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.

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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!

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Builds your English confidence - no more situations when you stop and hesitate when speaking English!

“WELL…” – the Simplest English Hesitation Word!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWRsCjBdOds VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony Video Blog! In this video, I'm going to give you the simplest hesitation filler phrase possible, and here it is: "Well…" It's just a word - "well." And that's how you can begin sentences when you have to buy some time and when you can't really answer immediately. So, basically, a person asks you a question and then you begin your response with saying: "Well…" which buys you a few seconds during which you can actually think about the matter at hand and come up with a reasonable response. Whereas, if you're not saying anything, there's a bigger chance that you'll just get stuck for words. Imagine someone stopping you on the side of the road and asking you for directions to the local police station for example. If you just go like this, "Uh, Uh," it's very easy to get stuck for words. But, if you open your mouth and just say this simple word "well…" it kind of opens up your mouth and forces you to say something extra. And even though those extra bits that you're going to say may come out with a few mistakes, you know, they may come out a big erroneous, it doesn't matter because at the very least you would have said something, right? The word "well" gives you something to say, and it instantly makes you sound like a native English speaker, and do you want to know why? For the simple reason that all native English speakers use the word "well" to hesitate! (more…)

Improve Your English Vocabulary With Context

Hey there, How is your fluency going? Ever since I thought that I want to be a fluent English speaker, I tried every single possible technique to improve my vocabulary and fluency. Admit it or not, most of the non-natives start off on the wrong foot by trying traditional study methods such as learning few words from dictionary daily or be it when you tried a new language book to improve their vocabulary and fluency. The matter of the fact is, vocabulary and fluency go hand in hand while learning. Now you many wanna ask, if they go hand in hand, why do you say learning vocabulary from a dictionary is bad? It’s not bad; I would say it’s even worse. The fact is, dictionary was never made for learning purpose, it is just for ‘referential purpose’, so in case if you get stucked while reading a book, blog or anything, you can refer to it for clear understanding of the topic. (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression & Phrasal Verb: “To Get Across”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf8eOS9jYPw Did you know that English phrasal verbs are also idiomatic expressions? It’s not commonly accepted knowledge, yet in reality any phrasal verb – ‘to bring about’, ‘to carry over’, ‘to calm down’ and thousands of others – possess the main characteristic of idiomatic expressions: You can’t replace a word within the phrasal verb without losing its meaning! Let’s take today’s phrasal verb – ‘to get across’. It means ‘to communicate successfully’ and it’s a very short and handy way to describe a successfully communicated message (or lack of thereof): “Sometimes even native speakers struggle to get the message across if they speak with different accents.” Remember I told you that you can’t replace a word within the phrasal verb without losing its meaning? Now, imagine that you’ve forgotten what words this particular phrasal verb consists of, and you only have a vague recollection of it. You remember the ‘across’ part, but you’re not sure of the first word. You’re trying to get it right, however, so you’re saying – “I don’t think Sarah made the message across during the meeting, everyone was looking just as confused as I was!” Don’t get me wrong (‘to get wrong’ is also a phrasal verb, by the way!), I’m not saying you shouldn’t be trying to say things you’re not 100% sure of. (more…)

How To Speak English Like A Native – Part 1

English Idiomatic Expression: “Over the years”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2omMV0o5CT4 Hello, my foreign English speaking friends! ;-) I’ve been away for a short while, but it’s only because I’m working on a lot of things currently – one of which is my upcoming English confidence coaching program - and by no means I’m thinking of stopping publishing my daily idiomatic expression videos! I enjoy the process immensely, and if I had to list things I’ve really loved doing here on EnglishHarmony over the years, these daily idiomatic expression videos would definitely come at the top! The expression we’re going to look at today is “over the years”, and if you’re attentive enough you did notice that I actually used it in the previous sentence. (more…)

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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…)

Shame Is The Enemy #1 Of All Foreign English Speakers!

Here’s how to improve your spoken English when reading this article: read it out loud, then read out loud the collocations highlighted in red 10 times each to memorize them, then look away from the monitor and try and say 3 sample sentences for each of those collocations! For best results record your speech so that you can go back, spot any mistakes you might have made, and then do some more spoken English practice by correcting yourself! How many times you HAVEN’T SAID something in English because you’ve been ashamed? I bet it’s too many to count, my friend foreign English speaker, and that’s the prime reason why your fluency isn’t at the level you’d like it to be. Well, of course, it could be the case that you’re quite happy with your level of English fluency, but the chances are – if that were the case, you wouldn’t be reading this blog, am I not right? Anyway, let’s not get side-tracked from the main subject which is all about being ashamed of your level of English and NOT speaking enough. Imagine the following scenario. Two foreign English speakers move to an English speaking country, take up jobs and settle down to live in that country for a good few years. The first foreigner takes every opportunity to open his mouth and say something in English. Every time his boss, co-workers or customers ask him something, he always tries to say something extra, something to keep the conversation going. And he also doesn’t miss a chance to start a chat with others. Now, the second foreigner is also doing alright, however, unlike the first one, he will only say the bare minimum that people ask him. He will never start a conversation, will never say anything extra, and it’s all because he’s ashamed of making mistakes and sounding stupid. You think the first foreigner isn’t making any mistakes? Oh boy, of course he is! We all do, it’s an integral part of being a foreign English speaker – you are bound to make lots of mistakes before achieving a decent level of fluency. Yet, the first guy just DOESN’T CARE. (more…)

