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!

Can You Speak Fluent English Without Learning Idioms?

Apparently you can’t get far in spoken English if you don’t know the traditional English idioms – so they say. For instance, the idiom “Till the cows come home” means “for a very long time” so you should be certain to use this idiom every now and then when you want to emphasize futility of the action you’re discussing – “You can try to please your boss’s every whim till cows come home, but you still won’t get that promotion.” Or this one – “The pot calling the kettle black”. This idiom is used to point out to a person accusing someone that he’s not all that innocent himself. Is it true though? Do you really have to go the extra mile (you see – I just used another idiom so they have to be useful, right?) learning such and similar English idioms to sound fluent and be able to communicate easily with other English speakers? Well, I can’t actually give you a definitive answer to this question without first discussing the nature of English idioms and how they’re used. So let me bring up an example so that you can start seeing the big picture (see – another idiom!). I remember an occasion when my daughters had their friend around and it started raining really heavily. As they say here in Ireland – it was lashing outside! I made a comment about the heavy rainfall and used the typical (so they say…) idiom – “It’s raining cats and dogs.” And you know what? None of the kids had the slightest idea of what I was talking about :!: Fair enough, my daughters moved to Ireland when they were four, so it’s understandable that they mightn’t have known the expression I used. Their friend, however, was a native English speaker so I kind of expected hear to know this popular (or so I was led to believe!) English idiom. Why, don’t all English speaking people exclaim “It’s raining cats and dogs!” when it’s raining outside? According to so many English learning related websites it’s true, and you’ll be given a list of such and similar archaic phrases as your typical idioms to learn in every second English grammar book! (more…)

Importance of Improvisation When Speaking in English

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEZCubst2AE

Learn English Irregular Verbs Through Collocations, Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

When I used to cram plenty of new English vocabulary words using the wrong techniques (memorizing meaning of the word in my native language, memorizing many meanings of the same word at once), I also memorized loads of irregular English verbs. I had a list of them written down in my notepad and every now and then I’d go back to them to review the irregular verbs and make sure I knew every single one of them. Many years have passed, but I haven’t had a real need to look at the English irregular verb forms since. Do you think it’s because I’m so good at it that I remember all of them? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not the reason (to be honest with you – I remember all of them as part of my passive vocabulary; active vocabulary is a different story altogether so keep reading to find out why you don’t necessarily need to know ALL irregular verb forms...) The real reasons are of a more practical nature – when I swapped English studies for speaking English in real life, I realized that a big part of those irregular verb forms aren’t used in day-to-day conversations at all! It’s a typical 80/20 rule in action, and to put things in perspective, just think back to when you used, say, Past Participle “sewn” of the verb “to sew” when speaking with someone. Personally I’ve heard it used just ONCE over the two and a half years spent in a knitwear manufacturing company where there’s thousands of garments parts being sewn together every day! And you know what the funniest thing is? The person who said it (by the way – it was a native English speaker), didn’t use the irregular Past Participle form “sewn”. He used “sewed” instead and I remember thinking to myself “Why on Earth did I ever clog up my brain with unnecessary irregular English verb forms like “sewn” if I don’t use them at all?” Also, I realized that there’s so much more to the irregular verb forms, especially Past Participle, than I originally thought. Years ago I learnt them to use when speaking in my translated-from-my-native-language English. I would therefore focus exclusively on the literal meaning of the Past Participle; so for instance, “broken” for me would only be a word that describes a finished action of the word “to break” as in a sentence “I have broken my promise.” But what about word combinations like “broken down”, “broken dreams”, “to sound like a broken record”? All these English collocations have the word “broken” in them yet they don’t represent Perfect Tenses that English students traditionally associate the Past Participle form with :!: If you learn such collocations by heart, you’ll instinctively know when to use the word “broken”, and that’s what fluent English is all about! Of course, you have to know how to use the irregular Past Participle when forming Perfect Tenses and also Passive Voice – “my car wasn't broken by me”, for example – there’s no question about it! All I’m saying is that if you learn to use irregular verb forms as part of useful phrases rather than purely as a string of words – shrink, shrank, shrunk - your chances of using them as part of fluent English are much, much bigger. (more…)

FGC Goal #1: Using American Phrases 25 – 38 in a Self-Practice Session

Many Native English Speakers Don’t Realize How HARD It Actually Is to Learn a Language!

