Nonsense of Learning English by Listening to Fast English Spoken by Locals
Back in the day, when I’d just come to Ireland and was still struggling with my spoken English, I was working in a massive warehouse offloading trailers all day long while at the same time trying to understand what my Irish supervisors and managers wanted from me. Why did I just say “TRYING” to understand? Well – guess what? – it’s not that easy to figure out what you’re told in English if the person in question speaks very fast AND with a distinct accent! Needless to say, over the next few years I did learn to understand the local speech, and nowadays the Irish accent has become so familiar that I’d pick it out in a crowd immediately. The heck, I can even imitate English spoken in Ireland a little bit myself now, so I have to admit that over time things have gotten much, much better in terms of understanding English spoken by people from all over the world. The reason I’m writing this article isn’t to conclude that you can just listen to fast English spoken by heavily accented local speakers and you’ll be just fine in a few years’ time down the line. It’s quite the opposite actually – not only it could very well be that you DON’T learn to fully understand the local slang (and please bear in mind it’s not just limited to English spoken locally; all these problems may occur when you’re listening to FAST English in general!), but also you could pick up quite a few psychological issues along the line! You may constantly strive to speak just as fast as natives and as a result you constantly stumble upon words and hesitate when speaking in English. You may develop a habit of comparing your English with theirs which has a detrimental effect on your fluency. And you may also find it very difficult to learn the English language to proficiency if you’re constantly forcing yourself to listen (or read) to something you only half-understand. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to persuade you that: Under no circumstances you should be exposed to English the way it’s spoken by natives in real life; You should only be exposed to English you understand 100%. If that were the case, you’d never learn anything because by the very definition LEARNING implies acquiring something NEW, something you don’t know yet. There’s a huge difference, however, between learning English by listening and repeating words, phrases and sentences that are EASY to understand AND listening to something you can only remotely recognize! (more…)
3 Things ANY Foreigner Can Implement To Boost Their English Communication Skills!
English Idiomatic Expression: “You know what I mean?”
My Honest Opinion on Developing English Listening Skills
I hate when I’m told what I didn’t ask for, and so do most people for that matter. Let’s say for instance, I walk into a drug-store and ask for slimming pills because I’m fed up with my extra weight and I want to look more masculine. The pharmacist starts telling me that I should start engaging in some physical activities, eat a balanced diet and use the pills only as a supplement. Would I listen to him? Nope! All that rant about a balanced diet and a workout regime simply wouldn’t register with me because I want the damn slimming pills which will give me the kind of a body I’m dreaming of, right? Same goes with most advice we get in life – it’s very hard to change our beliefs and opinions just because someone tries to convince us of something. Basically it boils down to this – we often hear what we want to hear, and we just screen off everything else - unless we’re really trying to analyse the matter at hand and we have an open mind while doing so :!: For example, I’ve been blogging about English fluency development for years on end, and I always point out the following things: To speak fluent English we need to engage in HEAVY SPEAKING PRACTICE, there are no magic shortcuts! Passive English immersion will mostly develop our understanding – NOT OUT ABILITY TO SPEAK! You can’t listen your way to fluency, you need to speak in order to train your mouth and mind to work together! Still there are many English teachers out there preaching the importance of English listening practice. Some even claim that first we have to spend all our time listening just like babies do, and then we’ll be able to start speaking… Now I’ll adopt the role of the pharmacist trying to tell you something you probably don’t want to hear – but I’ll give it a shot nonetheless! (more…)
FGC Goal #1: American Slang #27: CALL BS ON…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4iLutqdvUY Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Hello my friends foreign English speakers! Do you know what you have to do when you clearly see that someone’s been lying? You have to CALL BS ON that! And even if that person strongly believes in what they’re saying, you can still CALL BS ON their claims and statements because you have all the rights in the world to disagree with their opinion! Obviously, you have to bear in mind this is a slang phrase and it’s is used in highly informal situations only :!: (more…)
You ARE What You DO!
