Sometimes It Makes More Sense to Acquire English Vocab as Part of Figurative Speech
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1rMxAYbNVM If you’re a keen English student, there’s a good chance you dedicate a considerable amount of your time to learning new English vocabulary. If you’re a SMART English student, you’re learning new English vocabulary in context (basically I’m talking about phraseology here) because that’s pretty much the only way to ensure you can use that vocabulary as part of live, fluent English speech. If you’re REALLY SERIOUS about your fluency improvement, however, you’re also being selective about the way you choose which phrase containing this or that particular English word you assign the most importance to! Let’s take, for example, the word BOG. I guess you know the word, but in case you didn’t know what it means (nothing wrong with that!) – it’s land covering an area of an overgrown lake where there’s plenty of soggy, moist soil and people have been known to get sucked into bog sinkholes because it’s pretty much impossible to get out of one. So, let’s say you just learned the word BOG, and you’re going to learn the most commonly used collocations containing that word to make sure proper mental associations are created in your mind: I was walking on a bog Walking on a bog may be dangerous Sucked into a bog sinkhole Bog oak woodwork (specific type of hardwood that’s being recovered from a bog having been there for thousands of years) If you learn these collocations (it’s just a fancy way of referring to word combinations), you’re so much more likely to be able to USE the word BOG as part of a live conversation for the simple reason that the word BOG is going to be connected with other words so they’ll all come out of your mouth without you having to construct a sentence from scratch. (more…)
Thinking in English Happens With Your Mouth
YearOfEnglish.com: Only YOU Can Decide When You’ve Become Fluent!
FGC Goal #1: American Idiom #33: AT LOOSE ENDS
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acB-JzCzXbE Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Have you ever been AT LOOSE ENDS? Not sure what it means? Well, no wonder you find it impossible to guess the meaning of this phrase; it’s a typical English idiom and you simply have to know what it means in order to understand the meaning of it! Still, it’s quite easy to infer the meaning of any idiomatic expression from context alone, and now I want you to give it a shot. Have you ever been unable to find your place after a break-up with a boyfriend or a girlfriend? That’s when most people find themselves AT LOOSE ENDS, and that’s when it’s of the utmost importance to engage in some other activities to take your mind off the problem at hand! Now, have you got a general idea of what the idiom AT LOOSE ENDS might mean? Are you still not sure? Then here’s another example. (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “There’s one thing I can say for sure”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRdQGseq6Fc Using the expression “There’s one thing I can say for sure” is a very handy and convenient way of letting your conversation partner know that you’re about to say something they don’t have a reason to disbelieve. There’s a couple of similar expressions you can use to convey pretty much the same message: There’s no doubt about… I know for a fact that… If you learn this particular expression, however – “There’s one thing I can say for sure” – you’ll have another English phrase added onto your active English vocabulary and you’ll have more phrases to choose from! (more…)
FGC Goal #1: American Collocation #7 – RINGED WITH CHAIN LINK, TOPPED WITH RAZOR WIRE
This English Stuff Is Too Easy, Give Me Something More Difficult!
How to Develop Your Ability to GUESS New English Word Meanings
Relax Your Abs to Get Your English Fluency Rock-Hard!
When you speak in English with someone, there’s more than just your mind and mouth involved. You’ve probably rarely given it a thought, but when we speak, our WHOLE BODY participates in the verbal and non-verbal communication. Your body responds to stimuli emitted by your brain. That’s why you tense up in stressful situations – your embarrassment, anxiety and stress translates in real body reactions. So far nothing new, right? Let’s keep going! The feedback between your body and mind actually goes both ways. Not only your emotions influence your body reactions – the opposite is also true! Basically I’m talking about how you can influence your mind and mental performance in terms of English communication by controlling your body. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it’s another useful strategy to be added onto a number of English fluency management techniques I’ve spoken about in the very detail on this blog. (more…)
How To Stop Getting Stuck When Speaking English
English Fluency Doesn’t Mean Being Able To Speak About EVERYTHING
What’s Wrong With Traditional English Studies?
