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.

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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!

Do You Know All of These English Expressions Involving the Word TIME?

Hello my friends foreign English speakers! As you may already know, the English Harmony blog is all about showing you how English fluency can be achieved by doing loads of spoken English practice in combination with acquiring plenty of naturally occurring speech patterns and using them. And in case you’re wondering – what the heck is a “naturally occurring speech pattern” anyway? – just let me spell it out for you – it’s a phrase, an expression, a word combination. So, this time around we’re going to look at English phrases involving the word TIME, and there’s a good chance that you haven’t heard all of them so this is going to be the perfect opportunity for you to expand your English phrase pool. And please bear in mind – make sure to repeat these phrases out loud and say at least a few sample sentences. Just because you’re reading them, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use them, you’re just going to add them to your passive vocabulary. So, are you ready? (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…)

“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…)

33 Word Shortenings Any Foreign English Speaker Should Know!

It Doesn’t Matter Who You Speak With – It’s All in Your HEAD!

Sometimes I don’t feel confident when speaking with native English speakers – I have an uneasy feeling that they’d judge my English skills and make the wrong assumptions. Sometimes I struggle when speaking with another foreign English speaker. I have difficulties choosing the right words if I’m not sure if he or she will understand me. As a result I may start hesitating and making silly mistakes and the other person may sound even more fluent than me! When I speak with a foreigner with a similar English fluency level, I may try to prove I’m a better English speaker. Eventually I also risk losing the natural flow of the language because of the excitement such a challenge inevitably entails. As you can see – you can’t win here, no matter who I speak with there’s a chance my English fluency is going to deteriorate… So the question is – how to deal with this? :mad: The answer, as often is the case, lies in the head ;-) (more…)

13 Music Idioms- Learning with Theme

New Year’s Resolution in 2013 – Take Real Action & Become Fluent!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a_G6LDMRv8 Do you know what’s the biggest curse preventing people from all walks of life achieving any kind of a goal they aspire to achieve? Procrastination. Not taking action. Now, ask yourself the following question – how many times have I committed to becoming fluent in English? And now, ask yourself this question – how many times I’ve failed to follow through with that commitment because my focus weakened over time and I simply stopped getting involved in English fluency improvement related activities? 2013 is going to be different. I recently joined a movement which is going to bring about massive change in foreign English speakers’ lives by helping them stay focused on their English improvement goals. It’s called YearOfEnglish.com! Many English language teaching enthusiasts and professionals are participating in it, and the idea behind the project is simple enough: Any foreigner who aspires to become Fluent in English, signs up for a DAILY e-mail notification; EVERY DAY throughout the year 2013 you are going to receive an e-mail containing action steps, things to-do and specific assignments; By the end of 2013 you’ll see a massive improvement to your English fluency, and provided you’ll have taken action, you WILL BE FLUENT IN ENGLISH :!: Isn't that a great idea, my friend? I think it’s one of the best things to do when starting a New Year – make a resolution, and then follow through with it instead of abandoning it a month into the New Year. YearOfEnglish.com is simply leaving you with no choice; you won’t have any excuses not to take action because once you’ve signed up for it, you’ll be given the EXACT advice and assignments to do, and the chances of you becoming a fluent English speaker are thus greatly increased! So, do yourself and also your friends a favor, let everyone know about YearOfEnglish.com and make sure to sign up for the FREE mailing list that’s going to blast 365 e-mails to you throughout the whole year and keep you motivated! Thanks for reading, Robby ;-)

Another 3 Reasons Why Learning English at School Sucks!

Recently I published a blog post called “4 Reasons Why Studying English at School Won’t Make You a Fluent English Speaker” where I discussed drawbacks of the traditional way of studying the English language. I’ll give you a quick overview of the previous article but of course if you haven’t read it you’d better check it out – it might prove to be quite an eye-opener for you! So why am I so much against the traditional English teaching methods? :!: First of all, the grammar translation method which is still prevalent even in this day and age, was founded back in the 18th century. Back in the olden days foreign language learning was still in its infancy and academics assumed that it had to follow the same pattern as other disciplines – Math, Physics, and Chemistry. Fast forward to the 21st century… and they still teach English at school with the same grammar translation method that is unnatural and uses students’ native language as reference medium to acquire the target language! :!: Second reason – school English studies focus on STUDYING the language rather than LEARNING English. English students are required to know all about grammar constructs, word types and syntax but real, spoken English is being neglected at the same time. This doesn’t make any sense to me; it’s like learning all about your leg muscle fibers and leg movement kinetics if your main goal is to learn how to dance! :!: The third reason is something even you might find hard to agree with, namely – English grammar difficulty levels. What I’m saying is – there’s no such thing as difficult or easy grammar, if you learn English naturally all grammar already comes with it and the ability of speaking efficiently is mainly down to every individual’s vocabulary size. The old school supporters argue that it’s not the case and one has to spend long years studying English Grammar from the beginner’s level up to advanced. But you’d better go back to the original blog post to read about it in depth and figure out where you stand on this. :!: Lastly I presented a number of counterarguments to approaching English and exact sciences with the same teaching methods. To put it simply, it’s all about recognizing that in the word driven by technological advancements during the Industrial Revolution, exact sciences where in the biggest demand and the modern educational system still mirrors those old, archaic assumptions about how students are to be taught subjects at schools and colleges. But why am I returning to the same topic again? Well, I simply couldn’t pack all the information I wanted to in a single blog post because there’s a whole lot more to say about the traditional way of teaching English! So here we go again with another 3 shocking reasons why academic English studies inhibit your English learning progress. (more…)

