Story About Not Being Able to Speak in English in the Morning and Speaking 100% FLUENTLY in the Afternoon!
I woke up on a Thursday morning. I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep for some reason or another, and I wasn’t feeling as energetic and ready to roll as usually. I poured my morning coffee and started dealing with Fluency Gym Coach Program customers’ queries in my inbox, but I was too exhausted to do any spoken English practice which is how I’d normally start my day. To cut a long story short, when I’d driven to work, entered the premises and got engaged in my work related activities, I hadn’t uttered a single word in English for the simple reason that I was really tired and I just didn’t want to do any spoken self-practice at all… Normally I would speak with myself in the car while driving to work in order to get my English speech going, but this particular morning was an exception. And I think it would be fair to say that I hadn’t actually spoken at all – even in my native Latvian - because all I’d said was a couple words to my daughters while dropping them off to school that morning. Anyway, shortly after starting work my boss walked up to me and asked where my work colleague was (he wasn’t aware he’d taken half a day off). I opened my mouth to provide the answer (which was not only the first verbal human contact for me that day but also the first English word SPOKEN that day!) and I realized to my dismay that I could barely put my thoughts into the right words… (more…)
You Have to EAT Well to SPEAK in English Well!
Shocking: Native English Speakers Don’t Always Spot Your Mistakes!
Shortcut to Complete English Fluency – Learn How to Produce Instant English Speech
Whether you’re a Chinese exchange student heading off to do some studying in Massachusetts, a Russian construction worker getting on a plane having secured a contract in Australia or just another Latvian like myself coming to Ireland to try out luck in finding a job to save up some money – we all have one thing in common. Namely – we haven’t had much experience with speaking English in everyday situations. We may have been academically tutored at quite high standards yet our capability to start and maintain a simple conversation may be limited simply because it’s not normally taught in schools. By far the biggest problem is that you don’t have much time to consider what you’re going to say. When you’re having a conversation, you’re quite naturally expected to answer questions or make your point within a short period of time – and it will prove difficult for many foreign English speakers. Many of us will be more comfortable writing than speaking and it’s quite understandable – when you write you have all the time in the world to plan exactly what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it. You can construct grammatically perfect sentences, edit them if need be, and take your time finding the best fitting words to convey the message. It’s a different story altogether when you speak – you have to say what’s on your mind and for some it may present a serious challenge because their mind just goes blank. It’s the so-called information overload when your mind is attempting to process way too much information because all you keep thinking is what grammar tense to use, what are the best fitting words for the given situation, how to say it correctly so that you don’t make a mistake… The key aspects of fluent English speech is the ability to think in English and speak using plenty of collocations and idiomatic expressions; it enables you to speak automatically because nearly every word you say will trigger the next one. It’s the best place to be because you don’t even have to think about what you say – you can just speak as if you’re speaking in your native language. Anyway – this article is about how to use a certain shortcut in situations when your fluency is hindered and you’re desperate to get the message across successfully. So here we go! (more…)
Easy Guide to Proper Arguing for Foreign English Speakers
If you read this blog or any other website dedicated to foreign English speakers and their language improvement, I’m sure of one thing – you wouldn’t find much advice on how to express yourself during times when you’re annoyed, angry, agitated or arguing with someone. Well, there might be a certain amount of phraseology and vocabulary given, however, there’s one thing I can say for sure – it would be still somewhat toned down and wouldn’t really resemble the kind of English language you’d be facing in real life. And it’s kind of understandable because English teachers probably don’t want to be teaching too much of the bad language. Especially considering that cursing and using profanities tends to be one of the first things you’d pick up when learning a foreign language, so I would imagine that people just assume that cursing, swearing and expressing your anger or dissatisfaction is something that foreign English speakers are familiar with anyway, so it’s not really worth focusing on. Well, I tend to disagree! Being familiar with and being able to USE something in real-life spoken English are two different things altogether! The only way you’ll be able to use such expressions yourself is if you repeat them and learn them by way of spoken English practicing, there’s no other way around it. And if you think that you’ll never need such expressions anyway because you’re a nice person – think twice my friend. There comes a time when even the nicest person needs to blow off some steam and get the negative emotions out of their system, let alone having a confrontation with another English speaker. And do you know what happens when you are having that argument having never actually practiced the related phraseology yourself? Well, it’s pretty simple – during the heated conversation all of a sudden you find yourself unable to say a word because the added adrenaline rush will make you even more prone to saying something wrong, so some prior practicing is definitely advisable here! So without further ado let’s look at a number of relevant English phrases that will definitely come in handy in extreme situations such as arguments and confrontations with other English speakers. (more…)
Creating English Sentences Using New Words? Waste of Time!
