Another 3 Reasons Why Learning English at School Sucks!
Recently I published a blog post called “4 Reasons Why Studying English at School Won’t Make You a Fluent English Speaker” where I discussed drawbacks of the traditional way of studying the English language.Â I’ll give you a quick overview of the previous article but of course if you haven’t read it you’d better check it out – it might prove to be quite an eye-opener for you! So why am I so much against the traditional English teaching methods? :!: First of all, the grammar translation method which is still prevalent even in this day and age, was founded back in the 18th century. Back in the olden days foreign language learning was still in its infancy and academics assumed that it had to follow the same pattern as other disciplines – Math, Physics, and Chemistry. Fast forward to the 21st century… and they still teach English at school with the same grammar translation method that is unnatural and uses students’ native language as reference medium to acquire the target language! :!: Second reason – school English studies focus on STUDYING the language rather than LEARNING English. English students are required to know all about grammar constructs, word types and syntax but real, spoken English is being neglected at the same time. This doesn’t make any sense to me; it’s like learning all about your leg muscle fibers and leg movement kinetics if your main goal is to learn how to dance! :!: The third reason is something even you might find hard to agree with, namely – English grammar difficulty levels. What I’m saying is – there’s no such thing as difficult or easy grammar, if you learn English naturally all grammar already comes with it and the ability of speaking efficiently is mainly down to every individual’s vocabulary size. The old school supporters argue that it’s not the case and one has to spend long years studying English Grammar from the beginner’s level up to advanced. But you’d better go back to the original blog post to read about it in depth and figure out where you stand on this. :!: Lastly I presented a number of counterarguments to approaching English and exact sciences with the same teaching methods. To put it simply, it’s all about recognizing that in the word driven by technological advancements during the Industrial Revolution, exact sciences where in the biggest demand and the modern educational system still mirrors those old, archaic assumptions about how students are to be taught subjects at schools and colleges. But why am I returning to the same topic again? Well, I simply couldn’t pack all the information I wanted to in a single blog post because there’s a whole lot more to say about the traditional way of teaching English! So here we go again with another 3 shocking reasons why academic English studies inhibit your English learning progress. (more…)
Group Communication: Why It’s Different From One-to-one Conversations + Tips & Tricks!
How I Define Real English Fluency
Seeing Forgotten English Words the Next Day & the “Gut Feeling”
Ask Me ANY English Grammar Related Question You May Have!
UPDATE! Here you can check out the article where I've answered all your questions below!!! Hello my fellow foreign English speakers! Are you having any English grammar related questions that have been bugging you for a long time but you just can’t figure out the right answers? Now you can ask me ANY English grammar related question and I guarantee I’ll answer it in the most detailed and helpful way I can! Here’s the plan (I just thought of it this morning and personally think it’s a brilliant plan!): You post your question in the comments section below I put ALL of your questions in an article I respond to each and every single one of your questions As a result we’re going to have a massive article on this blog where I've answered all your questions! UPDATE! Here you can check out the article where I've answered all your questions below!!! Just think about it – not only you’ll get your own question answered, but you’ll also bound to come across some other question that’s also going to be really helpful in your particular situation ;-) So please my friend, if you have a couple of minutes to spare – just head over to the comments section below and ask your grammar related question – and remember, no question is too simple! I’m going to answer them all :!: Chat soon, Robby
Taking a Break from Speaking English May Have a Positive Effect on Your Fluency!
Is English Harmony GOOD and All the Rest is BAD?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J56awc9j2zk If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you’ll know that I’m all against the traditional, mainstream English studies. They focus mostly on writing, reading and learning grammar rules – needless to say, spoken English fluency gets neglected big time and so hundreds of thousands of English students keep struggling with their English without even realizing why it’s happening. That’s why I started this website, and that’s why I created the product – English Harmony System - which is the only product out there that uses the spaced repetition approach and video technology in order to imprint natural English sentence structures into people’s minds so that they can start speaking natural, more fluent English. One day I got an e-mail from Francisco, however, in which he asks me to be a bit more ethical when talking about the issues mentioned above. He thinks that: Not ALL schools are bad and that there are plenty of good schools where English is taught in a way that facilitates English fluency; Conversational fluency is fine, however, there’s more than that – one may want to acquire an academic, deeper English knowledge and why would I claim it’s all bad? There are so many needs for foreigners – passing English tests and exams, business English etc., and surely my English Harmony System doesn’t cater for those needs! I’m taking advantage of those who are let down by the traditional English teaching system by shoving my product in their faces and taking their money; I’m claiming my product to be the BEST one in the market but there are more products like mine out there; why am I not being honest? Now, here’s my take on the whole thing: (more…)
You Can’t Listen Your Way to Fluency!