It’d Be Great to Have English as the Only Language in the World…

There are thousands upon thousands of different languages spoken around the world, but let’s just imagine for a second that EVERYONE spoke only one language – namely, English. What would it be like? Would it be much easier for people to live and lead their daily lives in a world where there’s only one language spoken? Or maybe it would be causing even greater issues in a world where tensions are rising high and pursuit for money and power is the name of the game? Leaving all patriotic feelings aside, let’s just take a pragmatic look at such a scenario and weigh all the pros and cons of having English as the world’s language in the most literal sense of the word :!: But before we get into the nitty-gritty of this fictional scenario, let me just tell you that I’m not going to be looking at a scenario where all other nations are LOSING their native languages to English. We’re going to assume that the entire world has spoken English for millennia, and how that would have changed the world for better or worse compared to our world where there’s countless languages spoken. (more…)

Some People Are So Confident They Don’t Even Want to Improve Their English!

Can You Become Fluent in English if You Don’t Have a Talent for Languages?

Time and time again I’ve been told by all sorts of different people that I have a talent for languages. And when they find out I speak three languages fluently – Latvian, Russian and English – their opinion of my abilities is pretty much identical: “Robby, you’re naturally gifted when it comes to language learning! I wish I were like you!” And guess what? I think it’s a load of crap! I honestly believe that my ability to speak three languages fluently has nothing to do with my alleged talent for languages. And I also believe that ANYONE is capable of learning to speak English fluently regardless of whether you believe you have a talent for it or not. It’s just that most people don’t realize they have the potential to become fluent in English due to one or all of the following reasons: They think they’re not naturally gifted so they don’t WORK HARD on their English Deep down inside they know they’re too lazy to do something about their English skills so they use the lack of talent as an EXCUSE They’re using the WRONG METHODS to improve their English so the whole “I’m not naturally gifted at languages” thing becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy! Now, would you like me to prove to you that YOU DEFINITELY have what it takes to become fluent in English – and any other language for that matter? Then keep reading this article and don’t forget to leave a comment when you’re done! (more…)

English Has Brought the World Together!

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 23- Bite off more you can chew!

This article is part of the 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course. Sign up here to get every lesson in your inbox for free: (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//forms.aweber.com/form/28/1528169428.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, "script", "aweber-wjs-gh9mm2tmz")); Hello everyone out there, Did you practice yesterday’s expressions? I know you did and I can see it because we made it so far. Hence, I welcome back again to all my dear English learners in today’s chapter of our “Free 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course” where you'll learn something new every day with context and examples, and so will you today. So without further ado, let's get down to the business and read today's context: Context Jane: Hey, how are you doing? Ben: Can’t complain! Jane: What happened? You seem so tense. Has anything to do with the changes that are you facing now in your relationship with your wife? Ben: No, not at all. By God's grace, everything is good between us now. Jane: Good for you. Ben: Yeah. Jane: You are my friend Ben; please never hesitate to ask me for any help whenever you need it. Ben: That’s really sweet of you, but I think I have bitten off more than I could chew. The manager went on a vacation and there was no one else to manage his part of work so I suggested transferring his activities to me while he will be out of office. I thought, that if he sees my dedication and hard work, I will get my promotion I have been waiting for so long. Now I don't know how I will manage to do all that work. Jane: Is that all? Why do you worry so much? I know the work is mainly related to accounts and you must be knowing that my brother Josh is an accounting expert. It will hardly take 15 minutes for him to do it. You just give me the papers and I will ask him to help you. Ben: Oh Jane, thank you so much. You saved my day. Jane: Anytime! Expression- Bite off more than you chew Meaning- It means when one takes on too much responsibility or accepts more commitment than one can handle. Example- A: I have to go to the English course and after that to the music academy. B: Your mom told me that you are also joining the sports academy next month. Are you? A: Yeah, I was thinking about that because I also like sports as much as I like music. B: Make sure you don’t bite off more you can chew. Did you have any situations in the past where you bit off more than you could chew? I hope today’s lesson added some new vocabulary to your arsenal of active vocabulary which will be definitely useful in your daily life. Make sure you read this article thoroughly and practice it with your own examples so as they become your second nature. See you tomorrow with some new topic and vocabulary. Till then keep learning and improving. Take care and? Bye-bye. This article is part of the 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course. Sign up here to get every lesson in your inbox for free: (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//forms.aweber.com/form/28/1528169428.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, "script", "aweber-wjs-gh9mm2tmz"));

