My Plans for English Harmony in 2015
So much has happened during the last few months in my life… I changed my job a couple of months ago... I re-opened my English fluency coaching program Fluency Star... And then I quit my new job having worked there for just over two months :!: You see, I realized I can’t really cope with such a massive workload and the only logical solution was to quit my new job so that I can do both – teach my students via Skype and maintain this blog. If you’ve been following English Harmony for a while you’ll notice that I haven’t been posting a lot of blog posts lately. To be more specific - it’s been 2 weeks now without posting a single blog entry! To put it in perspective – there was a time when I was publishing 3 articles every week. If you visited my blog on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you would always find a new article or a video, but during the last few months it’s been fairly irregular. I’ve published something whenever I could find enough time for it, but if I put myself in your shoes, I can definitely see that it’s not good enough. I don’t have to be a genius to figure out that you’d rather come to my blog with the sure knowledge of finding new content every couple of days, so it’s the first thing I’ve planned for the English Harmony website this year: (more…)
English Harmony Q & A: Foreign Accent & Learning English for Free
Another English Fluency Question and Answer session – this time around it’s all about me speaking with a foreign accent and free vs paid English learning resources!
Don’t Learn Complicated English Tenses TOO Soon!
Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog - or welcome back to my podcast in case you're listening to this as an audio file on iTunes or on my blog. In today's video I'm going to tell you about English tenses, namely - what I think about them and how you should go about acquiring complicated English tenses. You see, I strongly believe that way too many foreign English speakers are focusing on English tenses too early in their attempts to acquire English fluency. I'm getting plenty of comments and emails sent in asking the same questions: "I'm all confused about the tenses. Please, Robby, explain how to use this or that English tense" and questions like, "I need to prepare for this English test or for this exam" and "can you help me to understand the complicated English tenses" and so on and so forth. Now, if it's about an exam or a test, then yes, I admit, the traditional English teaching industry requires you to analyze grammar, to understand tenses and it's a bad thing because that way you get all too focused on analyzing the language instead of speaking or writing spontaneously, right? My approach is, you have to start learning the English language and then proceed forward with learning simple language, simple sentences, simple word combinations, simple tenses. It's totally possible to speak using only three English tenses – Present Simple, Present Continuous, and Simple Past - and I know for a fact that a lot of YouTubers, video bloggers who come from the foreign English speaking background actually don't use complicated English tenses. (more…)
Don’t Put Up With ESL Industry’s Childish Treatment & Throw Unwanted Gifts Away!
English Idiomatic Expression: “Send the Wrong Message”
Today's idiomatic expression is "Send the wrong message", and if you want to find out more about its usage - make sure to watch the video above! I'll keep making these daily English idiom videos for as long as I can, and it's all done with one thing in mind - to show you guys, that natural English fluency is all about phrases and expressions! You can take this phrase - "send the wrong message", combine it with a dozen of other expressions and - presto! - all of a sudden you can say things you mightn't be able to say after months long traditional grammar studies. And if you think I'mÂ exaggeratingÂ - believe me, I'm not! It's proven time and time again that if you try to apply grammar rules as you stick words together, the resulting speech is unnatural, broken and hesitant. If you learn phrases just like the one I published in today's video, you get all the benefits of learning grammar naturally and none of the drawbacks - simply because there's NONE! :-) Chat soon, Robby ;-)
Topics For Practising Spoken English
How To Speak English Like A Native – Part 1
Check out my English Harmony System 2.0 HERE! Australia or Canada? India or Singapore? Or maybe you’re in Philippines or the Unites States? Wherever you are – welcome to the 18th English Harmony Video episode!Â Today I’ll show you a simple yet very powerful method of managing situations when you have to tell about something in English but you just can’t say anything for some reason! Does it sound familiar to you? If so – read on or watch the video above and you’ll also be able to manage such situations with ease! (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “As A Matter Of Fact”
Hi guys. Hello boys and girls and hello my dear fellow foreign English speaker and also any native English speaker that might happen to be watching this video on my blog at EnglishHarmony.com or on my YouTube channel! Now, in today's video we're going to look at the following English idiomatic expression “as a matter of fact,” right? And the fact of the matter is that I thought that I had made a video about this particular idiomatic expression. And if you were listening attentively, you definitely realized that I used a very similar expression there a few seconds ago. I said the fact of the matter is, right? And it's funny because these two phrases “as a matter of fact” and “the fact of the matter is” they almost sound the same, but not quite. They're not the same because “as a matter of fact” is used in different situations. But let's not get confused guys because if you're trying to learn these two expressions at the same time, you will end up having created a very wrong vocabulary association in your brain. Because those two phrases will kind of go together so whenever you want to use one or the other, the other phrase will just come barging in and then your speech will get very hesitant and interrupted and you will say the wrong thing at the wrong time. So that's how typically you would be experiencing these fluency issues when you're trying to say something and then some other thing just pops up in your brain and comes out of your mouth without actually you wanting to say that particular thing. So this would be a typical example. If I were to give you both of those phrases “as a matter of fact” and “the fact of the matter is”, then we would end up with even bigger fluency issues. So we will look at the other phrase, “the fact of the matter is” some other time but today we will be a 100% focused on the first one, “as a matter of fact”. Yeah. And just like I said I thought that I had made a video about it and it turns out that it's not the case, right? And I was a bit surprised, I was taken aback because I thought that definitely I would have made a video about this one because it's a very simple idiomatic expression. It's one of the basic ones, as a matter of fact, right? It's something that you would probably learn on the second page of an English phrase book or something. But anyway, if you are interested in how exactly this phrase is to be used, when to use it, how to use it, please bear with me for a few more minutes and I will explain everything to you in every detail my friends! (more…)
I’m Addicted to Spoken English Practice… HELP ME!