English Idiomatic Expression: “Which Brings Us To The Next Point”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWEfrHaWSVc Hello my friends and followers! :grin: In today’s English Idiomatic Expression video you’re going to find out how to use the following phrase: “which brings us to the next point”. While there’s a good chance you’ve already been using this phrase in your conversations, there’s also a possibility you’ve only heard it used by others – in which case you should definitely make sure to learn this phrase off by heart! Why? Well, it’s simple enough – if you can use this particular English phrase automatically (which means speaking it out loud without much thinking), you can make smooth transitions from one point to another while having a conversation in English with someone! Not really sure what I’m talking about here? Here’s an example for you: let’s say, for argument’s sake, you’re telling a work colleague of yours about an incident that happened the day before, and that it’s directly related to the lack of health and safety procedures in your company. (more…)
Is It OK to Use Conversational Phrases in Formal English Writing?
Passive English Immersion is Good for Keeping Your Vocab Refreshed
Why Don’t I Learn Other Languages By Applying English Harmony Principles?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lehne_NkgYQ VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, and welcome back to the English Harmony video blog! In today’s video, I’m going to address a question asked by one of my YouTube commentators whose name is Shamil. Hi, Shamil! How are you getting on? Thanks for asking the question, it’s a very valid one. Let me read it out first. “Robby, are you currently learning any new language? It’s just that you’ve figured out how to efficiently learn English and reach fluency in English so why limit yourself with English only? Why not apply all of your experience on, for example, French? Surely you can apply the same way of learning techniques and become fluent in French or in any other language in no time. Maybe we’ll see you in the future on your new channel in French! Regards, Shamil”. Thanks for the question. It’s a very valid one. Indeed, I’ve figured out that I can actually learn and improve my English by using all these colocations and phrases and a lot of self-practice by repeating the phrases and memorizing them all over again, using in my self-practice sessions then using them in real life conversations with people. So, all of these methods and techniques together coupled with fluency management techniques whereby I monitor my fluency all the time and whenever I feel that my fluency goes down a bit, I apply all these methods, right, and there’s a number of them. The simplest one is to slow your speech down, right. There’s more techniques. If you feel that you’re really stuck, you actually try and speak much faster as some sort of a reverse psychology. Basically, you’re trying to make as many mistakes as you actually can and sometimes, it actually helps you to get through the plateau, so to speak. You actually start speaking much better for some reason or another, and then there’s a technique whereby you just try to empty your mind and basically get rid of all those negative thoughts and you just basically speak about whatever comes into your mind. You just don’t care whether what you say might be a bit erroneous, maybe there’s a few mistakes in it, whatever. You just don’t care about that, you just lose yourself basically and distance yourself from other people’s opinions, emotions, what they might think, whatever. I’ve discussed all of these strategies in great depth on my blog throughout the years, so obviously… (more…)
Just Because You Have English Textbooks Doesn’t Mean You Possess That Knowledge!
3 Ways of Hard-wiring Unnatural English Collocations into Your Brain
Forget About WILL Future Tense – Use Present Progressive Instead!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjB9AvqISbI Hello my friends, and Happy Christmas to everyone! :-) I’m back with another practical English grammar lesson, and today let’s look at how to talk about future in conversational English. Just to remind you what I'm teaching in Practical English Grammar – it’s conversational English and it’s not always 100% correct. Real life English is different from school books and text books, so I’m using my extensive experience as a foreign English speaker living in an English speaking country to help you speak more fluently. All right, so let’s look at how we speak about future events in English. The standard grammatical Future Tense in English is formed by using “WILL” followed by the verb's infinitive form. However, this is far from the full picture of how you can describe future in English. To be more precise, this is just one quarter of possibilities that the English language offers, and here are the other three ways how you can describe a future action: I’m going to come home, I’m coming home, I come home. Are you slightly confused? Are you thinking now – “Why is Robby giving examples of Present Progressive and Simple Present Tenses? They’re clearly used to describe actions taking place right now, in this very moment!” Well, you’re right, they are used for that purpose, but Present Progressive, for instance, can also be used to describe Future actions which have already been arranged and the very fact of the arrangement is kind of going on right now, does that make sense? If you say “I’m coming home tomorrow” you mean indeed that you are going to arrive back home tomorrow, but you have apparently decided at some stage that you’ll come home. So as far as English grammar is concerned, the progressive action is already taking place – since the moment you decided that you would come the action is kind of happening - only taking place tomorrow instead of now. (more…)
Look Among Young Adults Fiction for Easy-to-read Books!