Do You Find Certain English Grammar Constructs TOO DIFFICULT To Learn? Try This Easy 3 Step Plan!

Hello my friends foreign English speakers! Have you ever found certain grammar constructs too difficult to understand and learn? Welcome to the club! I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that this is something that all foreign English speakers have in common, and even if you don’t feel that way now, there’s definitely been a time in your life when you’ve found this or that particular English sentence hard to understand, mimic and use in your own conversations. Let’s just take the sentence from the paragraph above and examine it a little: “There’s definitely been a time in your life when you’ve found this or that particular English sentence hard to understand.” Now, would you be comfortable with using a similar grammar construct in your own speech? Are you often saying things such as “There have been similar situations when I’ve…” or “There’s been only one time when I’ve…”? If your answer is positive – well done! Your spoken English is seemingly up to scratch and you may ignore the rest of this article because you don’t need my help splitting English sentences in order to make it easier for you to speak them out loud. If, however, you struggle to a smaller or bigger degree with delivering similar seemingly complex constructs when speaking and you find it hard to wrap your head around sentences similar to this one: “Why is it that when Martin’s been out partying you don’t say anything yet had I stayed out all night long you would have killed me?”, you definitely have to read the rest of this blog post! ;-) (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “Come As a Surprise”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aAp_P0pjAE

Why Being a Foreign English Speaker Gives Me an Edge Over ANY Native English School Teacher

English Idiomatic Expression: “You better make sure to”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-18QQiPQtI There are many ways to let the other person know that you want them to follow a certain course of action: You have to… You should… You must… Today’s English idiomatic expression “You better make sure to” carries pretty much the same meaning and is also used when you want the other person to do something and you also want to stress the fact that if they don’t do as suggested, there will be consequences. This expression actually contains a hidden warning message in it – “You better make sure to (or else…), so you’d most likely use this phrase when speaking with someone who won’t mind to be spoken to in a slightly condescending tone – your child or your subordinate at work, for example. (more…)

You’ve Got to Do All the Heavy Lifting YOURSELF!

English Harmony System’s Review

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/WLlsp4H-zMc I want you to meet someone, my fellow foreign English speakers! Her name is Diana and she runs a great English learning website Helping You Learn English. Diana is an English teaching professional, and I guess that if she’s saying that my English Harmony System might just be the one thing you need to improve your English fluency, there is something to it, right? Anyway, let’s cut the rant, just watch the video above to see what Diana is saying in her review of the English Harmony System 2.0!

What You Can Learn from My Countryman’s Adventures in Britain’s Got Talent

I want you to meet Gatis Kandis – he’s my fellow countryman and recently he was taking part in Britain’s Got Talent where he was doing stand-up comedy. He got through to semi-finals and while he got the first YES from the judges for the wrong reasons (he was branded by Simon Cowell as the funniest unfunniest comedian which I don’t think was true), there’s a great deal we can learn from him, and that’s why I decided to dedicate a whole article on my blog to him! First of all, he’s pursuing his dream of becoming a stand-up comedian while being a foreigner living in an English speaking country. It definitely took some courage and dedication to get onto the stage for the first time without knowing what the public reaction is going to be, but obviously it didn’t deter him from doing it. Secondly, there are always those who’ll point out a foreigner’s accent and mistake it for lack of English skills or whatever. I’m still getting the same treatment on certain occasions because of my own accent, and I’ve learnt a long time ago that ignorance is the only way to deal with it – obviously Gatis has adopted the same approach and it’s paying off big time! (more…)

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…)

Isn’t It Weird That I Can Write In English Better Than Speak?

Watch Breaking Bad If You Want to Improve Your American English!

