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!

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…)

“Th” Pronunciation – Thank You or Senk You?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pie_oucVFN8 In video Episode #7 you’ll hear me discuss benefits and drawbacks of pronouncing the voiced and unvoiced English sounds ‘th’ – ð and θ - the traditional way. Generally I’m agreeing with the general English teaching principle of trying to pronounce those sounds as close to their native pronunciation as possible. Nonetheless, there are situations when foreign English speakers are much better off with replacing the ð and θ sounds with easier ones like d and t. I know that many ESL and EFL teachers would kill me for saying that, but I’ll risk it anyway! ;-) (more…)

Is English Difficult Or Easy To Learn?

Today I got to read an article written by an English teacher Locke McKenzie where he expresses quite an interesting view on difficulty of English language compared to other European languages – mainly German. The article was tweeted by Tim Ferris so I thought – must be something of value – and I spent some of my precious time :-) reading it. Basically Locke McKenzie is saying that even though initially it seems that learning English is child’s game compared to learning numerous verb conjugations, noun genders and absurd tenses in languages like Spanish, German and Polish, it’s not that simple at all… He describes his experience with German students in a classroom when trying to teach them which verbs are followed by gerund and which – by infinitive. For example – following English grammar rules the verb to enjoy is followed by gerund as in Locke’s example – I enjoy baking cookies. The students were asking him how they could know which words are followed by gerund on which he was forced to answer – there’s no rule… This, and also various English grammar tenses which were difficult for the German students to grasp, made the article’s author to conclude with the following words, I quote: We have a mongrel language that has taken on words and rules unnecessarily, adding bits and pieces of whatever we like until there is no sense of order at all. Our language is slowly dissolving into nonsense. Poets and creatives should be appalled. It isn’t good for anything but business and politics, the only sectors where the more cryptically you talk, the better your chances of striking a deal. With all due respect to the article’s author I really want to disagree. (more…)

English Possessive Case And All The Tricky Stuff!

Sacrifice Grammar To Improve Your English Fluency…?

Hello, how you doing? I’m fine, thanks for asking! By the way – did you notice anything unusual about the first sentence? Read this again – how you doing? Oh, yes – I can hear you say – there’s a word missing! The grammatically correct sentence is – how ARE you doing? Well, if I were your English teacher, you’d get A+ from me. The real spoken English though, can be quite different from the formal one and it’s not uncommon to drop some words when speaking just for the sake of simplicity. So for instance, when you write an essay, use the ‘how are you doing?’ phrase which is grammatically correct. But when you meet up your friends at work in the morning – you can use the spoken English equivalent – ‘how you doing?’ It’s easier and faster to say, it sounds more native and most importantly – it’s not going to do any damage to your English grammar at all! When you speak and write, two different areas of our brain are engaged, so you don’t have to worry that you’ll forget correct English if speaking more colloquial English. And that, by the way, is the reason why many foreign English practitioners find it difficult to speak fluently although their written English is perfect. It’s all down to the lack of practicing spoken English phrases – and here’s another example for you - how’s things? The grammatically correct phrase is ‘how ARE things?’ But in spoken English you can simply say ‘how’s things?’ – that’s two syllables instead of three! Shorter, easier and handier – don’t you agree? So here are the two greeting phrases you can use – how you doing? And – how’s things? It will cut into English grammar perfectionists’ ears, but you better not try being one of them. Being perfect and communicating with ease can sometimes prove to be quite the opposite! Happy speaking, Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

English Grammar vs Spoken English

Paraphrasing – A Brilliant Method Of Improving Your Spoken English!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCPJAzEVRLY On a daily basis, we all find ourselves in situations when we can’t find the correct word to say. You know what you want to say, but it just won’t come out! Many people refer to the phenomenon as being 'tongue-tied'. For foreign English speakers, this problem can be even more pronounced. You might have heard some news or read an article in a newspaper, and you want to tell the story to others. The problem arises when you just can’t remember the news word-for-word. Let’s look into the problem by using an example. The news on the previous evening announced: - The president issued a warning to all opposing his bill. You want to discuss the implications of the Presidents warning with your work colleagues, but you can’t remember the exact words. The solution is to PARAPHRASE the statement. Paraphrasing is defined as: -verb: express the meaning of something using different words. -noun: a rewording of a passage. Therefore, if we paraphrase the statement above, it can be said in many different ways e.g.: - The president issued a warning to those against his bill, or -The President warned those opposing the bill. All three statements convey the same message in different words. The statement has been somewhat simplified but does not lose its meaning! No one to whom you speak will correct you to say that's not EXACTLY what they said on the news! No one will even notice that the words have been changed. Paraphrasing means you don't have to be tongue-tied. You won’t have the feeling of knowing what you want to say, of having a word on the tip of your tongue, and not being able to say what you want. (more…)