Thinking in English Happens With Your Mouth
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsM3eYmG3xo This video is dedicated to Juhapekka’s last comment on my blog where he says that he’d really like to be able to think about the most sophisticated and complex subjects in English, but he’s not really able to. Juhapekka is a Finnish guy and he’s a frequent commentator on my blog - he’s posted a good few comments and they’re very profound and I really, really appreciate his contribution to my blog. So, thank you once more Juhapekka! ;-) But now let’s get down to the business and let me respond to the actual comment. Let me tell you right up-front that it’s going to be useful to everyone – not just Juhapekka – so just watch the video above (or listen to the audio file just above the video in case you can’t access YouTube content) and you’ll definitely find something useful for your own English improvement routine. (more…)
Unleash Your English Fluency with the English Harmony System 2.0!
3 Life Lessons For Foreign English Speakers to Learn From ARNIE
English Idiomatic Expression: “Doesn’t Cut It”
Shocking: Native English Speakers Don’t Always Spot Your Mistakes!
I’m actually tired of repeating the same thing in nearly every blog post but it’s so important that I just can’t help pointing it out once more – you shouldn’t be so conscious of your mistakes made when speaking English! Today I’m going to provide another good reason as to why you shouldn’t be so stressed out when the inevitable happens and you catch yourself having said something weird – be it a wrong word, a wrong grammar Tense or a wrong word combination. So, the reason is the following – when you converse with a native English speaker, they will actually miss many of your mistakes, so your English speech won’t actually sound anywhere near as bad as you think :!: So if you have a tendency to hesitate and struggle for the rightwords to say and eventually get some of them wrong, don’t be overly concerned about what your conversation partner thinks of your level of English – many of those small mistakes will pass unnoticed. But in case if you’re wandering how I can be so sure about making such a claim – after all I’m a foreign English speaker and not a native one – here’s the reason. It’s because I’ve actually asked many of my native English speaking work colleagues what they think of my spoken English level on my bad English days and on many occasions they didn’t have a clue what bad English I was talking about! You see, sometimes when I’m having a down period in terms of English fluency, I struggle a little bit to put my thoughts into words. Over time my fluency has gone up big time because it inevitably happens with anyone living in an English speaking environment, but still I have days when I just can’t perform at a 100% of my ability. So whenever I drop the question to any of my native English speaking colleagues – “By the way, have you noticed that today I keep struggling to find the right words to say and I hesitate all the time?” – their response is pretty much the same – “Well… Not really!” (more…)
St Patrick’s Day Greetings
English Grammar vs Spoken English
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/NyVWa3Y2J48 Grammar is extremely important in any language. Nonetheless, it can sometime be a hindrance when learning to speak a language. When learning English (or any language) at school, there is a huge emphasis on the grammar and on the written word but not enough emphasis is placed on speech! Trying to learn hundreds of grammar rules and then learning how they are used is sometimes unnecessary and boring! It also means that most of the time is taken up in this way so it’s almost impossible to spend enough time on the spoken word. I have personally spent days, weeks and months reading and studying and re-reading books on grammar. I have had a huge interest I in the English language since I was very young. I found out when I got older that reading all those books and studying for days didn’t really help me when it came to speaking English. I figured out that I actually only needed to learn a small percentage of the grammar rules to speak fluent English! When writing in English, grammar tends to be slightly more important than in the spoken word - and that's probably why most people focus on improving grammar instead of improving their spoken English. (more…)
What’s The Worst That Could Happen If You Make a Mistake When Speaking in English
Terrible English Fluency Issues? You’re Not Alone In This!
Never Ignore English Movies If You Want to Be Fluent!