I’m desperate. :mad: I don’t know what to do. I’m a serious addict and I just can’t seem to be able to stop the terrible habit no matter how hard I try… :sad: Want to know what it is? It’s SPEAKING IN ENGLISH WITH MYSELF. There – I said it. I know, I know, it’s crazy, it’s pathetic, and you’ll probably think I’ve totally lost my mind by coming out with this announcement in public, but I have no choice but to share it with you, my friends - simply because I can’t take it any longer!!! I’ve tried different things in order to break this habit of constant spoken English self-practice. I’ve been reading a lot of English fiction just to prevent myself from speaking, but it didn’t work! Every time I’ve done some reading, I found myself discussing its contents with myself a short time later, and I seemingly don’t have any control over it… I’ve tried watching a lot of TV in English - different TV dramas, educational programs – you name it! And guess what? I always end up doing the same thing – speaking about what I’ve seen, and I’ve also started mimicking actors and narrators in order to learn to speak in English with American and British pronunciation – how crazy is that?! I mean – why can’t I just enjoy a lot of passive English content just like most foreign English speakers do, and be OK with that? (more…)
“Maze Runner” Series Review: Main Plot & Why I’m So Excited About It!
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…)
No-one to Talk to? Practice English With Yourself!
FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #1: TELL YOU WHAT!
Hi boys and girls :!: I’m going to learn some American English phrases within the next 25 days, and I’m going to shoot for 50 phrases in total. Here’s the video I published yesterday on my English Harmony blog where I announced this mission, and it’s all done as part of my Fluency Gym Coach Program (FGC – hence the title on the video “FGC Goal #1”) where people can set their own English confidence and fluency improvement related goals and achieve them using my program as an effective framework. My goal is basically to add 50 new American phrases onto my active vocab, and the first phrase I’m doing today is TELL YOU WHAT. It’s a very handy way to make your point when speaking with another person, and it could be put into other words simply as HERE’S THE THING. (more…)
20 most common ‘Words often confused’ in English
Great Topic for Spoken English Self-Practice: Daily Events & Planning Next Day!
Have You Ever Thought About Your MOUTH As a MUSCLE?
How many years have you been working on your English? Two? Five? Ten? Guess what – I’ve been receiving e-mails from folks having been trying to achieve English fluency for TWENTY YEARS to no avail :!: And I can see exactly why it’s happening – the heck, years ago I was among those struggling English speakers myself! – it’s because most foreign English speakers don’t perceive their mouth as a muscle. Are you confused? What I mean by saying – perceive their mouth as a muscle? Well, it’s EXACTLY what I mean – your mouth for you as a foreign English speaker is just like muscles for a bodybuilder or just about any other athlete or indeed for any person on this planet who’s using their body to move their arms and legs to lift things and move around. You’re using your mouth to produce English words, phrases and sentences in order to communicate with other English speakers, and there’s actual body movement involved in every step of the way – your lips, tongue, jaws and a whole array of facial muscles are actively involved to help you with the task! (more…)
Emigration to an English Speaking Country: My Honest Opinion
Here’s how to improve your English listening skills when listening to my video: put the headphones on, playback the video and write it all down while listening to it! Video Transcript Below: Hi guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! Today is Saturday and I'm having my Saturday afternoon decaffeinated coffee here. You know, this is actually the second cup of real coffee. Well, in this case it's actually not a cup, it's a proper mug, right? A huge mug for that matter. Guinness, right? But I'm not drinking beer, I'm having my second cup of coffee. I just said cup again, right? Second mug of coffee, right? But the fact of the matter is that you wouldn't be normally saying second mug of coffee, second cup of coffee, that's an expression. So I would say that I'm not really wrong in saying that this is my second cup of coffee. That's what people would normally say. That's how people would understand you best, right? Anyway, cheers! And let's start focusing on the actual matter I want to discuss in today's video. But just before we get down to business let me just tell you that today I met up with a friend of mine and he's an Irish fella, right? I'm a Latvian living in Ireland, been living here for 14 years and I have an Irish friend named Will. And as a matter of fact he is my good luck charm in terms of spoken English fluency. What it actually means is that whenever I meet with him I can give my fluency free reign and I speak just like a native English speaker, right? He is the one person that brings out the best in my fluency, right? As I go about my daily business, dealing with people in the college and my students and so on, obviously I speak a lot in English with others but this particular person, my former co-worker Will for some reason or another is the one that I can speak with best, right? I'm so familiar with him that I just lose any awareness of the language boundary so to speak. So you may want to click on this link. And the article in question is called who is your English good luck charm and it's all about what a good luck charm person is in terms of spoken English fluency and that if you find, if you manage to find one then you may want to hold on to them, right? (more…)
How to Speak MORE Fluently Than a Native English Speaker (Yes, It’s POSSIBLE!)
