How I Started Speaking Fluent English by Pretending to be a Gangster
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9aaQaXeXaw Probably one of the weirdest strategies among my English fluency improving methods is speaking with a hard foreign accent - and that’s what the original English Harmony eBook was based upon. It’s actually quite straightforward if you think about it: You make an awful lot of effort in order to sound native in terms of pronunciation; You become conscious of your own speech and you start doubting yourself every time you open your mouth to say something; Your speech becomes very hesitant, your mind is racing and you find it difficult to verbalize your thoughts in English. So if you forget about the pronunciation aspect while you’re speaking by allowing your mouth to speak the way it wants, you may just be able to speak more clearly and stop hesitating and preparing speech in your head before speaking out loud. Do you want to know what lead to this discovery? It was my fascination with one of the greatest mafia films ever – “GoodFellas”! (more…)
Crash Course in American English Pronunciation & Slang: Interview With Anthony from AmericanAnthony.com!
My Opinion on Who the English Language Belongs to…
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
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tanOR87RZms Are you prepared to learn some money and finance related English idiomatic expressions? Then watch the 3rd Funny English Phrase video and you’ll learn the following expressions: To go to the wall The check bounced To buy a lemon Never bite the hand that feeds you Money talks To make sure you add those expressions to your active English vocabulary, please read them out loud a few times, memorize them, and eventually make a conversation with yourself. You don’t necessarily have to make it funny like I did in the video; all you have to do is use those phrases in your own sentences so that you become comfortable using them in real life English conversations. Enjoy! Robby ;-)
The ONLY 3 English Grammar Rules You Need to Know to Speak Fluent English
3 Basic Rules of Effective English Communication
Whether you find it difficult to get fully involved in simple English conversations or giving speeches in front of a group of people, the same basic rules of effective English communication apply in virtually all situations. Without further ado, let’s look at the 3 basic rules of effective English communication: Rule #1: Know WHAT you want to say! Rule #2: Have EFFICIENT vocabulary and phraseology! Rule #3: PRACTICE as much as you can! Sounds too simplistic? I bet you’ll be surprised to find out how much there actually is to these simple 3 rules! Yes, it’s common sense that one needs to know WHAT to say, but if you think about it in depth, you’ll realize that on way too many occasions you’ve actually tried to say something despite NOT HAVING A CLUE as to what exactly you’re going to say! The rule about having efficient English vocabulary, however, is multifaceted. While superficial thinking might result in a simple conclusion: “Yes, of course I need to have enough means of expression to explain myself properly, what’s so surprising about this?”, there’s another dimension to this problem. Namely – the average foreign speaker often lacks confidence and isn’t aware of how much he or she actually knows, and if you know how to use your English vocabulary right, you can talk about almost any topic! This brings us to the third rule – frequent practice. Yes, also a very simple and common-sense suggestion; yet way too many foreigners expect to be effective communicators without trying hard enough. Just because you’ve spent years studying the language doesn’t mean you’ve become a fluent English speaker, and frequent practice is paramount when it comes to English fluency! (more…)
More Proof That Context and Associations Play Crucial Role When It Comes to Spoken English Performance
How Repetition Happens in Real English Conversations and Why It’s Important to YOU!
A while back I received a comment to one of my blog posts about how useful the Mythbusters show is for your spoken English improvement saying that writing down phrases in a notebook for later repetition while watching TV removes the fun factor from the experience. Here’s the original comment: I haven't convinced yet to carry pocket dictionary, notebook or even use any type of system that allows me to save new words and phrases for later repetitions, I always think that these methods remove the fun factor from the process of learning, and take you away from the true immersion so you always seem as foreigner to that language. I -and may you also- never carry a notebook while watching TV in our native language, watching TV mostly is a fun activity, you just rest and watch, isn't that right? While I can see where the author of that comment is coming from, I can’t fully agree with his sentiment that by taking notes for later repetition all the fun factor is removed. First of all, you don’t have to do it all the time! Let’s say, you’re watching an episode of a TV drama, and throughout its 40 or 60 minute duration three or four phrases draw your attention. Is it really going to kill your TV watching experience if you pause your TV four times during the episode? Secondly, the benefits of jotting those phrases down and repeating them afterwards by far outweigh all possible hassle that such practices may cause to you. I mean, what is more important to you – your spoken English improvement, or being able to watch a TV drama or sitcom in English without ANY interruptions at all? Thirdly – of course you can watch TV in English purely for your enjoyment every now and then without holding a notebook in your hands. I’ve never said that in order to improve your English fluency, you must sacrifice all your free time and be 100% dedicated to it. After all, even passive English immersion will make the English language seep into your brain without you even noticing it, albeit at a slower rate than being actively engaged in spoken practice and repeating and memorizing new vocabulary and phraseology. But if you’re a bit skeptical about using spaced repetition as an effective spoken English improving tool, I want you to read the rest of this blog post before jumping the gun and dumping the idea completely. Do you think repeating and memorizing English phrases is an unnatural way of improving the language? Then think twice, because I’m about to present hard proof that repetition already exists in real life English conversations, it’s just that you mightn’t have noticed it before! (more…)
Incredibly Powerful and Super-Simple Way Of Using Google to Find the Right English Words to Say
Is it Possible to Achieve English Fluency While Living in a Non-English Speaking Society?
