English Has Brought the World Together!
Sachin, who is a customer of mine and a prolific contributor to my YouTube channel, inspired me to write this article, here's part of the comment he left on my YouTube video where I'm arguing against the prevalent view on Americans as being lazy language learners: One should accept that English language has contributed to the world more than any other language. English has brought the world together. English is not just British or American’s language anymore - it's the world’s language. Knowledge of the world got available to everyone only after converted in English! Well, we can all argue ad nauseam whether the English language is taking over the world, is it having a detrimental effect on smaller languages or not, and also accuse Americans for being lazy and ignorant when it comes to learning foreign languages. All that is actually IRRELEVANT when we consider the simple fact that the English language has indeed brought the entire world together in a lot of different ways and we, foreigners, are undoubtedly much better off learning it and speaking it as opposed to constantly moaning and complaining about the Evil Empire of English which is soon going to obliterate the smaller nations and countries! But in case my words are making your blood boil – consider this: We need to separate POLITICS from the LANGUAGE when discussing such matters! Just think about the German language and the activities that Germany was involved during WW2, for example. No sane person would condone what was done during those years – atrocities brought upon the world by the fascist regime were outrageous, to say the least. Do we hate the German language for the criminal past of the country that it represents, however? Of course we don’t! Same goes with the English language. A lot of people just follow the mainstream opinion of the US being the evil empire and tarnish the English language with the same brush :mad: Yes, there’s no denying that here’s a lot of controversy about the warfare the country is getting itself involved in – mostly when it suits its foreign policies (pursuit for energy sources, expansion of American companies and interests in the war-torn countries etc). The English language, however, BELONGS TO THE WORLD - just like Sachin pointed out. It belongs to anyone who speaks it! I love English, and when I go about my daily spoken English practice, I don’t considering myself as a traitor of humanity just because I happen to like a language that’s being spoken by people who are involved in activities that we mightn’t approve of. As a matter of fact, it’s also spoken by millions upon millions GOOD and BRILLIANT people all over the world! It’s actually ridiculous, when you think about it, that so many people associate the English language with something NEGATIVE or something that they believe to be a bad thing. If speakers of all world languages abandoned speaking them by virtue of tyrants and murderers having spoken them, there’d be not a single language left in the world! Or if you believe that the English language spreads like a virus amongst indigenous languages and brings all the bad things with it – fast food, crime and drug abuse then you must be seriously deluded… It’s not the language that does it. It’s the Western way of life, if you like, but it’s not the language that is to be blamed for it. Hadn't it been the English language that is spoken by the world’s superpowers linked to all the “bad” things (obesity and fast food culture, consumerism and using the third world for easy and quick profits), it could have just as easily been French, Dutch, Spanish or German! Anyway, as I said – we could be arguing about these matters till cows come home because it’s very difficult to change people’s opinion on a certain subject. Better let’s talk about how EXACTLY the English language has brought the world together :!: (more…)
4 PRACTICAL Things You Didn’t Know About the English Language
“Blow – blew – blown”: Learn Irregular English Verbs Through Expressions!
I’m a Useless English Teacher Because I Make Mistakes… And I Should Go Back to Farm!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kfZe55fbhVM The concept of WRONGNESS of making mistakes while speaking or writing in English is something that’s permeated the English teaching industry and it’s lead so many non-native English speakers to believe that they suck at English unless they can make their speech and their English writing style PERFECT. Just picture the typical English class. The teacher (who speaks perfectly, of course!) is standing at the front of the class and the poor students are crouched over their desks DREADING to hear the test results. Why this fear? Simply because their ability to perform as English speakers is judged based on their MISTAKES! It’s so wrong that I want to start screaming just thinking about it!!! They’re looking closely at your mistakes while at the same time almost dismissing your achievements, and what do you think this kind of approach results into? Yes, that’s right – ANXIETY, LACK OF CONFIDENCE and total DISBELIEF that one they you can actually become a fluent English speaker. I’ve figured it out a long time ago, and ever since I’ve been adopting quite the opposite approach when speaking in English myself and providing advice to others who want to better their spoken English fluency and also writing. MAKE AS MANY MISTAKES AS YOU CAN! That’s the mantra I’m going by, and while you might be skeptical about it at first, you’ll definitely realize there’s a big wisdom behind it – especially when reading the following articles: (more…)
Find It Hard to Do Spoken English Practice? Write It Down First!
