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!

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 19- Age

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")); Helloooo everybody out there, How are you all doing today? Now please don’t mind, but how old are you? 23? 18? Or 45? Whatsoever your age may be, it’s never too late to learn anything, be it spoken English or any other skill. I think age is just a number, isn’t it? (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…)

Isn’t English “Improving” and “Learning” the Same?!

Quite often I receive e-mails like this: “Dear Robby, I’m … from …. and I speak English very bad. Please help me, Robby, to master English fluency and learn how to speak with good grammar.” Mind this – I’m not mocking those foreigners who’ve just recently embarked upon English studies and have a long way to go before they’ll be able to call themselves fluent English speakers, readers and writers. I’d never do it because I’m a foreign English speaker myself and I can still remember times when, for instance, I’d listen to an English song having no clue as to what the lyrics is about! Anyway, I’m usually forced to reply to such e-mails with something along these lines: “Dear …, thanks for your e-mail, your interest is much appreciated. Unfortunately I don’t offer English teaching services as my website is about IMPROVING the SPOKEN aspect of English. Your general English knowledge would have to be pretty good before you could consider using the English Harmony System” So as you can see from the above paragraph, you won’t find much on my website if you’re an English LEARNER. If you’re making your first steps in learning English basics and you’re only getting to grips with proper sentence structure and so on – sorry, I’m not much of a help for you then. I understand it must be slightly confusing to read so much about improving English on my blog and then being told you already have to be able to speak, write and read very well. I suppose the majority of foreigners perceive the two concepts – learning and improving English as being nearly the same. To make the matters clear - here’s what I understand with IMPROVING English – and please don’t forget that I’m focusing on improving SPOKEN English here on English Harmony! ;-) (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “I would have thought…”

How Do I Force Myself Into Reading English Fiction?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ7YTb98ewc

Another 3 Reasons Why Learning English at School Sucks!

If Someone Keeps Asking “Do You Understand Me?” – You May Indeed Run Into Fluency Issues!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng3ebQ96lkE In today’s video I’m discussing a particular experience I had with my plumber recently. So, here’s the setup. I’m a foreign English speaker having some issues with my heating system at home. I’m ringing the company who delivered my stove to come over and inspect the heating system. A native English speaking plumber arrives the next day and we’re having a conversation about the issues I’m having. As you know, I’m a fluent English speaker (no bragging – I’m merely stating a fact!), so you’d think there would be no problems with getting the message across and being understood by a native English speaker, right? Well, that’s right – everything I was saying, the plumber understood perfectly! The main problem of the communication, however, was him saying at the end of each sentence: DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME? :mad: (more…)

How To Always Maintain Fluent English

First of all (and probably most importantly!) – always have a successful mindset! :!: This is absolutely crucial if you want to succeed with achieving English fluency. When you think positive and don’t allow little mistakes and failures during your speech irritate and annoy you, you’re already one step closer to improving your spoken English! When you worry you self-program yourself in a subconscious level that you speak poorly and that creates a vicious circle that is very hard to quit. It is difficult to maintain a positive outlook on something that is an issue for you, there’s no doubt about that. However, you must try. Let it go. Don’t reproach yourself and don’t start frantically thinking – what’s wrong, what’s wrong with me? The first thing you have to program in your mind instead is – I KNOW that I CAN speak very well, and I don’t allow anyone and anything make me feel embarrassed when I speak English! Once you’ve programmed yourself that way you have done some 30% of the job! The next thing you have to do to make your English speech more natural and easy - forget about words you have to force yourself to look up in your virtual vocabulary. Most of them will be some difficult words you’ve learnt by memorizing. You can learn hundreds of words by heart but when it comes to a real life chat – we can’t just speak those words out because they haven’t been learnt as a part of a live language. In fact the language doesn’t consist of words – it consists of word combinations! When a natural English speaker says: “How could you do that to me?” he doesn’t think about the separate words making up the sentence and how to stick them together. The whole sentence comes into parts – “how could you”, and “do that to me”. These things have been heard in the very childhood when mom told her child “How could you?” and the child’s mind memorizes the whole thing as one – “howcouldyou”. When we, non-native English speakers speak English, we tend more to think about the things before we speak them out, we organize them into our mind, unwillingly translate from our native language (here I’m talking about us who haven’t learn the language the natural way and experience lack of English fluency!). This is why it is very important to learn new words as part of a live conversation. I’m not telling here that all the vocabulary you have learnt by self-studies is useless, of course, it isn’t. Your mind is going to put everything in its places and the more time you spend in an English environment, the better the words will settle in your consciousness and will be associated with an abstract meaning rather than with a word from your own language. What I’m telling is that while you experience the English fluency problem stick with simpler words which don’t require much of your will to speak out and don’t give a damn about how simply it sounds and what others might think about you. So – when speaking English, feel completely free to use “go up” instead of “increase” and “drop” instead of “reduced”. By the way, it sometimes is quite surprising how simply some things can be said by a natural English speaker! At work on many occasions the e-mails sent by my Irish boss sound as if written by a non-national worker and vice versa. Remember it and never feel embarrassed when choosing a simple way to explain something. The two things mentioned above are very important if you really want to improve your English fluency! :!: Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

