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!

Phrasal Verbs – Great Way To Improve Spoken English!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/2-16WWZIUg44 Spoken English is stuffed with phrasal verbs and if you’re serious about improving your spoken English you definitely need to pay attention to them. What I find fascinating about the English language as such is that there are actually three types of English expressions – formal, colloquial and slang; these three are like separate dimensions of the same language. Colloquial English, which I also refer to as spoken English, is used in everyday situations and is stuffed with phrasal verbs which are also OK to use in more formal situations, and that’s the great thing about them :!: My native language – Latvian – has only two distinct vocabularies – formal and slang and there are no equivalents to phrasal verbs. But then modern English has been influenced by so many languages – Latin, French, Germanic languages and others – that it’s no surprise you can express nearly every action in so many different ways. Let’s have a look at the following example. You’re coming back from the local music store where you intended to buy concert tickets but unfortunately you didn’t get any. There’s a number of ways you can put the bad news to your friends. “I didn’t buy the tickets, I was too late and all of them had been already purchased” is quite a formal way of communicating the message to your peers – note the Past Perfect Tense “had been” and the formal verb “purchased”. A more friendly way of saying the same thing would be “I didn’t buy the tickets, I was too late and they were all snapped up” or “I didn’t buy the tickets, I was too late and they were all sold out”. Notice the phrasal verbs “to snap up” and “to sell out” – they’re typical to everyday English conversations and they’re not vulgar or rude in any way. As I said above - you can also use the same phrasal verbs in more formal situations with no problems! (more…)

How To Achieve Fluent English Reading Knowing Only 70 – 80 % of Vocabulary!

For those foreign English speakers who are big into reading, but still haven’t started reading English literature. If you think achieving English reading fluency requires building huge active English vocabulary first – you’re in a nice surprise! Although I’m generally discussing all things about improving spoken English on my blog, I’m a keen reader too. I have loads of English literature sitting on my book shelves. It covers different topics starting with yoga and meditation and ending with political and economical writings. The biggest part of my books, however, is taken up by historical and fantasy fiction and these genres are my favourite ones. Initially I started reading English in order to improve my overall knowledge of the language. I made a mistake in that I didn’t actually define which aspect of English I needed to focus most on. For some reason or another it wasn’t clear to me that different aspects of English language – reading, understanding, writing and speaking aren’t merged into one big thing called English. I achieved complete English reading fluency but I was perplexed about the fact that my spoken English wasn’t coming along. I haven’t had any regrets for a single second, though, having mastered English reading skill. During the last years I haven’t read a single book in my native language. For the most part it’s because I’ve fallen in love with David Gemmell’s fantasy fiction so much that I’ve read all his books and I re-read them every now and then. And also taking into account I live in an English speaking country it’s not hard to understand why I choose to buy books in the local bookstore. (more…)

Top Secret! (How To Achieve Truly Confident Spoken English)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/7IO3JPbhxv4 My dear website readers, YouTube channel watchers and Twitter followers! You can religiously stick to my advice on how to improve spoken English, but if you miss the most important component – your road to fluent spoken English will be filled with potholes! You can really gather yourself up every time you feel that your confidence in spoken English drops. You can start speaking slowly and pick the words carefully as I’ve told you should do when you feel your mind racing. You can also use really simple words to explain yourself to prevent from getting stuck if you can’t remember the very exact phrase or word you want to say in English. But once again – if you miss the most important part of the equation, you’ll be always struggling with maintaining constantly fluent English! So which way you want to go? Do you want to be able to consciously use all the good advice on improving your spoken English and keep making effort OR you want to reach a point in your life where you don’t have to make an effort at all to speak fluently? If I were you, I’d definitely take the last route and I believe you’d too! (more…)

Does It Irritate You If Native English Speakers Make Wrong Assumptions About Your English?

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…)

English Vocabulary Building – Part 3

English Vocabulary Building – Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APVOydFTifQ Vocabulary Building Part 1 | Vocabulary Building Part 3 Here we go with the next video episode – and this is the tenth one. Two and a half months in production – not bad, is it? I hope I have enough dedication to see the hundredth one online and there’s no better way to achieve it than by taking just one step at a time… ;-) This time let’s look at the following thing – eliminating your native language from the English vocabulary building process. If you’re like the majority of language learners, most likely you’re using your native language dictionary to explain new English words and phrases. You probably also have a pocket dictionary where you write down the new words and by repeating them on a daily basis they become a part of your overall English vocabulary. Haven’t you noticed, though, that you actually can’t use most of your vocabulary when you have to speak English? And have you not also noticed that sometimes when you try to think of an English word, your native language words start getting into your way? Well, it’s the typical English fluency issue I was facing for long years, and it’s partially down to memorizing new English words through my native language. (more…)

Future In The Past – Often Ignored But Very Useful!

