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…)
7 Ways to Kill Your English before You Even Start Speaking
Power of Memorizing English Sentences, Paragraphs and even Poems!
I’m a Useless English Teacher Because I Make Mistakes… And I Should Go Back to Farm!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfZe55fbhVM The concept of WRONGNESS of making mistakes while speaking or writing in English is something that’s permeated the English teaching industry and it’s lead so many non-native English speakers to believe that they suck at English unless they can make their speech and their English writing style PERFECT. Just picture the typical English class. The teacher (who speaks perfectly, of course!) is standing at the front of the class and the poor students are crouched over their desks DREADING to hear the test results. Why this fear? Simply because their ability to perform as English speakers is judged based on their MISTAKES! It’s so wrong that I want to start screaming just thinking about it!!! They’re looking closely at your mistakes while at the same time almost dismissing your achievements, and what do you think this kind of approach results into? Yes, that’s right – ANXIETY, LACK OF CONFIDENCE and total DISBELIEF that one they you can actually become a fluent English speaker. I’ve figured it out a long time ago, and ever since I’ve been adopting quite the opposite approach when speaking in English myself and providing advice to others who want to better their spoken English fluency and also writing. MAKE AS MANY MISTAKES AS YOU CAN! That’s the mantra I’m going by, and while you might be skeptical about it at first, you’ll definitely realize there’s a big wisdom behind it – especially when reading the following articles: (more…)
Do You Speak English Enough? You’ve Gotta Speak ALL THE TIME!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLvjnC515co Are you immersed into the English language 27/7/365 - meaning you are married to an English speaker or you only go out with other English speakers? If so - great, your spoken English is probably good enough and you don't really have any fluency related issues! ;-) IF your English exposure is limited, however, you just HAVE to do some additional spoken English practicing, there's no doubt about that as it's been proven by my personal experience. What am I talking about here? Well - watch the video above and you'll find out EXACTLY what I'm on about here: * my history as a failed English speaker * importance of a daily spoken English practice to keep your fluency sharp * why MOUTH for you is the most important body part! Stay fluent, stay confident, and all kinds of comments welcome here! Robby ;-)
How To Learn A New Language In Super-short Time!
Share Your Humiliating English Conversation Experiences & Get Advice!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8P_SxujZQw If you’ve visited my blog at least once, I bet you have some English fluency issues; here are a couple of stories I can share with you so that you fully understand what exactly I’m talking about! ;-) A few years ago I was looking for a new job, and at that time it was quite popular to hold the first round of interviews over the phone – obviously companies didn’t want to waste their time and effort on candidates falling short of the requirements. I’ve had had quite a few phone interviews before this particular one, so when I picked up the phone to hear a woman’s voice asking me if I’m free to talk about the direct sales position I was going for, I felt quite confident that I would perform fairly well! And that’s when it all started going downhill… For some reason I couldn’t understand (now that I’ve dealt with my fluency issues I actually understand it all quite well!) I just couldn’t find the right words to say. I started hesitating, I was stumbling upon words, and I was also making all sorts of stupid grammar mistakes although normally my English was fairly good. It all ended with the interviewer telling me that I should actually improve my English before applying for similar positions… Needless to say, I was mortified and I felt humiliated! :mad: And here’s another situation I found myself in a few years ago. (more…)
Recording Your English Speech is CRUCIAL!
Others Don’t Judge Your English as Much as You Do!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVJvLUi2Cpg In this video episode I’m looking at how differently you perceive your own bad English fluency days from others – your conversation partners and just about anybody coming in contact with you! You see – the thing is that we’re experiencing constant feedback between our mouth and our brain and that’s why we’re so acutely aware of our speech imperfections. A passive observer, on the other hand, might skip most or even all of your grammar mistakes or any other shortcomings of your spoken English performance. You can rest assured that people have their own problems to worry about, so most of your mistakes might actually pass unnoticed. So if you’re often freaking out over your spoken English performance, please watch the video above and you may just realize that you can find great comfort in the fact that most of your confidence related issues are obvious only to yourself! ;-) Chat soon, Robby
English Sentence Starter: “Speaking Of…”
You Shouldn’t Learn Irregular Verbs This Way: Bring – Brought – Brought
Funny English Phrases: Sports Related Idioms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrYKYEgJOgI Hello my dear fellow foreign English speaker from YearOfEnglish.com! I’m back again with yet another funny English phrase video, and in this particular installment I’ve done a role play around sports-related conversations people would normally have when discussing last night’s game or while watching a live baseball or football match. You might and you might not be a sporty person, but whichever is the case, some of these sports-related English idioms will definitely come in handy for you at some stage in life. Especially considering the fact that many of those idioms can be used in figurative speech to describe completely different concepts – it doesn’t necessarily have to be sports :!: Want to see it for yourself? Then watch the video above, and you can also refer to its transcript below: (more…)
Importance of Improvisation When Speaking in English
Future In The Past – Often Ignored But Very Useful!
