Don’t Try Just to THINK in English – Speak It All Out LOUD!
Way back in 2012 I published an article about the importance of thinking in English if you’re serious about your English fluency development. The reason I wrote the said piece was because one of the primary causes of foreign English speakers’ fluency issues is translation from one’s native language when speaking in English which is a direct consequence of the traditional English studies. You see, if you’re studying the English language the traditional way, you’re bound to start translating when trying to create an English sentence. You think of what words to say based on how you’d say the same thing in your native language. You also tend to copy the syntax of sentences from your native language simply because it’s the only know way for you to say or write anything in English. Basically it all boils down to you THINKING IN YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE. Changing your life-long habit and starting to THINK IN ENGLISH, therefore, is an absolute must if you want to learn how to speak fluent English – as you can imagine, it’s not really possible if your head is full of thoughts in your native language while you’re trying to say something in English. (more…)
“Blow – blew – blown”: Learn Irregular English Verbs Through Expressions!
Is English Difficult Or Easy To Learn?
English Idiomatic Expression: “In Full Swing”
Is It a Problem if Your English is Too Simple, Plain and Lacking Smart Words and Expressions?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsF_IZ7yhG4 I’m receiving quite a high volume of e-mails on a daily basis and they’re all related to English improvement and fluency in some way, shape or form. Today I received an e-mail from a gentleman whose name I’ll keep anonymous – of course! – and he explains the following situation. He’s been told by his friend that his English is quite fluent (which is a reason to celebrate on its own!) but he lacks sophisticated vocabulary and different means of expression – such as phrases, idiomatic expressions and so on. Basically my fellow foreign English speaker asking the question feels that as far as his speech is understandable and he’s making his point, he’s fine. So he wants to know what my take on this issue is, and that’s exactly what I’m doing in the video above! I’m giving a thorough analysis of the issue in question, and I hope all of you will find this video useful! Of course, don’t hesitate to leave your questions in the comments below! Chat soon, Robby ;-)
YearOfEnglish.com: Create a Habit of Thinking of How Certain Things Might be Called in English!
Make Some Effort to Improve Your English, Will Ya?
I’m sick of repeating that the English Harmony blog is all about improving your SPOKEN English and your ability to SPEAK, so by now at least those of you following my blog on a regular basis would have realized you’re not going to find any grammar exercises or downloadable worksheets on my website. As a result, the number of e-mails about grammar related questions is dwindling which is an overall positive development, and I’m only happy to see it! Yet a surprising number of people ask me all sorts of questions which clearly show their unwillingness take ANY action in order to improve their spoken English and overall fluency! Here’s the impression I’m getting: The school’s over - English grammar is not in the spot-light anymore. The teacher’s gone - you’re not doing grammar textbooks. The kids are free to do whatever they want - you’ve just realized that the English language isn’t only about doing tests sitting in a classroom. Just like kids you choose to do NOTHING - browsing the Web and asking questions on how to speak better or why you can’t speak better instead of actually doing SOMETHING :!: The simple fact is that I can’t really help you unless you help yourself, ain’t that right, my friend? (more…)
Develop Your English Fluency by Helping Others!
English Idiom: “It’s Not to Be Sniffed At!”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKQ7Edx8v80 Do you know what people generally mean when they say IT’S NOT TO BE SNIFFED AT? More often than not, they say this kind of thing when a certain amount of money is offered, for example, and the person in question perceives it to be worth considering. In theory you can also say IT’S NOT TO BE SNIFFED AT in relation to just about anything you perceive worth risking for or taking any other type of action. (more…)
Which is Better – Direct or Indirect Speech?
