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!

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

My Opinion on Who the English Language Belongs to…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdQNENbvt2s I don't think that anyone can claim ownership to the English language and tell foreign English speakers what to do. And that's exactly the impression I got while reading this article the other day! :mad: I was thinking that I should probably leave it, but I just couldn't because I'm a foreign English speaker AND a blogger, I represent my fellow foreigners and I think someone should say something about views expressed in this article. Basically this is how I understand it: we all foreigner bloggers are the same - bad English, hard to read articles etc; we're less fortunate than native English speakers having been born in the US; we'd better stop struggling with English writing - leave it to native English speakers! To be honest with you, I didn't believe I was reading it! (more…)

How to Develop the Gut Feeling for Correct and Natural English

Are you familiar with the feeling when you can’t really explain WHY you know that you have to use certain words when you speak in English but you JUST KNOW IT? It’s the best feeling a foreign English speaker can have and it’s one of the surest signs that you’ve achieved English fluency :!: It simply means you have developed such a high number of contextual links between English words and phrases in you inner vocabulary that you can produce speech automatically and without thinking, and you also instinctively feel what words are the most fitting for the particular situation. It’s based on your past experience, hundreds of hours of spoken English practice, and dozens of other things you’ve been doing while being immersed in the English language. Want to know more about the “gut feeling”, its nature and how to develop it? Then read the entire blog post – you’ll certainly learn something new in it! (more…)

Funny English Phrases #3 – Money & Finance

The ONLY 3 English Grammar Rules You Need to Know to Speak Fluent English

Personally I stopped studying English Grammar the traditional way years ago. By now I’ve actually forgotten most of the grammar terms and rules I had hammered into my brain, and just as well – they only prevented me from speaking English fluently. Why? Simple enough – I used to spend way too much time analyzing my thoughts, applying Grammar rules and preparing my speech in my head. It was killing my English fluency, and it took me quite a while to figure out the simple truth – English collocations (phrases, idiomatic expressions, most commonly used sentences) already contain all necessary grammar in them! When I speak English now, I don’t think about grammar anywhere near as much as I used to. I just rely on my “gut feeling” and get fully involved in conversations. My intuition takes care of English Grammar! For instance, English preposition usage rules determine that you have to say “ON this occasion” but the word ‘situation’ goes with a preposition ‘in’ – “IN this situation”. Personally I don’t look at it as something that has to be constantly recalled during English conversations. I mean - once you learn the relevant collocations – “in this situation” and “on this occasion” – it sticks with you and you don’t have to consciously think which preposition to use every time you speak. Having said all this, however, I have to admit there are a few English Grammar rules I always bear in mind, and they’re just about the only ones you need to know on top of naturally occurring English phrases and collocations to form correct and fluent English speech. Of course, I’m not saying the ones below are the only English Grammar rules you’ll EVER need. But let me remind you that this blog is for advanced foreign English speakers therefore the main presumption is that you don’t have a problem with Basic English Grammar – it’s completely out of the question here! So, let’s look at the 3 English Grammar Rules that will help you to maintain your English fluency – especially on occasions when your English fluency experiences slight dips and you need to be a bit more careful when speaking. (more…)

3 Basic Rules of Effective English Communication

More Proof That Context and Associations Play Crucial Role When It Comes to Spoken English Performance

Not so long ago I published an article where I discussed the connection between English fluency, mental associations and context. I’ve touched upon this subject before, but recently I gave it even more thought after reading a book called “Kluge – The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind”. I bought it on Amazon for 4 pennies, and it’s given me the best return on investment I’ve ever achieved in terms of my personal intellectual improvement! The book is very interesting because it looks at different aspects of human behavior and reveals a constant struggle between our rational, decision making mind and our ancestral, reflexive part of brain. To cut the long story short, the book was very interesting for me as an English fluency mentor because it highlighted the fact that we, humans, learn and retain ALL knowledge contextually. Our brain’s information storage facility isn’t structured in an efficient way which would allow us to access and use information as we see fit. Way too often it’s actually quite the opposite – sometimes we can’t recall what we really need to remember (think of those situations when you just can’t think of the right English word to say!), and on other occasions we have random English words popping up in our minds preventing us from expressing our thoughts clearly and properly… In other words, the language processing part of our brain relies heavily on context, associations and emotional ties between the English phrases and words in your memory and your past experience, events and other English vocabulary and phraseology :!: Actually this revelation isn’t anything new – if you give it more thought, you’ll realize that it’s all common sense. For instance, weren’t you aware that you can’t memorize and bring up memories in your mind at your will, just like you’d look up database records? Of course we all know that, and that’s exactly what I’m talking about! If human brain worked like a data storage unit, we’d all speak English like native speakers. After reading or hearing something in English just once, we’d be able to precisely repeat it – what a wonderful world would it be then! (more…)

Is it Possible to Achieve English Fluency While Living in a Non-English Speaking Society?

