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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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? ;-)

Repetition in Terms of English Learning & Weightlifting is the same!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8RYc5sNkwU When you go to gym and engage is resistance training, you perceive sets of repetitions as an integral part of your fitness routine. When you learn and improve your English, however, you may find that you have some subliminal aversion (you perceive it as something bad despite not really knowing why) to the very term ‘repetition’! You might perceive it as something robotic, something mechanical. But it doesn't necessary have to be like that :!: Yes, traditionally repetition and memorization is performed in a boring and mechanical fashion whereby you repeat individual English vocabulary words followed by the translation in your native language (and it’s very wrong, please read this article to find out why!) I wholeheartedly agree that this kind of repetition is boring indeed and it’s also detached from your real needs as a foreign English speaker. What you need instead is – contextual repetition & memorization. (more…)

Story About Not Being Able to Speak in English in the Morning and Speaking 100% FLUENTLY in the Afternoon!

I woke up on a Thursday morning. I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep for some reason or another, and I wasn’t feeling as energetic and ready to roll as usually. I poured my morning coffee and started dealing with Fluency Gym Coach Program customers’ queries in my inbox, but I was too exhausted to do any spoken English practice which is how I’d normally start my day. To cut a long story short, when I’d driven to work, entered the premises and got engaged in my work related activities, I hadn’t uttered a single word in English for the simple reason that I was really tired and I just didn’t want to do any spoken self-practice at all… Normally I would speak with myself in the car while driving to work in order to get my English speech going, but this particular morning was an exception. And I think it would be fair to say that I hadn’t actually spoken at all – even in my native Latvian - because all I’d said was a couple words to my daughters while dropping them off to school that morning. Anyway, shortly after starting work my boss walked up to me and asked where my work colleague was (he wasn’t aware he’d taken half a day off). I opened my mouth to provide the answer (which was not only the first verbal human contact for me that day but also the first English word SPOKEN that day!) and I realized to my dismay that I could barely put my thoughts into the right words… (more…)

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

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

The fact of the matter is – you can’t listen your way to English fluency no matter how hard you’d try. To consider yourself being fluent in English, you have to be able to SPEAK. To develop your ability to speak, you have to SPEAK. If most of your English improving related efforts are geared towards listening to: Specific English learning audios; Films and videos in English; Podcasts on various websites… … then you will greatly develop your English listening and comprehension skills, there’s no doubt about that! Your ability to produce fluent English speech, however, isn’t going to come along at the same pace for the simple reason that you wouldn’t have trained your mouth to speak, and that makes an awful lot of difference when it comes to one’s ability to deliver a verbal message. It’s pretty much the same as if you were trying to learn to drive a car by watching other people drive without attempting to sit behind the steering wheel yourself! Not all listening activities, however, are a waste of your time. As a matter of fact, you can’t actually separate listening to English and speaking in English because these two activities are quite naturally interlinked. (more…)

English Idiom: “It’s Not to Be Sniffed At!”

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 15- Fitness

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 everybody out there, Did you practice the expressions I taught you in the previous article? I know you did. I trust you, and I know you are damn serious about improving your vocabulary. Hence, I brought another chapter of our “Free 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course” where you'll learn some vocabulary every day with context and examples, and so will you today. So without further ado, let’s get down to the business and pick some vocabulary out of the context: (more…)

Emigration to an English Speaking Country: My Honest Opinion

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! Video Transcript Below: Hi guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! Today is Saturday and I'm having my Saturday afternoon decaffeinated coffee here. You know, this is actually the second cup of real coffee. Well, in this case it's actually not a cup, it's a proper mug, right? A huge mug for that matter. Guinness, right? But I'm not drinking beer, I'm having my second cup of coffee. I just said cup again, right? Second mug of coffee, right? But the fact of the matter is that you wouldn't be normally saying second mug of coffee, second cup of coffee, that's an expression. So I would say that I'm not really wrong in saying that this is my second cup of coffee. That's what people would normally say. That's how people would understand you best, right? Anyway, cheers! And let's start focusing on the actual matter I want to discuss in today's video. But just before we get down to business let me just tell you that today I met up with a friend of mine and he's an Irish fella, right? I'm a Latvian living in Ireland, been living here for 14 years and I have an Irish friend named Will. And as a matter of fact he is my good luck charm in terms of spoken English fluency. What it actually means is that whenever I meet with him I can give my fluency free reign and I speak just like a native English speaker, right? He is the one person that brings out the best in my fluency, right? As I go about my daily business, dealing with people in the college and my students and so on, obviously I speak a lot in English with others but this particular person, my former co-worker Will for some reason or another is the one that I can speak with best, right? I'm so familiar with him that I just lose any awareness of the language boundary so to speak. So you may want to click on this link. And the article in question is called who is your  English good luck charm and it's all about what a good luck charm person is in terms of spoken  English fluency and that if you find, if you manage to find one then you may want to hold on to them, right? (more…)

FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #37: YOU GUYS HEAR ABOUT?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dtTbuc2lLo Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Morning! Today’s American English phrase is YOU GUYS HEAR ABOUT?, and it’s a very handy phrase for situations when you’re approaching a group of people with an intent to tell them some news. And by the way, this phrase is a typical example of how we can omit words in conversational English, and while some perfectionists will consider such a grammar construct a mistake, in reality it’s exactly how people are speaking in real life! Obviously, grammatically correct way of wording this phrase would be the following: “Have you guys heard about?” or “Did you guys hear about?” – depending on context. In real life conversations, however, native English speakers quite often omit the auxiliary verbs from the beginning of sentences, and the resulting sentence is something of a crossbreed between a question and a statement. And if you think about it, this phrase YOU GUYS HEAR ABOUT? doesn’t even follow any English grammar rules! (more…)

Stop Preparing Speech In Your Head Beforehand!

English Collocation: May Have Been Led to Believe That…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3le6R1yMgzA Hello boys and girls! ;-) In today’s English idiomatic expression video you’re going to find out how to use the following collocation: MAY HAVE BEEN LED TO BELIEVE THAT… Yes, it may seem like a very complicated English grammar construct because it’s Passive Voice, Present Perfect and it also begins with MAY – basically it really looks like a handful when you try to pronounce it first time around. You’ve got to bear in mind, however, that the key to English fluency is AUTOMATION. Just repeat it a good few times and you’ll realize that it’s not that difficult after all! Also, you also have to stop analyzing the sentence MAY HAVE BEEN LED TO BELIEVE THAT… from the grammar standpoint and wonder WHY you have to say it this exact way. All you need to start using it in your own daily conversations is being able to say it without much thinking in the right situations: When pointing out to someone that something they believe in isn’t really true When pointing out that something everyone believes in general isn’t the way it seems So, watch the video above for more example sentences containing today’s phrase, and I’d be really glad if you posted comments below this blog post on how you’d use this collocation. Give me some example sentences! Cheers, Robby ;-)

Mimicking – The Best Way to Learn English Collocations!

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 6- School Life

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 everybody out there, How are you doing? Did you like yesterday’s article? Well, if yes, you are going to love this one. Welcome back to another chapter of our "Free 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course” and today let’s see a scenario from school life and pick few phrases and idioms from there. (more…)

Different Types of English Speakers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGm5-lkaBMk

Check Out the Most Popular Articles on This Blog!

One day I decided to check the statistics of my website and see which blog posts you’ve been reading the most. I selected the top 10 articles and I guess it provides a fair representation of what my average blog visitor is interested in, so you may want to check out the top 10 of English Harmony blog posts of all times! If you visit this blog frequently, you’ve probably read a good few of them, but I’m sure you’ll find at least a couple of links you haven’t encountered before and they might just provide you with some English fluency related info you’ve been looking for to no avail. So, let the countdown begin! (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “For Some Reason Or Another”

Why learning with a purpose is important?