Get the FREE eBook “Power of English Phrasal Verbs”
If you’ve just moved to an English speaking country, you may find yourself in a situation when everyday English spoken around you is much different from the one you studied at school or university. And even if you’ve spent considerable time in the country, much of what native English speakers say might be lost on you so you blame your lack of English fluency. By the way, haven’t you heard some foreigners say things like: “You know, these Americans (British, Irish – depending on which English speaking country you reside in) don’t speak correct English themselves, that’s why it’s so hard for us to communicate with them!” Well… In fact what some might call “incorrect speech” boils down to a few main factors which aren’t incorrect or wrong by their nature. Native English speakers simply use a whole lot more informal and colloquial means of expression than academically tutored foreigners! Yes, informal speech sometimes doesn’t meet the very high literacy standards – but then I think we can actually argue who set them and why. Learning super-accurate and perfect English without means of expression like phrasal verbs, idioms and colloquialisms will make it much harder for you to communicate, and here’s a perfect example to illustrate exactly what I mean. (more…)
What to Do If I Find Spoken English Self-Practice Boring…
English Idiomatic Expression: “It goes to show”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EHDvmpY7Vg Today’s English phrase “It goes to show” provides a very handy way of drawing a conclusion during a conversation; basically it links the two parts of your statement together – the first part where you’re explaining the nature of the problem, and the second part where you’re revealing the subsequent conclusion. This phrase can take many forms – depending on context: “It goes to show” “It just goes to show” “It simply goes to show” “Which goes to show” (more…)
Face Your Biggest Fears – Halloween Ghosts and English Speaking!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/lH_E5ZE9mTE I’ve been writing and making videos about English fluency and improving English for a good while now. But all of it accounts for nothing if you just read and watch and leave it at that :!: If you don’t go out there and don’t enjoy life at its full, you’re not even using half of your potential as a foreign English speaker! Any language’s primary purpose is to serve as means of verbal communication – and all your English improving efforts should come together in real-life socializing :!: Are you still afraid of being judged by other English speakers? Are you still insecure about your spoken English? Would you rather AVOID situations that can potentially end up embarrassing you than FACE up to your English fluency issues and deal with them? Then learn from Halloween night when it’s all about FACING your fears and becoming stronger as a result! (more…)
How to Become a Good English Interpreter and Translate TV Shows Into Your Native Language
Fluent English can ONLY be acquired by learning IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS - and that's why I'm going to highlight them for you in RED! As you may already have noticed, sometimes I create blog posts and videos based on my blog visitors’ comments and questions. This article is not an exception, and here’s the original comment that inspired me to write it: So basically the problem I’m going to discuss in this blog post is the following: “How to develop your ability to translate from English to your native language INSTANTLY?” Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this matter, just let me tell you that I’ve actually written about this particular phenomenon of not being able to translate a TV show into my native language while watching it with others – you may read about it HERE. It goes to show that this problem isn't unique – I would even go so far as to say that it’s NOT ACTUALLY A PROBLEM at all! (more…)
English Learning Principles for Total Beginners
How to Sell Your English Skills and Put On a Show Every Time You Speak
Everybody is a salesperson – even if you’re not aware of it. If you’re looking for a new job, you’re going to attend quite a few job interviews trying to do your best to sell your skill set and experience. When you’re meeting a potential partner you’re automatically putting on a performance to show yourself off – you’re essentially selling yourself just like any professional marketer would sell a product or a service. By concealing the downsides and emphasizing the advantages you’re increasing your chances of having the edge over your rivals, right? Same goes with nearly every other aspect of your life whenever you’re doing something that may possibly work to your benefit. When you’re cooking for your family – you’re selling your cooking skills. When you’re being professional and nice to a customer on the phone – you’re selling your customer service skills in order to remain in high estimation among the management of your company and earn promotion in the future. But here’s the thing – and every good marketer is going to confirm this – it’s very important HOW you sell it; you will outdo your competition 9 times out of 10 even if what you sell isn’t as good as your competitor’s! You may not be a professional cook, yet if you’ve served the food nicely and used enough spices, it may be just as tasty as what your partner cooks. “OK, I get it Robbie, but what it’s got to do with the English language? Your blog is about dealing with spoken English issues but you keep ranting about sales and marketing related stuff!” Fair enough, I understand your impatience; however, I didn’t come up with these sales and marketing related examples out of thin air. There is a very direct connection between being a good marketer and a foreign English speaker. Namely, you have to SELL YOURSELF as an English speaker :!: (more…)
English Phrase: Just Because… It Doesn’t Necessarily… It’s Quite the Opposite, Actually!
You Don’t Have to Know a SINGLE Grammar Rule to Speak Fluent English!