Personally I’ve been living in an English speaking country for ten years now, and during this time I’ve gone from a struggling to a fluent English speaker. Has living in an English speaking country helped me to achieve spoken English fluency? Well, there’s no doubt about that! Has being part of an English speaking society been the crucial element in the process of my fluency acquisition? Would I never have achieved my current level of English fluency if not speaking with native English speakers for hours day in, day out? Well… I’m not so sure of that. You see, I haven’t always worked among English speakers, and I’ve also spent quite some time out of work. But did I stop improving my English skills during those times? No way! There’s plenty of ways you can improve your spoken English skills without living in an English speaking country, so let’s analyze the importance of being part of an English speaking society and its impact on your fluency. (more…)

Should Japanese and Vietnamese English Speakers Bend Over Backwards to Get Their Pronunciation Right?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MjEiCpG7w8 I have customers from all over the world – Brazil, the United States, Australia, Japan, Philippines, Arab Emirates – you name it! Also, the native background of the English Harmony System’s owners is as diverse as the countries they reside in. I have Arabic and Chinese speaking customers from the States, Hindi speakers from the UK and Brazilian Portuguese speakers who live in Australia. It just goes to show how widespread the English fluency issue is and how often foreign English speakers have developed their understanding and reading skills at the cost of their spoken fluency just because it’s a conventional wisdom that one needs to focus on reading and writing in order to become fluent. It’s wrong, of course, and that’s what the English Harmony System does – it rearranges your English knowledge by forming natural English speech patterns so that you can speak more fluently and confidently. Anyway, there’s one aspect the English Harmony System doesn’t cover, and I don’t touch upon it on my blog often, either. Namely, it’s English pronunciation. Well, I actually do mention pronunciation when it comes to discussing fluency and the fact that many foreigners are trying to speak with perfect pronunciation which may actually have quite the opposite effect on their ability to speak fluently. In other words, I’m always saying that you have to speak and pronounce English words in a way most comfortable to you, and that you don’t have to be too hung up on being perfect  :!: But then one day I got an e-mail from one of my Japanese customers and it got me thinking if there might be more to the pronunciation aspect than I had thought. (more…)

4 Pieces of Evidence That Past Experience, Context and Mental Associations is Everything When it Comes to Spoken English

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 It OK to Point Out Mistakes Made by Others?

Random Stuff – Perfectionism, English Word Chunks and Blind Faith

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2pZ8jFVPM8 Hi my fellow foreign English speakers :!: Here's a video I recorded on a Saturday night - I just thought "Why not just have a chat with my YouTube subscribers and blog readers? All my video Episodes are prepared and rehearsed; why not record something completely random and speak anything that crosses my mind?" So I did - and in this video you can hear me sharing my views on: perfectionism importance of learning English collocations having faith in your ability as a fluent foreign English speaker making mistakes, hesitation and stuttering when speaking English drinking And please - don't take me too seriously in this video. It's not an official English Harmony video Episode; it's rather a friendly informal chat with you. Enjoy! ;-) Best Regards, Robby

Speaking in English Made Super Easy – Follow my Tweets and Just Stick Word Chunks Together!

I’ve been blogging for what seems forever about the importance of learning English collocations. I’ve been always saying that the basic components of English speech are word combinations and expressions rather than separate words. And I’ve also been repeating myself ad nauseam that English fluency can be acquired much quicker if you mimic, repeat, memorize and use all those idiomatic expressions used by native English speakers in your own speech instead of sticking separate words together and applying grammar rules as you speak. I’m even making effort to highlight idiomatic expressions in my blog posts in red so that you can clearly see which English word chunks are worth memorizing! Today, I’m going to make it even easier for you. I’ll start publishing on my Twitter account any English word combinations that are worth memorizing ! Basically here’s what you have to do: (more…)

Reverse Psychology – Make Yourself Stutter, Hesitate and Get Tongue-tied in order… NOT TO!

Human is a creature of conditioning – the more often you find yourself in situations when your English fluency is compromised, the deeper your mind gets wired to make sure it happens when such conditions are met next time. For example, if you’ve found it a bit harder to speak in English with a particular person on a couple of occasions, it’s highly likely that this person will cause the same English speech difficulties for you every time they’re around. If you let it happen for long enough time, you get conditioned to stutter, mispronounce words and find it difficult to verbalize your thoughts whenever you speak to that person or even when speaking with someone else in that person’s presence. Sometimes the English fluency issue manifests itself in so seemingly random situations that it may look like a totally out-of-hand problem. You may find yourself making plenty of mistakes when speaking in English having had very fluent conversations with other English speakers the day before, for instance, and there’s nothing you can think of that should trigger such behavior. In order to overcome such issues I recommend different fluency management strategies - starting from speaking slower and pronouncing words clearly, and ending with such non-standard approaches as speaking with a harder accent. There will be moments, however, when you find it quite difficult to get back to your normal English speech regardless of what strategy you apply. You may have tried to speak in English in a number of different ways – slowly and fast, with a hard accent and without, but your mind just can’t seem to work properly! If that is the case, there’s one more trick up my sleeve – reverse psychology! (more…)