Lower Your Standards if You Want to Improve Your English Successfully!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syzsaP5x8Gc You may have this idealistic image in your head as to what kind of English you should be speaking – grammatically super-correct, formal, rich and eloquent English spoken by high-class native English speakers – but achieving and maintaining such high spoken English standards may not be just unrealistic. It may also be very unhealthy to your confidence as an English speaker to constantly compare your existing level of English against your desired level of English in terms of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and speed at which you speak because it will serve as a constant reminder of your shortcomings as an English speaker! You may believe that most people speak sub-standard English and it’s unacceptable for an intelligent person. You may have this perception that your English just HAS to sound like that spoken by native English speakers – and if it doesn’t, you’ll be always branded as an underachiever. And you may also strongly believe that text-book English taught to English students in schools and universities is the ONLY way forward and that the conversational English is just English for the masses and not for such a well-educated individual as you. Guess what? By upholding such unrealistically high standards you’re making it really hard for yourself to actually improve your English! (more…)

How to Use English Verb TO MAKE In a Lot of Different Ways

YearOfEnglish.com: Only YOU Can Decide When You’ve Become Fluent!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1C6n5KtSXCc Hello my friends from YearOfEnglish.com! If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you’ve been following all those daily tips e-mailed to you by Aaron from Phrasemix.com (he’s the guy behind the Year of English project), and there’s also a good chance you’ve been heeding to all that advice which would have brought you closer to your goal of BECOMING FLUENT IN ENGLISH this year. But here’s a small problem which might actually result in quite a considerable setback for your English fluency. In the very beginning when you just committed to your goal of becoming fluent this year, the deadline for the goal was in a very distant future so you didn’t really have to worry about its completion. You just kept checking your inbox every day for a new e-mail from YearOfEnglish.com in sure knowledge that it was going to bring you another small step closer to English fluency. Now that the year has almost ended however, you may have started wondering: “The year is almost over, but have I become fluent in English? And after all – who’s going to tell me when I’ve become fluent?” Well, one thing is for sure – if you haven’t been doing a whole lot in terms of your English development during the year except for checking YearOfEnglish.com e-mails occasionally and reading the related content every now and then, the chances are – you haven’t become fluent. If, on the other hand, you’ve been engaging in a lot of practicing on a daily basis (including a lot of spoken English practice), it’s pretty hard to imagine as to why you wouldn’t have become fluent. Here are a few sure indicators of English fluency, and if you conform to at least one of them, I’d say you can definitely consider yourself being fluent in English: (more…)

What I’ve Realized Having Lived in an English Speaking Country for 14 Years

Improve English Fluency… Have A Coffee Break!