I’ve been going on about the importance of doing spoken English practice for years on this blog, and here are the 3 main benefits of doing it regularly: You develop your ability to speak spontaneously and fluently You prepare yourself for conversations with real people in real life You deal with your anxiety and fear of speaking in English But what if you find it hard to get your creative juices flowing when trying to verbalize your thoughts? What if you don’t engage in spoken English self-practice for the simple reason that you don’t even know where to begin to produce a monologue on a specific topic? Well, there’s an easy solution to this problem – you have to kick-start your spoken English self-practice routine by going down the easiest road possible, namely – reading a certain piece of writing out loud, and then repeating it without looking into the text. You simply have to WRITE IT ALL DOWN first, and then speak it all out loud! Well, the best case scenario, of course, is to completely separate writing from speaking in your mind; after all, the typical English fluency issues originate in English studies that are centered around writing and reading and so your mind has adopted this funny “writing mode” whereby you try to speak as if you’re creating English sentences on paper (as a result you hesitate and get stuck for words when you have to speak in real life.) But if you have to choose between not speaking at all and reading off a sheet of paper (or computer screen), then it’s a no-brainer – you have to do whatever it takes to develop your ability to SPEAK in English :!: (more…)
Don’t Learn Complicated English Tenses TOO Soon!
Learn Pronunciation by Equating English Sounds to Your Native Language!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzs2YgGuwFk Hello everyone! ;-) Today let’s touch upon some English pronunciation related topic, namely - how you learn pronunciation of new English words and how to mimic the original pronunciation to the best of your benefit when you are trying to speak them out loud. And here's a very interesting situation I encountered a few days ago at work. There’s a Polish girl in my workplace who's only learning to speak English and she asks me questions through her friend whose English is much better and every day I have to answer a few questions in relation to how you say this or that particular thing in English or how you pronounce a certain word or phrase. The other day, she asked me through her friend how to pronounce the word "drank" and then, to my big surprise, she repeated in perfect English "drank" and guess what happened? I tried to think of why she didn't make the typical mistake that so many foreign English speakers do when they read an English word letter by letter and then they would most likely say something like "drrrank" in case that particular language has the rolling ‘R’, as in my language. In Latvian, we roll the ‘R’s and many native counterparts of mine would have said "drrrank" with a rolled ‘R’ sound! So in this particular case Polish is a Slavic language, which is quite close to Russian. And it happens so that I speak Russian too and I know for a fact that all these languages have the rolling ‘R’s - so why did she not say, "drrrank"? Why'd she say "drank" in perfect English? Here’s why: she equated the English sounds to her native Polish sounds because she wasn’t looking at a written word but was simply trying to MIMIC what she heard! (more…)
Don’t Try Just to THINK in English – Speak It All Out LOUD!
Why Can’t I Speak With My Fellow Native Speakers in English Fluently?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znhskFOnONw Have you ever found that you can’t speak normal, fluent English with people who speak your own language? It may sound weird at first, but it happens more often than you may think :!: The reason why I’m touching upon this phenomenon is the following comments I received on YouTube recently: Well, I have written about the inability to speak with certain people in English. I’ve also looked at various reasons as to why it might be easier to speak in English with native English speakers and why sometimes you’ll actually find that other foreigners provide better conversation partners than native English speakers. (more…)
English Fluency Issues Is a Blessing in Disguise!
How I Said “Check” Instead of “Receipt” in a Hardware Store (And What You Can Learn From It!)
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…)
Everyone Says My English is Good Enough… But It ISN’T!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQSVTIJd5NU I got contacted by a guy living in the US recently, and he said in his e-mail that quite often he finds himself in situations when he can’t have a normal small-talk conversation with native English speakers DESPITE having been told by a lot of English teaching professionals that his English is almost perfect. So basically the problem can be defined the following way: Everyone says my English is good enough, but I know for a fact that it ISN’T! This may sound like an attempt to be super-perfect (it’s as if the person in question is saying that his or her English is never going to be good enough), but in reality it happens to a lot of foreign English speakers due to reasons other than having very high standards when it comes to English acquisition. The reasons are as follows: (more…)
Thinking in English Happens With Your Mouth
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…)
You Shouldn’t Learn Irregular Verbs This Way: Bring – Brought – Brought
Improving Your English is Simpler Than You Think!
If you’re a non-native English speaker working in an English speaking company, you may have gotten the impression by listening to those with better English than yours that you have to learn loads of specific English vocabulary in order to be able to fully function in your work environment. If you’re preparing to sit an English test or an exam – such as IELTS or CAE – you may believe that you have to dedicate all your efforts towards English grammar, syntax and irregular verbs. And if you aspire to learn to speak in English fluently so that you can simply communicate with other English speakers out there, you may also have this notion that you have to be able to discuss hundreds and thousands of various topics which would quite logically require you to learn a massive amount of new English vocabulary. All in all, you may believe that English improvement is: Super-hard, Inevitably based on studying textbooks, Demands exceptional intelligence and analytic mind! Is that so? Not really, my friend! ;-) In reality, while requiring lots of hard work, English improvement is MUCH EASIER than you think :!: (more…)
Watch Breaking Bad If You Want to Improve Your American English!