Everyone was talking about Breaking Bad. My friends were watching it. People at work were talking about it. When the 5th season finale aired on Netflix, there was so much talk of it that it made me wonder why everyone is so obsessed with this TV show but I still didn't start watching it because that's typical me. It oftentimes takes me a bit longer to embrace new things than for everyone else, but eventually I catch up with everything in my own time. Breaking Bad was no different. After countless attempts to encourage me to watch it my friends gave up trying to convince me, but then one fine day (maybe it's some sort of reverse psychology?) I just opened my Netflix page and clicked on the Breaking Bad link. I got hooked right from the get-go :grin: This crime drama turned out to be so exciting, so captivating and so different to anything else I'd ever seen before that I just couldn't help myself being glued to the laptop monitor for hours on end! If I had to explain my fascination with Breaking Bad in only one sentence, this would be it: The main characters of the show illustrate very vividly that there's no such thing as black and white in life - sometimes good intentions may lead to disastrous consequences and bad deeds may result in something good - and the type of characters chosen by the creator of the show Vince Gilligan allow anybody to put themselves into their shoes and imagine what it would feel like to be forced into making life changing decisions and start making drugs at the age of 50 to secure children’s future or face a moral dilemma of reporting your husband or partner to the police or accept their criminal background. Being a foreign English speaker myself, however, I have to admit that there's a whole lot more to the show than just the entertainment. As a non-native speaker of the English language I've discovered an array of added dimensions to Breaking Bad, and here's to name but a few: I can shadow the show while watching it thus learning new American English phrases and expressions; Breaking Bad is great for American pronunciation development - obviously shadowing comes into the equation here as well; I can imagine myself as one of the characters (and I can't actually help it because I've a vivid imagination!) and I experience the film as if I were part of the real events which is great because I get to experience the life in the Unites States; I've been also doing some English spoken self-practice putting myself into many of the Breaking Bad characters' shoes which is great to help me acquire new American English phrases and expressions through the associated role-play. And here's some of the phrases I learned while watching Breaking Bad on Netflix - obviously it barely scratches the surface, but at least you'll get to learn some of the phraseology I've come across during the last couple of months. (more…)

FREE eBook – Truth about Traditional English Studies – Download Below!

Be Specific – Don’t Try to Make a General Statement When Explaining Something in English!

Fluent English can ONLY be acquired by learning IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS - and that's why I'm going to highlight them for you in RED! 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! Transcript Below: Hello everybody and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog. It's been a while guys since I recorded my last video for the simple reason that I've been really, really busy at work and I have to study on top of my daily duties at work as well so it's really hectic lifestyle to say the least. And then when I'm coming home at night it's quite late as well and then I have to do all the other stuff, prepare for the next day, pack my food, prepare my clothing, walk the dog, whatever, respond to my emails, right? You guys are asking a lot of questions on a daily basis! So unfortunately my video recording days when I used to record at least one video a day or every few days are over. But it doesn't mean that I'm stopping it altogether. Not at all. It's quite the opposite actually, right? I'm actually enjoying this process immensely and for too many reasons. First of all, I love helping you guys. I love talking to my audience and obviously you love it, too. And secondly, it helps me improve my own spoken English, right? That's the way it goes. Anyhow, I'm having my morning coffee. Morning to you all! Cheers! (more…)

Using Past Participles As Adjectives vs Passive Voice

It’s not my job to explain what English Passive Voice is all about, and how it’s constructed. After all, once you’re reading my blog, most likely you fall under the category of advanced English speakers, and you already know that Passive Voice is formed by using the verb ‘to be’ followed by Past Participle of the main verb - “A huge amount of money was stolen from our shop today”. Passive voice is used when the object is unknown or it’s irrelevant to know who’s behind the action; all emphasis is put on the action itself – “money was stolen”. The very same English Tenses are used in the Passive Voice as in the Active Voice – Simple Tenses and Perfect Tenses - and the usage of both Passive and Active Voices is governed by the same rules. So, “Someone seals up the box” and “The box is sealed up” (general statements) are equivalent expressions in the same way as “Someone has sealed up the box” and “The box has been sealed up” (describing a finished action) are. I noticed a long time ago, however, that in conversational English it’s not as straightforward as it may seem if you just look at the Passive and Active Tenses comparison table. I would hear quite often that the Simple Present form in the Passive Voice – “The letter is written” - is used instead of the Present Perfect one – “The letter has been written” - despite the fact that the proper way of expressing the completeness of the process would be by using the Present Perfect Tense… This phenomenon was bothering me for a long time because I used to translate from my native language when speaking English and on many occasions I just couldn’t decide which of the two options I should go for :mad: (more…)