As you may already know, there are two main ways in the English language you can talk about what another person has said: DIRECT speech INDIRECT or the so-called reported speech Direct speech is a word-by-word account of what the person in question said. For example, if your friend asked you “Would you mind looking after my pets over the weekend?” and now you’re telling someone else what your friend had asked you using the direct speech, here’s how you’d say it: “Mark asked me “Would you mind looking after my pets over the weekend?” so I can’t really go out with you on a Saturday night, sorry!” As you can see, direct speech is very easy to incorporate into your own speech for the simple reason that YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHANGE ANY OF THE WORDS! You simply say it the way you heard it and I think it’s one of the biggest benefits of the direct speech – especially in situations when you find it a bit hard to speak in English and you hesitate and stumble upon words a lot. Indirect speech, on the other hand, requires a bit more thought put into it, and here’s an example: “My mom told me that my dad was going to take us to Disneyland the following summer, isn't that amazing?” Now, what I want you to pay attention to is the following: You HAVE TO CHANGE WORDS AROUND in indirect speech! The exact words used by mom were different; here’s what she said: “Dad IS going to take us to Disneyland NEXT summer!” – but when you REPORT what she said as part of indirect speech, it becomes “… dad WAS going to take us to Disneyland THE FOLLOWING summer…” It’s called BACKSHIFT and it simply means you have to change words around in indirect speech (verbs adopt Past Tense forms and words like “tomorrow” change to “the next day” etc.) if you begin the sentence with PAST TENSE – and more often than not, you will be using the Past Tense when reporting another person’s speech. After all, it was at some stage in the PAST when you heard the other person speak :!: So which one is more convenient for you as a foreign English speaker – direct or indirect speech? Keep reading this article to find out more about benefits and advantages of using both – DIRECT and INDIRECT speech when speaking in English with other people! ;-) (more…)
Where I Source All These English Idiomatic Expressions?
Here’s how to improve your English listening skills when listening to my video: put the headphones on, playback the video and write it all down while listening to it! Hi guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to Robby’s English Harmony video blog! I’m obviously Robby, your English fluency facilitator. Yes, that’s the term that I came up with myself, facilitator means obviously someone who facilitates your fluency. I’m not a teacher, because I really hate the term teacher. It kind of implies a traditional setting whereby the teacher is looking down on their students, right? But I’m not looking down on you guys, I’m just merely facilitating your fluency and improvement! I’m accompanying you on your journey to English fluency, that’s all I’m doing, I’m giving you the right advice, the right tools and then it’s up to you guys to decide whether you take my advice on board and take some action or you don’t in which case obviously your fluency won’t improve. It’s as simple as that! As a matter of fact, I’m getting plenty of questions almost on a daily basis asking me to help people with their fluency. And the question is posed in a way that makes me kind of wonder whether that person actually realizes that it’s actually down to them to make all the effort, do the hard work and actually work on their fluency because they almost expect me to kind of magically transfer all my skills unto them but it just doesn’t happen like that in real life. And it’s another one of those things that I blame the traditional English teaching industry for - basically they’ve created this notion out there that if you just attend an English class, you will improve just because you have attended the class. The teacher has all the qualifications and it’s enough to have that kind of setting and you will automatically improve. So it kind of takes away all the hard work and effort that you have to do. And it makes it look as if it’s very easy but in real life it’s quite hard, right? It’s hard work. But a lot of people don’t realize that and they think that Robby will somehow make them fluent which is not the case. I’m merely facilitating your own journey to fluency. I’m giving you the right advice, the right tips and tricks, so that’s how it happens, right? But anyway, today’s video is all about how I find all these English idiomatic expressions and collocations and phrases, you name it. How I come up with them. Because I’ve been cranking out all of these idiomatic expression videos – well, lately I haven’t published too many of them because of my high workload, I’m currently engaged with a couple of students that I took on. My Fluency Star students and I still had a few left from the previous round. (more…)
I’ve Been Speaking in English for Years! I Still Require Regular Spoken Practice Though…
English Idiomatic Expression “Under the Impression”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP9WMZJHjcc Have you ever been under the impression that the entire world has literally conspired against you and everybody finds something bad in what you’re doing? Is your team leader at work under the impression that your colleagues do most of the work while in reality it’s you who gets most problems solved? And does it ever occur to you that even though most people are under the impression that governments and politicians are almost inherently bad and evil, in fact they’re doing a really tough job and they work much harder than the average Joe? (more…)
Can You Speak Fluent English Without Learning Idioms?