I’d like to share a funny story with you this time. As you already know, I’m not a native English speaker – and I live in a country called Ireland. I’ve been here for quite a long time and I’m not planning go back to my own country in the near future. And now I’m feeling like I’ve become a part of this whole culture, Irish traditions and everything else. But the first thing that struck me when I just arrived here was the local accent. Yes, I had studied English at home – but the way Irish spoke was something completely un-understandable! I always had to apologize and ask to repeat the same question again and again until I was able to get it! And I guess you may have experienced similar feelings having gone abroad or living in a foreign country, haven’t you? But today’s story isn’t about how well we can understand other accents and ways of pronunciation. It’s about how well the native English speakers can get what WE say. And here goes the funniest thing I’ve been telling my friends over and over again – and now it’s your turn! Whenever I go to some eatery to have a meal with my wife and daughters, or just myself, and order coffee, I don’t get coffee straight away. And please don’t think I’m being discriminated in any way – no, Irish folks are very friendly and today around 10% of the whole country population is non-nationals. And we’re very welcome in this country! No – it’s not that I’m ignored or anything similar. It’s just that Irish don’t understand I’m asking coffee… Yes, it’s really weird! The word ‘coffee’ is very simple. The pronunciation: [kofi:] – am I not right? Yes – and everyone pronounces the word this way. Imagine if you were an English national and someone asked you in a heavily distorted accent: [kofe:], or [ko:fe:] or whatever else – would you not get it? I guess – yes. But you see – I have to repeat the word around three times until the girl behind the counter says: ‘Ohh, right, you want coffee?!?’... But am I getting annoyed by this? You think I’m giving out about how unfairly I’m treated? Of course, not! It’s just another story about how different we people are and that our distinct accents and pronunciations are a part of the nature! No matter if it’s the Irish girl behind the McDonalds counter, or it’s you who has to ask someone to repeat what they just said – it’s COMPLETELY OK! It’s absolutely normal sometimes to get a bit confused, not to understand, mispronounce words and make similar mistakes. After all, we’re all humans, and humans do make mistakes, don’t we? ;-)

Can I Become a Fluent English Speaker at the Age of 34?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5syGAQ3J3Tw Hello guys and welcome back to the English Harmony video blog! Obviously, I'm Robby and I don't even know why I'm saying this every time I start a new video. It's just one of those things I say, "Welcome back to my video blog and I am Robby." Obviously, all of you who have been following my blog will know that I am Robby. Who else could I be? But, it's just that on the off chance that there's someone new to my blog and to the whole English Harmony thing who might be watching this video and they don't know what my name is, I'm greeting you guys by letting you know my name - Robby Kukurs. Write it down. Bookmark my website - EnglishHarmony.com - because it's one of the best resources out there for those foreign English speakers who want to improve spoken English fluency, right? And also bookmark my YouTube channel, of course ;-) So, anyway, today's video is about whether - what was the question? It was a question asked by one of my blog visitors I'm pretty sure because that's where I gain most of the inspiration for creating new videos and articles. And these days, people asking me questions - whether it was an email or a comment, I'm not really sure, but it's irrelevant anyway. I remember now. The question was: “How successful can I expect my fluency improving attempts to be provided that I'm 34 years old or something like that, something along those lines, 34 or 35, basically mid-30's”. (more…)

Is It Possible to Be Fluent without Knowing Grammar?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=371dNk05ziEU Aspiration to become a fluent English speaker is what brought you to my blog, isn't that right? Then let me take a wild guess - at least at some point in your pursuit after English fluency you've been engaged in a lot of English grammar studies, am I now right? Well, in reality you don't need to be a grammar genius to speak English fluently. First of all, only a few grammar Tenses are actually used in real life conversations. Secondly - phrases and expressions constitute large amount of spoken English. And thirdly... Well - watch this video to hear everything for yourself! Stay fluent, Robby ;-)

You Can Say Nearly Everything Using the Word “THING”!

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…)

English Idiomatic Expression “Under the Impression”

Does Reading Help You Improve English?

This time we'll be talking about reading and if you can improve your spoken English by reading plenty of English literature – starting with newspapers and ending with books. I’ve actually wanted to discuss this topic for a good while now, so believe me – I’ve got a lot to say in this regard! ;-) OK, here’s the controversy about reading and its effectiveness when it comes to improving your English. Reading is being mentioned all across the board as one of the most effective tools of improving one’s English. And I can partially agree with this only as far reading understanding is concerned. My conviction is however, that being able to communicate effectively is paramount if you live in an English speaking country. While being literate when it comes to reading and writing English is undeniably an essential part of general English knowledge, I think that the ability to speak fluently comes above all else. And this is why it’s so controversial – while the whole English improving industry is build mostly on reading and writing, hundreds of thousands of foreigners are struggling with speaking the English language! (more…)

80/20 Rule – You Have To Be Selective About What You Learn!

