited to a person’s personal beliefs and convictions however; you can also use it pretty much in all situations when you mention something that is a proven fact. (more…)
Don’t Use Subtitles in Your Native Language!
Don’t Waste Your Time Arguing About Subtleties Of The English Language!
What I’ve observed over the years while being around other foreign English speakers is – oftentimes people would become really emotional about certain aspects of the English language and have heated debates over things that don’t really matter that much when it comes to being able to speak fluent English. Picture this – you’re sitting at the table during the lunch break with your friends, and the conversation is developing something along these lines: “Mmmm... I think this is the best chicken curry I’ve ever had, don’t you think so?” “Did you just say “I fink”? Why are you pronouncing it like that?” “Well, I guess it’s because I’ve lived in Bristol for a long time, and I started pronouncing the ‘TH’ sound as ‘F …” “Oh really? Is that how they speak in England? Well, but now you’re living in the States, so I think you should start pronouncing the ‘TH’ sound properly!” “Well, I haven’t really thought about it… I haven’t really had any problems because of that, people understand me just fine…” “But it’s plain wrong dude! It’s not proper English, and considering you’re dealing with customers all day long, I really think this is something you should work on!” “Hey Max, do you really think it’s that important? I think David’s English is really good, and anyone can understand him just fine!” “Man, you just don’t get it… There are certain rules of the English language that you just can’t ignore, you know?” And so this argument goes on and on because one of the friends has a very strong opinion on certain aspects of the language, and instead of having a nice chat about the tasty chicken, the time gets wasted on arguing over something that is, as a matter of fact, of no importance at all. Do you see where I’m coming from? Life is too short to be spent on talking about stuff that doesn’t matter, however, I’ve noticed this type of thing happen time and time again among foreign English speakers – and not only! (more…)
Idiomatic Expressions: Why I’m Highlighting Some Bits of Text in Red in My Blog Posts
You’re Not Fluent in English If You Can’t Construct a Subjected Indirect Object Locative Double Passive!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jp4dbEhRo6M A couple of months ago I received a really funny comment on a blog post called Only YOU Can Decide When You’ve Become Fluent!, and here’s what Jacque said: Being fluent means one can construct a subjected indirect object locative double passive in the past habitual progressive, and following it with a wh-fronted cleft with the subject moved to object position along with an optional topicalization and postmodified adjective restricting the sentence focus, AND having no idea what the heck the above means! Personally I think it’s a BRILLIANT representation of everything that’s wrong with the traditional English studies and how it’s affected most English students’ thinking! (more…)
Just a Handful of English Phrases Will Enable You to Speak so Much More Fluently!
This short article is a hard proof that English phrases really help structuring our speech! Here’s the thing guys – when it comes to your ability to speak fluently, you may want to focus on building your phraseology (phrases) instead of vocabulary (individual words)! Don’t get me wrong - it’s not that I’m having something against vocabulary as such, it’s just that phraseology acquisition is way more effective! It mightn’t have crossed your mind before, but at the end of the day we all use pretty much the same English expressions and phrases all the time! It’s only when you analyze English around you that you realize that such and similar phrases make up a large part of people’s daily conversations. Having said this, I don’t deny the importance of specific vocabulary – nothing could be further from the truth! If you don’t know how this or that particular thing or abstract concept is called, it’s kind of hard to get your message across to your chat partner because you simply wouldn’t be able to describe simple concepts in the first place. Sometimes you would even run the risk of sending the wrong message to the other person, and that’s when successful communication gets slightly problematic, to say the least. When your basic vocabulary is decent, however, you can drastically improve your English fluency within a matter of weeks by learning common English phrases in order to get your speech going, you know what I mean? Even if you only learn phrases from this short article by clicking on the links, watching the respective videos, and then doing some self-practice, your spoken English will be much better down the line, there’s no doubt about that! Chat soon, Robby ;-)
Don’t Analyze the English Language Too Much – It’s Not Good for Your Fluency!
Update on My Personal Situation: Why I’m Doing a PC Course
How I Made a Nonsensical English Mistake 3 Times in a Row!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPgouuqziNI Today I got talking with one of our secretaries about reading for the simple reason that I had Michael Grant’s book “LIES” sitting on the table. After a short chat about reading in general she asked me if I own a Kindle reader to which I simply wanted to reply with “Well, my daughter owns a Kindle reader!” Guess what? I made a completely stupid mistake in that simple sentence, and not only that! I tried to say the sentence once more, and the very same thing happened again! Then I started pronouncing those words for the last time, and to my dismay I made the same stupid mistake for the THIRD TIME! :mad: Now, the only explanation to this is a glitch in my brain. I can’t see any other reason as to why it should have happened especially considering the fact that the mistake was 100% illogical! (more…)
Look Among Young Adults Fiction for Easy-to-read Books!
33 Word Shortenings Any Foreign English Speaker Should Know!
VOCAB – this is a short version of ‘vocabulary’ and while it’s not something you’ll be using on a very regular basis, it’s always good to know that you can say things like: “I want to build my English vocab” or “I just added another useful English phrase to my vocab!” LIMO – short for ‘limousine’. Next time around when you see one, you can nudge your friend and tell him – “Hey man, look at that cool limo!” CELEB – I’m pretty sure you knew this one, but I had to put it on the list to make it complete! It’s obviously short for ‘celebrity’ and I wouldn’t be surprised if 20 years down the line people wouldn’t remember the original word at all! PIC – this is a very handy way of referring to a picture or a photograph. “Hold on a sec, I’ll take a pic and then we’re good to go!” SEC – this is how you can shorten the word ‘second’. As a matter of fact, I used this word in the sample sentence above, and here’s a couple more sample phrases: “Wait a sec!” or “Be back in a sec!” DECAF – this is a short version of ‘decaffeinated coffee’ and it will definitely come in handy when putting in an order in a coffee shop late in the evening – “I’d like a large decaf latte, please!” DETOX – this is a popular word in terms of dieting, and it refers to detoxification whereby you get your body rid of all sorts of toxins. ‘A detox diet’, for example, is a diet consisting mostly of juices, fresh salads and veggies and helps you get much healthier within a matter of days! (more…)
Confusing English Grammar: “Roast” vs “Roasted” Chicken – Can We Use Verb Base Form as an Adjective?