Have you ever heard of Future in the Past Tense? The chances are – you haven’t! It’s quite weird, but it’s true – many English Grammar books and English learning websites simply ignore Future in the Past! So here’s how it works – whenever you’re re-telling past events, the word WILL becomes WOULD – when referring to future during your story. Example: After the first week in gym I decided I WOULD never quit! Before I had learned this simple grammar rule about using Future in the Past, I would say the above sentence using the word WILL: After the first week in gym I decided I WILL never quit it! How wrong was I… And how wrong are thousands of other foreign English speakers! Yes, I’ve met quite fluent English speakers in my life who still kept on making the same mistake – using WILL when describing future events from past’s perspective. (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?

English Possessive Case And All The Tricky Stuff!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/sM3-Dknc8N8 Hi Folks, This is the first video in the English Harmony Practical Grammar video series. The grammar videos are still going to be part of my usual video blog. I just came up with this idea of the English Harmony Practical Grammar brand because I know that many of you are using grammar as a starting point to improve your English. But my English grammar lessons will be different – you’ll learn how to use it in real life conversations! I’m not going to repeat what you can find on a million websites on the Internet, or read in any English grammar book. Instead I’ll be giving you interesting and practical interpretation of ordinary English grammar – and it will be much more useful to you, believe me! Moreover, I’ll put all my experience, mistakes and conclusions that I’ve had throughout the years of improving my English into these lessons for the biggest benefit to you! So today’s topic – the possessive case in English language. If you’re not sure what it is – read more about the possessive case here. It’s simple enough, and your English teacher probably didn’t dedicate more than ten minutes to the possessive case in the classroom. However, it’s not that simple at all! I can remember myself struggling with the possessive form of nouns a few years ago – I was applying the same grammar rules on English that I would on my own language. As a result I was using the possessive case way too often! (more…)

Sacrifice Grammar To Improve Your English Fluency…?

English Grammar vs Spoken English

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/NyVWa3Y2J48 Grammar is extremely important in any language. Nonetheless, it can sometime be a hindrance when learning to speak a language. When learning English (or any language) at school, there is a huge emphasis on the grammar and on the written word but not enough emphasis is placed on speech! Trying to learn hundreds of grammar rules and then learning how they are used is sometimes unnecessary and boring! It also means that most of the time is taken up in this way so it’s almost impossible to spend enough time on the spoken word. I have personally spent days, weeks and months reading and studying and re-reading books on grammar. I have had a huge interest I in the English language since I was very young. I found out when I got older that reading all those books and studying for days didn’t really help me when it came to speaking English. I figured out that I actually only needed to learn a small percentage of the grammar rules to speak fluent English! When writing in English, grammar tends to be slightly more important than in the spoken word - and that's probably why most people focus on improving grammar instead of improving their spoken English. (more…)

English Fluency Issue Explained

Hello my friend foreigner! Even the most advanced foreign English speakers can be faced with hesitation in speaking English at some stage of their lives. And most surprisingly – there’s seemingly no rational explanation for that! Years long studies of English have perfected your overall English understanding. You can read English fiction and enjoy watching English speaking TV programs. And you’ve probably been living in an English speaking country for a good while already! But you still keep experiencing this weird hesitation when speaking English and it drives you mad! So why the issue is there, and how to deal with it? Is there a solution or it’s something you’ll have to bear for the rest of your life? Luckily for you I have just the right explanation – and it’s quite simple! ;-) First of all – it’s al down to traditional English studies. They focus way too much on reading and writing aspects of the English language. You see – spoken English fluency is developed when you learn how to use English in live conversations naturally, using small talk phrases and expressions, and also naturally occurring English phrases! Traditional English studies, on the other hand, have created and reinforced a very bad habit of trying to speak as if you’re writing text in your head and then reading it out. And you also may have tendency of translating from your native language first because that’s how English is traditionally taught in most schools – using your language as reference medium. All the above mentioned have created this phenomenon of hesitating a lot when speaking English because you just can’t form a natural, fluent speech! The solution? Rebuild your English from the ground up by learning small talk, phrasal verbs, idioms and collocations – in other words, all the stuff that makes up spoken English! Sounds fairly complicated? Well, then check out the English Harmony System and its specifics – you’ll be in a nice surprise it’s got exactly what you need to stop hesitating when speaking English!

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!

