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!

WILL and GOING TO English Future Forms: How to Use Them in Conversations

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q3pSzWrcek Welcome back to another Practical English Grammar lesson where we talk about Future in spoken English and how to sound fluent and natural when talking about future events! In the previous video we looked at how to use Present Progressive Tense – also called Present Continuous – for describing future events. The most important bit of information from that lesson is to perceive Present Progressive as the basic grammar tense for describing future. You know – in 9 times out of 10 foreign English speakers use the traditional WILL + verb in infinitive Future Tense when speaking about future events, but it transpires that this grammar form is being massively overused :shock: Many future events we talk about on a daily basis have been arranged prior to the conversation, so we can confidently use Present Progressive instead. For instance, you have to say “Sorry, I’m watching a very interesting TV program tonight” instead of “I will watch a very interesting TV program tonight” if you have a conversation with your friend and he asks you if you can go out with him tonight. By now you’re probably getting slightly confused over my ramblings on future in spoken English. Judging by the previous video, one might think that WILL + verb and GOING TO future forms are redundant and there’s no need to use them. Especially if you take into account that I said that you’d be better off overusing Present Progressive rather than the WILL Future Tense – to many it may sound as if I’m saying that you can speak English and use Present Progressive ONLY when it comes to talking about future events. Well, it’s not so. Other Future forms are also necessary; you just need to know WHEN to use them :!: So today let’s look at the traditional English Future Tense – WILL + verb in infinitive and also the GOING TO Future form and how to use them in conversational English. (more…)

Don’t Look for a Silver Bullet when Improving Your English!

In these modern times everyone expects FAST and EASY results. Just look around you – celebrities go on crash diets and lose weight FAST (and EASY, too). Bodybuilders pile on massive poundage within a couple of weeks during the bulking phase of their training regimes (with a little help of anabolic steroids, but – hey, does anyone mind as far as the gains are big and FAST?) Enormous, record-breaking and futuristic-shaped buildings are built in Dubai under very tense deadlines – and it also has to be done in a record-short time and FAST. These days they build faster trains, faster planes, faster food processors and faster computer processors. There’s hundreds of thousands of interlinked industries operating on our planet 24/7/365 and – you guessed it right – they operate under strict regulations, tight deadlines, and people have to work damn FAST to make everything happen. Did you truly believe a couple of decades ago that modern technology-driven world will eventually give us more free time and robots will perform all tedious and time-consuming tasks? I’m sorry to ruin your dream, but the harsh reality is that the more you can accomplish, the more free time you have for being even MORE PRODUCTIVE, so eventually you’re forced to learn how to get things done FASTER (and EASIER – as enforced by modern advertising, so the gullible crowd falls for yet another improved washing powder which helps them achieve impeccably white clothes compared to the old, crappy product X). Not surprisingly, the very technology we design and produce helps as along the way, and these days getting fast results in any aspect of life is irrevocably linked to using special equipment, professional advice, special courses, or a piece of software. Want to have a perfect six-pack abs? You definitely have to use one of those thousand abs machines. If you don’t – you’re guaranteed to sustain spinal injuries or at least a sprained neck trying to do the same ol’ abs crunches (never mind Rocky never used one in any of his films…). Want to make some extra money by doing part-time cleaning job? There’s no way can you start doing it unless you have passed a special course teaching you how to use a brush and mop up the floor! Do you see where I’m going with this? These days the world has gone mad by trying to optimize, standardize, streamline and super-size. These basic assumptions – that one has to achieve things FAST and use a set of sophisticated, very technical METHODS – has been deeply ingrained into our society’s collective awareness :!: The very same goes with English improving. (more…)

Having a Bad English Day? So Does Everyone From Time to Time!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xirWOwOndls In this video episode I want to focus on the very essence of the English fluency issue – namely – its wavelike occurrence. If you have this annoying English fluency problem when you can speak quite fluent English on some occasions, but on others you suddenly perform very badly, then you have definitely noticed that this phenomenon fluctuates. Basically it means that moments of very bad English fluency are followed by very good performance and then it goes back down again. These fluctuations tend to be quite random, and that is probably the most annoying thing about the English fluency issue. You could be speaking very well the night before some important event, but the next day your performance is so bad that you feel like your English is utter rubbish :mad: So, while the upper end of the English fluency issue scale is definitely too severe to live with, there’s much we can understand by looking at the different levels of English speech you have at different times and it’s worth analyzing a bit. The end-goal of today’s video episode is to help you realize that ups and downs in speaking English are quite normal as far as your English speaking performance isn’t severely limited by those low moments. If it is - you definitely have to work on this English fluency issue and there’s no better help with this than my English Harmony System. But if the symptoms are limited to slightly impeded speech, hesitation and occasional inability to find just the right words when you want to say something in English, you have to remember than it’s absolutely natural to experience performance drops in all aspects of life! (more…)

How I Stopped Being a Non-native English Speaker…

Wake Up from the English Grammar Matrix!