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
We humans are creatures of habit and conditioning and all our actions are rooted in the past performance and experience. No matter what human activity is looked at, chances are that your subconscious remembers similar activity from the past and it dictates you what to do. The tricky part is, you might not be even aware of it because your brain literally has a mind of its own and you might have a very little say in the process. Let’s say for instance, you’ve just started in a new company and you have to speak with plenty of new people during your first days in the new job. Your English performance is quite good, and you’re satisfied with yourself. Then comes along a particular person you experience a few awkward moments with because you don’t really know what to say to each other. You hesitate, you stutter, you say something silly. It’s no big deal, it happens to everyone, right? Yeah, right… Try to say it to your brain :!: :grin: There’s a big likelihood that every time you meet that person, you’ll be more prone to making mistakes and not being able to speak proper English - and all because of that first bad experience. And, if it happens for a few more times, the damage is done. Conditioned reflex has been created. Do you want more proof that past experience and spoken English performance are closely related resulting in conditioned reflexes? Then read the rest of this article and you’ll see for yourself that spoken English is all about past experiences, associations and conditioned behavioral patterns :!: (more…)
Anger Management as Part of Your Overall English Fluency Improvement Plan
Is It OK to Point Out Mistakes Made by Others?
“In this context you should have said “I’ve been meaning to do this” instead of “I was meaning to do this”…” “Sorry, but you got it wrong. It’s “Wellington boots” with “W”, not “Vellington boots!”” “I’m pretty sure you meant “coarse language” instead of “hoarse language”, which is not the correct way of using this word. You must have mixed up the two words – “coarse” and “hoarse” – they sound similar but mean different things!” All such and similar corrections are nice, but did you know that sometimes such well-intentioned advices can actually do more harm than good? It can happen indeed – especially when accompanied by arrogant behavior and that superior look in the eyes which says “I’m a much better English speaker than you are, so just listen to what I’m telling you and don’t you dare to speak such incorrect English in my presence!” Even if it’s not meant to sound condescending, it can still hurt :!: Most of us, foreign English speakers, are ALREADY AWARE of the small mistakes we’re making in our daily conversations. The thing is – it’s not so easy to stop making them and sometimes you just can’t help it! So when someone points out that you just said something wrong, and you already know it yourself, it might really upset you – and others, for that matter – if it’s you giving generous advice to someone else. Anyway, I’m not trying to sow hatred here against those genuinely desiring to help other English speakers to improve their English fluency. In this blog post I’m trying to explain to those who haven’t experienced all sorts of English fluency issues, how it feels when you are already mad AT YOURSELF for making a mistake :mad: … And then you have to hear it from others! (more…)
Random Stuff – Perfectionism, English Word Chunks and Blind Faith
English Harmony System Download Version Goes Live NOW!
As you might remember, the original English Harmony System was nothing more than a simple eBook. Then I created a multimedia video course on three DVDs which took my customers' experience to a whole new level. Now I’ve taken it a step further once more. An INSTANT DOWNLOAD version of the English Harmony System 2.0 is finally ready, and my sleepless nights spent on working on technical aspects of the download version are over :!: ;-) First of all, I had to figure out how to make the nearly 5 GB large files easy to download – after all, the System consists of Flash videos and they aren’t the smallest files around. Secondly, I had to find a reliable and user-friendly piece of .exe compiler software so that the files can be easily distributed and all users can be managed. Thirdly, I had to set up the download software, integrate PayPal into it, and conduct countless tests to make sure everything works like clockwork! I’ve been working on this download version since Christmas, and now I can take a deep breath because finally completed. It works, and it’s ready to be used by you, my dear impatient foreign English speaking friends who don’t want to wait till the physical package containing the 3 DVDs arrives at you doorstep. Here’s a few facts about the downloadable version of the System: it consists of 3 .exe files – one for each of the 3 Modules – Speech Master, Confidence Mentor and Chat Assistant; it takes about 20 – 30 minutes to download all three files; the files are protected by unique registration codes e-mailed to you shortly after the purchase; constant Broadband Internet connection is required to run the System (more…)
Antonio Banderas’s Spanish Accent – So, Is His English NOT Fluent?