How To Stop Getting Stuck When Speaking English

Are you having situations when your conversation with an English speaking person suddenly stops because you’re struggling to find the right words to say? Let’s say, for example, you’re having a chat with one of your colleagues during the launch break. He starts talking about last night’s soccer match and expects you to make some comments about it. You open your mouth to start telling something related to what he just said, but … nothing comes out! You’re very eager to say something so that you wouldn’t go down in your workmate’s estimation – but you just can’t utter more than a few sounds like – well… ehhh… ahh…. Or even worse – you might try to force yourself to speak something related to the subject. As a result, you can start mispronouncing words like – was the player really regle… relege…relegated… I know this feeling when you can’t speak at all although deep inside you know that you’re pretty good at writing, understanding, reading and also speaking English. It feels terrible! Especially because you don’t have a real explanation as to why such moments of very bad speech are happening. Well, on many occasions it is how the English fluency issue manifests itself. Countless foreign English speakers on the world are facing this issue on a daily basis and it’s all because of how English is traditionally taught. But it’s not always the case! (more…)

Topics For Practising Spoken English

Improve Spoken English – Stop Translating While Speaking!

Once you’re speaking fluently and confidently using your mother tongue’s accent it is the right time to start minimizing the accent and gradually move into a state of speaking English as you normally would. The most important factors to watch out for are – slowing the speech down, the clearness of thoughts and simplicity of speech. :!: Because of the traditional English studies you first form the English sentences in your head (unlike native speakers who use word combinations instead!) and you also try to use the native English accent thus completely messing up your English speech! On top of that your mind which is very well trained in the English classroom to do the translation job keeps on doing it the same when you speak in the real life! Real English speech isn’t the grammar-book-English you’ve been studying for years, right? There’s a huge difference between English class stuff and colloquial English you have to speak when facing native English speakers… The result – inability to speak fluently! :evil: I know this feeling very well myself and it feels so uncomfortable!!! It destroys your confidence, drains away your self esteem and you feel like you are some complete beginner English student despite having been studying and speaking it for years! So at this stage it is very important to get rid of all the thoughts in your own language and leave only pure English. But how to accomplish this goal if your mind works in a mode of looking up the words from your virtual vocabulary as you’ve been doing for years when passing English tests and exams? :idea: Here’s the trick – you have to slow down when speaking English, control the speech and allow yourself time to think of the right word and eventually your English fluency will improve and you’ll slip into a perfect fluent English speaking mode! And while you’re doing so, remember the thing I’ve already told you about - don’t you ever be afraid of using simple words! Way too often people feel embarrassed about that and will try to put in a word that sounds more professional. Let’s say, you speak and you want to say that “playing soccer is something that really ….” and then you stop for a split second not being able to find the appropriate word. Well, don’t hesitate to finish off the sentence by saying “…makes me happy” or “…is so enjoyable for me” if you can’t find the right word “…excites me”. I have often noticed that people whose native language isn’t English will try to say things using more sophisticated words. It will sometimes be hard for even native speakers to understand, so don’t be afraid of speaking simply. Yes, your mind makes wonders and is capable of nearly everything so the less you worry about something the better you will perform – that’s for sure!;-) Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

What’s Wrong With Traditional English Studies?