Idiomatic Expressions: Why I’m Highlighting Some Bits of Text in Red in My Blog Posts
How I Stopped Being a Non-native English Speaker…
Until about a year ago I considered myself a non-native English speaker. I arrived in Ireland back in 2002 from a small country in Baltic region. It’s roughly the size of Ireland but it has only half of Ireland’s population. Its capital is called Riga and our crimson-white-crimson flag represents a blood-stained stretcher used to carry mortally wounded soldiers from a battle-field. The country I’m talking about is called Latvia – andÂ I'mÂ one in a 1.5 million people on this planet whose native language is Latvian. Anyway, I chose the settle in an English speakingÂ country so I’m here for more than 8 years now and by the looks of it I’ll stay here for the foreseeable future. Living in an English speaking society has presented many challenges along the way – most of them due to my lack of English fluency. But I always faced up to the difficulties and thanks to my love for the English language I can enjoy communicating with locals easily and naturally. So after about 8 years spent in Ireland I stopped being a non-native English speaker! Brace yourself! I’m about to reveal one of the biggest secrets of integration into an English speaking society and how to stop being a non-native English speaker! :shock: So here we go… (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Largely Due to The Fact”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajFV18LDOI8 Hello all English learners out there! :-) If you’re a hard-working English learner, you have acquired good English speaking, writing and reading skills LARGELY DUE TO THE FACT that you’ve put long hours and dedication into the process. If all you’re doing in order to improve your English is checking some news articles in English every now and then, you’re in a poor English fluency state and it’s LARGELY DUE TO THE FACT that you haven’t been making any real effort in terms of English improvement. As you can clearly see from the paragraphs above, today’s English idiomatic expression is LARGELY DUE TO THE FACT, and it’s a very handy phrase for situations when you want to sound smart and intelligent. (more…)
Don’t Try to Impress Others With Your English!
This Exercise Will Help You Finally Master Those Annoying English Auxiliary Verbs!
Learning how to use auxiliary verbs in English (do, don’t, doesn’t, etc.) is one of the trickiest aspects of the language. It’s not at all intuitive and it’s only used in very particular contexts. Misusing an auxiliary verb is a costly error, yet even high-level English students tend to commit it. In a best case scenario, making such an error would expose you as a foreign speaker, which inherently invites judgment. In a worst case scenario, you could communicate something that is the complete opposite of what you’re trying to say. Fear not! Below is an exercise that will solve all of your auxiliary issues. And the best part about it is that all levels of English speakers from beginner all the way up to upper-intermediate can benefit from it. Here’s how it works. (more…)
7 Reasons Why Having Been Born a Foreigner Is One of the Best Things That Ever Happened to You!
What’s the Best Way to Go About Shadowing English Videos?
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! Have you tried the shadowing technique whereby you try and mimic English speakers from TV shows and YouTube videos? Are you finding it hard and you don’t really know how to go about it? Then watch this video where I’m addressing English shadowing related concerns raised by one of my blog followers! And obviously - if you've got any comments or questions about this thing called SHADOWING - please publish them in the comments section below my friends! Chat soon, Robby ;-)
English Harmony Q & A: Foreign Accent & Learning English for Free
English Possessive Case And All The Tricky Stuff!
3 Grammar Mistakes Which Are OK in Spoken English
Any foreign English speaker should be familiar with proper English grammar – there’s no doubt about that (although I have met some foreigners whose grammar was terrible yet they spoke fluent English …) There are occasions, however, when being intentionally wrong is just fine, and just like everything else I discuss on my blog it pertains to spoken English for the most part. Also bear in mind that while you can afford using language illustrated in this article, I’m not encouraging you to adopt these mistakes as normal part of your speech to an extent that you nearly forget what the correct way of saying this or that particular thing is. But then again – it all depends on your personal circumstances. If you use English exclusively as means of verbal communication at work, for instance, and in other informal settings, and you don’t have to write or be involved where formal language is used – I don’t think your English should be judged by how grammatically correctly you speak. Yes, I don’t think you should aim for grammatical perfection because I’m a firm believer in being practical and using the English language the way you need it. You don’t have to subject your spoken English to the whims of academically minded perfectionists! One way or another, I think you should read this blog post to see which English grammar mistakes have seeped so deep into the spoken language that they can hardly be considered mistakes at all. At least when someone points them out to you, you’ll be able to respond with confidence – “Common, it’s OK to say that, it’s not a big deal!” (more…)