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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For those foreign English speakers whose English understanding, writing and grammar is already good but they're struggling with spoken English!

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English Idiomatic Expression: “For the simple reason that…”

There are many ways you can make yourself sound smarter and give other people the impression that you know exactly what you’re talking about. You can dedicate an enormous amount of time learning sophisticated English vocabulary and then try to use it in your daily conversations. You can do loads of reading and research into a wide variety of subjects so that a few years down the line you can become a really erudite person. Or, you can learn the most commonly used English idiomatic expressions which will add substance to your English speech and make you sound smarter even on occasions when you’re not saying anything of a particular importance! Let’s take, for example, the following sentence: (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…)

English Collocation: May Have Been Led to Believe That…

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 ;-)

English Idiomatic Expression: “Needless To Say”

Best Videos and Articles on English Harmony in 2015 + Happy New Year!

Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! It’s been another year in business for me, and to be honest with you – this year has just flown by! It only feels like yesterday when I published a blog post about the advantages of using headphones when consuming audiovisual content in English. Guess what though? It was back in January – 12 months ago! And when I look at the article where I’m discussing the merits of recording your speech on a camcorder, I actually find it hard to believe it happened in February! But while we’re at it, we may as well look at other interesting articles I’ve published this year, and the next one I want you to read is the 25 English sentence starters. Starting sentences is something that a lot of us, foreigners, are struggling with, so it goes without saying that being able to use a number of sentence starters will come in handy for you you as a foreign English speaker! Next up – an article from the month of April is about trying to impress other people with your English skills and how it can quickly turn against you. To be honest with you, I still have to fight the urge to impress others at times, and I know for a fact that plenty of other foreigners are finding themselves in the same situation, so you should definitely read this article – especially if you’re among those having this issue! (more…)

How Robby Improves His Spoken English

4 Reasons Why You Can’t Compare the Average Foreign English Speaker With a Small Child in a Native Speaking Family

The English language teaching industry is awash with children vs adult comparisons. Statements such as: “Learn the English language just like babies do – simply listen, and let all the language sink in…” or “Small children are best at learning the English language, their brain is like a sponge! We adults don’t stand a chance…” are so commonplace that we tend to take them for face value and we don’t question them at all. Here at English Harmony I question all mainstream standards and practices, and more often than not I’ve found them to be totally wrong. I figured out a long time ago that you don’t need anywhere near as much focus on grammar as they’ll make you believe in any academic English teaching institution. I learned it the hard way that learning new English words via my native language – which is a typical industry standard – is actually bad for my English fluency because it creates a lot of unnatural vocabulary associations in my brain. And it took me a long, long time to define my personal problem – inability to SPEAK in English FLUENTLY – for the simple reason that no-one had ever said it to me during my English language studies at primary, secondary and college level which were 99% focused on developing my ability to read and write! Today I’m taking on another myth: “In order to learn the English language, we need to look at small kids in native English speaking families and copy what they do.” I say: “DON’T copy what little children do because you’re not comparing like with like!” (more…)

Can’t Say a Word in English Because Of Embarrassment… Is That Normal?

Fluent English can ONLY be acquired by learning IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS - and that's why I'm going to highlight them for you in RED! 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 hello my dear foreign English speakers. Welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog and tonight I'm going to record a video as a video response to one of my YouTube commentators. But just before that, allow me to take a sip of my evening decaf coffee, right? Cheers my friends! So this person, Triple H and he is as a matter of fact, one of the most prolific commentators on my channel and I really hope that you don't mind Triple H me reading out your comment because it's going to help everybody, the whole audience for that matter. So Triple H shares a very embarrassing moment that happened to him at the embassy. So basically the woman or personnel asked him who was going to collect his passport. And basically he didn't get her accent, her pronunciation so she had to say it 4 times over and he couldn't get it. And she pronounced basically the word “when” as “wha” and “who” as “he”. Yeah, well, there are certain distinct accents whereby native English speakers pronounce words completely differently to what you would have expected, right? So after that incident his fluency went down the drain, out the window and afterwards he couldn't say one word. So the question is do you think it's common? (more…)