Best Videos and Articles on English Harmony in 2015 + Happy New Year!
English Idiomatic Expression: “It’s been dealt with”
Passive English Immersion is Good for Keeping Your Vocab Refreshed
Job Seeking for Foreigners: Talking About Your Past, Present and Future
Check Out the Most Popular Articles on This Blog!
Can You Become Fluent in English if You Don’t Have a Talent for Languages?
Time and time again I’ve been told by all sorts of different people that I have a talent for languages. And when they find out I speak three languages fluently – Latvian, Russian and English – their opinion of my abilities is pretty much identical: “Robby, you’re naturally gifted when it comes to language learning! I wish I were like you!” And guess what? I think it’s a load of crap! I honestly believe that my ability to speak three languages fluently has nothing to do with my alleged talent for languages. And I also believe that ANYONE is capable of learning to speak English fluently regardless of whether you believe you have a talent for it or not. It’s just that most people don’t realize they have the potential to become fluent in English due to one or all of the following reasons: They think they’re not naturally gifted so they don’t WORK HARD on their English Deep down inside they know they’re too lazy to do something about their English skills so they use the lack of talent as an EXCUSE They’re using the WRONG METHODS to improve their English so the whole “I’m not naturally gifted at languages” thing becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy! Now, would you like me to prove to you that YOU DEFINITELY have what it takes to become fluent in English – and any other language for that matter? Then keep reading this article and don’t forget to leave a comment when you’re done! (more…)
Does It Irritate You If Native English Speakers Make Wrong Assumptions About Your English?
Let’s say you’re having a conversation with a native English speaker whom you’ve met for the first time. It could be a sales assistant in a shop, or a member of staff in McDonalds. You’re being asked a question, and you’re taking a few seconds to think on it. And here’s the thing that annoys me a lot – on many occasions the native English speaker mistakes your moment of silence for lack of English understanding when you’re actually thinking over the very question asked! :mad: Please forgive me, native English speakers, if I’m being unfair to you but I just want to discuss this issue at length in this blog post as I feel it might be not just me who sometimes feels the same way. Here’s a real situation I had last summer when I was visiting one of costal towns on the south cost of Ireland. I had just parked my car near the seaside and was looking for the parking ticket machine. Eventually I found out that parking had to be paid in a nearby souvenir shop so I walked in and asked the lady where and how I could pay for parking. She asked me how long I was going to stay but I didn’t give a straight answer because I started thinking over her question. The lady from the souvenir shop, however, didn’t wait on my answer. Instead she repeated her question using very simple and slow speech involving hand gestures. It was very much the same way you’d speak to a deep-jungle tribesman who’s seen a white person for the first time in his life! Apparently she thought that I didn’t answer her question because I didn’t get was she was saying – not that I was just thinking over the very question and trying to decide how many hours I was going to pay for! Frankly speaking, I hate when my level of English is judged is such a generalized manner. It’s kind of – if he didn’t answer instantly in perfect English, most likely his English is so poor he didn’t even get me! :mad: (more…)
How to Deal With Situations When You Don’t Understand the Other English Speaker At All!
Anger Management as Part of Your Overall English Fluency Improvement Plan
When I get too excited dealing with some issue at work, I may start stuttering or make mistakes despite the fact that normally I’m a fluent English speaker. Strange? Not really! Emotions have the ability to get the better of us in so many other life situations that it’s actually hardly surprising it happens when a foreigner speaks in English! Typically when I’m agitated, I’m trying to explain myself by speaking very fast, and if I’m very annoyed about something – like unfair treatment or an obvious flaw others are oblivious to and I’m the only one trying to hammer it home to every one else – I may just find it difficult to follow my racing mind with my mouth. You may or you may not have experienced similar feelings when speaking with someone in English, but I believe you should read today’s article anyway. Especially taking into account that such situations could be very well just around the corner for you, so you’d be much better off having been prepared for them! (more…)
Is English Difficult Or Easy To Learn?