Speaking in English Made Super Easy – Follow my Tweets and Just Stick Word Chunks Together!
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
Wrong reason # 1: English grammar is so simple – there aren’t any noun genders , very little declination of nouns and conjugation of verbs, and you only have to add ‘s’ or ‘es’ at the end of a third person singular noun, that’s all there is to it! Everybody’s gotta love this language for its simplicity, isn’t that right? Well… how about Chinese grammar? Technically it’s even simpler than that of English – Chinese words can have one grammatical form only and all I’d have to do is just stick them together! If I’m so in love with the English language because of its simplicity, why didn’t I start learning Chinese instead? Could it be that the simple grammar isn’t actually one of the true reasons I love the language?... (more…)
3 Lessons Learned While Living Among Native English Speakers for 10 Years
Is it OK to Pretend to Understand What an English Speaker Says When You Don’t?
The other day one of my Irish workmates was telling me a joke. He started off speaking the way he normally does and I could easily make out what he was saying. After all – I’ve spent nearly ten years in Ireland and by now I’ve managed to understand different regional accents and also different types of speech – muffled, very fast, with word endings dropped and so on. It’s not always possible, however, to understand native English speakers, especially when they throw in some slang words and expressions you haven’t heard being used before, and the indistinct speech makes it every harder to figure out what they’re saying :!: As you can imagine, I had to pretend that I got the joke my workmate Louis was telling me and I just gave a short laugh as a sign that his joke was really good… Please, don’t blame me! I know that it’s not quite right to pretend to understand what native English speakers tell you because you run the risk of making a fool of yourself. In fact, you shouldn’t pretend regardless of the speaker’s national background. It should never be a problem to admit that you didn’t get what was being said, even if it’s another foreigner trying to explain you something! You see, denial originates in fear of being perceived as a poor English speaker, but then you can get yourself in even more embarrassing situations trying to conceal the fact that you didn’t understand something. Admitting the truth almost always pays and you should treat such moments very casually; don’t make a big deal out of them. If you radiate confidence, few people will ever think of associating the fact that you asked them to repeat what they just said or to explain what they meant with bad language skills. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to end the conversation quickly and avoid discussing the same topic, it might give an impression of someone who’s not very comfortable using the English language. So how do you know when you should definitely tell your conversation partner to repeat what they just said or say it slower and when it’s OK to pretend you understood them? (more…)
Why Reading an English Newspaper is 100 Times Better than Studying a Grammar Workbook
It’s OK to Feel Like an Idiot – Sometimes Even Native English Speakers Get Tongue-tied!
I thought I’d become immune to embarrassment because I’ve been following my own advice on using decent doses of ignorance whenever I encountered embarrassing situations. Last weekend, however, I realized that I’m not as emotionally tough as I thought because I got to experience immense embarrassment while I was doing my weekly grocery shopping in the local supermarket… To cut a long story short, I ran into one of my work colleagues – he’s a nice Irish fella – and somehow we both got completely tongue-tied when facing each other. To make the matters worse, he had his wife with him and obviously the whole situation became extremely awkward because I’d never spoken to her. Also considering the fact that I’ve rarely said anything more to him than “Hello!” and “See ya!” at work, I don’t think you’ll find it hard to imagine how two adult men may not find ANYTHING to say to each other. Well, to tell you the truth, the resulting situation was so embarrassing that I literally lost control over it and it started to resemble an accident scene unfolding before my eyes. Do you know the feeling when you’re witnessing something terrible happen but your body freezes up and you’re unable to do anything? I was experiencing something similar at that moment because I felt I was losing grip on reality. Clearly the totally confused red-faced person who just stood staring at the other two people with no ability to say something sensible in English wasn’t me; it was someone else having taken over my body! And the Irish fella wasn’t in a much better position – he was as tongue-tied as me unable to come up with anything reasonable to say to me. As you can imagine, the morale of this story is that it doesn’t matter who you are – a foreign or a native English speaker. Either one of you can get tongue-tied BECAUSE OF EMBARRASSMENT and the language actually plays a little role in it! (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?
