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!

Differences Between Your Active and Passive English Vocabulary

You must have heard the terms ACTIVE and PASSIVE English vocabulary, right? Chances are, however, that you’re not entirely sure what exactly these terms represent! I decided to draw up a simple algorithm based on which you’ll be easily able to determine whether a specific word or term is part of your ACTIVE or PASSIVE English vocabulary! So, just pick a random English word and answer the questions below – I’m absolutely certain that you’ll have a pretty clear picture of what ACTIVE or PASSIVE means in terms of English vocabulary when you’re finished with this :!: So, have you a better idea now what ACTIVE and PASSIVE English vocabularies represent? Let me just recap it here for you so that you can rest assured you got it right! (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: It’s not that… it’s just that…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3R0_zRG2oNY Today’s idiomatic expression rather falls under the category of typical English speech patterns because it consists of two parts - “It’s not that… it’s just that…” – and provides a blueprint for the whole sentence! It’s funny, but I haven’t heard this concept of typical English speech patterns anywhere else so I’d like to claim full copyright for coining this term and also using it. It’s a joke, of course, but on a serious note - ...it’s very important to learn such and similar speech patterns because that’s how you become capable of speaking without much thinking about HOW you’re going to wrap up your thoughts :!: When you do some research on English sentence structures, all info is centered around syntax - simple sentences, compound sentences and so on. Does that type of information help us to speak more fluently? Nope! All it does is facilities our analytic facility which is in fact detrimental to our oral fluency! Don’t believe it? Please read this blog post where I’m clearly illustrating what happens in a foreigner’s mind when they’re overwhelmed by analyzing everything they want to say which is a direct result of extensive grammar studies! The phrase “It’s not that… it’s just that…”, on the other hand, provides a very practical blueprint for a sentence, and all you need to do is fill in blanks with the respective concepts and words (collocations and expressions, of course, also come in handy to help you with that!). You don’t need to categorize it, you don’t need to analyze it. Just take it for what it is – a natural English speech pattern that can be memorized and used in your daily English conversations! ;-) Chat soon, Robby

5 Ways of Passive English Immersion

Recently I wrote an article about 4 Ways of Active English Immersion which included thinking, counting and also speaking with yourself in English – mad stuff altogether! But in order to achieve complete English fluency you should be prepared to resort to unconventional methods, and I really suggest you put my advice to good use if you want to see your spoken English come along. Let’s face the truth, however – you can’t possibly speak English ALL THE TIME. There will be times when you just lie down on a couch to relax after a hard day’s work when all you want to do is enjoy a movie or your favorite TV show, or have a read… As you might have already guessed, today’s blog post is about passive English immersion. It’s when you don’t get actively involved in the process through speaking but you soak up the information by listening, watching and reading. Before we look at the ways you can achieve passive English immersion, here’s another nugget of information for you. It’s been widely claimed that the first stage of any language acquisition is mostly listening and only then comes the speaking phase. Parallels are drawn between studying English and how small children learn their first language. Apparently the child doesn’t know how to speak and he only listens to adults and then starts to replicate sounds, words, and sentences. The proponents of this theory conclude that adult language learners should replicate this language acquisition model because it’s obviously the most natural one, isn’t it? This notion has become so common that many English teachers will even tell you to focus predominantly on listening and reading in order to prepare yourself for the next stage which is speaking… My dear foreign English speakers! It’s the biggest load of crap you’ll ever come across when it comes to learning and improving the English language! The simple truth is – and you can read my life story here - that you just won’t become a fluent English speaker no matter how much time you spend on reading and listening. Passive English immersion is great combined with active immersion and the priority ALWAYS goes to the latter one :!: It’s your MOUTH that you speak with, not your eyes or your ears, and I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to get it? If you spend most of your time listening and reading, you’ll develop huge passive vocabulary (words you RECOGNIZE but struggle using in real life conversations). If you spend most of your time speaking, on the other hand, you’ll develop your ability to speak, and it should be the top priority to any foreign English speaker. So – use the following passive English immersion methods in between your active immersion activities, and you will see your English improve in no time! (more…)

How to Decide What New English Words to Learn?