English Idiomatic Expression: “To be honest with you”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9lYms9kyAw To be honest with you guys, I didn’t have a clue as to what exactly I was going to say when I sat down to record today’s video… I just winged it (it’s one of those American slang expressions I learned while watching Desperate Housewives, and it means ‘to improvise’) , and I’m quite hopeful you’re not going to be too critical of me! Today’s phrase actually happens to be ‘to be honest with you’ – which is how I actually started off this article – and it’s a perfect way of establishing trust and connecting to your conversation partner or the audience you’re facing. You’re basically appealing to the other person’s conscience by showing that you’re ready to be completely honest and upfront with them, and even if there’s nothing for you to hide from your conversation partner, the phrase ‘to be honest with you’ still works at a subconscious level. At least I’d like to think so! :grin: (more…)
Warning! Don’t Start Improving Your English Before Watching THIS!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-IGQFq0-gc You’ve figured out that your English needs improvement. You’ve been putting it off for a long time but finally you’re ready to get down to the business. Maybe it’s the circumstances forcing you to start working on your English improvement – such as moving to an English speaking country or facing English speaking customers at work. Maybe you just feel like starting something new and refreshing your English knowledge sounds like a good idea. Whatever the reason – don’t jump into 101 activities for improving your English unless you’ve watched the 25th English Harmony Video Episode! It’s a MUST see video if you don’t want to end up in a vicious circle of chasing your tail :!: (more…)
How to Talk About Past & Future Without Using Corresponding English Tenses
You may have been led to believe that in order to indicate a specific English grammar tense, you HAVE to conjugate verbs and actually USE that particular grammar tense. Well, guess what? It’s not always the case! In conversational English it’s more than possible to refer to the future or the past without using those specific English tenses and without conjugating the corresponding verbs. And here’s an example to clearly illustrate what exactly I’m talking about here. Let’s take, for example, the following sentence: “I’m planning to visit my friend tomorrow.” Now tell me please what is the grammar tense we can observe in this sentence? It’s Present Continuous – “I’m planning” – isn’t that right? Yes, that’s right! And now, tell me please what you’re actually referring to – present or future – in this particular sentence? Before answering the question, just let me draw your attention to the fact that if we’re looking at the sentence purely from a grammar standpoint, it is indeed the Present Continuous Tense you can observe, that’s right. But here’s the question you have to ask yourself: “Am I really emphasizing the fact that I’m MAKING PLANS at this particular moment in time or am I stressing the fact that I’m visiting my friend TOMORROW?” So, are you referring to the present or the future in this particular sentence? Of course it’s FUTURE! You’re using Present Continuous to refer to a FUTURE event so the take-home lesson is: There are situations when you don’t have to use the corresponding grammar tenses to refer to the future or the past! And now, just to provide you with a deeper insight into the whole thing, let me give you a number of phrases and expressions to be used in your English conversations. It’s going to save you time and effort trying to figure out the right English grammar tense to use – instead you can just learn those phrases and use them when a fitting occasion arises! (more…)
What’s Wrong With Traditional English Studies?
4 Reasons Why Any Foreign English Speaker Should Read English Fiction
My blog and also the whole English Harmony project are all about spoken English fluency and how to overcome related confidence issues. Reading English fiction most of the time, as I’ve pointed out numerous times throughout my blog posts, won’t help you improve your spoken English fluency and you still need to spend a considerable amount of time speaking English with other people in order to do that. Nonetheless, reading English fiction will definitely help you as a foreign English speaker. After all - who else can judge the usefulness of this pastime other than me - Robby, who reads whenever there’s free time available? At launch breaks at work, in bed before sleep, while waiting on appointments … sitting at an open window on a sunny Sunday morning and drinking coffee – all those and many more occasions are perfect for forgetting yourself while being immersed in events depicted by some English writer. (more…)
Collocation “Scour the Web” & Why the Word “Scour” on its Own is Useless!
Find It Hard to Do Spoken English Practice? Write It Down First!
I’ve been going on about the importance of doing spoken English practice for years on this blog, and here are the 3 main benefits of doing it regularly: You develop your ability to speak spontaneously and fluently You prepare yourself for conversations with real people in real life You deal with your anxiety and fear of speaking in English But what if you find it hard to get your creative juices flowing when trying to verbalize your thoughts? What if you don’t engage in spoken English self-practice for the simple reason that you don’t even know where to begin to produce a monologue on a specific topic? Well, there’s an easy solution to this problem – you have to kick-start your spoken English self-practice routine by going down the easiest road possible, namely – reading a certain piece of writing out loud, and then repeating it without looking into the text. You simply have to WRITE IT ALL DOWN first, and then speak it all out loud! Well, the best case scenario, of course, is to completely separate writing from speaking in your mind; after all, the typical English fluency issues originate in English studies that are centered around writing and reading and so your mind has adopted this funny “writing mode” whereby you try to speak as if you’re creating English sentences on paper (as a result you hesitate and get stuck for words when you have to speak in real life.) But if you have to choose between not speaking at all and reading off a sheet of paper (or computer screen), then it’s a no-brainer – you have to do whatever it takes to develop your ability to SPEAK in English :!: (more…)
Happy New Year 2015! + Draw Results
Words to start a sentence – 35 Perfect Ways of Starting Sentences in English!