Some People Are So Confident They Don’t Even Want to Improve Their English!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vue8VRavBgQ VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi, guys! Hello my fellow foreign English speakers! It's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video, I'm going to touch upon a very interesting thing and, if I'm not mistaken, it's never been spoken about before. I've never discussed it, neither on my videos, nor on my articles on my blog, and I think this is going to be a very interesting topic indeed. Namely, not all foreign English speakers who struggle when speaking, not all of them actually have to improve their English. Some people are quite confident the way they are! And here's what I actually mean by this. I've come across a few such people in my life. And it was actually years ago when I was a young fellow, when I just came over to this country, and there was a bunch of guys living together in one house, and I got to know several new people time and time again. There were a few guys whose English was so-so, but they were quite okay communicating with other people. Their English was broken. Their vocabulary wasn't huge, and their grammar was quite bad to be honest with you, but they felt at ease when speaking with other English-speaking people. They didn't feel it as a problem, right? And that was the whole make or break factor for their confidence. They were confident and they didn't need to improve their English. They didn't work towards that goal that we all share, right, which is improving our English and achieving fluency. They worked towards other goals in their life, professional goals, and personal goals. But, they were happy with their level of English, and it was sufficient to get on with their daily tasks, to go on about their daily business, to work, to drop into institutions and get things done. Yes, it might have taken them a little bit longer because the communication would have been slightly hampered and things would have had to be explained in a little bit more detail to get it all done, but eventually it wasn't a big deal for them. And they were confident enough the way they were and that was it! Their English was fine for them and they didn't need to improve it. They'd never thought of - at least I didn't hear them complaining about their English because they were quite happy the way they were, and it's a funny thing. (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “To Go the Extra Mile”

Boring English Grammar or Cool Fiction – Make Up Your Mind!

All foreign English learners, improvers, grammar enthusiasts and bookworms – this blog post is for you :!: But first – a couple of words about me and my relationship with reading. I love reading! No – seriously, even though some of my blog posts might seem to be promoting spoken English exclusively, I do it for the sole purpose of encouraging foreign English speakers to speak. After all, this blog is dedicated to those who struggle with English SPEAKING and I’ll never tell you to read plenty of English literature and print media in order to improve your SPOKEN English because… it’s lies :shock: It’s big, fat lies told to you by traditional English learning proponents simply because they don’t know any better and also because they studied English at school following the very same methods. They still believe you can soak in all the English material you’re reading like a giant sponge and then start speaking and use all you’ve learnt and read. Folks, it just doesn’t happen that way, in order to speak you need to speak! However, it’s worth noting that I haven’t said a single word about English reading being bad as such. And I never will, because I’ve always been reading a lot throughout my life. Since I reached complete English reading fluency, I’ve been reading mostly historical fiction and fantasy in English, and I must tell you – I’m loving it! ;-) OK, I’ll get back to today’s story, so let’s cut the rant and get down to what I wanted to tell you! (more…)

My Controversial Views On Correct English & British and American English

30-Day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 7- Meals

This article is part of the 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course. Sign up here to get every lesson in your inbox for free: (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//forms.aweber.com/form/28/1528169428.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, "script", "aweber-wjs-gh9mm2tmz")); Hey everyone out there, What did you eat today? Cheese Sandwich? Burger? Pizza? Or Burritos? Did you know what types of meals they were? Everyone knows that the food we take in the afternoon is called the lunch, while what we take at night is dinner. So I thought why not expand our knowledge even further and let you know what types of meals you are taking. Welcome back again to another chapter of our "Free 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course" and today we will learn a little more about the meals we take. (more…)