Don’t Over-analyze Your English – Say SOMETHING!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hs32aotL_M Hi guys, and welcome back to the English Harmony video blog. Obviously, I’m Robby, your English fluency mentor, and in this video let’s talk about over-analyzing things when you are trying to speak or write in English. It happens an awful lot and it’s actually one of the main reasons why foreign English speakers fail to obtain fluency in writing and most predominantly in speech because they’re constantly trying to choose one of the available options.  Let me describe the whole situation so that it’s clear to you what I’m exactly talking about. Recently, I published an article and you may want to check it out here, and it’s called “1,000,000 English grammar questions answered by Robby”. Obviously there’s not a million of them there but it’s just that I’m going to be adding on more questions onto that article as time goes by so I can’t put a definite figure on it, whether it’s 23 or 28 or whatever. I just stuck in the figure “1,000,000” to make it more appealing for anyone who might visit my blog and read that article, right. In this article, I’m answering my blog visitors grammar related questions. It’s not really consistent with my English Harmony philosophy which is actually all against grammar analysis, basically do away with anything grammar related and just focus on your speech. By learning specific word groups alone, you’re going to get the grammar right in the end! Anyway, here’s the question which illustrates what I’m going to be talking about today: (more…)

Is Learning English grammar not important for speaking?

How to Talk About a Subject in English for a LONG Time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lR0LrAGwgP8 VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi, guys! It's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com with another video blogpost. Now, this time around, I'm going to be looking at the following question: “How to provide lengthy answers?” Say, for example, you are asked a question and the situation demands that you provide quite a lengthy answer. Normally, it's totally fine to answer using very simple, short sentences. Actually, it's one of the ways of getting your fluency back on track, and you may want to check out this particular article where I'm touching upon that subject, that there's nothing wrong with speaking in very short sentences because, for most foreign English speakers who are having these fluency issues, it's very challenging to speak using very long sentences. Oftentimes, those people will get very confused and it's all too overwhelming to handle that much information in one go. It's best to separate your thoughts into little, manageable pieces, right? But, other situations such as, for example, English exams, demand that you provide quite lengthy answers. Obviously, it just doesn't cut it in situations such as exams if you just provide one, short sentence as an answer, right? In most daily situations, that's totally fine. But, what to do if you find yourself in such a situation where you are actually required to provide quite a lengthy answer? And, as a matter of fact, this is a question asked by one of my blog commentators and here's the exact question, right? I'm going to quote: "I see you carry on for a long time discussing about a topic. How do you do this? Do you follow a certain method for a long time conversation on the topic? Please help me!” (more…)

Is It Possible to Become TOTALLY Fluent In English After 24 Years?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLWqdebqOzI I received an e-mail (or a comment – can’t really remember what it was because it got deleted by mistake!) the other day by one of my blog readers where he asked if it’s possible to master total fluency of the English language while living in an English speaking country for 24 years. As an example he provided the following video of two foreign English speakers involved in a debate in a TV studio – please check out the video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6tfkPwIpL0 I have to admit that the two professional journalists in the studio are completely fluent indeed, and it’s also a fact that 99% of other foreigners would look up to them because of their ability to speak fluently. (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “To say the least”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXVwlh_trY4 Another day – another English idiomatic expression for you to learn! Today’s phrase is “to say the least”, and it’ll come in very handy whenever you need to make a sarcastic comment or you want to drop a polite hint without sounding openly confrontational. Want to listen to some sample sentences? Please watch the video above where I’m providing you with enough information so that you can use this idiomatic expression – “to say the least” – in your daily English conversations! And also make sure to repeat, memorize and use this phrase in your daily spoken English practice. It’s the only way you’ll add such and similar phrases to your active vocabulary. Why active vocabulary is so important for us, foreign English speakers? Read this article to find out more! Chat soon, Robby ;-)

What’s Wrong With Traditional English Studies?

Using Perfect Simple And Passive Voice In Spoken English

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/0d2vKh7YwLA Hello everyone who watches my video blog – thanks for tuning in and finding time for watching my next video! I can assure you – your time won’t be wasted because today I’m going to highlight important aspects on using different English grammar tenses in live English conversations. First of all I want to give you an example. Here’s a simple phrase you’d use when you’d have finished doing something – I’ve done it. This is Present Perfect Simple – a grammar form to describe an action that has been finished at some time in the past but the actual time of its completion isn’t known. Well, so far it’s all fairly simple and understandable, and you shouldn’t have any difficulties with using a simple phrase like I’ve done it. But now let’s take it one step further and look at the same phrase only in Passive Voice this time. Just a quick reminder for those not sure what Passive Voice is – it’s a way of describing an event without mentioning who did it. (more…)

13 Music Idioms- Learning with Theme

Relationship Between Written and Spoken English is Really Weird!