101 Wrong Reasons (and 1 True Reason) Why I Love the English Language

3 Lessons Learned While Living Among Native English Speakers for 10 Years

1. Native English speakers will judge your ability to speak English based on their experiences with you – not your true knowledge. Why? Simple – all they can see is your performance, they can’t get inside your head! It’s just a fact of life – you’ll be judged based on how you respond to certain situations, and you’d better be prepared to face up to some challenges if you want to come across as a good English speaker! Basically what I’ve learned is that it’s not necessarily about how well you ARE ABLE to speak in English; on most occasions it’s more important to be able to react fast, not get tongue-tied and ignore your own embarrassment (seriously, it’s not that hard. If it helps, tell yourself that even native English speakers get tongue-tied sometimes!). Let me give you an example. The other day a big customer of ours had arrived and we were all having a chat in our knitwear factory’s hall. A couple of Polish girls happened to walk by having just finished their shift and our man said something to one of them – just a friendly jest. The Polish girl obviously didn’t get what he said to her, but instead of saying “Excuse me, can you say it again?” she just smiled awkwardly and walked away. (more…)

Is it OK to Pretend to Understand What an English Speaker Says When You Don’t?

Why Reading an English Newspaper is 100 Times Better than Studying a Grammar Workbook

Let’s imagine you have to pick only one English learning and improving material to take with you to a remote island. What would it be? An English grammar book? A fiction book in English? An English workbook? Never mind them all! What you need is a bunch of newspapers and your English will come along nicely! ;-) The reason why I value newspapers so highly – especially tabloids - is because their purpose is to provide normal, everyday people with easy-to-digest news and English used in them is very close to the spoken language heard on the street, at work, on TV and radio. You can read tabloids very easily and in the process you’ll acquire the same means of expression used in interpersonal communication. While some academics might hold to a view that spoken English has low standards because of abundance of phrasal verbs and informal expressions, my experience tells me tabloid language will make your communication with other English speakers so much easier. After all, what kind of conversations are you involved on a regular basis – normal, everyday chatting or highly intellectual, academically inspired discussions? I think that without a shadow of a doubt the former kind of communication is by far more necessary for the average foreign English speaker, so let’s look at the benefits of reading English newspapers and tabloids in a bigger detail. Also, you’ll find out how just by scanning tabloid headlines you can stay up-to-date with current affairs and offer your opinion on different topics when having a chat with your friends at a launch table! (more…)

Don’t Judge Foreign English Speakers by Their Mistakes!

I have to make a confession to you, my fellow foreigners… Despite having struggled with English fluency myself, and despite making mistakes while speaking myself, I do sometimes make assumptions about other foreigners and their level of English … You see, the strange thing about it is that I’m fully aware of the fact that making mistakes and struggling for words is normal. I know only too well that there’s a multitude of different factors affecting one’s spoken English performance – starting with stress and anxiety and ending with such complicated English fluency issues as preparing speech in one’s head before speaking and a total information overload. After all, I have a first-hand experience of what it feels like when you know EXACTLY what you want to say, but your mouth suddenly disobeys you and says the wrong thing… So quite naturally I’d expect myself to be the last person to draw hasty conclusions about somebody’s level of English, yet it does occasionally happen! Of course, the moment I catch myself thinking something like – “All right, I have to choose slightly simpler words when talking to him because he just used a completely wrong English Grammar Tense, so most likely he won’t understand me if I speak the way I speak with native English speakers…” – I immediately say to myself: “Robby, common, don’t be such a meanie, are you always perfect yourself?!” Imagine, if it takes me so much effort to stop patronizing others, how must native English speakers feel when they hear me make some stupid mistake when speaking to them? Can I blame them for assuming that my English is poor just because I mispronounced a very simple word? I, for instance, stressed the wrong syllable in the word ‘monopoly’ the other day. I said [‘monopoli] instead of [mo’nopoli], and had my workmate Will not known me for years, he probably would have judged my English skills by that one stupid mistake! On another occasion, I made a mistake by misplacing a word in a phrase. I said “Fair done!” which is a mix of two phrases – “Well done” and “Fair play to you!” Once again, for someone who doesn’t know me this would be a reason good enough to extrapolate that mistake to everything I might say. It’s the so called reverse halo effect, and now let’s look at this phenomenon in depth! (more…)