No Perfection When Mediocrity Is Required!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/oECnKWDjbGs You’re a foreign English speaker. You’re speaking English with someone at work. You make a mistake – the wrong word in the wrong place or simply a slip of tongue. The very moment you catch yourself at it, it starts eating at you. You can’t just let it go because you’re very good at English and everything you say must be perfect. Your day is ruined because your colleagues have definitely noticed the mistake you've made and they’re laughing about you behind your back. You’re trying much harder to get everything right while still chatting, but as a result you start making even more mistakes! Does this sound familiar to you? If so – you should definitely watch Episode #3 of my English Harmony video blog! In this video I’m discussing the following points: Why making mistakes when speaking English is crucial to improve your spoken language; Why native English speakers won’t even notice an occasional mistake you make; Why you shouldn’t go for the other extreme – ignoring any English grammar rules and syntax and just keep blubbering away! (more…)

Don’t Translate Directly When Speaking English!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qthVRtOSh4w Hi Boys and Girls! I’m back with the second video episode – and I hope you enjoyed the first one! I’m still getting a hang of the video recording equipment in my home studio – so you may spot some small glitches here and there. But I think the video quality is decent enough for you to understand what I’m saying, what you think? So this time I’m covering a few seemingly unrelated topics – direct translation to English from your native language and English collocations. However, it just takes a few minutes to grasp the connection between those two. (more…)

How To Stop Getting Stuck When Speaking English

Topics For Practising Spoken English

You don't have anyone to talk to in English? Don't despair! You can actually practice spoken English with yourself! Does it sound weird to you? Well, it's not as bad as you initially thought! Image this - when you're taking shower in the morning, or walking your dog - you're on your own and as far as no-one is close by - you're perfectly fine talking with yourself! And by the way - it's a great way of organizing your thoughts and improving spoken English at the same time! So here are a few topics you can use if you don't know what you can chat with yourself about!  Talk about what you have done by now since the moment you woke up in the morning. Remember all the events that have happened to you – how you were driving or went by bus to work, what happened on the way – if you saw some interesting person, if there were new road works on the way. Talk about the weather this morning – if it’s nice or rainy and how you feel about it.  Plan your day – this is actually a good moment to remember everything you have to do during the forthcoming day! Make an appointment to the doctor, call to the bank about rejected direct debit from you electricity company, write an e-mail to your boss asking about your holidays, book airplane tickets – there’s always more or less to do everyday! While going through the list you can talk about those things in detail and predict how the events are likely going to evolve and how you’ll act.  Recall pleasant events from your past – your childhood, your teenage years and go through them. You’ll be amazed how many long forgotten things you can bring up in your memory! And the excitement is going to heal the English speaking issue as well – your speech will become more fluent as a result. Remember your school friends you haven’t seen a long time and all the mischievous things you’ve done together – crazy college years…  If you’re going for a meeting with someone - speak with yourself about the main points of the conversation. By doing so you’ll be better prepared for the real talk. Is it an interview, a meeting, or just a talk to your boss – it is always good to be prepared and now the main points.  Analyze your feelings at this moment – are you happy? Are you sad? Are you excited? What made you feel so? A number of things are going to appear in the process to talk about and maybe you’ll settle some issue eventually! Act like a psychologist for yourself! Try to tell yourself that after all there’s no point of being annoyed about something you cannot change and make your mind brighter.  Talk about the latest movie you’ve seen or the book you’ve read. Go through the events and describe them in detail – this is another powerful tool if it seems to you that there’s nothing to talk about.  After some entertaining night out or weekend trip to somewhere you’ll have plenty of things to remember – whether you met new people, something interesting happened, or you got into a funny situation.  If you have a relationship you can talk about your partner – remember all the good and the bad things you’ve been through together, think about how important he or she is to you and if you had a row the night before – think about who was right and who was wrong and what’s going to happen when you return home in the evening. Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

Improve Spoken English – Stop Translating While Speaking!

Do You Force Native English Accent When Speaking?