5 Ways to Practice Your Spoken English if You’re Desperate For English Conversations!
I’ve Been Speaking in English for Years! I Still Require Regular Spoken Practice Though…
I’ve been an English speaker for what seems like a lifetime, so you’d think that by now I’ve become so comfortable with the English language that I could stop doing all the following: Speaking with myself during the day to keep my spoken English skills sharp; Preparing for important English conversations by doing some spoken self-practice; Speaking with myself in the car while driving to work etc. Guess what? I JUST CAN’T STOP DOING IT :!: And I warmly suggest you don’t ever give up such habits either – no matter how good your English becomes! Why am I saying this? It’s simple enough, my friend non-native English speaker: The moment you stop actively working on your fluency, it will start stalling! (more…)
Speaking English is Just Like Playing With Lego Bricks!
A few days ago I received the following comment on the English Harmony Facebook page: Your method, learning English through idioms, phrases, proverbs, etc. is so much fun! It’s like playing with Lego bricks! Really! You see, you took most of the grammar (which for most is a party-breaker) out and made it so much less intimidating. You completely changed my view on English. Now I don't see sentences as complex structures (teeming with grammar lawfulness) but rather as different ready-to-go pieces (that is idioms, phrasal verbs, etc.) put together. Just like Lego bricks! That's why I find it like playing with it. You take on brick/part which is at your disposal and then choose which one will go along (with the same method: see what you have and try to make the best combination to convey your message). Thank you for that! I really, really liked this comment – not just because its author agrees with me on the effectiveness of contextual English learning, but also because it puts a completely different spin on the whole thing and makes you realize that English learning and improvement has to be perceived as a fun game rather than a boring chore! (more…)
Learn Only ONE Way of Using New English Vocabulary Words at Any Given Time!
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 Deal With Situations When You Don’t Understand the Other English Speaker At All!
Share Your Humiliating English Conversation Experiences & Get Advice!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8P_SxujZQw If you’ve visited my blog at least once, I bet you have some English fluency issues; here are a couple of stories I can share with you so that you fully understand what exactly I’m talking about! ;-) A few years ago I was looking for a new job, and at that time it was quite popular to hold the first round of interviews over the phone – obviously companies didn’t want to waste their time and effort on candidates falling short of the requirements. I’ve had had quite a few phone interviews before this particular one, so when I picked up the phone to hear a woman’s voice asking me if I’m free to talk about the direct sales position I was going for, I felt quite confident that I would perform fairly well! And that’s when it all started going downhill… For some reason I couldn’t understand (now that I’ve dealt with my fluency issues I actually understand it all quite well!) I just couldn’t find the right words to say. I started hesitating, I was stumbling upon words, and I was also making all sorts of stupid grammar mistakes although normally my English was fairly good. It all ended with the interviewer telling me that I should actually improve my English before applying for similar positions… Needless to say, I was mortified and I felt humiliated! :mad: And here’s another situation I found myself in a few years ago. (more…)
Contextual English Vocab Building: Using TheFreedictionary.com the SMART Way!
Ring Utility Company Phone Lines to Practice Your Spoken English!