WILL and GOING TO English Future Forms: How to Use Them in Conversations
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q3pSzWrcek Welcome back to another Practical English Grammar lesson where we talk about Future in spoken English and how to sound fluent and natural when talking about future events! In the previous video we looked at how to use Present Progressive Tense – also called Present Continuous – for describing future events. The most important bit of information from that lesson is to perceive Present Progressive as the basic grammar tense for describing future. You know – in 9 times out of 10 foreign English speakers use the traditional WILL + verb in infinitive Future Tense when speaking about future events, but it transpires that this grammar form is being massively overused :shock: Many future events we talk about on a daily basis have been arranged prior to the conversation, so we can confidently use Present Progressive instead. For instance, you have to say “Sorry, I’m watching a very interesting TV program tonight” instead of “I will watch a very interesting TV program tonight” if you have a conversation with your friend and he asks you if you can go out with him tonight. By now you’re probably getting slightly confused over my ramblings on future in spoken English. Judging by the previous video, one might think that WILL + verb and GOING TO future forms are redundant and there’s no need to use them. Especially if you take into account that I said that you’d be better off overusing Present Progressive rather than the WILL Future Tense – to many it may sound as if I’m saying that you can speak English and use Present Progressive ONLY when it comes to talking about future events.Â Well, it’s not so. Other Future forms are also necessary; you just need to know WHEN to use them :!: So today let’s look at the traditional English Future Tense – WILL + verb in infinitive and also the GOING TO Future form and how to use them in conversational English. (more…)
How to Speak During a Job Interview If You’re a Non-Native English Speaker
Funny English Phrases: Driving Related Idioms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snkYnJPNHwQ Hello all YearOfEnglish.com members and just about anyone else reading this article right now! Today I’m bringing you a bunch of English idiomatic expressions originating from and also directly related to cars, driving and commuting in general. Correct me if I’m wrong, but driving is something we’re all directly connected to in some way, shape or form. If you don’t drive yourself, there’s a very good chance you’re being driven to and from work by some colleague of yours. Even if you commute by public transport, you’re definitely seeing cars on the road performing all different sorts of maneuver, and I’m pretty sure you’ve sometimes wondered how this or that particular driving related activity is called. Now, you have a great opportunity to spice up your English by adding on a few driving related English idioms to your active vocabulary! ;-) Just watch the video above (also repeat everything I say to ingrain those speech patterns into your brain!), read its transcript below, repeat and memorize the highlighted expressions, and don’t forget to do some spoken practice on your own! Remember – in order to learn to USE these phrases in your own conversations, you have to SPEAK them out loud many times over until it becomes your second nature! TRANSCRIPT OF THE ABOVE VIDEO: (more…)
Ignoring Grammar Doesn’t Mean You Have to Speak Incorrectly!
FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #16: I’VE HAD A RUN-IN WITH…
Spoken English Practice While Driving to Work
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zj8x_bp-9fA Are you curious about how I do my daily spoken English practice? Then here you can have a peek at my typical morning in a car while commuting to work. It takes me around 30 minutes to make the full journey, but don’t worry – I recorded only 15 minutes of it so that you don’t have to spend that much time glued to the monitor! Basically this gives you a pretty good idea of what your own spoken English practice might look like if you’ve been considering doing it but never really got round to it. It’s easy, you’re just voicing your thoughts and killing your time while at the same time improving your fluency. Sounds like a win-win situation for me, what do you think? ;-) Robby
How Robby Improves His Spoken English
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/rF8ZZt20Me8 I've been going on about improving spoken English for years and given you countless advice on how to become a better English speaker. If you're a bit tired of it all, watch this video where I'm telling about my own spoken English improving routine and what I do on a daily basis to maintain a high level of English fluency. In this video you'll find out the following things: why I still keep practicing spoken English with myself despite having a full time job in an English speaking environment; why I threw away all my English - Latvian pocket dictionaries and now I'm having a pocket phrase book; how playing a guitar helps me have real English conversations with friends and work colleagues; why I read fantasy fiction in English during my breaks at work! If you've any questions to ask in relation to this video or if you want to share your own English improving experiences - use the comments box below! Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!
Dealing With Criticism When Making Mistakes in English
Can Understand Everything But Can’t Reply in English?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umdqX1IdIG4 Does this scenario characterize you as a foreign English speaker: You start a conversation with another English speaker; You’re listening to him or her and you understand 99% of what they’re saying; When it comes to replying to their questions, you just CAN’T SAY A THING! :mad: So, do you recognize yourself from the description above? Don’t worry, it’s nothing unusual, as a matter of fact, most foreign English speakers are struggling with similar communication problems for the simple reason that we tend to compare our English with that of the other person when we speak. As a result, we become acutely aware of shortcomings in our speech and we’re just afraid of opening our mouth in case we say something completely stupid… Is there a solution to this problem of not being able to respond to when you’re spoken to? Yes! (more…)
Self-correction – an Integral Part of Your Spoken English Improvement Routine
FGC Goal #1: American Collocation #9: ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnsbzJXjunE Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Good morning on this wonderful Saturday morning! :grin: Saturday mornings are ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE the same as working day mornings for me. I still have to record a video and publish it on my YouTube channel and write a blog post for this blog, so there’s no real difference in terms of my morning routine – getting up at 5:40 AM, having a breakfast, recording a video… The simple fact, however, that I don’t have to be ready to get into the car at 8:00 AM and go to work makes a world of difference to my mental state! Not that I wouldn’t be able to motivate myself to do the right things every day, it’s just that when you don’t have to go do work, it almost feels as if there’s something big and exciting going to happen! You mightn’t even have planned anything in particular for your day off, but it still gives that added dimension to your life! I, for example, don’t even get to sleep much longer on weekend mornings than on working day mornings; I wake up before 6:00 AM no matter which day of the week it is, yet it’s always easier for me to get out of the bed on a weekend morning for some reason or another. Anyway, today’s American English phrase is ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE and it’s one of those self-repetitious sayings that don’t necessarily make sense yet they’re handy to use in conversations for the simple reason that they sound good! (more…)
You’re Not Struggling With Your Fluency – You’re Struggling With Perfection!
30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 22- What a small world!
“Blow – blew – blown”: Learn Irregular English Verbs Through Expressions!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSjDTmOdaOw FIRST OF ALL READ THE ARTICLE BELOW where I’ve explained everything about how irregular English verbs should be acquired: Learn English Irregular Verbs Through Collocations, Idioms and Phrasal Verbs! In that article you’ll learn why it makes no sense to learn the typical irregular verb word strings consisting of 3 words such as: “blow – blew – blown”. And not only it doesn’t make sense – it’s even bad for your fluency :!: Why? Well, simply because instead of USING those verbs (which happens when you learn them as part of phraseology) you’d be desperately trying to think of HOW and WHEN to use them… Needless to say, that’s when fluency goes out the window! Anyhow, let’s stop beating around the bush, and let’s focus on today’s English irregular verb “TO BLOW”. Here are the phrases from the video above you’re going to learn containing all three forms of the verb “blow – blew – blown”: (more…)
Native English Speakers Won’t Use Perfect Future Tenses – And You Should Avoid Them Too!