7 English Words & Phrases I Thought Were Wrong (But Then It Turned Out I WAS WRONG)!

Back in the day when I was a perfectionist regarding the English language, I thought that English grammar rules are set in stone and I used to question and analyze every new English word or expression I came across. It’s no wonder therefore that I thought idiomatic expressions such as “Long time no see! ” were grammatically incorrect while in reality nothing could be further from the truth! You see – some things we say in English aren’t subject to any rules, we JUST SAY THEM and if you start questioning them, you can only make matters worse by confusing yourself to a degree you can’t even speak fluently. Being the perfectionist that I was, I would always take the academic approach and try and put some sort of a structure on everything I would read or hear in English; if something didn’t make sense to me, I would label it as being WRONG. Needless to say, my ability to speak was next to none back then for the simple reason that  my textbook-based English was only good for doing grammar tests and constructing grammatically correct sentences on a piece of paper. Whenever I tried to speak with real people in real life, I would apply the same analysis as when writing and doing grammar tests, but the simple truth is that you just can’t speak fluently when you’re constantly questioning yourself and your conversation partner. On top of that, I was fairly stubborn as well, and I just wouldn’t take other people’s advice on board because I was so self-absorbed that I thought I knew everything best! :grin: (more…)

FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #1: TELL YOU WHAT!

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Hello Everybody! ;-) This year has finally drawn to an end, and I have to tell you my friends that it's been one hell of a ride :!: I've created a couple more products on top of the English Harmony System, namely - Fluency Gym Coach Program (helping my fellow foreigners with confidence and goal-setting when it comes to English improvement) and Accent Genie Program (focusing on American Pronunciation); I've started a couple of new blogs - EasyIdioms.com and BestEnglishFiction.com (I haven't been updating them as often as I'd like though...); I've finally bought my own house (well - 90% of the money is borrowed from the bank anyway, so technically it won't be mine for another 30 years...) and the redecoration work kept me busy during the summer months - having said all that, however, I never stopped delivering articles and videos on my blogs EnglishHarmony.com and AccentAdventure.com! On top of that, I've been going to my 9 - 5  job on a daily basis so as you can imagine I've been busy as hell but I've truly ENJOYED every single second of it! Why? Because receiving e-mails and comments such as this one, for example, makes it all worthwhile: That's right my friends. It's only thanks to YOU that I'm sitting here in my home office behind the laptop and making all these videos and articles. If not for YOU, there'd be no-one to read it all, there'd be no-one to watch my videos, there'd be no-one to leave comments on my YouTube channel and my blog. And if not for those who've committed with their money and dedication - namely, my CUSTOMERS, I wouldn't be able to run my operation because - let's face the truth my friends - I wouldn't have the financing necessary to run my websites, create the products and produce the videos! So I'd like to take this opportunity and THANK YOU ALL VERY, VERY MUCH for staying with me throughout this year, and may all your wishes come true in the New Year 2014!!!

Why It’s VERY Important to Speak Out LOUD When Learning New English Vocabulary Words!

I’m a Useless English Teacher Because I Make Mistakes… And I Should Go Back to Farm!

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…)

Funny English Phrases: Work Related Idioms

Hello my friends from YearOfEnglish.com and also everyone else who happens to be reading this blog post right now! It’s been a while since I published the last Funny English Phrases video – it was dedicated to sports related idioms and it went live on June 1 which is 3 and a half months ago!!! The only thing I can say in my defense is that I was extremely busy during the summer working on my new house, and if it’s any good to you, here you can read a couple of English DIY terms I learned as a result of my home refurbishment related activities. Anyhow, let’s get down to business right now, and let’s learn a couple of work related idioms you can use when communicating with your work colleagues regardless of the industry you’re in. Whether you’re an office clerk, warehouse operative or a cashier sitting at the till in a supermarket, you’ll find the following expressions quite handy at times, so here’s what you have to do: (more…)

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

Terrible English Fluency Issues? You’re Not Alone In This!