Have you ever heard a native English speaker make a comment about some foreigner which clearly shows their irritation with the fact that the said foreigner doesn’t speak in English fluently enough or can’t understand what the native English speaker is saying? I’ve been the target of such judgmental, opinionated thinking myself as well as witnessed other foreigners becoming targets of unfair treatment just because they didn’t understand what they were told or weren’t able to say something in English, and here’s a typical scenario of how such treatment manifests itself: A native English speaker says something to a foreigner very fast, or even worse – with a strong local accent. The foreigner has NO IDEA what he was just told, and oftentimes he’s too embarrassed to say anything in response – he’s just smiling or nodding his head in agreement just so that the native English speaker would go away and leave him alone. The native English speaker then makes a comment about the whole situation by saying something along the lines of: “It’s about time they started learning some English…” or “He’s been working here for so long and still he has no English at all!” All I can say about that is the following – those native English speakers have NO IDEA of how difficult it actually is to learn a language :!: They have no idea that it’s impossible for foreigners to learn English by listening to very fast speech spoken by locals so they don’t even bother slowing their speech down thus making it impossible for the non-native speaker to understand them. They think that English is somehow “picked up” by foreigners simply being around English speakers, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth. One has to make a lot of CONSCIOUS effort in order to learn English and be able to understand others as well as speak the language, and it requires many hours of spoken English practice to get to a level where the foreign English speaker can finally start speaking with other people in English comfortably. Some native English speakers may have been lead to believe that picking up English is fairly simple by the analogy of small foreign children of pre-school age – they start speaking in English pretty fast once they start going to a kindergarten or school so surely adult foreigners should be capable of the same, right? Not really :!: You can’t really compare small children with adults because children have no fear of making mistakes and they can speak ALL THE TIME thus improving their English very fast whereas for many adult foreigners at work opportunities to speak are quite limited – not to mention the embarrassment and judgmental treatment which are LIMITING their potential. All in all, learning English is quite a tricky process for the average foreigner, so let’s look at the various aspects of it a little bit deeper. (more…)

How Many English Phrases Do I Have to Learn to Become Fluent?

Common English phrases used in speaking

Collocation “Scour the Web” & Why the Word “Scour” on its Own is Useless!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcCcC34iNQk Hi Guys! It’s another Friday night, and I just recorded a video for you where I’m providing a great example of how English collocations work and most importantly – why it’s of the utmost importance to learn new English words in combination with other words instead of memorizing their individual meanings! So, watch the video above and if you have ANY questions in relation with: English collocations; building English vocabulary effectively; best ways to practice your spoken English… … just post it in the comments section below and I’ll respond to the comment ASAP! Enough said – click on the PLAY button above, sit back and watch the video :!: Chat soon, Robby ;-)

What Not To Expect While Learning a Foreign Language

The question as to why some learners seem to learn a foreign language with ease while others struggle much on the same remains a mystery to the foreign language and special educators. Unlike before when foreign language was not a compulsory subject, today, the study of an additional foreign language is a requirement especially for high school graduation, while other institutions such as few colleges and universities require a minimum of about two years of foreign language learning before graduation. Well, learning a foreign language is no walk in the park and is commonly considered a long, tiresome and difficult process. At first, the learner may be very optimistic, actually overexcited, about learning a new language but they don’t understand the sacrifice and concentration it deserves for you to comprehend and understand it! (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “To Cross One’s Mind”

Improving English? TOO General! Sometimes You Gotta Be More SPECIFIC!

This website is all about improving your ability to SPEAK in English, I’m pretty sure you’ve realized it by now! ;-) You see – traditionally most foreign English speakers struggle with speaking because writing, reading and listening is something you’ll learn at school. It’s only the speaking part that’s being neglected. Usually my advice is – speaking comes first (simply because you’re already quite good at other aspects of English) and that’s what you have to be focusing upon – writing, reading and listening won’t contribute into your spoken fluency. So the basic issue here is that nobody really tells you that being engaged in a specific English related activity doesn’t develop other aspects of your English. If you spend most of your time reading, it’s not going to develop your ability to understand other English speakers. If you mostly write essays, its’ not going to make you into a good English speaker. And if you’re good at speaking, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can write just as well! And this illustrates another issue that some English learners are facing. Namely - all four aspects of English – speaking, reading, writing and comprehension – have kind of been merged into one thing, and instead of working on ONE aspect of their English that requires the most attention, they’re under the impression that they have to do EVERYTHING which becomes too overwhelming :!: (more…)

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 2- Meeting a Friend

Don’t Learn Some Obscure English Words that Even Native Speakers DON’T KNOW!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ld6b7-NeD58 If you’re obsessed with building a MASSIVE English vocabulary (just like I was all those years ago!), you might have fallen for the trap of learning some pretty sophisticated English words taken from English fiction you might be reading, or from any other source of information. Now, while there’s nothing wrong with learning such vocabulary words for as long as you acquire them contextually, there’s another aspect to contributing vast amount of time and effort into the process – namely, USEFULNESS. You simply have to ask yourself the following question: Is this particular English word going to come in handy in my everyday life? More often than not, little known words just aren’t used in daily English conversations; just because they’re used by authors in order to illustrate this or that particular concept in the very depth in their pieces of literature, doesn’t mean they’re used in colloquial English (which is the main focus of us – foreigners who aspire to become fluent English speakers!) Let’s take, for example, a couple of words so that you get the full picture on what exactly I’m talking about here (I’m heading straight to Dictionary.com website to pick some recent “words of the day”): (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “In This Day and Age”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfrYCefkn1Q Today we’re going to look at the following English idiomatic expression: “In this day and age”. It’s very relevant when discussing various issues in connection with modern times such as technology or any other aspect of our lives that has seen rapid improvement. To see what exactly I mean by that however, you should definitely watch the video above because I’ve included a lot of examples in it on how to use this English phrase. In this day and age recording videos is easier than ever, and also publishing them on YouTube is very straightforward. It can be literally done with a push of a button, and it would be foolish of me not to take advantage of it! But if you’ve been reading this article, you surely noticed I already provided an example of the phrase “in this day and age” – the previous paragraph actually begins with this idiomatic expression. (more…)

Surround Yourself With English ALL the Time!