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! If you’re a really diligent English student and you’re into the advanced English grammar stuff, chances are that you’ve learned about the Future Perfect Tenses at some stage and most likely you’ve been using them in your speech. Just to remind everyone what these Future Perfect Tenses are all about: I WILL HAVE finishED writing this article by the noon. I WILL HAVE BEEN livING in Ireland for 14 years this August. The first sample sentence represents the Future Perfect Tense which is formed by using WILL HAVE and the verb adopts the Past Participle form -ED, and the second one is the Future Perfect Progressive Tense where you have to use WILL HAVE BEEN and the verb changes to the Present Participle form -ING. So far, so good, right? Well, not really. In theory, this is how these grammar tenses are formed, and the English grammar book will tell you to use them in situations when you refer to a particular event or an ongoing action that’s going to be finished at some stage in the future. Except that these tenses aren’t actually used in real life! If you take a closer look at the previous paragraph where I’m describing the purpose of the Future Perfect Tenses, you’ll notice that I’m not actually using Future Perfect. I’m not saying – “… action that WILL HAVE BEEN finished..” Instead, I’m opting for something much simpler, something that most native English speakers would go for – “… action that’s GONNA BE finished…”! Now, am I saying that these Future Perfect Tenses are NEVER used? Am I saying that you shouldn’t bother with them AT ALL? Well… YES! That’s exactly what I’m getting at, my friend foreign English speaker! You should avoid using these Future Perfect Tenses at all costs because it will: Make your English speech sound unnatural, Confuse you when you’re speaking, Prevent you from fitting in with native English speakers! So, would you like to learn how to avoid using Future Perfect and what to use instead? Well, just keep reading this article, my friends, and I’m going to reveal my best-kept secrets to you! (more…)
English Phrase: Just Because… It Doesn’t Necessarily… It’s Quite the Opposite, Actually!
Have You Ever Thought About Your MOUTH As a MUSCLE?
How many years have you been working on your English? Two? Five? Ten? Guess what – I’ve been receiving e-mails from folks having been trying to achieve English fluency for TWENTY YEARS to no avail :!: And I can see exactly why it’s happening – the heck, years ago I was among those struggling English speakers myself! – it’s because most foreign English speakers don’t perceive their mouth as a muscle. Are you confused? What I mean by saying – perceive their mouth as a muscle? Well, it’s EXACTLY what I mean – your mouth for you as a foreign English speaker is just like muscles for a bodybuilder or just about any other athlete or indeed for any person on this planet who’s using their body to move their arms and legs to lift things and move around. You’re using your mouth to produce English words, phrases and sentences in order to communicate with other English speakers, and there’s actual body movement involved in every step of the way – your lips, tongue, jaws and a whole array of facial muscles are actively involved to help you with the task! (more…)
Don’t Try to Speak in English as if You Were Writing!
English Idiomatic Expression: “Over the years”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2omMV0o5CT4 Hello, my foreign English speaking friends! ;-) I’ve been away for a short while, but it’s only because I’m working on a lot of things currently – one of which is my upcoming English confidence coaching program - and by no means I’m thinking of stopping publishing my daily idiomatic expression videos! I enjoy the process immensely, and if I had to list things I’ve really loved doing here on EnglishHarmony over the years, these daily idiomatic expression videos would definitely come at the top! The expression we’re going to look at today is “over the years”, and if you’re attentive enough you did notice that I actually used it in the previous sentence. (more…)
How to improve vocabulary in 30 days?
Delivering a DVD set of English Harmony System 2.0 & Discussing my Job, Unemployment and Happiness!
My Phone-call to Airline Support & All the Embarrassing Experiences
A couple of days ago I had to make a phone call to my local airline company’s Ryanair support line to sort out a few queries over my family’s summer flight to our home country. I got through to the call center within a matter of seconds for the simple reason that it was one of those premium rate phone numbers. I doubt that would be the case had it been a normal phone line or a toll-free phone number; most likely I would have to spend at least five minutes on the line! Anyway, my customer support agent was a Russian girl so the first thought that crossed my mind was – “Cool! It’s going to be quite easy to speak with her because she’s also a foreign English speaker – just like me!” You see, the thing is that on some occasions it’s easier to speak with another fellow foreign English speaker than a native English speaker, so I thought this chat was going to be a walk in the park. A short time later, I realized it wasn’t the case with this particular conversation. I was having a hard time understanding if the person on the other end of the phone line actually understood me, so I constantly had to second-guess her replies which made the conversation not-so easy, to say the least! (more…)