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

You can call me a foreign English speaker or a non-native English speaker (although I think that by labelling someone a ‘non-native English speaker’ you set them apart from other English speakers!) , but all that really matters to me is that I’M AN ENGILSH SPEAKER. I don’t care if anybody sees my foreign background as a natural disadvantage when it comes to communicating with others in English because I know it very well that my spoken English is sufficient for the things I do on a daily basis. Well, I do have my ups and downs, but then which foreign English speaker doesn’t experience some fluency fluctuations? Anyway, I am prepared to step it up a notch and make a really daring statement. Not only I think my foreign background isn’t a disadvantage; I also believe that by being a foreign English speaker I have an edge over ANY native English school teacher when it comes to understanding issues experienced by those who learn and improve their English :!: And if you take into account I don’t hold any TEFL qualifications, I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw my claim on the border of outrageous. I mean – how can a chap who’s been struggling with spoken English up until a few years ago, say that he’s better than any professional native English teacher? Keep reading this article and I’ll provide hard proof to back my claim! (more…)

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 5- Striking Appearance or Resemblance?

Differences Between Your Active and Passive English Vocabulary

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

You Don’t Need to Separate English Listening from Speaking!

Want to Improve Your English? Stop Watching TV in Your Language!

Watching TV alone won’t help you to speak fluent English. Yet if you spend most of your time wrapped up in your native language bubble watching TV in your language, you’ll deprive yourself of so much needed passive exposure to the English language which will help you to integrate into the society! To be honest with you, I don’t understand my fellow Latvians and other foreigners living in Ireland who only watch films dubbed in their native languages and opt for different online based solutions to enjoy TV channels from their home countries. You can accuse me of not being a patriot of my nation, but I think it’s plain silly to move to an English speaking country without making any conscious effort of fitting into the local society. Watching TV makes up a big part of our daily lives these days, and if you watch English TV shows and programs and enjoy latest movies in English, over years you’ll absorb an awful lot of new English vocabulary and expressions which will allow you to understand English spoken around you. You’ll also be able to: discuss popular TV programs with your English speaking friends and work colleagues; improve  your spoken English by using new phraseology in your daily conversations; develop a sense of belonging among the locals. You don’t have to deny your national background. It’s something no-one will ever take away from you, and personally I spend loads of time with my family, friends and relatives speaking in Latvian and I keep up-to-date with the latest developments in my home country by checking news online etc. Once you’ve made the decision to move to an English speaking country, however, I think it’s only common sense that you keep an open mind, make some effort to fit into the local society, and use the English language as means of achieving it! (more…)

Tricks with English Words – Horse Show or Horror Show?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSL5kMBnHE8 VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hello boys and girls, and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! I just wanted to let you know guys that today I got an invitation to Dublin Horse Show; but what did I just say? Was it Dublin Horse Show or Dublin Horror Show? You see, I said it quite fast: “I got an invitation to Dublin Horse Show!”; it could have actually been either, horse show or horror show. There is no sure fire way of telling which one it was. It all depends on the context my friends, and this is one of those things that so many foreign English speakers just won’t accept. Sometimes when you don’t really understand what the particular word means, people start getting all confused and complain about double meanings in the English language and how can they possibly understand all the meanings of a single word, but the answer is the context my friends, obviously. Just the first time around when I mentioned Dublin Horse Show, you probably would be a little bit doubtful what show I meant but then in the conversation that would quite naturally follow that, you would realize what I’m talking about. If I say, “I got an invitation to Dublin Horror Show and I’m going to bring a zombie mask with me”, obviously I’m talking about a horror show, something like a horror walk, something like a Halloween’s day parade where I want to put on some different masks and go trick and treating around town and knocking on people’s doors and getting sweets, and sometimes getting some abuse as well. If I was to say that I’m going to a Dublin Horse Show and I’m going to watch how horse riders are show jumping then obviously it’s all about horses.  It couldn’t possibly be horror show, right, so as I said, context explains everything. Context clarifies everything and I suggest you check out this link if you haven’t already done so previously while watching my videos and browsing my blog, and in this article, there’s a video as well.  You can perform a test and see how these words co-locate, how they go together and that’s all about the context you’re learning basically. You acquire a vocabulary contextually. A word is never on its own, and even if there’s a few words together, such as Dublin Horse Show, there’s always some more context to follow. It’s never just a single phrase on its own! (more…)