I have an impression that the majority of foreigners who want to improve their English are obsessed with English grammar. And mind this – I’m not using the word “obsessed” lightly. I’m using the word’s “obsessed” most extreme meaning! Now I'm going to draw a typical profile of someone who wants to improve English – and don’t be offended if you recognize yourself by my description. I’m doing it for your own good, and you’ll find out why I’m doing it in a few paragraphs! So here’s the typical foreign English speaker talking about his/her English fluency issues: “I want to improve my English. My grammar is very bad and I feel embarrassed when I speak English with others. I can understand English very well when I read newspapers and when others talk to me, but when I start speaking I make many grammar mistakes. I know that I should improve my English grammar to start speaking better, and I’m desperate to become more confident. Can you suggest a good English grammar book or software that would help me improve my English grammar?” Whenever I get to read or hear something like this, it makes me angry. No really, putting all jokes aside, it makes me really angry :mad: “Why don’t you understand that English grammar has nothing to do with your spoken English confidence! Arghhhhhh!!!” (more…)

Conquer Your Fear of Making Mistakes when Speaking English!

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…)

4 Reasons Why Studying English at School Won’t Make You a Fluent English Speaker

Many of us, foreign English speakers, began our English studies at school, so it would be only logical if the vast majority of use spoke impeccable English. Seven years long English studies will supposedly make you into a near-native English speaker, and we shouldn’t expect anything less from our educational system, isn’t it right? When an average student is required to speak English in an informal situation, however, the cold reality hits home – most of foreigners having gone through the standard educational system are very poor English speakers :!: I went through the whole spectrum of emotions starting from shock and ending with despair when I realized that my real-life English was useless back in the days when I just moved to an English speaking country. Throughout the following years up to present days I’ve improved greatly and at the same time I’ve also figured out why my school English studies didn’t contribute into my English fluency at all! What you’ll read below might shock you and you’ll realize that you’ve probably never looked at this subject from this perspective before. Sometimes a cold shower is necessary, though, so that you can start thinking outside the box and draw the right conclusions about your previous and existing English studying efforts. Whether you’re in Malaysia, Argentina or Canada and thousand miles separate you from other English students of different race, nationality and language, you’re most likely sitting in a classroom with 10 – 30 other students and staring at your English teacher… (more…)

How To Speak About Past Events During English Conversations

“Don’t focus on studying English grammar – go for spoken English instead!” – this is one of the few phrases you can read on my blog nearly every time I publish something. Reasoning behind this statement is that if you learn to speak correctly, you’ll also learn English grammar along the way. You see – grammar is set of rules binding the words together and determining their place in a sentence. The more you learn English in a natural way, the more you’ll start developing the special “feel” for correct English grammar and you’ll instinctively know how a particular thing has to be said. Real life conversations can sometimes go against standard English grammar rules, and it’s important for you as a foreign English speaker to be aware of such exemptions :!: Not that you’re required to stuff your spoken English with slang phrases and pose as a native speaker! It’s just useful to know that sometimes you can ignore one or another grammar rule to make your speech easier and friendlier! In this video I'm discussing how native English speakers speak about past events during a conversation, and the respective choice of English Grammar Tenses. It can be quite confusing for a foreign English speaker to get the tenses right – especially when we start looking at the Perfect Tenses and such. So watch this video to see how you can make your life easier and also make your English speech sound more native! ;-) And of course, if the video playback is hampered for some reason – have a read of the video script below! (more…)

Written English is from Venus, Spoken English – from Mars!

Respect Your Native Language in order to… Speak Fluent English?

I've been constantly consumed by improving my spoken English so quite naturally I’ve been thinking in English, speaking English, reading English and also writing in English for the biggest part of my daily routines. As for my native language – Latvian – well, not much to say! I use it as means of communication with my family and other Latvians in the area, and I never paid too much attention how I spoke. After all, we all speak our native languages perfectly because that’s what native speakers do, right? I was actually quite surprised to discover that’s not really the case! And what’s more surprising – I also realized that one has to speak correctly in his own language to be good at spoken English :!: Are you confused? Are you thinking – “What on Earth has my native language got to do with my English? They’re too different languages and I already know my mother tongue as good as any other native speaker!” You’re right. Your language and English are different subjects. Languages don’t only differ in terms of phonetics, vocabulary, and grammar – they also reflect particular nationality’s and society’s lifestyle, customs and even different thinking patterns. However, there is one aspect that your language and English have in common. Clarity of thought! (more…)

Face Your Biggest Fears – Halloween Ghosts and English Speaking!