We all started with English differently. Others started with self studying because of pure interest, like me. For some it was a necessity after moving to another country. However, as my website is  dedicated to people having difficulties with maintaining a consistent level of spoken English, it is most likely that your journey into the world of English started with the written word. And actually this is where the biggest problems are hidden! :!: When we learned the language by writing words and memorizing them, we needed to write down the meaning in our native tongue. And this means having to translate the word from our native language to English, which is quite a natural thing, isn’t it? It is indeed. Only if it wasn’t stressed too much! Learning English at school means learning written English. Let’s be honest – how much of all the time spent in the English class we were taught to speak the language? I’m afraid – not too much. Teachers have to devote attention to all the students, have to explain grammar rules, new words and have to tell what new beautiful learning methods have come out recently…and as a result our English language develops as almost pure written language – and we can write well, don’t we? We form nice, correct sentences and we have all the time in the world to think of what words to use, in what order and what grammar rules apply in the particular case. And when it comes to the speaking part in the exam, or class practice we speak slowly and create nice English sentences in our head! OK, not all of the students are the same but I’m addressing us folks, the ones that share this issue of wave-like occurring lack of English speaking skills. So – in other words – no one teaches us to really SPEAK English! :shock: No one even mentions about how the very language is formed in our brain - native English speakers use blocks of words as they speak rather than linking seperate words together! Now try to analyze the processes in your head when you speak English. If your speech is unhindered at this moment and you can speak fluently – everything is fine. The words just flow out of your mouth just as the thoughts appear in you mind and you even don’t notice the very existence of thoughts. You just speak. Wonderful! If we always could perform like this… But now let’s see what’s happening in our head when the English speech issue takes place. You try to speak but the words get mixed up, the grammar is a mess, and the thoughts don’t flow naturally. Well – this is your mind gone into the translation mode! Sometimes you have some odd English words trying to push themselves into the wrong places, sometimes it’s your own language – you speak English, but some pieces of your native tongue’s thoughts just wouldn’t leave you. In the worst case scenario your mind switches to a mode of preparing the speech even before you speak it out! This one is really bad because it’s the hardest to fight with. Once I had this kind of an issue and couldn’t get rid of it for days – no matter how I tried to speak I had the second mind in my head working on its own and making the sentences up a moment before I spoke the very words. It feels as if you have two minds indeed. Imagine how the head feels like to work at a double of its capacity! Some of these symptoms have much in common; some are unique – like preparing the speech before the actual conversation. Anyway, the actual cause is the same - this is all because we’ve been taught to think in our language and even now when you can speak fluent English the reflex just wouldn't give up! To put is simply – the English language we use is mostly acquired by studies in the classroom, or by writing, memorizing, reading…in other words – doing everything but learning the language the natural way – like children do, for example. When I moved to an English speaking country my daughters were four. They started attending the school and soon enough they had picked up the basics of the colloquial English. Did they keep a dictionary, or jotted down grammar rules to memorize? No – all they did was – they chatted with the teacher and the classmates and the English language settled itself in their brain as a separate language – not as a translation version of their native language! :idea: I know this feeling very well – I speak another foreign language - Russian. I learnt it while being a little child and it has settled in my brain naturally. And the most funny thing – although my Russian vocabulary is actually smaller than the English one, I never experience a similar issue while speaking Russian. Even despite the fact that I haven’t actively spoken in this language for years. Even when I struggle for a word there are never some stupid thoughts nor words in Russian messing in my head – and as a result – I don’t experience this issue. But don’t despair – we’ll sort everything out and take the control of the language – just keep on reading and soon you’ll see what this is all about! ;-) Another really worrying indication of wrong English studies manifests itself the following way. Quite often I would imagine the word as it is written at the moment of speech. And why? I guess it’s because I used to keep a dictionary and repeat the words every now and then and memorize them as they stand in it. And what happens now is – instead of associating the word with abstract thought my mind just looks it up from my dictionary notebook. In other words – you can’t just speak out that word straight away; you have to spend a split moment to translate its meaning from your native language. :evil: This is less likely going to happen when the vocabulary is built not memorizing separate words but in real conversations – the very abstract meaning settles in your brain and there’s no need for your mind to look for something in the entries of your virtual vocabulary. But this all is especially visible at school English lessons – we all tend to think that writing down words and mechanically memorizing them will make our language better and more fluent. So wrong, it is all so wrong! :!: A language consists of thoughts, of phrases. Learning words and sticking them together is not going to make your English fluent! It’s all about the translation – if you try to use separate words as links to build the chain – sentence – you will use your native tongue in your mind. But you’ve got to think the language to speak it! OK – now we’re grown ups, we can speak very well and all the previously mentioned stuff shouldn’t present any problems…Still sometimes it does! So, how to fight this reflex and move permanently into a state of confident English? Is this issue purely based on anxiety and can you by calming down resolve it? My experience has taught me quite a different thing. I would sometimes experience incredible drops in the ability to communicate without the slightest touch of worrying or anxiety whatsoever! Well, I think you now got the main point – we have to eradicate the subconscious habit of translating from our native tongue into English! :idea: Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

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

India – the Home of Fluent English?

Hi Everyone, Today I came across a website about English fluency called Fluentzy.com. It’s pretty cool in the fact that they’re basically talking about all the same issues with speaking fluent English that I do! You have to speak English and have pre-planned the speech in your head. But when it comes to speaking with a person for real, you just can’t say a word... And the actual reasons behind this issue is the following – learning the English language through your mother’s tongue. You know – it’s the traditional way of learning a language. You write the English words down in your copybook and translate them into your native language. Then you memorize the meaning of those words and you’re perfectly fine with using them in your writing, speaking in the class and so on. However, there’s one very important problem that will surface only later on. Namely – the English language you learn, is far from fluent! You can’t speak spontaneously – and this is the factor that separates a fluent English from one that is handy ONLY when it comes to writing a letter, or reading a book. The credit for inventing the system at the fluentzy website goes to Indians, by the way. As it’s said on the website, I quote: "England may be the home of English, but India is the home of fluent English. India is where English fluency building was systematized for the first time in the world as a distinct teachable subject. An Indian loved the English language so much that he studied its fluency-secrets in great depth and designed the world's first dedicated course in English fluency building (as distinct from EFL/ESL courses and translation-dependent bilingual courses). And that was KevNair, better known as the father of fluency development" - The New Indian Express Well, thank you KevNair for your contribution into the English fluency! ;-)

Improve English Fluency… Have A Coffee Break!