Over the years I’ve been working in a number of jobs where I’ve been dealing with both non-native and native English speakers. My work colleagues. My superiors – managers, team leaders, supervisors – you name it! Our customers as well. Quite naturally, I’ve been constantly communicating with them. I’ve been engaging in all the necessary work-related verbal communication. I’ve been chatting with them during my break times. I’ve been participating in meetings. I’ve been sending dozens of e-mails a day to a lot of different people. Also, I’ve been running this blog since 2007 – you can do the math! – and I’m constantly dealing with my blog visitors e-mails and inquiries, not to mention my Fluency Star clients I coach via Skype. So, as you can imagine, I’ve made a lot of interesting observations in terms of people’s ability to speak and write. Did you know, for example, that judging by some native English speakers’ writing style, you’d think they’re just beginner English learners? Yes, it’s totally true and I’ve come across such people time and time again! And to be totally honest with you, sometimes their writing has been so bad that it’s made it next to impossible to figure out what they’ve actually meant in their e-mails :!: So, would you like to read more about my interesting observations in relation to English speaking, writing, non-native and native English speakers? Then find a comfortable seat, make yourself a cup of coffee, and keep reading this article! ;-) (more…)

4 Strategies to Stop Stumbling Upon Words When Speaking in English

Unless you’re a super-fluent foreign English speaker, you most certainly find yourself in situations when you stumble upon certain English words and sentences which leaves you frustrated and angry with yourself, am I not right? ;-) Well, I’m not talking about the typical tongue-twisters here such as “she sells seashells by the seashore” (try to say it out loud fast a few times in a row – you’re bound to make a mistake sooner or later by saying “she shells..” or something similar!) What I’m going to be looking in this article is simple words and phrases which are still quite easy to mispronounce because of repeating letters or similar sounds following each other in a quick succession: World Wide Web (letters “d” and “b” as well as the ‘R’ sound) I brought the bad goods back (letters “b” and “g”) What a wonderful world! (‘R’ sound) What happens sometimes when saying such and similar English sentences is the following – just because you’re trying to pronounce each sound within those words, your sound producing organs suddenly can’t cope with it, and that’s when you can implement various strategies I’m going to look at in this article. Let’s say, if you can’t get the sentence “What a wonderful world!” right and your tongue and lips just can’t seem to pronounce it correctly, you can re-write the sentence in your mind the following way: “Whada wondeful wold”. Try it, and you’ll realize that if you omit the letter “r”, (the ‘R’ sound isn’t that audible in this sentence anyway!) it becomes much easier for you to pronounce the sentence without getting your tongue twisted and you’re less likely to stumble upon words in the process. Bear in mind that I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to pronounce English words the right way. It’s just that I believe if you have to choose between struggling when speaking AND speaking freely albeit with a slightly incorrect pronunciation, you should go with the last option if your ability to speak fluently is very important at that particular moment in time. But now let’s look at some examples on how you can modify English words and sentences so that you can pronounce them easier :!: (more…)

How to Speak During a Job Interview If You’re a Non-Native English Speaker

The truth of the matter is that most foreign English speakers want to improve their English in order to improve their chances of getting a better job or getting that long-wanted promotion in their current company. So, the chances are quite high that you also cherish such dreams of improving the quality of your professional life, and I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that you’d like to be prepared really, really well when going for your job interview! Also, if you’re competing against native English speakers for the position, you may want to make sure you don’t expose your weaknesses in terms of your overall English skills, and most importantly – you definitely want to make sure you’re able to showcase your personal profile, relevant qualifications and past experience without any hiccups during the job interview. Now, do you think you don’t stand a chance of getting that job you desire if: You sometimes get stuck for words when speaking in English; Using the right English tenses during a conversation sometimes presents problems for you; You don’t know how to sound professional during important events such as job interviews and meetings? Don’t worry! In this and the next few articles dedicated to job seeking for non-native English speakers I’m going to provide killer tips for you that will see to your job seeking goals and make sure you put on a great show during the job interview! ;-) (more…)

English Collocation: “Not so dissimilar from”

Improve Your Spoken English Upon Success!