Can I Become a Fluent English Speaker at the Age of 34?
Hello guys and welcome back to the English Harmony video blog! Obviously, I'm Robby and I don't even know why I'm saying this every time I start a new video. It's just one of those things I say, "Welcome back to my video blog and I am Robby." Obviously, all of you who have been following my blog will know that I am Robby. Who else could I be? But, it's just that on the off chance that there's someone new to my blog and to the whole English Harmony thing who might be watching this video and they don't know what my name is, I'm greeting you guys by letting you know my name - Robby Kukurs. Write it down. Bookmark my website - EnglishHarmony.com - because it's one of the best resources out there for those foreign English speakers who want to improve spoken English fluency, right? And also bookmark my YouTube channel, of course ;-) So, anyway, today's video is about whether - what was the question? It was a question asked by one of my blog visitors I'm pretty sure because that's where I gain most of the inspiration for creating new videos and articles. And these days, people asking me questions - whether it was an email or a comment, I'm not really sure, but it's irrelevant anyway. I remember now. The question was: “How successful can I expect my fluency improving attempts to be provided that I'm 34 years old or something like that, something along those lines, 34 or 35, basically mid-30's”. (more…)
How to Sell Your English Skills and Put On a Show Every Time You Speak
How Using Hand Gestures & Facial Expressions Helps You Speak Better English!
Hello my friends foreign English speakers! Have you noticed how vividly I’m communicating to my audience on my YouTube videos using my HANDS and my FACIAL EXPRESSIONS? If you’ve been following me for quite some time, you’ll definitely understand what I’m talking about, but even if this is the first time you’re seeing me, I warmly suggest you watch the video above and see what exactly I’m talking about! Here’s what you’ll learn by watching today’s video: (more…)
What Typing Has in Common With Spoken English Performance
Fluency Gym Coach Goal #1 Complete: 50 American Phrases Acquired!
Popular Misconceptions About Foreign English Speakers
Whether it’s portraying Russians in Hollywood blockbusters or judging foreigners by one short conversation and assuming that their overall English fluency must be flawed because they’ve made a couple of awkward mistakes – there are a lot of misconceptions out there about us, foreign English speakers :!: In this article I’m going to look at the most popular ones and while I’m fully aware of the fact that I won’t be able to dispel those stereotypes, it doesn’t mean I can’t talk about them, does it? Foreigners portrayed in films speak like native English speakers except for their accent I’ve met thousands of foreign English speakers throughout my life, and I can tell you this much – a foreign English speaker who gets English grammar 100% correct while speaking is a rare creature to find! And I’m not speaking of a person with foreign origin who’s moved to an English speaking country during childhood or teenage years and has achieved a native-like fluency by the time he’s an adult. I’m speaking about typical foreigners who speak English with a smaller or a bigger foreign accent just like the ones typically portrayed in films and TV shows. As you can imagine, the reason behind it is because on 99% of occasions actors portraying foreigners in movies are native English speaking actors with accent talents :!: (more…)
Don’t Learn Some Obscure English Words that Even Native Speakers DON’T KNOW!