Check Out My NEW Blog AccentAdventure.com!

I started EnglishHarmony.com back in 2007 – so it’s almost 5 years in operation! This year, however, marks the birth of another blog of mine – namely, AccentAdventure.com! It’s a new blog I started earlier this summer, and it’s dedicated to learning different English accents. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know my stance on pronunciation and accent related issues. The advice I always give to my fellow foreigners is – “Speak the way you’re comfortable, don’t try to bend over backwards just to get your English pronunciation perfect because you’re running the risk of ruining your English fluency!” Having said this, however, I’ve NEVER ENCOURAGED my fellow foreign English speakers to NEGLECT the pronunciation aspect of their spoken English; I’ve never said – “Who cares about pronunciation, speak however you want!” A lot of people have misinterpreted my advice and I’ve received quite a few comments blaming me for sending out the wrong message. And I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to receive a couple comments on this video blog post saying that I’m being a hypocrite by first telling everyone not to care about proper pronunciation and then learning to speak like an American which obviously contradicts my previous claims! Now, let me get this one straight. The purpose of the AccentAdventure.com blog is to show that it is POSSIBLE to learn to speak like an American, Brit, Australian or any other native English speaker if you invest enough time and effort into the process! Also, I want to use this new blog as a platform to reveal popular misconceptions surrounding accent acquisition – same way I’m using this blog to show how ineffective traditional studies are when it comes to oral English fluency. For instance, I don’t believe it’s necessary to focus on accent reduction; this term is wrong! I also think it’s totally wrong to learn pronunciation by learning what way certain English vowels can be pronounced etc. It’s 100 times more efficient to learn how to pronounce certain words and sentences; if you learn to analyze separate sounds and how they can be pronounced you’ll end up in a ‘paralysis by analysis’ situation! So, basically if you’re interested in certain tips and tricks on improving your English pronunciation and accent – definitely make sure to check out my new blog at AccentAdventure.com! Robby ;-)

Isn’t It Weird That I Can Write In English Better Than Speak?

5 Things About Robby & The English Language You Probably Didn’t Know

1. Sometimes I still mix up English personal pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’. I know it may sound silly, and some of you might think – “Hold on, there’s something dodgy going on… How come somebody who speaks fluent English can be making such simple mistakes?” You should never judge a foreigner’s abilities as an English speaker by the mistakes they’re making regardless of how simple they are! The fact that I can speak fluently doesn’t mean I’ll be getting the basics right 100% of the time. Especially considering times when I’m a little bit stressed out and I have to make my point very quickly. That’s when I may make a few mistakes and referring to a female person with the personal pronoun ‘he’ is one of them! By the way, I have an explanation for that. (more…)

English Idiomatic Expressions: “I’ve Been Meaning to… Never Get Around to…”

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. Here's the funny thing. I've been meaning to record this particular video for a while now but finally, when I got around to it yesterday, all sorts of weird thing started happening. I tried to record it two times in a row but every time when I connected the camcorder to the laptop, there was nothing there. There were no files to be found and it was very weird to say the least! And as you noticed guys, I actually used today's phrases in this sentence. So this was the first sample sentence actually. “I've been meaning to do something” and the second one is “to get around to doing something”. And depending on whether you refer to a past event or things in general, you will say either “got ‘round to doing something” or “get ‘round to doing something”. And you will also notice that I don't say “get around,” I said conversationally. I shortened the word “around” to just 'round basically. I omit the “A” letter, just stick an apostrophe there and it becomes 'round. That's what native English speakers say conversationally and that's what I'm sticking with. So do you want to find out more about these two idiomatic expressions “I've been meaning to do something” and “to get 'round to doing something”? Well, bear with me for a few more moments and everything is going to become crystal clear to you my friends! (more…)