Any improvement process can be accelerated ten-fold if one focuses on the positive instead of the negative. Speaking in terms of spoken English improvement, I can paraphrase the above statement as follows: You can accelerate your spoken English improvement big time if you focus on your success (things you can say correctly) instead of focusing on your mistakes and imperfections. If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you’ll know that I’ve been writing about similar matters in the past. The following article, for example - Focus on What You CAN Say in English Instead of What You CAN’T! - highlights the fact that many foreigners feel overwhelmed by the feeling of NOT KNOWING certain things in terms of English vocabulary and grammar. I’ve also been pointing out that we, foreigners, should ignore our mistakes in the sense that we don’t have to freak out every time it happens; we merely need to take action upon it, simple as that! Well, this advice doesn’t always go down well with my audience because people often think I’m encouraging my fellow foreigners to ignore their mistakes and not improve their English (I’ve tried to explain it in this video and that’s the last time I’ve touched upon that subject), but nothing could be further from the truth! In today’s article, however, I’m going to put a different twist on the whole concept of making mistakes, spoken English improvement and success. I’m going to look at the EMOTIONAL connection between spoken English improvement and success, and how it affects your chances of succeeding as an English student. (more…)

6 Types of Foreign English Speakers: Which One Are YOU?

Check Out My First EVER Interviews – All About Me, English Fluency & How To Stop Struggling When Speaking in English!

 Recently I got interviewed by two English teachers for their websites – Ben who lives in Spain and Nate who’s settled down in Japan. These are my first interviews I’ve ever done, and as you can imagine, I had to use some of my own English fluency management strategies to keep a cool head, gather my thoughts and speak fluently because stress levels were high – especially in the beginning of those interviews! :grin: Listen to my interview with Ben HERE! And here you can watch 2 YouTube videos containing fragments from my interview with Ben: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5ZWgF1pCy8 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTQ39kQxee8 Click HERE to listen to me talking with Nate! What you can expect to hear in those interviews is pretty much everything about my background as a foreign English speaker – starting from my years long struggling to speak English fluently and ending with useful tips for my fellow foreigners on how to maintain fluent English speech. You'll also find out in those interviews: what is a "writing mode" of your mind and why it prevents you from speaking English fluently (interview with Ben) why speaking with yourself is the best way to improve your English when there's no-one to talk to (interview with Nate) and a whole lot more! So if you've got nothing to do on this Friday night (or any other day of the week), sit down at your laptop or PC and listen to me spilling the beans about what real English fluency is all about: Listen to my interview with Ben HERE! Click HERE to listen to me talking with Nate! Let me know what you think in the comments below! ;-)

Correct Yourself When Speaking in English Without Others Noticing!

Here’s how to improve your English listening skills when listening to my video: put the headphones on, playback the video and write it all down while listening to it! Video Transcript Below: Hi guys! Hello boys and girls and hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! It's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com obviously. And welcome – I was going to say velcome. This is one of those typical mistakes that some of us make. Instead of welcome we would say velcome. Basically instead of the “wa” sound we'd be saying “w” for some reason or another, you know. And it does happen to me on the rare occasion and now you actually witnessed that occasion but I'm not going to delete it out from the video. I'm just going to leave there on record just to prove you guys that making mistakes is nothing to be ashamed of. It's a – I would even say an integral part of your development as a foreign English speaker, you know. Because getting rid of mistakes altogether is not possible, right? Anyhow, now I'm having my Saturday afternoon green tea. Cheers. And to a healthy lifestyle, right? Instead of coffee these days I'm rolling with green tea pretty much all the time, and especially when I'm at work, the workload is really, really big I would say. Sometimes even overwhelming so green tea keeps me energized and focused and I would really suggest you start doing the same thing, right? If you're drinking coffee, switch over to green tea and you're going to feel the effects of it immediately! (more…)