In this article, you’re going to find out: Why English grammar ISN’T necessary to speak fluent English; Why the most complicated grammar constructs are actually quite SIMPLE; How to use your brain’s natural ability to absorb grammatically correct speech patterns without analyzing them; How to use all the above to improve your spoken English! I know for a fact that many of you, my non-native English speaking friends, are struggling with English grammar. You’ve been studying grammar for YEARS only to discover that it doesn’t really help you speak fluently. YET you’re sticking with it. You’re hoping that there will be a point in time where you start speaking fluently once a significant amount of English grammar has been acquired. But guess what? Such a time will never come :!: Read about my 5 year long journey to English fluency HERE to see that the moment I STOPPED caring about grammar was the moment I started speaking fluent English. And keep reading this article to see WHY you don’t have to know formal English grammar rules in order to speak fluently ;-) (more…)
Accelerated American Slang Learning: Watching all 7 Seasons of Desperate Housewives in Less than 3 Months
English Idiomatic Expression: “Run the Risk of…”
Improve Spoken English Fast – Focus On English Around You!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/2f_xdJXQEb0 Check out my English Harmony System HERE! Hi folks, and welcome to the 17th English Harmony video episode! Today’s topic is about many foreign English speakers being detached from reality and focusing their English improving efforts on the wrong things. For instance, you may be working in a frozen food factory and 90% of your daily conversations with your work colleagues and superiors involve discussing different aspects of the production process, different issues that occur on a regular basis, and so on. So what would be the logical approach to improving your spoken English? I’d say it’s rather obvious – master 50 - 60 most commonly used phrases in your workplace and you’ll sound nearly as fluent as your native English speaking work colleagues :!: You may argue that any foreign English speaker will eventually master the active vocabulary used at his work anyway, but I don’t fully agree.Â You see – you may be so determined to become fluent at speaking English that you can end up being mentally detached from the natural environment you spend most of your time in. (more…)
It Doesn’t Matter Who You Speak With – It’s All in Your HEAD!
Sometimes I don’t feel confident when speaking with native English speakers – I have an uneasy feeling that they’d judge my English skills and make the wrong assumptions. Sometimes I struggle when speaking with another foreign English speaker. I have difficulties choosing the right words if I’m not sure if he or she will understand me. As a result I may start hesitating and making silly mistakes and the other person may sound even more fluent than me! When I speak with a foreigner with a similar English fluency level, I may try to prove I’m a better English speaker. Eventually I also risk losing the natural flow of the language because of the excitement such a challenge inevitably entails. As you can see – you can’t win here, no matter who I speak with there’s a chance my English fluency is going to deteriorate… So the question is – how to deal with this? :mad: The answer, as often is the case, lies in the head ;-) (more…)
Read This if You’re Dreading Making Phone Calls in English!
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…)
English Collocation: “In-depth Research”
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…)
Check Out My NEW Blog AccentAdventure.com!
Your Body Constantly Changes – And So Does Your English Fluency!
Repetition in Terms of English Learning & Weightlifting is the same!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8RYc5sNkwU When you go to gym and engage is resistance training, you perceive sets of repetitions as an integral part of your fitness routine. When you learn and improve your English, however, you may find that you have some subliminal aversion (you perceive it as something bad despite not really knowing why) to the very term ‘repetition’! You might perceive it as something robotic, something mechanical. But it doesn't necessary have to be like that :!: Yes, traditionally repetition and memorization is performed in a boring and mechanical fashion whereby you repeat individual English vocabulary words followed by the translation in your native language (and it’s very wrong, please read this article to find out why!) I wholeheartedly agree that this kind of repetition is boring indeed and it’s also detached from your real needs as a foreign English speaker. What you need instead is – contextual repetition & memorization. (more…)
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…)
Just a Handful of English Phrases Will Enable You to Speak so Much More Fluently!
82 Industry-Specific English Expressions & Phrases for Non-native English Speakers
If you’re a non-native English speaking professional employed in a specific industry such as medical and pharmacy, military, education, accountancy, human resources or legal industry, your daily duties involve using a lot of specific terminology and phraseology. Sure enough, you got your job by virtue of very decent English skills paired with relevant qualification and educational background, so it kind of goes without saying that your English is quite good and you’re not looking for basic English improving related information aimed mainly at beginner English learners. Having said this, we have to admit that English learning and improvement is a lifetime long process and you just have to keep on top of your specific industry-related language in order to remain a top-notch specialist, stay competitive in the jobs market, and also retain that edge that identifies you as a savvy industry specialist embracing change and always ready to adopt! So, here I’ve compiled 82 various technical English idiomatic expressions and phraseology that will definitely come in handy for you in your day-to-day job as well as recruitment process if you’re currently seeking for a new job or aiming to get a promotion in your current organization. Just scroll down to read the entire list of phrases or click on one of the links below to go to a specific phrase category: (more…)
Tricks with English Words – Horse Show or Horror Show?