Warning! Don’t Start Improving Your English Before Watching THIS!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-IGQFq0-gc You’ve figured out that your English needs improvement. You’ve been putting it off for a long time but finally you’re ready to get down to the business. Maybe it’s the circumstances forcing you to start working on your English improvement – such as moving to an English speaking country or facing English speaking customers at work. Maybe you just feel like starting something new and refreshing your English knowledge sounds like a good idea. Whatever the reason – don’t jump into 101 activities for improving your English unless you’ve watched the 25th English Harmony Video Episode! It’s a MUST see video if you don’t want to end up in a vicious circle of chasing your tail :!: (more…)

7 Ways to Kill Your English before You Even Start Speaking

Over the years I keep seeing the same mistakes being made over and over again by those who want to improve their English. But it’s really shocking to see that not only is reading and writing based English learning encouraged but speaking English is discouraged! Moreover, I found this genius approach of improving English by cutting out speaking on an authority website - I'd better not give its name here... Well, it would be folly to hold the website responsible for all their contributors posts – after all, even Wikipedia.org is full of wrong and misleading facts. Still the first point on the article I read voices the standard notion in the industry – and here it is: 1. Talk less and listen more. Brilliant, isn’t it? Shut your mouth, foreign English speaker, don’t practice your speech but instead focus on passive language input! This is the gem among all recommendations I’ve read online targeted to foreigners who want to improve their English, and I can’t stress enough how WRONG it is. (more…)

Does Reading Help You Improve English?

This time we'll be talking about reading and if you can improve your spoken English by reading plenty of English literature – starting with newspapers and ending with books. I’ve actually wanted to discuss this topic for a good while now, so believe me – I’ve got a lot to say in this regard! ;-) OK, here’s the controversy about reading and its effectiveness when it comes to improving your English. Reading is being mentioned all across the board as one of the most effective tools of improving one’s English. And I can partially agree with this only as far reading understanding is concerned. My conviction is however, that being able to communicate effectively is paramount if you live in an English speaking country. While being literate when it comes to reading and writing English is undeniably an essential part of general English knowledge, I think that the ability to speak fluently comes above all else. And this is why it’s so controversial – while the whole English improving industry is build mostly on reading and writing, hundreds of thousands of foreigners are struggling with speaking the English language! (more…)

Is It Possible To Improve Your Spoken English By Watching TV?

Defining Your English Comfort Zone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjcMHEr_ZJs Hi folks, and welcome to the 20th English Harmony video episode! I really hope you enjoy watching my videos and you gain plenty of useful advice to implement when you’re speaking English! Today I’m going to tell you about a certain aspect of being a foreign English speaker – namely, being aware of the fact that on certain occasions you lack English understanding and also you’re not probably able to speak as well as you would want to – and all this even if you’re not experiencing the typical English fluency issue whereby you’d be getting stuck in speech. So let’s analyze such situations and figure out if you need to take further action. To do it best you’d need to take a better look at your everyday life and analyze if you’re fully comfortable with English you use to get by at work, when socializing, and also when enjoying your hobbies ;-) (more…)

How To Speak English Like A Native – Part 2

How To Speak English Like A Native – Part 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/pjYVTe0mcGg 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! 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…)

Phrasal Verbs – Great Way To Improve Spoken English!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/2-16WWZIUg44 Spoken English is stuffed with phrasal verbs and if you’re serious about improving your spoken English you definitely need to pay attention to them. What I find fascinating about the English language as such is that there are actually three types of English expressions – formal, colloquial and slang; these three are like separate dimensions of the same language. Colloquial English, which I also refer to as spoken English, is used in everyday situations and is stuffed with phrasal verbs which are also OK to use in more formal situations, and that’s the great thing about them :!: My native language – Latvian – has only two distinct vocabularies – formal and slang and there are no equivalents to phrasal verbs. But then modern English has been influenced by so many languages – Latin, French, Germanic languages and others – that it’s no surprise you can express nearly every action in so many different ways. Let’s have a look at the following example. You’re coming back from the local music store where you intended to buy concert tickets but unfortunately you didn’t get any. There’s a number of ways you can put the bad news to your friends. “I didn’t buy the tickets, I was too late and all of them had been already purchased” is quite a formal way of communicating the message to your peers – note the Past Perfect Tense “had been” and the formal verb “purchased”. A more friendly way of saying the same thing would be “I didn’t buy the tickets, I was too late and they were all snapped up” or “I didn’t buy the tickets, I was too late and they were all sold out”. Notice the phrasal verbs “to snap up” and “to sell out” – they’re typical to everyday English conversations and they’re not vulgar or rude in any way. As I said above - you can also use the same phrasal verbs in more formal situations with no problems! (more…)

How To Learn A New Language In Super-short Time!

