Finished French! What Next?
I've finished my French tree (golden owl, woohoo) after a few months of daily practice, and I'm wondering what to do next. I'm going to keep doing Duolingo every day to revise what I've been learning. I've also seen a few people on here recommend doing the reverse, French to English tree, so I'll check that out.
I'm looking at moving to Montreal in a year or so. Can anyone recommend some more resources to follow on from where I'm at now?
Branch out, no amount of Duolingoing will make you fluent. Read books and articles, watch tv and YouTube, listen to music and podcasts, expand your vocabulary at memrise, practice your writing at Lang-8, visit French forums, get a Skype/pen pal, attend meetings, talk to natives etc.
I've been listening to some French radio, watching some French TV and visiting French forums, and that's helping. I'm starting to get to the point where I don't have to translate something in my head before I understand it, which is pretty cool. I'd not seen Lang-8, thanks for that one.
"Learning" English as a French speaker would be helpful. I'm doing a reverse tree at the moment and I find it helpful. Here are other activities and resources that top my list for learning French:
Watching your favorite movies with the French soundtrack enabled can be helpful.
Listen to French speaking radio stations.
RFI Savoirs is hard to navigate but well worth the effort. https://savoirs.rfi.fr/
If you're in the USA or Canada, French in Action is very good. http://www.learner.org/resources/series83.html
If you have a plain Kindle or a Kindle paperwhite, get a French -> English dictionary for it and read some books. http://gregreflects.blogspot.com/2014/09/how-to-read-foreign-novel-on-kindle.html
Bonne chance et félicitations !
Oh! I forgot! Speak to people!
http://www.conversationexchange.com - you create an account and then search for practice partners. You can search by various criteria such as gender, age, nationality, hobbies. You can search for pen pals, audio chat partners, or video chat partners. You can use their internal messaging service if you don't want to give out your email address.
https://www.verbling.com/commumity - uses Google Hangouts (so you might need to install a browser extension). Supports audio/video/text (you can disable the video). Impromptu group chat rooms in many languages at the beginner, intermediate, or advanced level. If no chat rooms currently have open slots it's easy to create a new one.
Also check out iTalki, weSpeke, Busuu, and goSpeaky.
I want to second the nod to RFI Savoirs, been using it for 6 months, the streaming radio broadcast and the Savoirs learning tools are great (I have the same comment on difficult navigation, but you figure it out).
I use Yabla! Fantastic for training the ear to hear/understand native speakers. Pimsleur just changed to subscription and are running a free 7-day trial now, good for learning to dialogue. I'm finishing Pimsleur now and I think I'll try FrenchPod101 next.
Audio books - lots of public domain books out there now, read along with the speaker or just listen (some of these can be found on YouTube as well): https://librivox.org/
Music - catchy songs, plenty of them on YouTube. Way not normally my type of music, but Alyzée's stuff (e.g. Lolita) hooked me. (Elle est très, très jolie aussi.) Johnny Hallyday covered American music from the 60's on, so you can listen to familiar tunes, but with a new french lyric.
Journal - either write, or just verbalize to yourself what you did and thought during the day.
I second all of Lrtward's suggestions with one caution... reading and watching things that were translated to French is not the same as listening/reading something that was originally created in French. There is quite a bit of difference. You may want to start with translations as they are easier, but I would try to migrate to original French content. By the way, on streaming netflix, if you search for French Language, it will give you all their TV and Movies that are in original french (caution: some stuff French stuff is pretty sexually graphic.) I particularly liked the Call My Agent and The Break series.
I think you are amazing to have finished your 'tree' in a few months! I have been working on my tree for over a year and I still can't keep the strength bars full, I am only on adverbs 3 because every session I have to go back to basics and re-fill the strength bars before I can continue with the next lesson. it is beginning to be frustrating and I am not looking forward to each session anymore. Best of luck in your new adventure into languages
Keep at it! I'm almost finished with my French tree. BUT, I understand your frustration! I'm nearly 90 days in straight and spending on average an hour a day. But, there were days that I just couldn't. On those days, I just strengthened my bars and let my mind rest. And quite honestly, on some days I couldn't even do that! My daily "XP" goal is "20" and on some days that is all I would do. But. what helped me get through it and work daily was betting the "Double or Nothing" lingots. Even though there really isn't anything to buy in the store, and I will have more lingots than I will ever need, I just couldn't lose them! You must be diligent, and consistent, but you must let your mind rest too! I surprised myself by how much I retained by resting here and there.
I've been adding "News in Slow French" podcasts (https://www.newsinslowfrench.com) to my routine to help get the feel for some more "real life" French at a pace I can keep up with. I read the first Harry Potter in French on my Kindle (agree with the comment about having the French/English dictionary on there, which certainly helped). I picked HP because I already knew the story and figured the reading level should be reasonable since it's technically a middle reader/young adult book. I'm now tackling HP2 in actual book form which is harder - you can't just touch a word you don't know for the definition. French movies are another good idea, but I can't quite keep up with the dialog yet despite having a decent French base in school years ago and then doing the Duolingo tree as a refresher. The French-->English tree is also helping, and I've added French-->Italian which is certainly a challenge. Good luck figuring out what works for you!
I am a French speaker and when I learned to speak English, I talked with people in English, I watched shows in English, I did whatever I could to somewhat master the English language. Same goes with learning French, you have to interact with other people who speak French and do things that requires you to use the French language so that you may excel.