Develop Your English Fluency by Helping Others!
Ever since I was in my early teens, I’ve been working on my English. Truth be told, my English learning methods didn’t do much good to my fluency because I spent most of my time learning English grammar, reading and writing and as a result I developed something I like to call a “writing mode” of my mind (read more about it HERE). Nonetheless, I was constantly striving to improve my English and whenever one of my friends would ask me to help them to translate something from English or to make a phone call and talk to an English speaker on their behalf, I never said NO. Helping others became a whole lot more frequent when I moved to Ireland back in 2002 because there were a lot of things to be done in order to settle down in the foreign country – starting from opening a bank account and ending with renting a house – and plenty of my fellow Latvians asked for my assistance when dealing with native English speakers in various institutions or via the phone. During the Celtic Tiger boom years there was a never-ending stream of Latvian immigrants coming to Ireland many of which happened to be my friends or relations, so needless to say I had to help many of them to deal with local authorities, utility companies and the like. And guess what? As a result of all those countless hours of helping others to write correspondence in English, translate from English and also acting as an interpreter on quite a lot of occasions, I immensely improved my own English! Fair enough, I was constantly struggling with my spoken English because I still kept resorting to traditional English learning methods when studying the language at home, and it’s only 5 years after I arrived in Ireland that I finally realized what I had to do in order to speak fluently. Having said all this however, I have to admit that by helping others I was doing myself a really big favor because I was constantly exposing myself to real life English and it did contribute into my personal English fluency development big time. Was I annoyed a lot of times for being constantly asked for help? Hell yes! Do I regret it now? Hell no! :grin: Now I fully understand that by constantly being out there and helping my fellow Latvians deal with daily problems in an English speaking country I was improving my own English, and there’s no reason, by the way, why you couldn’t do the same thing. So here’s what I’ve been doing throughout the years for others in terms of helping them to deal with the English language related issues (and there’s no reason in the world why YOU couldn’t start doing the same thing!): (more…)
Why Desire to Translate is Irresistible & How to Deal With It
How to express opposing ideas in English
My Experience in a Polish Beauty Salon & What Foreign English Speakers Can Learn From It!
OK, it’s about time I came clean about my activities involving skin rejuvenation procedures and wrinkle treatment. Yes, I’m getting older, there’s a lot of grey hair emerging on my head, so I want to do everything within my power to fight the effects of time and look young forever… Just kidding! :grin: It’s not really me who used services of the beauty salon – it was my daughter and I just brought her there. I used it as an attention grabber and I just wanted to entice you to start reading this article, which is probably just as bad as lying, sorry for that! ;-) Keep reading this article though, because I’m about to tell you why my visit to the Polish beauty salon was more than just sitting in the hall and waiting on my daughter to finish her facial procedure. I got talking to the salon owner – a Polish woman – and what struck me was the fact that her English pronunciation was nearly perfect. Seriously, I couldn’t remember meeting any other foreigner here in Ireland having such a near-native level of English accent. Or should I say – lack of thereof – because at times she sounded exactly like the local English speakers! (for your reference – English spoken in Ireland is a bit different in terms of pronunciation and grammar than its American, British and Australian counterparts.) Me and my wife were chatting with her for a while, and I started noticing another thing – her English would probably upset some radical English language perfectionists because she was making a few grammar mistakes, especially when it came to using the Past Perfect Tense and grammar constructs like Conditional 2 Simple. Not that I would ever judge her; if there’s someone who’s adamant that foreign English speakers focus on what they CAN say instead of what they can’t - it’s me! I was simply amazed at how confident she was and how fluently she spoke despite allowing a slight imperfection to creep into her speech every now and then. And you know what? It didn’t hinder the communication between me, my wife and the salon owner a bit; we could speak with her with the same ease as we’d speak with native English speakers. (more…)