Robby Kukurs

I’m Robby, and I’m a non-native English speaker. Throughout my entire life I’ve always wanted to speak in English fluently, but because of the way English is taught in schools, I always struggled with my spoken English.

I couldn't learn to speak fluent English for 5 years - read about what I was doing to learn to speak fluently HERE - are YOU in the same situation?

Then, one fine day, after years of constant pursuit of English fluency, I realized the key aspect of spoken English improvement – learning English phrases and word combinations instead of studying grammar rules and trying to construct sentences in your head from scratch!

If you’re interested in improving your English fluency too, please check out the English Harmony System which is a product I created to help all my fellow foreigners to better their spoken English and achieve so much more in professional, social and personal life.

English Harmony System

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For those foreign English speakers whose English understanding, writing and grammar is already good but they're struggling with spoken English!

Imprints natural English speech patterns in your mind - revolutionary speech exercising technology!

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

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…)

Incredibly Powerful and Super-Simple Way Of Using Google to Find the Right English Words to Say

It happened this morning. (By the way - Happy Paddy's Day :!: - here you can watch a video I made last year!) I was about to publish yet another tweet on my Twitter account where I’m tweeting the most commonly used English phrases, idioms and collocations. This time around, I wanted to tweet an English idiom “on the off chance” which means “in the unlikely event”: As always, I started writing a sample sentence containing the idiom “on the off chance” – just to give my Twitter followers a general idea of how this particular expression is used. So, I started the sentence with “On the off chance…” and then I was about to continue with a conjunction ‘if’. A split second later it just didn’t seem right, however, that the sentence should be “on the off chance if…” I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling when you say something in English, but it just doesn’t seem right, aren’t you? This “gut feeling” develops along with your English fluency, and it can be explained by highly developed contextual links among English words in your inner vocabulary. Speaking in simple terms, it means you’ve heard and used certain English phrases so many times that you intuitively know in what context they’re normally used. In the example with creating a sentence containing the English idiom “on the off chance”, I intuitively felt that it might not normally be followed by the conjunction ‘if’; it just didn’t sound right. A few nanoseconds later another viable option crossed my mind – ‘that’. The sentence seemed to flow so much better with ‘that’ than ‘if’ – “On the off chance that…” But how to make sure I get it 100% correct? (more…)

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

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

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

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…)

Antonio Banderas’s Spanish Accent – So, Is His English NOT Fluent?

Are you one of those folks who thinks that in order to speak English fluently one needs to develop a near-native English pronunciation? Then watch this interview with Antonio Banderas – even a small piece will do - and think about the initial question once more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LgTKmRkLuM So, what do you think? Would you describe his English as not being fluent? Has his distinct Spanish accent prevented him from becoming one of the most successful Hollywood actors? Obviously not :!: So, why is ACCENT such a bid deal for so many people? Why so many other foreigners and native English speakers alike still hold the view that foreigners definitely need to reduce their accent if they want to come across as fluent English speakers? Well… The answer lies within a stereotype of a struggling foreign English speaker who speaks in broken English AND has a distinct accent. The reverse statement – anyone who has a distinct accent speaks broken English – isn’t always true, but it doesn’t prevent people from believing it. Why, we human beings are notorious to holding to wrong beliefs, and this is definitely not the only one out there! How about the following: Antonio Banderas gets away with his accent because of his good looks; Spanish accent is cool and that’s why it’s OK for him to speak with thick Spanish pronunciation but NOT OK for you or me… While there might be some truth in the above statements, it doesn’t explain HOW Antonio Banderas manages to be fluent YET retain his Spanish accent if fluency is always accompanied by perfect pronunciation... Surely if at some stage an English learner inevitably starts to develop a more native-like (in this case it should be American) pronunciation, then how come that Antonio has never fully mastered it yet he’s totally fluent? (more…)

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

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

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

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…)

FAQ: How to Improve My English?

At the moment of writing this article I’ve posted more than 150 posts on this blog, and they’re all dedicated to the topic of spoken English improvement. That’s why I find it slightly strange to receive e-mails asking a question “Robby, can you help me improve my English?” Normally I would reply with another one-liner – “Please feel free to browse around my website, there’s plenty of articles and videos and they’re all about improving your English fluency!” – because I just couldn’t fit everything there is to say about improving your English in one e-mail! Also, I was under the impression that such queries are most likely asked by those who haven’t bothered checking out my blog. After all, all the information is available right here, on my website, and all you have to do is just read a few articles to start seeing the big picture, right? Recently, however, I realized that it’s probably not as easy as it looks to me. First of all, I’m dealing with a host of English fluency related issues and I have to admit not all of them are relevant to those who just want to IMPROVE their overall level of fluency. For example, if you have the typical English fluency issue whereby you can’t speak on certain occasions but you’re perfectly find on others, your main concern isn’t spoken English improvement as such; in this case you want to learn how to manage your fluency and make sure you don’t get severe anxiety and lack of confidence when you experience reduced ability to speak properly. Secondly, I can also imagine that the abundance of information on my blog might be a bit overwhelming and it’s not that easy for someone having arrived here for the first time to figure out what EXACTLY they have to do to improve their English. That’s why I decided to write this 5 step plan with easy, to-the-point instructions on how to make sure your English is experiencing constant growth and improvement. Enjoy! ;-) (more…)

Don’t Judge Foreign English Speakers by Their Mistakes!

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

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

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…)

Why Being a Foreign English Speaker Gives Me an Edge Over ANY Native English School Teacher

You can call me a foreign English speaker or a non-native English speaker (although I think that by labelling someone a ‘non-native English speaker’ you set them apart from other English speakers!) , but all that really matters to me is that I’M AN ENGILSH SPEAKER. I don’t care if anybody sees my foreign background as a natural disadvantage when it comes to communicating with others in English because I know it very well that my spoken English is sufficient for the things I do on a daily basis. Well, I do have my ups and downs, but then which foreign English speaker doesn’t experience some fluency fluctuations? Anyway, I am prepared to step it up a notch and make a really daring statement. Not only I think my foreign background isn’t a disadvantage; I also believe that by being a foreign English speaker I have an edge over ANY native English school teacher when it comes to understanding issues experienced by those who learn and improve their English :!: And if you take into account I don’t hold any TEFL qualifications, I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw my claim on the border of outrageous. I mean – how can a chap who’s been struggling with spoken English up until a few years ago, say that he’s better than any professional native English teacher? Keep reading this article and I’ll provide hard proof to back my claim! (more…)

Stop Preparing Speech In Your Head Beforehand!

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

English Fluency Monitoring & Management

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-bcbqk6OmA Are you into something? Are you a big sports fan and you follow the English Premier League or National Football League and work out in a gym three times a week? Are you mad into photography and you always show up at parties and other occasions with a camera strapped over your neck? Or maybe you’re big into reading and you spend all your free time reading crime fiction? Well, even if you’re not interested in anything I just mentioned, you definitely have some sort of interest in something that can be classified as a hobby. Even if you spend the biggest part of your free time playing Xbox or just watching telly, it’s something you can use in order to improve your English fluency, I’m sure of it! (more…)

Confidence Lesson From Kristen Stewart For All Foreign English Speakers