If you’re obsessed with building a MASSIVE English vocabulary (just like I was all those years ago!), you might have fallen for the trap of learning some pretty sophisticated English words taken from English fiction you might be reading, or from any other source of information. Now, while there’s nothing wrong with learning such vocabulary words for as long as you acquire them contextually, there’s another aspect to contributing vast amount of time and effort into the process – namely, USEFULNESS. You simply have to ask yourself the following question: Is this particular English word going to come in handy in my everyday life? More often than not, little known words just aren’t used in daily English conversations; just because they’re used by authors in order to illustrate this or that particular concept in the very depth in their pieces of literature, doesn’t mean they’re used in colloquial English (which is the main focus of us – foreigners who aspire to become fluent English speakers!) Let’s take, for example, a couple of words so that you get the full picture on what exactly I’m talking about here (I’m heading straight to Dictionary.com website to pick some recent “words of the day”): (more…)
Improving English? TOO General! Sometimes You Gotta Be More SPECIFIC!
Happy New Year 2015! + Draw Results
Happy New Year Everyone! Hello, my friends :!: Hello, foreign English speakers, native English speakers and everyone who happens to be following my blog! Welcome back to my video blog, and this is obviously a whole new year – 2015! And to be honest with you guys, for one split second yesterday - last night was Christmas Eve and at one stage during the celebrations, I thought that it was going to be 2016 for some reason! But anyway, I wanted to take this wonderful opportunity and provided how far my message goes - I've got thousands of followers on Facebook, and YouTube, and my blog daily traffic goes beyond 1,000 visitors a day. So, I hope that this message gets heard by tens of thousands of people, right? So, I wanted to take this opportunity and wish you all a very Happy New Year :!: Despite all the bad things we keep hearing on the media constantly on a daily basis, I still wish you a very Happy New Year because that's the thing to do, right? Everybody wishes one another a very Happy New Year! And all the resolutions that you have set for yourselves, I really hope you'll follow through with at least one of them. So, basically, whatever it is, maybe you’re giving up something, maybe you want to quit smoking or quit drinking, for example. Or maybe you want to take up some habit that would result in something good in your life, maybe you want to join a gym, and that's typical, right, and start working out and lose a little bit of weight and get fitter. Or maybe it's to improve your English in which case you're welcome to stay with me throughout the year 2015 and keep reading my articles and watching my videos where I'm going to provide a whole lot of new information in relation to your fluency development! So basically may all of your resolutions come true! And, obviously, we have to be realistic. We can't expect that everything is going to be smooth and all the resolutions are going to be fulfilled. But at least one thing - if you are just successful with one thing, you can call it a major success because believe it or not most people fail miserably with most of their resolutions! Gyms are empty - come March, and people have started smoking again, and drinking on a weekly basis or even a few times a week, which is even worse, right? And all the plans basically have gone down the drain. So, I wish you at least to fulfill one of your dreams in this New Year! (more…)
Why It’s a Bad Idea to Categorize English Idioms when Learning Them!
Is It Easy to Switch Between Your Native Language and English?
Hello my blog readers! Personally I sometimes find it a bit difficult to go back to using my language when I’ve been speaking in English all day long, and while it may sound a bit weird considering Latvian is my native language, I guess it’s not that uncommon among foreign English speakers living and working in an English speaking environment. As far as my ability to switch TO English goes, I also experience slight difficulties from time to time. If I’m surrounded by other Latvians and I have to start speaking in English for some reason or another – a phone call, for example – I can’t just jump back into my most fluent state. Most of the time it takes a few minutes for my mind to adjust to the English speech, and then I can speak 100% confidently and fluently. How to explain this phenomenon? Well, over the years while working on my own English and trying to maintain a high level of oral fluency I’ve figured out a few factors contributing into this phenomenon: (more…)
Don’t Try to Figure Out What Something Means in English Grammar Terms – It Serves NO Purpose!
Idiomatic Expressions: Why I’m Highlighting Some Bits of Text in Red in My Blog Posts
I Have to Learn to Write Grammatically Correctly First and Then I’ll Be Able to Speak Well!
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! Recently I got an e-mail from one of my blog readers and it went along the lines of: “… so in order to improve my English I will learn to write grammatically correctly, and when I’ve done that, I’ll be able to speak correctly as well!” So basically what this person was saying is that they believe that if they get their English writing up to scratch, their speech will quite naturally follow. Now, there’s a good chance that some of you, guys, are thinking the same way, so I consider it my sacred duty to steer you in the right direction and make you realize that it would be the wrong road to go down. NEVER ever put your English writing before your speech, or else you’re running a serious risk of developing terrible English fluency issues that you won’t be able to deal with for years to come! Don’t believe me? Well, just read the rest of this article and you’ll learn: Why speech always comes before writing, Why you’ll get stuck into a permanent state of “writing mind” if you don’t observe this rule, Why your ability to write in English correctly won’t translate into oral fluency! So, without further ado, let’s get down to business! (more…)