We all started with English differently. Others started with self studying because of pure interest, like me. For some it was a necessity after moving to another country. However, as my website is dedicated to people having difficulties with maintaining a consistent level of spoken English, it is most likely that your journey into the world of English started with the written word. And actually this is where the biggest problems are hidden! :!: When we learned the language by writing words and memorizing them, we needed to write down the meaning in our native tongue. And this means having to translate the word from our native language to English, which is quite a natural thing, isn’t it? It is indeed. Only if it wasn’t stressed too much! Learning English at school means learning written English. Let’s be honest – how much of all the time spent in the English class we were taught to speak the language? I’m afraid – not too much. Teachers have to devote attention to all the students, have to explain grammar rules, new words and have to tell what new beautiful learning methods have come out recently…and as a result our English language develops as almost pure written language – and we can write well, don’t we? We form nice, correct sentences and we have all the time in the world to think of what words to use, in what order and what grammar rules apply in the particular case. And when it comes to the speaking part in the exam, or class practice we speak slowly and create nice English sentences in our head! OK, not all of the students are the same but I’m addressing us folks, the ones that share this issue of wave-like occurring lack of English speaking skills. So – in other words – no one teaches us to really SPEAK English! :shock: No one even mentions about how the very language is formed in our brain - native English speakers use blocks of words as they speak rather than linking seperate words together! Now try to analyze the processes in your head when you speak English. If your speech is unhindered at this moment and you can speak fluently – everything is fine. The words just flow out of your mouth just as the thoughts appear in you mind and you even don’t notice the very existence of thoughts. You just speak. Wonderful! If we always could perform like this… But now let’s see what’s happening in our head when the English speech issue takes place. You try to speak but the words get mixed up, the grammar is a mess, and the thoughts don’t flow naturally. Well – this is your mind gone into the translation mode! Sometimes you have some odd English words trying to push themselves into the wrong places, sometimes it’s your own language – you speak English, but some pieces of your native tongue’s thoughts just wouldn’t leave you. In the worst case scenario your mind switches to a mode of preparing the speech even before you speak it out! This one is really bad because it’s the hardest to fight with. Once I had this kind of an issue and couldn’t get rid of it for days – no matter how I tried to speak I had the second mind in my head working on its own and making the sentences up a moment before I spoke the very words. It feels as if you have two minds indeed. Imagine how the head feels like to work at a double of its capacity! Some of these symptoms have much in common; some are unique – like preparing the speech before the actual conversation. Anyway, the actual cause is the same - this is all because we’ve been taught to think in our language and even now when you can speak fluent English the reflex just wouldn't give up! To put is simply – the English language we use is mostly acquired by studies in the classroom, or by writing, memorizing, reading…in other words – doing everything but learning the language the natural way – like children do, for example. When I moved to an English speaking country my daughters were four. They started attending the school and soon enough they had picked up the basics of the colloquial English. Did they keep a dictionary, or jotted down grammar rules to memorize? No – all they did was – they chatted with the teacher and the classmates and the English language settled itself in their brain as a separate language – not as a translation version of their native language! :idea: I know this feeling very well – I speak another foreign language - Russian. I learnt it while being a little child and it has settled in my brain naturally. And the most funny thing – although my Russian vocabulary is actually smaller than the English one, I never experience a similar issue while speaking Russian. Even despite the fact that I haven’t actively spoken in this language for years. Even when I struggle for a word there are never some stupid thoughts nor words in Russian messing in my head – and as a result – I don’t experience this issue. But don’t despair – we’ll sort everything out and take the control of the language – just keep on reading and soon you’ll see what this is all about! ;-) Another really worrying indication of wrong English studies manifests itself the following way. Quite often I would imagine the word as it is written at the moment of speech. And why? I guess it’s because I used to keep a dictionary and repeat the words every now and then and memorize them as they stand in it. And what happens now is – instead of associating the word with abstract thought my mind just looks it up from my dictionary notebook. In other words – you can’t just speak out that word straight away; you have to spend a split moment to translate its meaning from your native language. :evil: This is less likely going to happen when the vocabulary is built not memorizing separate words but in real conversations – the very abstract meaning settles in your brain and there’s no need for your mind to look for something in the entries of your virtual vocabulary. But this all is especially visible at school English lessons – we all tend to think that writing down words and mechanically memorizing them will make our language better and more fluent. So wrong, it is all so wrong! :!: A language consists of thoughts, of phrases. Learning words and sticking them together is not going to make your English fluent! It’s all about the translation – if you try to use separate words as links to build the chain – sentence – you will use your native tongue in your mind. But you’ve got to think the language to speak it! OK – now we’re grown ups, we can speak very well and all the previously mentioned stuff shouldn’t present any problems…Still sometimes it does! So, how to fight this reflex and move permanently into a state of confident English? Is this issue purely based on anxiety and can you by calming down resolve it? My experience has taught me quite a different thing. I would sometimes experience incredible drops in the ability to communicate without the slightest touch of worrying or anxiety whatsoever! Well, I think you now got the main point – we have to eradicate the subconscious habit of translating from our native tongue into English! :idea: Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!