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 my dear fellow English speakers and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! In today's video we are going to look at the following topic: full English immersion and its importance in your spoken English fluency development. And sometimes you may think “what's the big deal? Why would I have to necessarily surround myself with English 24/7? Surely, if I want to improve my English I can just do certain things and that will improve my spoken English, right?” Well, you're right to a certain degree. Yes, you will definitely improve it because doing something is better than doing nothing, right? But here's the deal: if you immerse yourself in English 24/7, it's going to provide even additional benefits for your overall spoken English fluency development. (more…)

Rapid English Vocab Building in 3 Easy Steps!

Don’t Study English Hard in the New Year – Practice the Easy Way Instead!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XH01zIPMj2c

Do You Speak English Enough? You’ve Gotta Speak ALL THE TIME!

English Idiomatic Expression: “As A Matter Of Fact”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9NSbNZdViQ

3 Ways of Hard-wiring Unnatural English Collocations into Your Brain

When fluent English speakers speak, they don’t stick separate words together. Every word they pronounce automatically triggers the next one; the whole sentence is rather a chain of words linked together. Let’s say, for example, you’re asked a question “Would you like to come along to a party on Saturday night?” Most likely your response would begin with words “Thanks for…” and then you’d follow it by either “…asking” or “…inviting”, and come to think of it, when you pronounce the first words “thanks for…” the rest of the phrase kind of comes out of your mouth by itself, doesn’t it? That’s a typical example of collocating English words – they would normally go together in spoken and also written English, and foreign English speakers find it much easier to speak if their vocabulary has been built based on collocations as opposed to memorizing separate words. Well, the aforementioned phrase was a very simple response, and most likely you’d be able to respond using such a simple phrase even if you didn’t memorize it as a single unit of spoken language. Yet I’d say you picked it up by mimicking other English speakers because you surely must have heard someone say “Thanks for asking” or “Thanks for inviting” and that’s why the phrase got imprinted into your mind. Of course, by listening alone you won’t become fluent, you need to speak to add new phrases to your active English vocabulary, but I can’t deny that it does work to some extent. Anyway, when the wrong methods are used and wrong associations between English words are established, you may unwillingly create unnatural collocations. They manifest themselves in the following way – you start speaking by saying a word or two, but instead of continuing with a word that logically complements the phrase, you say something completely unrelated, something out of context, so to speak. OR, such out-of-place words may start pushing themselves into your mind even before you speak, and you may get a feeling as if someone else has taken control of your mind. Freaky? That’s how I used to feel and that’s how many other foreign English speakers feel if they use the wrong English learning methods. But now I’m going to list the worst of them so that you can avoid them like the plague! (more…)

Power of Memorizing English Sentences, Paragraphs and even Poems!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71b8GJkxHKM The traditional English teaching methods mostly rely upon grammar studies whereby the student is required to learn grammar rules. Next step is to learn new English vocabulary and then construct sentences by a way of sticking words together and applying grammar rules at the same time. Here at English Harmony we all know by now that such methods are ineffective to say the least; most foreigners never learn to speak fluent English because they try and construct sentences in their head instead of simply MEMORIZING NATURAL ENGLISH SPEECH PATTERNS. Memorization is the most natural way of acquiring a language, and while some people may think it’s too robotic and you don’t really learn anything because of the lack of analysis – here’s the deal: Analysis actually hampers your progress! (more…)

It’s OK Not to Be Able to Understand Specific English Accents

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…)

Funny English Phrases: Driving Related Idioms

English Idiomatic Expression & Phrasal Verb: “Come up With”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Deyxf1Kj4zI Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! When learning English idiomatic expressions with me, you should bear in mind that I’m mixing them all together – idioms, phrases, collocations and also phrasal verbs. Today’s idiomatic expression happens to be a phrasal verb – ‘to come up with’ – and it’s a very popular one and it’s being used by both native and foreign English speakers worldwide. You can use it when describing how you invented a new, faster way of doing monthly sales reports using your company’s stock management software. (I came up with another way of doing sales reports which is much faster!) (more…)

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 12- Fifth Wheel

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")); Hey there everybody, How are you doing? Well, I am doing good and I hope the same with you on the other side of the screen. I am so proud that we have reached this far and I can guarantee you 100% that by the end of this "Free 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course”, you will notice a major improvement in your active vocabulary provided you complete this course sincerely and do not miss to practice all expressions with your own examples. (more…)