English Idiomatic Expression: Brought to My Attention
Hello everyone who’s eager to improve their spoken English! ;-) Has the importance of learning English phrases and expressions ever been brought to your attention? If you’ve been following my blog for a good while, I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with the concept of natural fluency acquisition via English phrases and idiomatic expressions. If, on the other hand, this is the first time you’re visiting my blog, let me explain to you in simplistic terms why idiomatic expressions are very important to you as an English student. Now, let’s take today’s phrase – BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION. Imagine yourself having a conversation with someone, and during that conversation you want to say that something has been brought to your attention, in other words – something has been pointed out to you. If you conjugate the verb “to bring” every time you speak and you create the sentence from scratch in your head while speaking – BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION – the resulting speech is going to be somewhat slow and hesitant. (more…)
3 Easy Steps of Dealing With Fear of Public Speaking for Non-native English Speakers
Are you afraid of speaking in public – be it a company meeting, parents meeting at school or a college presentation where you’re required to speak in front of the entire class? Truth be told – most people are afraid of speaking in public, but to make matters worse, we’re in a situation of being non-native English speakers thus making us even MORE vulnerable to possible hick-ups during the speech! I mean – where the native English speaker has to deal with anxiety and stage fever, we also have to deal with our English fluency issues which are most likely to get exacerbated while we’re freaking out on the stage or in front of expectant listeners, so I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that dealing with public speaking anxiety is even more difficult for foreigners like me and you! It shouldn’t deter you from dealing with the issue though, and if you have an important meeting or a presentation coming up soon, please read the rest of this article where I’m going to tell you EXACTLY how to deal with your fear of public speaking by: Accepting and embracing you fear; Preparing for the event by a way of speech automation; Lessening your anxiety through worst case scenario analysis! So what are you waiting for? Read this article and deal with your public speaking anxiety in 3 easy steps :!: (more…)
English Collocation: The Worst Case Scenario
How to Improve Your English if You’ve Very Little Time?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDXJr9zwuTg Hello my dear blog readers! Recently I’ve been getting a few e-mails and also blog comments asking me how it’s possible to develop and improve one’s English if one has very, very little time to do so! Here’s a typical scenario. You have to get up very early to catch the bus to work, and you’ve virtually no time to do anything in relation to your English improvement. Then you’re working long hours in an environment where there’s no English involved whatsoever, and your working day is really hectic with a couple of quick tea breaks in between. Now, by the time you arrive back home, have your dinner and take a shower, the day is almost over and you have to go to bed to get some sleep before getting up the next morning and starting your 8 AM – 6 PM rat race again. So, it kind of begs the natural question: Is it possible at all to work on your English and also improve it considering you’re really, really busy during the entire day and by the time you can sit down in the evening you’re so tired you find it very hard to be motivated to do anything that requires mental exertion? Well, here’s the simple answer – “Yes, it is possible!” (more…)
Idiomatic Expression: “In a spur of the moment”
My Shocking Web-research Experiences Into English Fluency Related Websites
To be totally honest with you, during the last few years while I’m actively running this blog and also the Accent Adventure website, I haven’t been doing a lot of research into other English language teaching and learning websites. I have a fair idea as to what’s happening in the industry anyway because I’m actively participating on YouTube and I get to see plenty of English teaching videos published on other channels. I also take part in the YearOfEnglish.com project so I know who the other participants are and what their approach towards English teaching and learning is. A few years ago I did scour the Web and tried to find other websites to partner up with and to write content for, but soon enough I figured that quite honestly there weren’t that many people out there having figured out that spoken English is the most important aspect of the English language and focus on phraseology acquisition is pretty much the only way forward. Here are the websites which have embraced the importance of learning phraseology instead of cramming English grammar: PhraseMix.com is run by Aaron Knight, and his philosophy is pretty much the same as mine – fluent English can be learned most effectively through real-life phrases and word combinations. Aaron is creating engaging lessons for those who want to learn to use that phraseology, and they’re all illustrated by himself (I often wondered how he does that!). TweetSpeakEnglish.com was created by Nate Hill and the idea behind it quite an interesting one – tweets shared by millions of people are a fairly good representation of real-life spoken English, so phraseology taken from those tweets is used as a source for lessons where you can learn how to use those speech patterns in your English conversations. Fluentzy.com where you can buy plenty of books written by Professor Kev Nair and they’re all focused on developing your spoken English fluency – Prof. Kev Nair seems to be one of the few academics having grasped the concept behind true fluency and having realized why a large percentage of advanced English students still struggle to speak fluently. By the way – I found this rare website back in 2008, here’s a blog post I published in relation to that! And that’s all :!: Really? Yeap. (more…)
Is It Possible to Preserve National Identity When You’ve Lost Your Native Language?
Dominance of English and its Lack of Appreciation for Smaller Languages
Welcome to English Harmony Podcast!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9Wf9UKN33k Hi Guys, From now on, all my YouTube videos are going to be available as simple MP3 files for those who can’t access YouTube OR if you simply want to listen to the video while going about your daily business! UPDATE: Here's my podcast link on iTunes! Do you see the small podcast widget on the very top of this blog post – just above the video? There’s a playback button for listening to the audio file (which is an EXACT replica of the video just below it!), and there’s also a link to open the file in a new window. Also, there’s a link which says “Download”, and you can simply download the file onto your PC or laptop and then drag and drop it into your MP3 player or smartphone to listen to later on. Handy, isn’t it? I’d say it definitely is! You see, I’ve had a few people saying they’ve been converting my YouTube videos as MP3’s and listening to them in a car; also, I’ve had people from China tell me YouTube videos aren’t accessible over there. So to cater for all of my followers’ needs, I decided to take some action and start doing the podcast! It took me half a day to set it all up, but from now on it’s going to be a walk in the park, and I hope you’ll enjoy listening to my audio podcasts – if that’s your cup of tea, so to speak! ;-) Cheers, Robby :-)