Nonsense of Learning English by Listening to Fast English Spoken by Locals
Back in the day, when I’d just come to Ireland and was still struggling with my spoken English, I was working in a massive warehouse offloading trailers all day long while at the same time trying to understand what my Irish supervisors and managers wanted from me. Why did I just say “TRYING” to understand? Well – guess what? – it’s not that easy to figure out what you’re told in English if the person in question speaks very fast AND with a distinct accent! Needless to say, over the next few years I did learn to understand the local speech, and nowadays the Irish accent has become so familiar that I’d pick it out in a crowd immediately. The heck, I can even imitate English spoken in Ireland a little bit myself now, so I have to admit that over time things have gotten much, much better in terms of understanding English spoken by people from all over the world. The reason I’m writing this article isn’t to conclude that you can just listen to fast English spoken by heavily accented local speakers and you’ll be just fine in a few years’ time down the line. It’s quite the opposite actually – not only it could very well be that you DON’T learn to fully understand the local slang (and please bear in mind it’s not just limited to English spoken locally; all these problems may occur when you’re listening to FAST English in general!), but also you could pick up quite a few psychological issues along the line! You may constantly strive to speak just as fast as natives and as a result you constantly stumble upon words and hesitate when speaking in English. You may develop a habit of comparing your English with theirs which has a detrimental effect on your fluency. And you may also find it very difficult to learn the English language to proficiency if you’re constantly forcing yourself to listen (or read) to something you only half-understand. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to persuade you that: Under no circumstances you should be exposed to English the way it’s spoken by natives in real life; You should only be exposed to English you understand 100%. If that were the case, you’d never learn anything because by the very definition LEARNING implies acquiring something NEW, something you don’t know yet. There’s a huge difference, however, between learning English by listening and repeating words, phrases and sentences that are EASY to understand AND listening to something you can only remotely recognize! (more…)
English Fluency Issues Is a Blessing in Disguise!
Update on My Personal Situation: Why I’m Doing a PC Course
Mimicking – The Best Way to Learn English Collocations!
If you read my previous blog post about English collocations, you’ll remember that a collocation is a group of two or more words that are naturally used together in written and spoken English – such as “a tough decision”, “renewable energy”, “foreseeable future” or “to draw a comparison between.” Many collocations are strong, which means that you if you replace one of the words with a synonym, native English speakers would notice that it doesn’t sound right. For instance, if you say “replenishable energy”, it would sound a bit odd because “renewable energy” has been accepted worldwide as a standard way to describe energy sources like wind, water and solar energy. Many collocations aren’t that strong. For instance if you say “a hard decision”, it sounds absolutely fine despite “a tough decision” being a standard collocation you’d find in English Grammar books. But why is it important for us, foreign English speakers? Why should we care about English collocations? The reason is simple enough. Bonds that keep words together in collocations also determine word PATTERNS in spoken and written English in general :!: We may be under impression that collocations were invented by English teachers in order to annoy students and make their studies harder. (Frankly speaking, I can partially agree with this if collocations are looked at as a separate section of English language studies instead of being used as an integral part of speaking and writing English.) In reality if we, foreigners, want to achieve English fluency we need to incorporate learning collocations in our daily English improving routine as part of acquiring new vocabulary and phraseology. You just can't ignore natural English word patterns otherwise your English will sound weird, simple as that! But don’t cram long collocation lists into your brain. Be selective! (more…)
There’s Always Someone Worse Off Than You!