FGC Goal #1: American Idiomatic Expression #14: IT STANDS TO REASON

English Learning Principles for Total Beginners

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5hc8tpzPI Here are other links mentioned throughout the video: https://englishharmony.com/why-cant-speak-fluently/ http://accentadventure.com/sentences/ https://englishharmony.com/kids-vs-adults/ https://englishharmony.com/present-continuous-vs-present-simple/ Throughout the years while I've been running this blog, I've always focused upon needs of those non-native English speakers who find themselves in a situation I was in a number of years ago - unable to speak fluently despite possessing fairly good grammar, reading, writing and comprehension skills in English. In other words, I'm catering to those foreigners who are long past the beginners English level in terms of general English knowledge and they've developed what I like to call a "writing mode" syndrome. But what about those who only start the journey into the English language now? Obviously, they wouldn't be able to read and understand this article for the simple reason that they haven't built and developed their vocabulary and all the rest, but I can definitely imagine a scenario whereby someone who just starts learning the English language is receiving some useful info from a person having read this article. Maybe it's YOU who can help some friend of yours to acquire the English language the right way and AVOID all the pitfalls that we've been falling for and that have prevented us from developing natural English fluency from the outset: Learning meanings of individual words; Learning grammar rules and creating sentences by applying them; Translating directly from our native languages; and many more! Well, I know only too well that the worldwide dominance of the traditional grammar-translation way of teaching languages - English included - is so deeply ingrained in people's minds that you'll find it very hard (on most occasions - even impossible!) to convince people NOT TO learn vocabulary lists, NOT TO try to understand the exact meaning of new words and NOT TO analyze the syntax of sentences too deeply by trying to find the exact equivalent of the given English sentence in their native languages. It's a constant uphill battle, and most of the times you'll fail. It's worth a try, however, because if you do succeed in persuading your friend to try out the contextual way of learning the English language right from the start, they will NEVER develop the English fluency issues in the first place! So, where to begin? Well, I guess a very good place to start would be by understanding that it’s SUPER-IMPORTANT to learn English word combinations right from the start - there's no need to learn individual English words :!: Why? OK, here we go! ;-) (more…)

Confusing English Grammar: “Roast” vs “Roasted” Chicken – Can We Use Verb Base Form as an Adjective?

Here’s how to improve your spoken English when reading this article: read it out loud, then read out loud the collocations highlighted in red 10 times each to memorize them, then look away from the monitor and try and say 3 sample sentences for each of those collocations! For best results record your speech so that you can go back, spot any mistakes you might have made, and then do some more spoken English practice by correcting yourself! It was almost 5 years ago when I published an article about using past participles as adjectives – a typical example of that would be the following statement “the job is done”. Prior to that I was constantly struggling to wrap my head around that concept, the reason being – I couldn’t figure out why there’s two ways of saying the same thing – “the job is done” and “the job has been done”. Initially I just presumed “the job is done” is just a conversational version of “the job has been done”, but soon enough I realized that when you say “the job is done”, you simply use the word “done” as an adjective! It’s pretty much the same way you can say “good job”, but you just use the linking verb “is” to express the idea – “the job is good.” Today’s topic is somewhat similar in that the role of an adjective isn’t only limited to a past participle form of a verb, it can be the very base form of the verb itself! Just like you read in the title of this article, the word “roast” (it’s the base form of the verb “to roast”) can be used instead of the past participle “roasted” to describe the roasted nature of the chicken, thus “roast chicken” is a totally valid English collocation. Hell, collocations such as “roast chicken” and “roast potatoes” are even MORE popular among native English speakers than “roasted chicken” or “roasted potatoes” which may be very confusing to a lot of foreign English speakers! I mean – once you’ve gotten used to the traditional way of describing nouns by using the past participle: Cancelled concert Forgotten purse Lost child … you may think that this rule applies in all situations, so when you come across a collocation such as “open book”, you may get totally confused… (more…)

Develop Your English Fluency by Helping Others!