Learn Pronunciation by Equating English Sounds to Your Native Language!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzs2YgGuwFk Hello everyone! ;-) Today let’s touch upon some English pronunciation related topic, namely - how you learn pronunciation of new English words and how to mimic the original pronunciation to the best of your benefit when you are trying to speak them out loud. And here's a very interesting situation I encountered a few days ago at work. There’s a Polish girl in my workplace who's only learning to speak English and she asks me questions through her friend whose English is much better and every day I have to answer a few questions in relation to how you say this or that particular thing in English or how you pronounce a certain word or phrase. The other day, she asked me through her friend how to pronounce the word "drank" and then, to my big surprise, she repeated in perfect English "drank" and guess what happened? I tried to think of why she didn't make the typical mistake that so many foreign English speakers do when they read an English word letter by letter and then they would most likely say something like "drrrank" in case that particular language has the rolling ‘R’, as in my language. In Latvian, we roll the ‘R’s and many native counterparts of mine would have said "drrrank" with a rolled ‘R’ sound! So in this particular case Polish is a Slavic language, which is quite close to Russian. And it happens so that I speak Russian too and I know for a fact that all these languages have the rolling ‘R’s - so why did she not say, "drrrank"? Why'd she say "drank" in perfect English? Here’s why: she equated the English sounds to her native Polish sounds because she wasn’t looking at a written word but was simply trying to MIMIC what she heard! (more…)

What You Can Learn from My Countryman’s Adventures in Britain’s Got Talent

I want you to meet Gatis Kandis – he’s my fellow countryman and recently he was taking part in Britain’s Got Talent where he was doing stand-up comedy. He got through to semi-finals and while he got the first YES from the judges for the wrong reasons (he was branded by Simon Cowell as the funniest unfunniest comedian which I don’t think was true), there’s a great deal we can learn from him, and that’s why I decided to dedicate a whole article on my blog to him! First of all, he’s pursuing his dream of becoming a stand-up comedian while being a foreigner living in an English speaking country. It definitely took some courage and dedication to get onto the stage for the first time without knowing what the public reaction is going to be, but obviously it didn’t deter him from doing it. Secondly, there are always those who’ll point out a foreigner’s accent and mistake it for lack of English skills or whatever. I’m still getting the same treatment on certain occasions because of my own accent, and I’ve learnt a long time ago that ignorance is the only way to deal with it – obviously Gatis has adopted the same approach and it’s paying off big time! (more…)

Want To Seriously Improve Your Spoken English? Find a Hobby For Yourself!

Your Small English Imperfections Tend to Disappear!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2t82GjaKCc Are you following my advice on learning loads of English idiomatic expressions and collocations and applying them onto your speech and also writing? Great! Are you feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of those expressions and does it make you feel as if the more you’re learning the more there is to left to learn? It’s only natural! We’re all human beings, and feeling overwhelmed and feeling that whatever we’re saying and writing falls short of our own expectations is something that many of us do. But guess what? (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “For the simple reason that…”

English Idiomatic Expression: “Run It By Someone”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQQy5tHp4GA

Many Native English Speakers Don’t Realize How HARD It Actually Is to Learn a Language!

Have you ever heard a native English speaker make a comment about some foreigner which clearly shows their irritation with the fact that the said foreigner doesn’t speak in English fluently enough or can’t understand what the native English speaker is saying? I’ve been the target of such judgmental, opinionated thinking myself as well as witnessed other foreigners becoming targets of unfair treatment just because they didn’t understand what they were told or weren’t able to say something in English, and here’s a typical scenario of how such treatment manifests itself: A native English speaker says something to a foreigner very fast, or even worse – with a strong local accent. The foreigner has NO IDEA what he was just told, and oftentimes he’s too embarrassed to say anything in response – he’s just smiling or nodding his head in agreement just so that the native English speaker would go away and leave him alone. The native English speaker then makes a comment about the whole situation by saying something along the lines of: “It’s about time they started learning some English…” or “He’s been working here for so long and still he has no English at all!” All I can say about that is the following – those native English speakers have NO IDEA of how difficult it actually is to learn a language :!: They have no idea that it’s impossible for foreigners to learn English by listening to very fast speech spoken by locals so they don’t even bother slowing their speech down thus making it impossible for the non-native speaker to understand them. They think that English is somehow “picked up” by foreigners simply being around English speakers, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth. One has to make a lot of CONSCIOUS effort in order to learn English and be able to understand others as well as speak the language, and it requires many hours of spoken English practice to get to a level where the foreign English speaker can finally start speaking with other people in English comfortably. Some native English speakers may have been lead to believe that picking up English is fairly simple by the analogy of small foreign children of pre-school age – they start speaking in English pretty fast once they start going to a kindergarten or school so surely adult foreigners should be capable of the same, right? Not really :!: You can’t really compare small children with adults because children have no fear of making mistakes and they can speak ALL THE TIME thus improving their English very fast whereas for many adult foreigners at work opportunities to speak are quite limited – not to mention the embarrassment and judgmental treatment which are LIMITING their potential. All in all, learning English is quite a tricky process for the average foreigner, so let’s look at the various aspects of it a little bit deeper. (more…)