Short answer – “No, it’s not weird at all! It’s actually completely normal for any English speaker – be it native or foreign – to be able to write in English better than speak!” However, having said this, the reverse isn’t always true and I’m not claiming that all English speakers are better writers than speakers. It’s just that it’s NOT WEIRD if you happen to be a better writer than a speaker. Now, would you like to get a bit more elaborate answer to this question? Well, it’s going to take me more than just a paragraph or two to say all I have to say in this regard, so I’d better settle down in front of my laptop with a mug of coffee because writing this article is going to take me a little while. There are many aspects to the curious problem of differences between writing and speaking in English and who else would be more qualified to answer the above question than me? After all, I live in an English speaking country and I spend the biggest part of my day at work communicating with native English speakers; most of my evenings are spent writing articles for my blog and answering e-mails. Years spent on analyzing English fluency related issues have left me with a very good understanding of how one’s writing skills influence one’s ability to speak and vice versa, so let my long answer begin! So, is it weird that you can write in English better than speak? NO, and the reason number one is… (more…)
6 Reasons Why Mythbusters is the Best TV Program for Improving Your Spoken English
Print This Poster to Motivate Yourself to Improve Your English Throughout 2012!
=== Click HERE to OPEN THE POSTER! === (Then print it out and stick it up on your wall!) :!: :grin: Happy New Year, my fellow foreign English speakers :grin: :!: The party is over, and now we have to go back to the grim reality… The holiday season is over, Christmas gifts have been unwrapped long ago, and now we have to go back to our daily routines. How depressing, isn’t it? Well, not everything is looking so gloomy! Despite the reality check we all undergo when the holidays are over, New Year is a time well known for the biggest aspirations and life-changing decisions! === Click HERE to OPEN THE POSTER! === (Then print it out and stick it up on your wall!) (more…)
Don’t Put Up With ESL Industry’s Childish Treatment & Throw Unwanted Gifts Away!
The Illusion of Elsewhere – How to Clear Your Mind and Achieve Complete English Fluency in 4 Easy Steps
I love reading English fiction and there are some books I’ve re-read many times because they’ve helped me to grasp very important concepts. One of my favorite fictional characters, for instance – Skilgannon the Damned – is at his best when it comes to fighting when he slips into a special state of mind called the Illusion of Elsewhere. Basically his mind wanders and he allows his body to relax. Surprisingly, this state of mind doesn't make him less of a fighter; it’s actually quite the contrary – by clearing his mind he actually heightens his senses and allows his body to do the fighting automatically. So the key is to allow a process that’s been practiced for years to happen without much of conscious consideration thus eliminating any emotional restraints that might hinder your performance. Over the years I’ve come to realize the very same applies when you engage in English conversations – which essentially is quite an automatic process that you’ve been practicing for years. The only difference is that your mouth and lips have to do the verbal fighting instead of your arms and legs beating the living daylights out of some villain! (more…)
Why Being a Foreign English Speaker Gives Me an Edge Over ANY Native English School Teacher
Stop Preparing Speech In Your Head Beforehand!
English Fluency Monitoring & Management
If you’re anything serious about improving your spoken English - and I bet you are otherwise you wouldn’t be reading my blog! – your English fluency is inevitably experiencing growth over time, it just can’t be otherwise. Regardless of all ups and downs you may encounter while having conversations with other English speakers, your English fluency trend is always going up – even if you don’t notice it! Of course, your fluency trend may be steeper than that of someone else’s, and it’s only natural because not all foreigners are getting the same amount of passive and active English immersion. And it’s actually totally understandable because everyone has their own fluency requirements depending on how much they use the English language in everyday life. For many of us, foreigners, practical life determines if we’re going to develop our English fluency at a fast pace or stay on a plateau for years. Anyway, today’s article is about your English fluency management and it’s especially relevant to those who experience sharp drops in fluency resulting in the infamous English fluency issue. Getting tongue-tied and stopping in a middle of a sentence, getting a feeling as if your head is stuffed full with thousands of English words and you know EXACTLY what you want to say but you’re unable to say anything, making stupid mistakes… These are the typical symptoms of the English fluency issue and what’s really baffling is the fact that we, foreigners, often experience such terrible moments right after having been absolutely fluent. We’re hitting the heights of our English fluency graphs, our confidence is very high, we’re achieving a near-native level of spoken English, and then suddenly we experience a downturn in our ability to express ourselves! It may even become so bad that on certain situations we find it hard to say anything at all, and it can be very, very distressing indeed… So how do you manage these peaks of your English fluency trend? How do you prevent the drops from being so sharp? To find answers to these questions, please read the rest of today’s blog post! (more…)