You’re speaking English with someone. You try to pronounce the words like they stand in the Oxford dictionary. You suddenly mispronounce one word, then another. Then you get confused and can’t speak fluently at all! Does this scenario sound familiar? It was happening to me all the time before I hadn’t realized a simple thing… This may sound really strange, but if you don’t force correct English accent when speaking English, you will feel that you can speak much better and more fluently! :shock: Don’t get me wrong – correct English pronunciation is important to speak the language and, of course, make others understand you. What I meant here is - don’t try make yourself sound like a native English speaker by all means – most likely it will hamper your speech even to a greater extent. Instead of focusing on the correct pronunciation and native English accent just speak and if you allow your native accent to surface a little bit – there’s nothing wrong with that! Remember - the key factors for improving spoken English and English fluency are to maintain a successful mindset and not try to use artificial vocabulary – just go for simple words you’ve learnt a long time ago! Personally I find that speaking with a slight native accent of mine I can maintain the fastest and most fluent English speech. Isn’t it odd? Well, I think it is! And here are a couple of tips on how to forget about sounding like a grammar book and focusing on live English speech instead! :idea: Next time you speak English try to use your own language’s pronunciation when speaking English. Just let it go and don’t try to force the super-correct English accent. It may sound really funny – like Italian mobsters from mafia movies – but you’ll discover that this way your fluency increases! :idea: Nothing else counts now but your confidence, don’t bother yourself with thinking what your speech sounds like. The most important thing is that now you can speak fluently and your mind is being exercised in a similar way you exercise your muscles in the gym. :idea: When you’ve spoken in this manner for a while, just stop and forget about English fluency and anything related to English. Do something you like for a while. When you speak with native English speakers next time you’ll discover that oddly your fluency has improved a bit! Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

How English Fluency Issue Manifests Itself

You suddenly can’t pronounce the words normally – although you know how a particular word sounds, it seemingly comes out of your mouth and distorts itself – letters get mixed, endings change and you have an impression that it’s another person speaking – not you! Solution: Learn Pronunciation by Equating English Sounds to Your Native Language! You can’t find the right words as you speak – you know what you want to say and normally you even don’t have to force yourself to consciously think about the words as such. However, when this English fluency issue is present, you seem to have lost it all and as you keep on speaking you can lose the whole concept of what you wanted to say – all because you concentrate on finding the right words! Solution: Incredibly Powerful and Super-Simple Way Of Using Google to Find the Right English Words to Say! You can’t maintain the clearness of thoughts – you are struggling to stick the words together but as a result the sentences coming out of your mouth are often hard to understand and lack the logical structure; Solution: Clear Your Mind and Achieve Complete English Fluency in 4 Easy Steps! No matter how good your English grammar is, sometimes you get everything wrong – tenses mixed up, incorrect forms of the verbs replacing the ones you needed to use and so on... Solution: Do You Find Certain English Grammar Constructs TOO DIFFICULT To Learn? Try This Easy 3 Step Plan! You have a notion as if hundreds and hundreds of English words are floating in your mind and it becomes nearly impossible to pick the right ones and form a proper speech. On the contrary, when your English speech is normal you just speak without having anything else in your mind! Solution: Learn How to Learn English Contextually so That Only the RIGHT Words Appear in Your Mind! To your utter dismay you can clearly notice that you think in your mother’s tongue and the resulting speech is a translation – not a normal speech! Solution: How to Develop Your Ability to THINK in English Even if you don’t think in your native tongue you experience an odd thing – as you speak, wrong words replace the right ones – even if they don’t sound similarly and there’s no other obvious connection between them! Solution: Conquer Your Fear of Making Mistakes when Speaking English! And, of course, the most devastating thing of all – your confidence is just literally draining away :oops: when you feel these symptoms take place! Solution: How To Achieve Truly Confident Spoken English! I guess by now you have certainly recalled nearly all these English fluency issue symptoms having manifested themselves at some stage in your life. This whole English fluency issue seems to be something like a mental syndrome and probably only a psychotherapist could help with it… Once I had such a thought as well, yes, but since I dealt with this speech problem myself – I can assure you that you also do it without attending a doctor! ;-) But now let’s talk about what’s happening behind the scenes when this issue occurs and let’s analyze the very roots of these sudden changes in ability to speak English normally. Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