A Quote From “Lies” That Made Me Realize Something…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bP15k--P9jo Currently I’m reading the third book in “GONE” series called “LIES” – it’s a cool ultra-blue book (each book in the “GONE” series has the sides covered with color which I’d never seen before!) and it focuses on further developments within FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone). What’s FAYZ? Here’s a short synopsis: Adults are gone. They’ve just disappeared. Perdido Beach has been sealed off the rest of the world by a gigantic dome and kids are forced to fend for themselves. Some kids have developed mutant powers – fire-shooting, anti-gravity – you name it! This might sound like a far-stretched scenario, and I have to admit that we’re little likely to encounter mutant kids in real life. Some things, however, are almost universal, and it’s the way we, humans, behave in emergency situations and unusual circumstances. Whether it’s FAYZ or simply how you react in a situation when your own safety is threatened on the street, for example – that’s when the TRUE “YOU” is being revealed. Such situations shape our personalities, and that’s exactly what I’m talking about in this video! You’re welcome to tune in and you’re also welcome to post comments below! Happy reading, Robby ;-)

English Fluency Improvement Requires a Proper ROUTINE – Just Like Your Workouts in a Gym!

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 28- Don’t sweat it!

This article is part of the 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course. Sign up here to get every lesson in your inbox for free: (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//forms.aweber.com/form/28/1528169428.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, "script", "aweber-wjs-gh9mm2tmz")); Hey everyone out there, How are you all doing today? Welcome back yet again to another chapter of our “Free 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course” where you'll learn some new vocabulary every day about a subject with context and examples, and so will you today. So without further ado, let get down to the business and see today’s context: Context - Joe (son) is talking to his father Mike Mike: Look what I brought for you! Your favorite chocolate cake! Joe: Thanks dad, but I don’t want to eat anything right now. Mike: You never said no to the chocolate cake! What happened to my boy? Is everything alright? Joe: I am okay. I just need some rest. Mike: No, you are not. Tell me what’s the matter? I am your father Joe; I know something is upsetting you for sure. Joe: I always got good grades. All teachers used to praise me for my brilliance in every subject, be it Science or Mathematics. I have always excelled in every field, but this time, I think I won’t even pass. Mike: Why do you think so? Didn’t you write any answers? Joe: No, that’s not the case. I don’t know what happened to me at the last moment that I could not remember properly anything that I have learned. I wrote the answers anyhow, but I don't think they were correct. Mike: See Joe, there is nothing you can do about it now. If you think about this now won't change the situation. So you see, even if you didn't do well this time, you have so many other chances in life to prove yourself. Joe: I just wish I pass this time. I will make sure I revise everything at least twice from next time, so it will never happen again. Mike: You are going to do good. I believe in you, so please don’t sweat it now. Cheer up your mood and eat this cake I bought for you. Did anyone ever say not to sweat it when you were in worry? Did it confuse you then? I hope it’s clear from the above context what this idiom means. Well, in case you didn’t get it by now, it is simply another way to tell a person not to worry. Usually, people who are in some tension start sweating, it is where this expression originated from and became a popular way of telling someone not to worry. Example: Don’t sweat about the results now. There is nothing you can do about it. So did you like today's chapter? I know you did and I hope it added some new vocabulary to your arsenal of active vocabulary which will be definitely useful in your daily life. Make sure you read this article thoroughly and practice it with your own examples so as they become your second nature. See you tomorrow with some new topic and vocabulary. Till then keep learning and improving. Take care and? Bye-bye. This article is part of the 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course. Sign up here to get every lesson in your inbox for free: (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//forms.aweber.com/form/28/1528169428.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, "script", "aweber-wjs-gh9mm2tmz"));

3 Ways of Hard-wiring Unnatural English Collocations into Your Brain

Relationship Between Written and Spoken English is Really Weird!

Over the years I’ve been working in a number of jobs where I’ve been dealing with both non-native and native English speakers. My work colleagues. My superiors – managers, team leaders, supervisors – you name it! Our customers as well. Quite naturally, I’ve been constantly communicating with them. I’ve been engaging in all the necessary work-related verbal communication. I’ve been chatting with them during my break times. I’ve been participating in meetings. I’ve been sending dozens of e-mails a day to a lot of different people. Also, I’ve been running this blog since 2007 – you can do the math! – and I’m constantly dealing with my blog visitors e-mails and inquiries, not to mention my Fluency Star clients I coach via Skype. So, as you can imagine, I’ve made a lot of interesting observations in terms of people’s ability to speak and write. Did you know, for example, that judging by some native English speakers’ writing style, you’d think they’re just beginner English learners? Yes, it’s totally true and I’ve come across such people time and time again! And to be totally honest with you, sometimes their writing has been so bad that it’s made it next to impossible to figure out what they’ve actually meant in their e-mails :!: So, would you like to read more about my interesting observations in relation to English speaking, writing, non-native and native English speakers? Then find a comfortable seat, make yourself a cup of coffee, and keep reading this article! ;-) (more…)

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…)