The ONLY 3 English Grammar Rules You Need to Know to Speak Fluent English
FGC Goal #1: American Phrasal Verb #18: See What We Can ROUND UP
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_CgLyHNOOo Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Currently I’m reading the last book in GONE series, and here’s a sentence I came across yesterday: “See what food we can ROUND UP!” The situation in the book was the following: a kids settlement near a lake had been attacked by a monster of extraordinary powers, and half of all humans got massacred (quite grisly for a teenage fiction, isn’t it?). When the monster was fended off by one of the human mutants (you must be thinking now – “What kind of books are you reading, Robby?!”), the girl in charge started organizing their retreat to the town. Quite obviously, when almost everything you own is destroyed, first you have to see what supplies you’re left with, so that’s when this phrase “See what we can ROUND UP” comes in really handy! The funny thing is, I knew the phrasal verb TO ROUND UP in quite a different context. It’s a mathematical term and it’s used when rounding up figures. Let’s say, for example, if you’re asked to round up the number 27, you get 30. You can also round figures down, in which case 27 becomes 25 – and I’m sure everyone having even attended a primary school is familiar with this concept! Today’s video, however, isn’t about rounding figures up or down. It’s about using the American phrasal verb TO ROUND UP in a much different context, namely – when rounding up… (more…)
English idiomatic expression: “Pretty much the same”
“What Are the Most Commonly Used English Words?” is the Wrong Question!
Many of my fellow foreigners arrive to my blog while searching for the most commonly used English words, and there’s a good chance that you may be one of them! ‘The top 100 most commonly used English words’, ‘top 500 English words’, ‘English word frequency lists’ – such and similar keywords are used by thousands of foreign English speakers eager to improve their English fluency. But are these English word lists any good? Do they offer good value in terms of improving one’s ability to speak fluently? Frankly speaking, such frequency lists don’t provide a lot of practical value – if any! Why? Fair enough – give me a few moments and I’ll show you exactly why! ;-) (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression & Phrasal Verb: “Come up With”
Having a Bad English Day? So Does Everyone From Time to Time!
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…)
Taking a Break from Speaking English May Have a Positive Effect on Your Fluency!
Hello everyone! Finally I’m back from holidays and I’m ready to start working on new videos, blog posts and also keep on editing new English Harmony lessons. Yes, yes, you heard me right, the English Harmony System 2.0 is going to be updated with new lessons and I’m planning to launch the new miniModules later on this year. Have you taken this year’s holidays yet? Are you having them later on during the summer? Anyway, no matter when you have them, one thing is for sure – we all need to unwind and get away from it all for a while. And would you believe, it’s not only beneficial for you personally, it’s got a tremendous impact on your performance whatever it is that you do. (more…)
English Learning Principles for Total Beginners
20 Random Thoughts on English Fluency, Foreign English Speakers and Life in General
1. The English language is for everyone to speak. It transcends national boundaries, it’s become our modern day ‘lingua franca’, and no-one can really use the argument of ‘proper English’ because it is spoken differently in different places on the planet! 2. There are no quick-fixes or shortcuts when improving your spoken English. Contrary to what some English teachers will tell you, you can’t just listen your way to fluency; you have to SPEAK, SPEAK and SPEAK a lot! 3. It’s quite hard for the average foreigner to achieve a high degree of English fluency in the English language without living in an English speaking country. 4. It’s very difficult to improve your English effectively if you don’t enjoy life through the English language. 5. You may be saying it every once in a while that you’d like to improve your English but you can’t really do it because you haven’t got enough time, money, whatever. The truth is - it’s almost impossible to learn how to speak English fluently if you’re not REALLY MOTIVATED :!: (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “There’s one thing I can say for sure”
Focus on Your Achievements & Ignore Perfectionists if They Make You Feel Worse!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRbhtJtOWIg If you focus on grammar aspects of your language when you speak, you may experience the following problems: * feeling overwhelmed; * constantly analyzing you own speech; * lacking self-esteem :mad: All this in turn may result in terrible English fluency issues whereby you feel like all your achievements in terms of your ability to speak in English are for nothing! You may feel like you’re back to square one, you may feel as if you’re never going to be a decent English speaker – and it definitely doesn’t help if someone is constantly trying to point out your mistakes in the process! The reason why I recorded this video is because I was contacted by one of my blog readers and he asks me if it’s OK to do spoken English self-practice instead of speaking with people online who are focused way too much on the grammar aspect of the English language. Basically he says he reads a lot, and then he summarizes each chapter by speaking out loud and developing his fluency that way. He feels much better and more confident while engaged into that exercise than speaking with smart-arses who are hell-bent on getting his grammar right without being aware of what they’re doing to his confidence and fluency. (more…)
Have You Got the Guts To Improve Your English?