Traditional English Teaching Industry Instils Anxiety and Lack of Self-Confidence!
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!
12 English Phrases Meaning Something Completely DIFFERENT to What You Might Think They Mean!
I often touch upon the subject of English idiomatic expressions on this blog for the simple reason that more often than not our every-day speech consists of such and similar word combinations and it’s making our speech so much more easier! Just look at the above paragraph – it’s stuffed with various idiomatic expressions and collocations, and the one common trait they all share is that you have to learn the EXACT way they’re used so that you can learn them off by heart and then use them in your own conversations. Then there are proper English idioms you can’t even understand unless you actually know what they mean – such as “It’s no skin off my nose” or “Until the cows come home”. There are, however, certain English phrases that may at first sound as if they don’t have any double-meanings AT ALL, yet they mean something completely different! If you’re an advanced English speaker and you’ve been communicating with real people in real life for years, this list will probably reveal nothing new to you. If you’re someone who’s just starting off in an English speaking country, for example, the following phrases might turn out to be an eye-opener for you! ;-) (more…)
What To Do If You Can’t Speak With Natives in an English Speaking Country
Another 3 Reasons Why Learning English at School Sucks!
Recently I published a blog post called “4 Reasons Why Studying English at School Won’t Make You a Fluent English Speaker” where I discussed drawbacks of the traditional way of studying the English language.Â I’ll give you a quick overview of the previous article but of course if you haven’t read it you’d better check it out – it might prove to be quite an eye-opener for you! So why am I so much against the traditional English teaching methods? :!: First of all, the grammar translation method which is still prevalent even in this day and age, was founded back in the 18th century. Back in the olden days foreign language learning was still in its infancy and academics assumed that it had to follow the same pattern as other disciplines – Math, Physics, and Chemistry. Fast forward to the 21st century… and they still teach English at school with the same grammar translation method that is unnatural and uses students’ native language as reference medium to acquire the target language! :!: Second reason – school English studies focus on STUDYING the language rather than LEARNING English. English students are required to know all about grammar constructs, word types and syntax but real, spoken English is being neglected at the same time. This doesn’t make any sense to me; it’s like learning all about your leg muscle fibers and leg movement kinetics if your main goal is to learn how to dance! :!: The third reason is something even you might find hard to agree with, namely – English grammar difficulty levels. What I’m saying is – there’s no such thing as difficult or easy grammar, if you learn English naturally all grammar already comes with it and the ability of speaking efficiently is mainly down to every individual’s vocabulary size. The old school supporters argue that it’s not the case and one has to spend long years studying English Grammar from the beginner’s level up to advanced. But you’d better go back to the original blog post to read about it in depth and figure out where you stand on this. :!: Lastly I presented a number of counterarguments to approaching English and exact sciences with the same teaching methods. To put it simply, it’s all about recognizing that in the word driven by technological advancements during the Industrial Revolution, exact sciences where in the biggest demand and the modern educational system still mirrors those old, archaic assumptions about how students are to be taught subjects at schools and colleges. But why am I returning to the same topic again? Well, I simply couldn’t pack all the information I wanted to in a single blog post because there’s a whole lot more to say about the traditional way of teaching English! So here we go again with another 3 shocking reasons why academic English studies inhibit your English learning progress. (more…)
Want To Seriously Improve Your Spoken English? Find a Hobby For Yourself!
Idiomatic Expressions are your Proteins; Spoken English Practice – your Workout Routine!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lJEAlKGEW4 My fellow foreign English speakers! Would you go to a gym only to sit back, watch other people work out, and expect to put on muscle, increase your fitness levels and become a better athlete? Of course not! It would be nonsensical to abstain from a physical activity while it’s obvious to anyone that it’s THAT ACTIVITY that will insure your goals and targets in that specific discipline. Now, can anyone tell me then why spoken English performance would be any different? Is it not OBVIOUS that in order to become better speakers, we need to SPEAK (work out)? Well, the traditional English teaching industry doesn’t make it an easy task, that’s for sure! After all those years of being brainwashed we sometimes might struggle to see the obvious. (more…)
FREE eBook – Practical English Grammar!
How to Deal With Situations When You Don’t Understand the Other English Speaker At All!
What Books Would You Suggest to Improve My Spoken English?
This is a question I get asked quite often when people contact me – “Robby, I want to improve my spoken English. What books would you suggest?” The moment I read the question, I just can’t help but to think: “Why on Earth are you looking for a BOOK if it’s your SPOKEN English you want to improve?” To me it’s quite obvious that no amount of books will help you on your journey to become a fluent English speaker. If you want, we can do an experiment. Just give me your address and I’ll send a trailer-load of books to you and I bet you’re not going to gain an ounce of spoken English fluency after reading them all :!: You don’t believe me? Well, I’m a living proof of that – there was a time when I was literally devouring English fiction books and as a result I achieved a complete reading fluency. And guess what? I was still struggling with basic communication for the simple reason that reading books didn’t train my MOUTH :!: Basically the issue is the following: You may have the BEST English learning books and textbooks in the world, but they’re not going to make any difference to your ability to speak unless you PRACTICE YOUR SPOKEN ENGLISH… …which brings us to the REAL question: (more…)