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…)
Emigration to an English Speaking Country: My Honest Opinion
Do You Really NEED to Improve Your Spoken English?
English Fluency Problem
Let’s first talk about this English fluency problem so that you can analyze it a little bit and understand its nature. Let’s say, you wake up in the morning and while doing something you just have an odd thought in English in your mind. And…you realize that you just can’t express yourself in English language as you’d normally do! You try to say something in English to yourself and you feel that you can’t stick the thoughts together – your mind is full of different words and images floating and messing… Another example. You go to work and greet the first person you meet. “How are you! I’m fine, what was the weekend like?” – And then you suddenly feel that you have to force yourself to get even these simple things right! And when you start chatting to your workmate at your desk, you feel that you can’t speak normally as you could before, although only yesterday you could speak fluently as a native speaker! The usual mistakes you make when experiencing the speech problem are the following: Not being able to find the right words Mispronouncing words Not being able to say the thought clearly! You start a sentence, and then the very thread of the thought vanishes, and something like a blackout takes place in your head. And then you get really anxious and nervous and it affects your whole day – your mood drops below zero, the self-esteem is gone, the confidence… well, it’s a disaster! I don’t exaggerate, I know the feeling all too well and I guess, so do you. The most baffling thing in this all is that no matter how often you speak, no matter how long you’ve been living among English speaking folks, the things don’t change! It keeps on repeating constantly and with no obvious reason at all! :cry: I remember myself being a job-seeker at one stage and I attended many job interviews. One day I could speak perfectly creating a really good impression about myself. The next day going to a different place I’d experience the issue described above – and, of course, I’d feel really low because the interviewer most likely thought – well, this guy can’t get the English right in the first place, what job is he dreaming about then? And I know you have gone through a number of really embarrassing situations similar to previously described and you’d be more than happy to deal with the issue once and for all, wouldn’t you? So first let’s list all the characteristics of this English fluency issue so that we can clearly see what we are trying to get resolved here! Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!
5 Trendy Words that are Dominating the English Language
Hi Guys! ;-) Today's article is brought to you by Dusty Fox from a website called Listen & Learn, and in this blog post she will look at some of the most popular English words having emerged or re-emerged in the mainstream society. You'll also find out about the background of those words - such as "hipster" or "locavore", so without a further ado, it's over to you - Dusty! * * * The English language is an evolving one with new words popping up year after year. It seems like pop culture, social media, and our need to be constantly plugged into an electronic and hyper-connected world is in overdrive. This means new words appear and spread like wild fire, reaching countries in every corner of the world in no time at all. Some words are instant classics, embraced by all and seamlessly blended into our everyday dialogue. Usually, we don't even realize the moment we adopt these words and phrases into our vocabulary, but nonetheless, they somehow work their way into conversations, posts, and tweets before we know it. There are plenty of words that are handy to know before striking up a conversation with an English speaker. Test your English level before trying out the new entries in the English vocabulary - here's a look at some of the trendiest English words that have made headlines over the last several years: (more…)
Funny English Phrases: Driving Related Idioms
5 Things About Robby & The English Language You Probably Didn’t Know
1. Sometimes I still mix up English personal pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’. I know it may sound silly, and some of you might think – “Hold on, there’s something dodgy going on… How come somebody who speaks fluent English can be making such simple mistakes?” You should never judge a foreigner’s abilities as an English speaker by the mistakes they’re making regardless of how simple they are! The fact that I can speak fluently doesn’t mean I’ll be getting the basics right 100% of the time. Especially considering times when I’m a little bit stressed out and I have to make my point very quickly. That’s when I may make a few mistakes and referring to a female person with the personal pronoun ‘he’ is one of them! By the way, I have an explanation for that. (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt”
Improve Your Spoken English by Using Spaced Repetition
Spaced repetition is a term normally associated with language learning flashcards and spaced repetition systems (SRS). I have to tell you right off the bat though that I’m not a big fan of flashcards because I’d been using the same technique when building my English vocabulary a number of years ago. In the end I realized that memorizing something that’s translated into your native language is actually going to impede your spoken English fluency :shock: No matter how controversial it may sound, language learners all over the world are becoming aware of the downsides of traditional English learning methods. Heated debates have sparked on language learning blogs about efficiency of using flashcards, for example and many language learning enthusiasts realize that a major shift in terms of language learning is happening right now. Still many language learners are oblivious to the simple fact – repeating and memorizing a phrase or a word in your target language with the corresponding translation in your native language will make it much harder to actually speak the target language :!: So that’s probably the most valuable piece of advice I can give you regarding spaced repetition and learning and improving your English – don’t create flashcards and don’t use any English learning SRS that are based on translating between two languages! But let’s stop whining about things that are wrong. Once we know that the best way to acquire new English vocabulary is to repeat and memorize words and phrases and associate them with explanations in the English language, we can move on to discussing the very nature of spaced repetition. (more…)
Using Native Language in the English Class? Non-sense!