How to Improve Spoken English While Entering Sales Orders on a PC

Sometimes I find it hard to believe myself that I run this blog part-time. Yes, in case you didn’t know it yet, I have a full-time job and all the writing and video production I have to do for this website is done in evenings, at night, or early mornings. Anyway, I don’t regret any of it because I’m surrounded by English speakers while at work and it provides me with full English immersion. What better conditions can a foreign English speaker wish for in order to constantly improve and maintain English fluency? When I came to Ireland first, for instance, I had a warehouse job working with other foreigners and most of the time I was speaking with myself, so I really don’t think I should be complaining now! Even my current job, however, entails duties and responsibilities which see me spend a lot of time on my own – such as organizing and counting stock and entering data on a PC. Quite naturally, I’m not involved in any lengthy conversations with my colleagues when performing those duties and a few times a year there are periods of a few weeks straight when I’m sitting at the PC and entering new sales orders. Do I miss out on my full English immersion sessions when it happens? Not at all! I keep speaking English with myself even when entering new product specifications on the computer and it helps me greatly to constantly stay in the English speaking mindset. (more…)

Isn’t It Weird That I Can Write In English Better Than Speak?

6 Reasons Why Mythbusters is the Best TV Program for Improving Your Spoken English

I’m a huge fan of Mythbusters and I’m eagerly awaiting every new episode of their show. In case you don’t know what Mythbusters is (which I don’t think is very likely…) – it’s a show where assumptions and popular beliefs are tried and tested to see if they hold true or they’re one of so many misconceptions the human kind has amassed over time. For instance, in one of the episodes they’re testing an English idiom “a bull in a china shop” to see how the situation pans out in real life. This particular myth was actually busted because the bulls kept avoiding the shelves in a makeshift china shop even when running around at high speed thus proving that the proverb “a bull in a china shop” is just something people believe but wouldn’t prove right were it to happen for real! Here’s a list of most Mythbusters myths and I bet you’ll find most of them interesting and even fascinating! And, if you haven’t watched the Mythbusters show on Discovery TV yet, I warmly suggest you start doing it! Especially considering how fast your spoken English is going to improve if you keep watching it over a longer period of time! Why? Well, read the rest of this blog post and you’ll find it out! And by the way - even if you don’t have access to the Discovery Channels, you can still watch loads of free Mythbusters content HERE on their website or on YouTube - check out the short video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z7aao6JKJQ4 (more…)

Print This Poster to Motivate Yourself to Improve Your English Throughout 2012!

Don’t Put Up With ESL Industry’s Childish Treatment & Throw Unwanted Gifts Away!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCexyzonyYk :razz: Happy Christmas to all foreign English speakers around the world! :razz: I've done some research on the Internet about the latest English learning and improving methods, and it appears that all my work on this blog is good for nothing! :sad: In order to improve your English, apparently you don’t have to do anything else but listen and my focus on the spoken aspect of English is just a waste of your time! Forget about plenty of speaking practice, my friends foreign English speakers! Just go online, get one of those revolutionary pieces of English learning audio CDs, sit back, listen to those stories and let the English language seep into your mind automatically! And you know why it works? Results of countless researches have confirmed that children learn their native language by first listening for a good few months and then they start speaking it! So, quite a few English teaching professionals claim that you should take advantage of this fact and start harnessing the power of listening. Basically, you should adopt a position of a child and let the others fuss around you. You don’t have to take any action, and you’ll be able to start speaking fluent English when you’re ready and when all that audio content has settled into your mind. I know, I know my friends, you hate being treated like a child and I also know that deep down inside you are suspecting that such English learning and improving methods don’t work :!: If you’re anything like me, the first question you’d ask to those who came up with this passive immersion listening method would be – “Hold on, could it be that babies only listen during the first year because they’re simply unable to speak?” (more…)

Stop Preparing Speech In Your Head Beforehand!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YqAgLOL0NYU Do you often catch yourself thinking of what exactly you’re going to say a few moments before you say the actual thing? Do you frequently make mistakes such as saying the wrong word or mixing up letters in words because you constantly think of a number of different ways to say the particular thing? If you recognize yourself from my description, don’t worry, you’re not unique. There are thousands of other foreign English speakers who speak following the same pattern – they prepare speech in their head beforehand and then try to say it out loud. As you already know, it creates all sorts of English fluency issues with the most noticeable being hesitation, stuttering and using wrong words or wrong grammar constructs. In other words, you sound very uncertain and your conversation partner may get the impression that you don’t really know what to say although in reality it’s quite the opposite… You know exactly what you want to say, and you know how to say it in five different ways, and all those sentences are right here, in your mind, it’s just that when you speak out loud you kind of want to say it all at once! :mad: I’ve been in the same boat, my friend. I know exactly how it feels and I also know what causes this problem. Would you like to understand the reasons behind this issue so that you can start dealing with it? Then stay with me for a few more minutes and I’ll explain everything to you! (more…)