What I’ve Realized Having Lived in an English Speaking Country for 14 Years
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! Related articles: Emigration to an English Speaking Country: My Honest Opinion Top 15 Invaluable Pieces of Advice for Foreigners Settling Down in an English Speaking Country What To Do If You Can’t Speak With Natives in an English Speaking Country If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably heard me talking about living in Ireland which, as you may already know, is an English speaking country. In hindsight, I can say that it’s been one hell of a transformation – I’ve gone from a foreigner who’s barely capable of speaking conversational English to an English fluency mentor who’s teaching other foreign English speakers. I’ve experienced all the ups and downs one can encounter while living in an English speaking country. I’ve been told I’m a useless English speaker. I’ve been in all sorts of embarrassing situations – starting from not being able to order a meal in McDonald’s and ending with screwing up job interviews because of my inability to provide a coherent answer. But the great thing is that now, with all that experience under my belt, I can tell my students with the utmost certainty what kind of an attitude they need to adopt in order to survive and thrive as English speakers living in an English speaking country. It feels so great being in a position to help out others, and frankly speaking, I don’t regret anything that’s happened to me while I was a struggling English speaker. I like to think that everything that happens, happens for a reason, and I just HAD to endure all the hardship and suffering to emerge a fluent English speaker equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to help others who find themselves in the same boat. But now, let me tell you what I’ve realized over the 14 year long stay in Ireland; as you can imagine, I know a thing or two about life in an English speaking country! (more…)
Don’t Over-analyze Your English – Say SOMETHING!
English Idiomatic Expressions: “I’ve Been Meaning to… Never Get Around to…”
English Idiom: “It’s Not to Be Sniffed At!”
Don’t Try to Impress Others With Your English!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCg4wmfqQFI VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! In today's video, I'm going to touch upon a subject that I've actually spoken about before, and it's the fact that you don't have to try to impress other people with your English. Typically what happens is, when you're having a conversation with someone, deep down inside you're trying to show off your English skills. You're trying to show that person that your English is up to scratch, which is another idiomatic expression for you, which means up to standards, right, basically, good enough. And more often than not, it backfires on you, which means you end up being in a worse situation than in the beginning, in a worse situation than you're starting with. (more…)
You Can Say Nearly Everything Using the Word “THING”!
Group Communication: Why It’s Different From One-to-one Conversations + Tips & Tricks!
YearOfEnglish.com: 3 Reasons Why Enjoying Your Hobbies Through English is The BEST Thing You Can Do To Your FLUENCY!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kOM44ztGZY I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that you’ve had moments when you’ve lost motivation to keep improving your English and working on your fluency. Vocabulary and phraseology acquisition. Spoken English practice sessions. Reading and listening comprehension. All is nice and well up until the moment when you just get bored for the simple reason that you don’t see relevance of all those activities in your personal life! Let’s say for argument’s sake, you’re a fitness fanatic and you live and breathe all things fitness. You go to the local gym every day, and you’re very conscious when it comes to your nutrition and lifestyle. Now, if that’s the case, then you spend pretty much your entire free time being engaged in fitness related activities, and while you may have a dream of achieving English fluency for professional reasons, you kind of find it hard to dedicate enough time to English improvement related activities. But guess what? The biggest problem is the following: You’ve separated your fitness life and English fluency improvement and you perceive them as two different aspects of your life! No wonder you find it hard to motivate yourself to engage in a lot of English practice if you’d rather hit the gym one more time instead of learning another couple of English phrases and doing some spoken English practice… Solution? Combine the two: YOUR HOBBY and YOUR ENGLISH IMPROVEMENT ROUTINE! And here are the three main reasons why combining your hobbies and interests with learning and improving the English language is SUPER-BENEFICIAL to your fluency! (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “It’s only when you… that…”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gefTzIuA4B0 Here’s another daily English expression video, and this time around I’m looking at the following sentence: “It’s only when you… that…” Please note that this is not your typical English idiomatic expression, and I strongly doubt you’ll find it in any English phrase lists. Nonetheless, it’s important to learn such and similar sentences because they will help you greatly to make your point :!: Once you've memorized this sentence structure – “It’s only when you… that…”, you can apply it on countless different conversations! Whenever you have to emphasize something and further describe the fact you’re talking about – this sentence is perfect for that purpose. And of course – if you want to hear some examples of this phrase in use, please watch the video above! See you soon again, Robby ;-)
It’s OK Not to Be Able to Understand Specific English Accents
How To Get Involved When Speaking English