David Gemmell’s Heroic Fantasy Fiction: How It Helped Me Define My Moral Code

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6I-d8_4b8zQ Hi guys on this beautiful Sunday morning! ;-) Currently I’m still reading GONE series by Michael Grant, but this morning I decided to tell you a little bit about English fiction that has had a deep and profound impact on my personal development and my moral values. David Gemmell. He’s the man. He’s the author of over thirty fantasy fiction books, and most notably – Druss the Legend novels. Druss is the character who struck a chord with me, and ever since I got to know him through David Gemmell’s heroic fantasy fiction, my life has never been the same. It might sound like a far-fetched claim, but it’s true nonetheless. Whenever I face a tough situation in life, I imagine what Druss would have done had he been in my shoes. (more…)

FGC Goal #1: Using American Phrases 13 – 24 in a Self-Practice Session

You Don’t Have to Learn the EXACT Meaning of New English Words!

It’s hard to eradicate habits picked up over years upon years spent studying English in a traditional setting – textbooks, translation, plenty of grammar studies – you know the drill! One of the most lasting effects of such English studies is the desire to figure out what EXACTLY a new English word means. Let’s say, for example, you’re listening to a radio news broadcast and they’re saying that the death toll has reached two hundred people following a massive volcano eruption on some distant Pacific island (this is totally fictional, my friend, so don’t go looking up news online about a recent volcano eruption – you won’t find anything!) So, the overall message is quite clear – two hundred people have lost their lives, and while you mightn’t know the word TOLL, the context reveals its meaning in an indirect way. Here’s what should be going on in your head as you hear the sentence “…volcano … death toll reached 200…”: VOLCANO + DEATH + 200 PEOPLE = simply means 200 people have lost their lives. It shouldn’t be like this: VOLCANO + DEATH + TOLL … what the heck is TOLL? Will anyone help me out with this one, please? Tell me what is TOLL, I need to know what it is!!! Here’s what I believe. I strongly believe that any foreign English speaker behaving like this knows deep down inside what the word in question MIGHT mean, and they also get the overall message. They simply like asking questions because it’s encouraged in a school setting, and this kind of behaviour carries on into the adult life making those folks question everything and anything that isn’t 100% understandable and clear-set. Are you one of those folks? Then keep reading this article and hopefully we’ll be able to deal with this problem once and for all! (more…)

Start Using English Contractions If You Haven’t Already Done So!

Learn Pronunciation by Equating English Sounds to Your Native Language!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzs2YgGuwFk Hello everyone! ;-) Today let’s touch upon some English pronunciation related topic, namely - how you learn pronunciation of new English words and how to mimic the original pronunciation to the best of your benefit when you are trying to speak them out loud. And here's a very interesting situation I encountered a few days ago at work. There’s a Polish girl in my workplace who's only learning to speak English and she asks me questions through her friend whose English is much better and every day I have to answer a few questions in relation to how you say this or that particular thing in English or how you pronounce a certain word or phrase. The other day, she asked me through her friend how to pronounce the word "drank" and then, to my big surprise, she repeated in perfect English "drank" and guess what happened? I tried to think of why she didn't make the typical mistake that so many foreign English speakers do when they read an English word letter by letter and then they would most likely say something like "drrrank" in case that particular language has the rolling ‘R’, as in my language. In Latvian, we roll the ‘R’s and many native counterparts of mine would have said "drrrank" with a rolled ‘R’ sound! So in this particular case Polish is a Slavic language, which is quite close to Russian. And it happens so that I speak Russian too and I know for a fact that all these languages have the rolling ‘R’s - so why did she not say, "drrrank"? Why'd she say "drank" in perfect English? Here’s why: she equated the English sounds to her native Polish sounds because she wasn’t looking at a written word but was simply trying to MIMIC what she heard! (more…)

You Have to EAT Well to SPEAK in English Well!

There was a time during this summer when I noticed my fluency wasn't what it used to be. Well, I would still speak very well, it’s just that I’d started spending more time on thinking of certain English words I wouldn’t be able to recall while having conversations with people which lead to more hesitation than normally. This wasn’t the end of the world situation for me – even after dealing with my severe fluency issues years ago I’d still experience a slump in my ability to speak without much thinking in English every now and then, and normally it would be gone in a day’s time or so. This time around, however, it was lasting for quite some time, and it got me thinking what was so different about all the various circumstances in my life and at work that would have made me go into this permanent mode of deteriorating fluency. (more…)