If you find yourself in a situation where you constantly dream of speaking fluent English, but haven’t achieved any noticeable improvement yet, you have to ask yourself the following three questions: “Am I really going to use and PRACTICE English or is it just wishful thinking?” “Am I aware of English improving methods that WORK or am I just relying on old-school approach?” “Am I putting off English learning and improving because it’s boring and I'm not good at studying anyway?” (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Along the Lines of…”
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! Hi guys, hello boys and girls, hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! It's Robby here obviously from EnglishHarmony.com and today I'm bringing you another daily English idiomatic expression video. Well, I guess by now you would have noticed that these idiomatic expression videos are not being published on a daily basis. That was the original intention a few years ago but as you can imagine I just haven't been able to keep up with that production schedule, publishing one video a day simply because of my Fluency Star students and everything but I just stuck with the name daily English idiomatic expressions, right? So I'm just going to give you a new one today, right? Because God only knows when is the next one going to come up, when I decide to publish the next one. But to tell you the truth I have a bunch of them recorded and then I publish them as I see fit, every now and then I would publish another one for you guys. Anyhow, today we're going to look at the following English idiomatic expression “along the lines of”, right? And obviously if you want to find out what exactly it means, when you can use this particular phrase then bear with me for a few more moments and everything is going to become crystal clear to you my friends! (more…)
Accelerated American Slang Learning: Watching all 7 Seasons of Desperate Housewives in Less than 3 Months
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…)
Ring Utility Company Phone Lines to Practice Your Spoken English!
3 Basic Rules of Effective English Communication
Whether you find it difficult to get fully involved in simple English conversations or giving speeches in front of a group of people, the same basic rules of effective English communication apply in virtually all situations. Without further ado, let’s look at the 3 basic rules of effective English communication: Rule #1: Know WHAT you want to say! Rule #2: Have EFFICIENT vocabulary and phraseology! Rule #3: PRACTICE as much as you can! Sounds too simplistic? I bet you’ll be surprised to find out how much there actually is to these simple 3 rules! Yes, it’s common sense that one needs to know WHAT to say, but if you think about it in depth, you’ll realize that on way too many occasions you’ve actually tried to say something despite NOT HAVING A CLUE as to what exactly you’re going to say! The rule about having efficient English vocabulary, however, is multifaceted. While superficial thinking might result in a simple conclusion: “Yes, of course I need to have enough means of expression to explain myself properly, what’s so surprising about this?”, there’s another dimension to this problem. Namely – the average foreign speaker often lacks confidence and isn’t aware of how much he or she actually knows, and if you know how to use your English vocabulary right, you can talk about almost any topic! This brings us to the third rule – frequent practice. Yes, also a very simple and common-sense suggestion; yet way too many foreigners expect to be effective communicators without trying hard enough. Just because you’ve spent years studying the language doesn’t mean you’ve become a fluent English speaker, and frequent practice is paramount when it comes to English fluency! (more…)
How To Speak English Like A Native – Part 2
Easy Guide on Omitting English Relative Pronouns “Which, Who, and That”
What Not To Expect While Learning a Foreign Language
The question as to why some learners seem to learn a foreign language with ease while others struggle much on the same remains a mystery to the foreign language and special educators. Unlike before when foreign language was not a compulsory subject, today, the study of an additional foreign language is a requirement especially for high school graduation, while other institutions such as few colleges and universities require a minimum of about two years of foreign language learning before graduation. Well, learning a foreign language is no walk in the park and is commonly considered a long, tiresome and difficult process. At first, the learner may be very optimistic, actually overexcited, about learning a new language but they don’t understand the sacrifice and concentration it deserves for you to comprehend and understand it! (more…)
English Harmony System Download Version Goes Live NOW!