Ever since I was in my early teens, I’ve been working on my English. Truth be told, my English learning methods didn’t do much good to my fluency because I spent most of my time learning English grammar, reading and writing and as a result I developed something I like to call a “writing mode” of my mind (read more about it HERE). Nonetheless, I was constantly striving to improve my English and whenever one of my friends would ask me to help them to translate something from English or to make a phone call and talk to an English speaker on their behalf, I never said NO. Helping others became a whole lot more frequent when I moved to Ireland back in 2002 because there were a lot of things to be done in order to settle down in the foreign country – starting from opening a bank account and ending with renting a house – and plenty of my fellow Latvians asked for my assistance when dealing with native English speakers in various institutions or via the phone. During the Celtic Tiger boom years there was a never-ending stream of Latvian immigrants coming to Ireland many of which happened to be my friends or relations, so needless to say I had to help many of them to deal with local authorities, utility companies and the like. And guess what? As a result of all those countless hours of helping others to write correspondence in English, translate from English and also acting as an interpreter on quite a lot of occasions, I immensely improved my own English! Fair enough, I was constantly struggling with my spoken English because I still kept resorting to traditional English learning methods when studying the language at home, and it’s only 5 years after I arrived in Ireland that I finally realized what I had to do in order to speak fluently. Having said all this however, I have to admit that by helping others I was doing myself a really big favor because I was constantly exposing myself to real life English and it did contribute into my personal English fluency development big time. Was I annoyed a lot of times for being constantly asked for help? Hell yes! Do I regret it now? Hell no! :grin: Now I fully understand that by constantly being out there and helping my fellow Latvians deal with daily problems in an English speaking country I was improving my own English, and there’s no reason, by the way, why you couldn’t do the same thing. So here’s what I’ve been doing throughout the years for others in terms of helping them to deal with the English language related issues (and there’s no reason in the world why YOU couldn’t start doing the same thing!): (more…)

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

Prepare for Important English Conversations by Speaking With Yourself!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C86xe0-Cg2c Hello YearOfEnglish.com subscribers! Have you got an important event coming up any time soon such as: Job interview College presentation Meeting at work… … and you’re stressing out over your ability to deliver during that event in terms of your spoken English? Well, my years long experience dealing with various English fluency related matters tells me that by far the most effective way to prepare for such and similar events is by doing some spoken English practice with yourself! The plan is quite simple (the more complicated you make it to be, the smaller the chance you’ll take the action, so keep things simple to make sure you don’t get too overwhelmed!): Make a simple list of things to be discussed during the conversation; Plan your answers by writing them down on a piece of paper; HIGHLIGHT the key phrases and words; Learn those key phrases off by heart so that you can deliver them AUTOMATICALLY throughout the interview, presentation or a meeting! Here’s an example of a typical work-related meeting: (more…)

Shame Is The Enemy #1 Of All Foreign English Speakers!

Respect Your Native Language in order to… Speak Fluent English?

I've been constantly consumed by improving my spoken English so quite naturally I’ve been thinking in English, speaking English, reading English and also writing in English for the biggest part of my daily routines. As for my native language – Latvian – well, not much to say! I use it as means of communication with my family and other Latvians in the area, and I never paid too much attention how I spoke. After all, we all speak our native languages perfectly because that’s what native speakers do, right? I was actually quite surprised to discover that’s not really the case! And what’s more surprising – I also realized that one has to speak correctly in his own language to be good at spoken English :!: Are you confused? Are you thinking – “What on Earth has my native language got to do with my English? They’re too different languages and I already know my mother tongue as good as any other native speaker!” You’re right. Your language and English are different subjects. Languages don’t only differ in terms of phonetics, vocabulary, and grammar – they also reflect particular nationality’s and society’s lifestyle, customs and even different thinking patterns. However, there is one aspect that your language and English have in common. Clarity of thought! (more…)

You Don’t Have to Spend a Lot of Time on Reading English Fiction in Order to Read LOADS!

Sometimes it feels as if I’m literally devouring my books instead of reading them – currently I’m already on my fourth GONE series book called PLAGUE but it only seems like yesterday when I was reading LIES which is the third book in the series. And please note that you wouldn’t normally see me lounging on a couch in my living room and reading; I’m not using public transport to commute to work every day either which would be a perfect time for reading (I use car instead). Also please bear in mind that I spend pretty much my entire free time on writing articles, recording videos and providing customer support to my English Harmony and Fluency Gym customers, so quite naturally it all begs the simple question: Where do I find enough time to read all those English fiction books if I’m so busy? This year, for example, I’ve already read the MAZE RUNNER series followed by a couple individual books and now I’m more than halfway through the GONE series. Now, do you want to be privy to the information on how to manage to read a lot of English fiction while actually spending very little extra time on it? Then keep reading this article and you’ll find out EXACTLY how I manage to pull it off! (more…)