English Idiomatic Expression: “Nothing could be further from the truth”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl1a8x0CjFM Hello, and welcome back to my daily English idiomatic expression video series! In today's video, you'll find out how to use the phrase "Nothing could be further from the truth". I'm sure you've heard it before, but you're probably not 100% confident as to its exact wording - "...from the truth", or "...from truth". If so - listen to the video above, repeat the phrase to yourself AT LEAST 10 times to make sure it imprints into your mind, and also don't forget to do some spoken English self-practice to cement this new expression into your mind! Remember - it's the REPETITION that makes a foreigner fluent, so its importance really can't be overstated, my friends. Chat soon, Robby ;-)
SHOCKING: Drinking Impedes Your Ability to Speak Fluent English!
Actually I don’t think that the effects of alcohol on your ability to speak in English fluently is any more shocking than the fact that drinking affects pretty much any area of your physical performance. Driving. Walking in a straight line. Picking something off the floor (and missing the item by an inch because you have an impaired ability to judge the distance between your hands and other objects…) Basically when you have a couple of drinks in you, your ability to perform physical tasks starts declining, I guess everyone will agree on that with me! “But surely my ability to socialize with other English speaking people should improve when I’ve had a couple of drinks!” – you may say. “In most social situations I’m on the shy side, so especially considering that I have problems with confidence when speaking in English, wouldn’t it actually make sense to be slightly intoxicated so that I’d get rid of any emotional hindrances preventing me from communicating with others in English freely?!” – probably this is what you’re thinking right now. Well… I don’t know about you, but here are my experiences with consuming alcohol and trying to speak in English: (more…)
English Speech: The Harsh Reality About Improving Spoken English
20 Random Thoughts on English Fluency, Foreign English Speakers and Life in General
1. The English language is for everyone to speak. It transcends national boundaries, it’s become our modern day ‘lingua franca’, and no-one can really use the argument of ‘proper English’ because it is spoken differently in different places on the planet! 2. There are no quick-fixes or shortcuts when improving your spoken English. Contrary to what some English teachers will tell you, you can’t just listen your way to fluency; you have to SPEAK, SPEAK and SPEAK a lot! 3. It’s quite hard for the average foreigner to achieve a high degree of English fluency in the English language without living in an English speaking country. 4. It’s very difficult to improve your English effectively if you don’t enjoy life through the English language. 5. You may be saying it every once in a while that you’d like to improve your English but you can’t really do it because you haven’t got enough time, money, whatever. The truth is - it’s almost impossible to learn how to speak English fluently if you’re not REALLY MOTIVATED :!: (more…)
Is English Harmony GOOD and All the Rest is BAD?
English Idiomatic Expression: “To be more specific”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oARZkO4JHPI I started this new blog EasyIdioms.com about two months ago; in fact, I published the very first Idiomatic Expression Video here on February 6, 2013, to be more specific! Today’s expression is “to be more specific”, and you just witnessed a typical way of using this English phrase. Basically you can add this useful hesitation filler phrase at the end of any sentence where you mention specific dates, numbers or figures. Here’s another typical example. I’ve posted slightly more than ten blog posts on this blog; the actual number is eleven, to be more specific! (more…)
Get the FREE eBook “Power of English Phrasal Verbs”
Why It’s a Bad Idea to Categorize English Idioms when Learning Them!
Everyone Says My English is Good Enough… But It ISN’T!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQSVTIJd5NU I got contacted by a guy living in the US recently, and he said in his e-mail that quite often he finds himself in situations when he can’t have a normal small-talk conversation with native English speakers DESPITE having been told by a lot of English teaching professionals that his English is almost perfect. So basically the problem can be defined the following way: Everyone says my English is good enough, but I know for a fact that it ISN’T! This may sound like an attempt to be super-perfect (it’s as if the person in question is saying that his or her English is never going to be good enough), but in reality it happens to a lot of foreign English speakers due to reasons other than having very high standards when it comes to English acquisition. The reasons are as follows: (more…)