As you might remember, the original English Harmony System was nothing more than a simple eBook. Then I created a multimedia video course on three DVDs which took my customers' experience to a whole new level. Now I’ve taken it a step further once more. An INSTANT DOWNLOAD version of the English Harmony System 2.0 is finally ready, and my sleepless nights spent on working on technical aspects of the download version are over :!: ;-) First of all, I had to figure out how to make the nearly 5 GB large files easy to download – after all, the System consists of Flash videos and they aren’t the smallest files around. Secondly, I had to find a reliable and user-friendly piece of .exe compiler software so that the files can be easily distributed and all users can be managed. Thirdly, I had to set up the download software, integrate PayPal into it, and conduct countless tests to make sure everything works like clockwork! I’ve been working on this download version since Christmas, and now I can take a deep breath because finally completed. It works, and it’s ready to be used by you, my dear impatient foreign English speaking friends who don’t want to wait till the physical package containing the 3 DVDs arrives at you doorstep. Here’s a few facts about the downloadable version of the System: it consists of 3 .exe files – one for each of the 3 Modules – Speech Master, Confidence Mentor and Chat Assistant; it takes about 20 – 30 minutes to download all three files; the files are protected by unique registration codes e-mailed to you shortly after the purchase; constant Broadband Internet connection is required to run the System (more…)
FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #25: I JUST…, IS ALL!
Accept Your English Fluency Limitations!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbO98jB1iYo Read the following carefully – you have to be aware of your limitations in terms of English fluency yet you have to constantly improve your spoken English. Are we looking at an apparent contradiction here? Not at all! Let’s introduce some algebra to help us understand this concept. Look at this hyperbolic graph. It’s one of the best ways to help us grasp the concept of confined infinity. Essentially it’s the same way as saying that you can constantly keep improving your spoken English but at the same time you can expect there to be a cap, a limit to that growth. So what the graph above shows is the following. The hyperbolic graph keeps constantly approaching the axis but it never meets it. This line extends infinitely and in theory if you would be able to keep zooming in, you’d see that it never touches the x axis. But just think about this – the axis in itself is a limitation in space, so it marks a certain level. And it’s right here when we can draw parallels with constantly improving English fluency yet it’s limited by your personal circumstances. (more…)
What I’ve Realized Having Lived in an English Speaking Country for 14 Years
English Idiomatic Expression: “Easier said than done”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CDDY5rAB8U If you’ve been following my blog and watching my videos for a while, you’ll know that there’s one sentence I repeat in almost every video – “Make sure you repeat and memorize this phrase so that you can make it part of your daily English conversations!” The thing is – such and similar gems of wisdom are always quite simple yet at the same time it requires a lot of hard work to follow them in real life. Just think about all these cliche phrases thrown at us so often most of us have probable started ignoring them and they don’t really register with us anymore: “Enjoy alcohol responsibly!” “Please tick this checkbox to indicate you’ve read all the terms and conditions before signing up!” “Just do it!” All these things are easier said than done, and that’s actually our today’s phrase! ;-) (more…)
Rapid English Vocab Building in 3 Easy Steps!
How to Sound More Native-like in English: Start Saying “Yeah” and “Nah”!
Is Google Any Good For Improving Your Spoken English?
Yes, it is! But in this blog post I'm not going to discuss the cool Google speech recognition functionality or some similar tool (I'm probably going to look at it in one of my future blog posts though). By saying that you can use Online Search Engines to improve your spoken English I'm referring to Google, Yahoo and other Online Search Engine search suggestions - simple as that :!: Performing search on certain words and search terms allows you to find out plenty of useful information about naturally occurring English word combinations, and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that I’m always emphasizing the importance of memorizing words that go together in natural spoken English - collocations, idioms, phrasal verbs. Why? Simply because it allows you to speak fluently; as you say the first word, the next ones are triggered automatically because your brain and mouth have been trained to pronounce certain words together :!: So if you’re interested in intricacies of Google, Yahoo or Bing search suggestions that allow you to learn patterns of real life English – keep reading this article and you’ll probably be in for a nice surprise on how instrumental Search Engines can be to a foreign English speaker! (more…)