English Phrasal Verb: “To Carry Out”

Hello my friends foreign English speakers! ;-) I’ve been away for some time due to my other commitments – Fluency Gym Coach Program – to be more specific. Now I’m back with another English idiomatic expression, and this time around it’s a phrasal verb ‘to carry out’. It’s quite a simple English phrasal verb meaning ‘to make it happen’, ‘to accomplish a task’, but I’d still advise you to watch the video above to see how this particular phrasal verb is used in real life conversations. (more…)

Do You Find Certain English Grammar Constructs TOO DIFFICULT To Learn? Try This Easy 3 Step Plan!

English Idiomatic Expression: “Down the line”

We never know what’s going to happen down the line – isn’t that right my friends? But let’s not get too pessimistic – after all, it’s time to learn another English idiomatic expression, and I actually just used today’s phrase – “down the line”! ;-) This English idiom is quite simple, and it’s just another way of saying “in the future”. Are you wondering then what’s the difference between the two phrases? Are you asking the question – “Why use ‘down the line’ if I can simply say ‘in the future’?” I warmly suggest you stop asking questions like the ones I just mentioned! They’re not going to avail you of anything apart from only getting you more confused. So please read this blog post I wrote a short while ago about the bad effects of too much question asking and analysing. So, just repeat and memorize today’s phrase “down the line” and watch the video above to see how it’s used in real life so that you can start using it in your daily English conversations! Chat soon, Robby ;-)

How To Achieve Fluent English Reading Knowing Only 70 – 80 % of Vocabulary!

You Shouldn’t Learn Irregular Verbs This Way: Bring – Brought – Brought

Today I witnessed how a beginner English learner was using a smart phone app to build English vocabulary. The girl spoke a word in her native language, the app picked it up, translated into English and while doing so it also provided all three basic forms of the verb in question: “Bring, brought, brought.” Cool! – you may think. It’s a great app! ;-) Well, just forget the app for a moment, and let’s see what happens in your brain when you memorize a word string such as “Bring – brought – brought”. You memorize all those three words in the same exact sequence, and next time around when you think of using the verb “to bring”, the other word -“brought” – is going to appear alongside. You think it’s handy? Well, think twice :!: What if you’re trying to have a conversation with someone in English, and you’re starting a sentence by saying: “My supervisor told me I have to bring...” – but then suddenly the word “brought” jumps right in making you hesitate? Do you think it’s an unlikely scenario? In reality it’s EXACTLY how the typical English fluency issue manifests itself, and learning such unnatural word groups contributes to non-native speakers’ inability to speak fluently big time! So watch the entire video above, and if you’ve any questions or queries – please post them in the comments section below. Robby

3 Situations When It Might Be Easier For You To Speak in English With Your Fellow Foreigners

Some time ago I published an article called “5 Reasons Why It’s Easier To Speak With Native English Speakers Than Other Foreigners”. In today’s article I’m going to look at reasons why on certain occasions it might be actually easier to speak in English with another foreigner :!: As I already pointed out in the first article – on most occasions it’s all a matter of perspective. All other things being equal – such as your level of English fluency, language comprehension etc. – you may feel more comfortable speaking with another foreigner simply because you’re not ashamed of saying something wrong (which inevitably happens during any conversation). Or it also could be that you spend most of your time working in an international team, and speaking with native English speakers is an exception rather than a rule. "It is mostly our OWN mental inhibitions that make us favor conversations with natives or foreigners!" And of course – it varies from person to person a great deal! While you mightn't have any problems chatting with your native English speaking work colleague, your supervisor might be giving you the creeps and you always stutter and find it difficult to explain yourself in his or her presence. Anyway, here are the 3 situations when you may find it easier to speak with your fellow foreign English speaker instead of a native speaker. Enjoy! ;-) (more…)