A few months ago I came across a website of an Irish guy called Benny – and I must say I was really impressed with what I found out about him! Benny speaks 8 languages at the moment... I’m saying – at the moment – because God only knows how many he will speak at the time when you read this article! Basically this is what he does – he takes on 3 month long missions to learn a new language. Yes, you got me right – 3 months! :!: While for most people it would take 3 months to get around basics of a new language, Benny masters his target language to fluency. Amazing, isn’t it? Well, if you think he’s a genius capable of acquiring tens of thousands of words in the target language and master it to a complete fluency in 3 months – it’s not really the case. For Benny as well as for me achieving fluency in a language doesn’t mean acquiring all academic grammar knowledge about the language along with huge vocabulary. (more…)

How I Define Real English Fluency

How To Achieve Fluent English Reading Knowing Only 70 – 80 % of Vocabulary!

For those foreign English speakers who are big into reading, but still haven’t started reading English literature. If you think achieving English reading fluency requires building huge active English vocabulary first – you’re in a nice surprise! Although I’m generally discussing all things about improving spoken English on my blog, I’m a keen reader too. I have loads of English literature sitting on my book shelves. It covers different topics starting with yoga and meditation and ending with political and economical writings. The biggest part of my books, however, is taken up by historical and fantasy fiction and these genres are my favourite ones. Initially I started reading English in order to improve my overall knowledge of the language. I made a mistake in that I didn’t actually define which aspect of English I needed to focus most on. For some reason or another it wasn’t clear to me that different aspects of English language – reading, understanding, writing and speaking aren’t merged into one big thing called English. I achieved complete English reading fluency but I was perplexed about the fact that my spoken English wasn’t coming along. I haven’t had any regrets for a single second, though, having mastered English reading skill. During the last years I haven’t read a single book in my native language. For the most part it’s because I’ve fallen in love with David Gemmell’s fantasy fiction so much that I’ve read all his books and I re-read them every now and then. And also taking into account I live in an English speaking country it’s not hard to understand why I choose to buy books in the local bookstore. (more…)

Top Secret! (How To Achieve Truly Confident Spoken English)

Does It Irritate You If Native English Speakers Make Wrong Assumptions About Your English?

Let’s say you’re having a conversation with a native English speaker whom you’ve met for the first time. It could be a sales assistant in a shop, or a member of staff in McDonalds. You’re being asked a question, and you’re taking a few seconds to think on it. And here’s the thing that annoys me a lot – on many occasions the native English speaker mistakes your moment of silence for lack of English understanding when you’re actually thinking over the very question asked! :mad: Please forgive me, native English speakers, if I’m being unfair to you but I just want to discuss this issue at length in this blog post as I feel it might be not just me who sometimes feels the same way. Here’s a real situation I had last summer when I was visiting one of costal towns on the south cost of Ireland. I had just parked my car near the seaside and was looking for the parking ticket machine. Eventually I found out that parking had to be paid in a nearby souvenir shop so I walked in and asked the lady where and how I could pay for parking. She asked me how long I was going to stay but I didn’t give a straight answer because I started thinking over her question. The lady from the souvenir shop, however, didn’t wait on my answer. Instead she repeated her question using very simple and slow speech involving hand gestures. It was very much the same way you’d speak to a deep-jungle tribesman who’s seen a white person for the first time in his life! Apparently she thought that I didn’t answer her question because I didn’t get was she was saying – not that I was just thinking over the very question and trying to decide how many hours I was going to pay for! Frankly speaking, I hate when my level of English is judged is such a generalized manner. It’s kind of – if he didn’t answer instantly in perfect English, most likely his English is so poor he didn’t even get me! :mad: (more…)

English Vocabulary Building – Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APVOydFTifQ Vocabulary Building Part 1 | Vocabulary Building Part 3 Here we go with the next video episode – and this is the tenth one. Two and a half months in production – not bad, is it? I hope I have enough dedication to see the hundredth one online and there’s no better way to achieve it than by taking just one step at a time… ;-) This time let’s look at the following thing – eliminating your native language from the English vocabulary building process. If you’re like the majority of language learners, most likely you’re using your native language dictionary to explain new English words and phrases. You probably also have a pocket dictionary where you write down the new words and by repeating them on a daily basis they become a part of your overall English vocabulary. Haven’t you noticed, though, that you actually can’t use most of your vocabulary when you have to speak English? And have you not also noticed that sometimes when you try to think of an English word, your native language words start getting into your way? Well, it’s the typical English fluency issue I was facing for long years, and it’s partially down to memorizing new English words through my native language. (more…)