In this blog post I’ll be looking at one of the most dreadful things foreign English speakers come across – making MISTAKES. You might know the feeling – you start talking to someone in English, and then all of a sudden you make the most stupid mistake! And despite being a decent English speaker, the mistakes you make may create an impression that you’re just an English learner. It’s really irritating. It’s frustrating. Making mistakes like saying “he” instead of “she” or mixing up tenses and saying “had” instead of “has” should be something that only beginners do, isn’t that right? Yet it’s something that can happen to any of us no matter how fluently we speak! I’ve discussed this phenomenon at length on my blog previously and given plenty of advice on how to deal with those moments when you feel that you just can’t speak normally. At times there’s nothing better than just jumping into an English conversation and ignoring the mistakes you’re making. If it’s bound to happen, accept it and let go of the very fear of making those mistakes! Strangely enough, on many occasions it works. Having spent a few minutes chatting and forcing yourself to draw away your focus from mistakes to the conversation itself, you alleviate the self-imposed stress and your English fluency returns to normal. If it doesn’t help, you have to resort to another powerful tactic I’ve suggested previously on a number of articles and videos – slowing your speech down. On many occasions foreign English speakers are trying to match the speed of native English speakers’ speech and it can have quite the opposite effect. You may start stumbling upon words and make terrible mistakes just because you’re rushing your speech, and slowing down and pausing to pick the best fitting word is definitely a good idea. And sometimes when you’re so overwhelmed by the inability to speak normally, the best thing you can do is just forget about English for a while! Immersion in other activities allows your mind to “restart” itself and you can return to a normal English speaking mode the next day. There is, however, one aspect of making mistakes when speaking English that I haven’t yet touched on my blog. It’s about GETTING INOLVED when speaking. (more…)
Best English Phrase Memorization Techniques for Those Who Want to Speak Fluent English
Building English Vocabulary – Part 1
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlwBcmydYbo Vocabulary Building Part 2 | Vocabulary Building Part 3 Are you considering building up your English vocabulary? Well, it’s time to get started boys and girls! Let’s take out our English dictionaries and write down the new English word that you’ve just heard for the first time. It can also happen that you’ve already heard the word a few times and been wondering since what it actually means. In either case, you just put it down in your dictionary followed by a translation in your language. Now you can repeat the word a few times till it settles in your memory. Nice! Another word added to your English vocabulary! Another surefire way to build your English vocabulary is using flashcards. Just carry them with you and whenever you get a chance – memorize and repeat new English words. Sure your spoken English will improve in no time! Well, not really... It took me years and more than 7000 English words memorized using the techniques mentioned above to realize it’s making very little difference to my English speech. I had grown my vocabulary a great deal, no doubt about that. I new all those English words, I could understand them whenever they were used by others, and I could enjoy understanding the English language fully. Watching films, reading fiction, listening radio shows and news – and all that in English. Not bad, is it? (more…)
FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #1: TELL YOU WHAT!
What to Do If I Find Spoken English Self-Practice Boring…
FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #11: GOT A THING FOR
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTMVZmFGCrI Good morning my fellow foreign English speakers! :-) Today I got up a bit later – despite the fact that I’ve really GOT A THING FOR early mornings! Could it have anything to do with the fact that I attended a party last night and went to bed at around 2:00 AM? :grin: On pretty much any other day of the week, however, I’d be up and going by 6:00 AM for the simple reason that I love getting a lot of things done in the early morning hours while everyone else is still fast asleep! So, I’ve GOT A THING FOR early mornings. And, speaking of the opposite sex, I have to admit that I’ve GOT A THING FOR high cheekbones (in case you don’t know what it is – just do a Google search!) But what have you GOT A THING FOR? There’s no way, my friend, that you don’t have a thing for anything! It’s just human nature to be drawn to specific things or to be attracted to certain characteristics and features of members of the opposite sex, or indeed – to be attracted to a particular girl or a boy in which case you’d say the following: (more…)
Are you making these collocation mistakes?
Hey there everyone, How is your fluency going? What? Good. It's awesome then, but it breaks my heart when I see my dear readers, making mistakes while speaking or writing. And please don’t get me wrong, making a mistake is a part of the learning process, but correcting them is way more important than expanding your vocabulary or scaling up your fluency. Thus, without further fuss, let get down to the job: Pay close attention to the paragraph given below and find the mistakes from the context. Let’s see how many of them you are able to observe. (more…)
Having a Bad English Day? So Does Everyone From Time to Time!
Don’t Analyze the English Language Too Much – It’s Not Good for Your Fluency!
Update From Robby: New Job, Fluency Star Finished, Spoken English Self-practice Still Going Strong!
You’ll Never Need Legal English Terms and Vocabulary – Way Too Specific!
Repetition in Terms of English Learning & Weightlifting is the same!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8RYc5sNkwU When you go to gym and engage is resistance training, you perceive sets of repetitions as an integral part of your fitness routine. When you learn and improve your English, however, you may find that you have some subliminal aversion (you perceive it as something bad despite not really knowing why) to the very term ‘repetition’! You might perceive it as something robotic, something mechanical. But it doesn't necessary have to be like that :!: Yes, traditionally repetition and memorization is performed in a boring and mechanical fashion whereby you repeat individual English vocabulary words followed by the translation in your native language (and it’s very wrong, please read this article to find out why!) I wholeheartedly agree that this kind of repetition is boring indeed and it’s also detached from your real needs as a foreign English speaker. What you need instead is – contextual repetition & memorization. (more…)