How You Can Write Your Research Paper in Under 24 Hours!
A Guide For International And ESL Students As an international student or an ESL student, the English language is most probably your biggest stumbling block. You have most likely been struggling to keep up with the rest of your class who are native speakers of English. The language barrier can really get in the way of you participating actively in class and this can be frustrating. It is understandable that you may find writing research papers and college essays specially difficult to grasp. You might have also faced situations where you’ve been asked to write a full-fledged research paper, and the deadline is around the corner, sometimes in less than 24 hours. You feel stuck and confused and don’t know where to turn for help. What do you do in such cases? Don’t worry, this guide is here to help you. It will show how to break down the process of essay writing into easy steps so that you can put together a completed research paper in just 24 hours! (more…)
30-Day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 3- Traffic
English Idiomatic Expression: “For a good while”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PW_VsSTxO8 Today’s idiomatic expression is very simple – FOR A GOOD WHILE. It’s just another way of saying: For quite some time OR For a long time Basically it’s to be used whenever you want to emphasize the fact that the time-frame in question is relatively long, and typically you’d use it in following sentences: (more…)
Improve Your English Vocabulary With Context
Do You Get Stuck In English When Hearing Yourself?
Hi Folks, This time I'd like to tell you a strange thing from my own experience - and I must stress - it's really weird! It's about getting confused while speaking English with someone - and you know why? Because I suddenly start hearing myself - my speech. And I instantly get knocked out of the normal speech rhythm and have to gather myself up. Why is it happening? Why would hearing your own voice make you feel embarrassed to an extent when you start speaking with a really bad accent and get stuck? I don't know the exact answer - but many of you have sent me e-mails telling the very same thing... (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “We’ll Take It From There!”
What Do Small Children, Pets & The English Language Have In Common?
4 Reasons Why You Can’t Compare the Average Foreign English Speaker With a Small Child in a Native Speaking Family
The English language teaching industry is awash with children vs adult comparisons. Statements such as: “Learn the English language just like babies do – simply listen, and let all the language sink in…” or “Small children are best at learning the English language, their brain is like a sponge! We adults don’t stand a chance…” are so commonplace that we tend to take them for face value and we don’t question them at all. Here at English Harmony I question all mainstream standards and practices, and more often than not I’ve found them to be totally wrong. I figured out a long time ago that you don’t need anywhere near as much focus on grammar as they’ll make you believe in any academic English teaching institution. I learned it the hard way that learning new English words via my native language – which is a typical industry standard – is actually bad for my English fluency because it creates a lot of unnatural vocabulary associations in my brain. And it took me a long, long time to define my personal problem – inability to SPEAK in English FLUENTLY – for the simple reason that no-one had ever said it to me during my English language studies at primary, secondary and college level which were 99% focused on developing my ability to read and write! Today I’m taking on another myth: “In order to learn the English language, we need to look at small kids in native English speaking families and copy what they do.” I say: “DON’T copy what little children do because you’re not comparing like with like!” (more…)