English Fluency Problem

Let’s first talk about this English fluency problem so that you can analyze it a little bit and understand its nature. Let’s say, you wake up in the morning and while doing something you just have an odd thought in English in your mind. And…you realize that you just can’t express yourself in English language as you’d normally do! You try to say something in English to yourself and you feel that you can’t stick the thoughts together – your mind is full of different words and images floating and messing… Another example. You go to work and greet the first person you meet. “How are you! I’m fine, what was the weekend like?” – And then you suddenly feel that you have to force yourself to get even these simple things right! And when you start chatting to your workmate at your desk, you feel that you can’t speak normally as you could before, although only yesterday you could speak fluently as a native speaker! The usual mistakes you make when experiencing the speech problem are the following:  Not being able to find the right words  Mispronouncing words  Not being able to say the thought clearly! You start a sentence, and then the very thread of the thought vanishes, and something like a blackout takes place in your head. And then you get really anxious and nervous and it affects your whole day – your mood drops below zero, the self-esteem is gone, the confidence… well, it’s a disaster! I don’t exaggerate, I know the feeling all too well and I guess, so do you. The most baffling thing in this all is that no matter how often you speak, no matter how long you’ve been living among English speaking folks, the things don’t change! It keeps on repeating constantly and with no obvious reason at all! :cry: I remember myself being a job-seeker at one stage and I attended many job interviews. One day I could speak perfectly creating a really good impression about myself. The next day going to a different place I’d experience the issue described above – and, of course, I’d feel really low because the interviewer most likely thought – well, this guy can’t get the English right in the first place, what job is he dreaming about then? And I know you have gone through a number of really embarrassing situations similar to previously described and you’d be more than happy to deal with the issue once and for all, wouldn’t you? So first let’s list all the characteristics of this English fluency issue so that we can clearly see what we are trying to get resolved here! Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

India – the Home of Fluent English?

Improve English Fluency… Have A Coffee Break!

I’d like to share a funny story with you this time. As you already know, I’m not a native English speaker – and I live in a country called Ireland. I’ve been here for quite a long time and I’m not planning go back to my own country in the near future. And now I’m feeling like I’ve become a part of this whole culture, Irish traditions and everything else. But the first thing that struck me when I just arrived here was the local accent. Yes, I had studied English at home – but the way Irish spoke was something completely un-understandable! I always had to apologize and ask to repeat the same question again and again until I was able to get it! And I guess you may have experienced similar feelings having gone abroad or living in a foreign country, haven’t you? But today’s story isn’t about how well we can understand other accents and ways of pronunciation. It’s about how well the native English speakers can get what WE say. And here goes the funniest thing I’ve been telling my friends over and over again – and now it’s your turn! Whenever I go to some eatery to have a meal with my wife and daughters, or just myself, and order coffee, I don’t get coffee straight away. And please don’t think I’m being discriminated in any way – no, Irish folks are very friendly and today around 10% of the whole country population is non-nationals. And we’re very welcome in this country! No – it’s not that I’m ignored or anything similar. It’s just that Irish don’t understand I’m asking coffee… Yes, it’s really weird! The word ‘coffee’ is very simple. The pronunciation: [kofi:] – am I not right? Yes – and everyone pronounces the word this way. Imagine if you were an English national and someone asked you in a heavily distorted accent: [kofe:], or [ko:fe:] or whatever else – would you not get it? I guess – yes. But you see – I have to repeat the word around three times until the girl behind the counter says: ‘Ohh, right, you want coffee?!?’... But am I getting annoyed by this? You think I’m giving out about how unfairly I’m treated? Of course, not! It’s just another story about how different we people are and that our distinct accents and pronunciations are a part of the nature! No matter if it’s the Irish girl behind the McDonalds counter, or it’s you who has to ask someone to repeat what they just said – it’s COMPLETELY OK! It’s absolutely normal sometimes to get a bit confused, not to understand, mispronounce words and make similar mistakes. After all, we’re all humans, and humans do make mistakes, don’t we? ;-)

Simple Action Plan To Boost Your English Fluency

Do You Get Stuck In English When Hearing Yourself?

Hi Folks, This time I'd like to tell you a strange thing from my own experience - and I must stress - it's really weird! It's about getting confused while speaking English with someone - and you know why? Because I suddenly start hearing myself - my speech. And I instantly get knocked out of the normal speech rhythm and have to gather myself up. Why is it happening? Why would hearing your own voice make you feel embarrassed to an extent when you start speaking with a really bad accent and get stuck? I don't know the exact answer - but many of you have sent me e-mails telling the very same thing... (more…)