I've been using Duolingo for French and it tells me that I'm "33% fluent" which is total BS since I feel like I'm 5% fluent. I do feel like I can understand quite a bit more than I can speak. I've been listening to "News in Slow French" on my commute to / from work and that has helped my listening comprehension.
So my question is how do I use italki to help the most? Do I just pick a teacher and have a video call a few times per week? Are there some formal lessons? How does this work?
Listening to "News in Slow French" is very good to learn the language.
To know how to use italki, think about how you like to learn and how fast you want it.
- You like learning a language without feeling learning it, like very casual, I would suggest you to find a language partner. It's very good to learn new words and get used to listen and speak a language. However, partners barely explain grammar issues or why you should say a sentence this way, ...
- You want to get explanations, but keep a casual way to learn, you should pick a community tutor.
- You want to get explanations and structured lessons, well prepared, you should get a professional teacher.
Define how fast you want to learn French, will define how many times a week you will have a lesson.
You can take regular lessons or just one once in a while with specific questions you got from you listening and Duolinguo training. I have students who use Duolinguo too. I noticed they know the vocabulary or sentences, but they don't understand the mechanism of the language consequently they cannot use it to make other sentences. Once I explained to them, they feel much more comfortable with the sentences they have learned and to make new ones.
It could be a good start for you on italki: make a list of all your questions with examples/context and book a lesson with a community or professional teacher.
yep, just pick a teacher (they're much more reliable than partners). They will determine your level and provide a lesson plan. "Plans" vary from teacher to teacher.
Pick one that knows english so they can translate for you.
Not sure if you've heard of a guy named Benny Lewis, but he has a program called Fluent in 3 Months. You don't really need the program itself, but he's why I signed up here. He recommends speaking in your target language from your first conversation. It can be really hard at first but if you find someone patient, I think it is the best way to really get experience with speaking and listening to French. He recommends three times per week. I'm trying to set up once or twice per week with a tutor, and once or twice with a language partner.
The other question I have is, "how fluent do you have to be in order to benefit from italki?" I took an in-person class one year ago and I definitely struggled to carry on a conversation fully in French.