J'ai fini tout l'arbre français! Mais.... Maintenant?!
Now that I've finished the English-French tree I am feeling a little sad! Trés mal!! What do I do next? What is my next step to French fluency? I am currently at 70% fluency 'en français'... And while I feel great about reading + writing I am not completely confident in speaking - Does anyone have advice, suggestions? How does one acquire a French pen pal, or study-buddy?! J'ai besoin d'étudier avant de voyager en France en juin! Aidez-moi!
You're going to get people saying reverse tree or laddering and while these can help, they are not necessarily good advice. If you are going to be in France I assume you will want to speak French, not wow people with your duo progress or any study habits. I don't mean this to come across as mean, so hear me out...
If you plan on speaking French then start speaking now. Get out of the books and study apps. You can find French pen pals on conversationexchange.com. You and your pen pals would then decide to chat through WhatsApp or Skype. With a smartphone get on Tandem or HelloTalk. Both apps allow you to chat through the apps via text, voice messages, voice calls, or video calls. Check meetup.com (app too) - maybe there's a French group that meets in your area? There's nothing like chatting face to face! I just spent 2 hours on Sunday in a Spanish meetup group followed by 2 hours in a French group. I absolutely loved it! French is a beautiful language but of the latin languages it is one of the most difficult to develop an ear for, so any practice you can get before your trip will make your trip that much better.
So find speaking opportunities, they are so important to speaking a language. And don't be shy. Be bold and willing to make mistakes. Above all else, enjoy!
Try downloading an app to your phone to pick up French radio stations, this really helps get used to hearing it (though it is fast , that is what you will face in France) - even the adverts help as they are repetitious. Don't worry about not understanding everything, just listen to the flow, the accent and pick up words you know. Pick a couple of words each day that you don't know and look them up, to build vocab. Have fun in France - don't stay in an English speaking hotel, go local !
I agree with El Gusano. You can find language exchange buddies in Conversation Exchange, iTalki and Tandem.
If you have trouble understanding the spoken language... There is a show called Extra which really help me out. You can find the episodes (avec sous titres) on youtube. I also listen to a podcast called Inner French. Once you can understand those well, you can move to regular radio stations and watch french movies and tv series.
Hope this helps.
You have to practice. Unlike American English, the French accent is easy to develop. It just takes time and practice. I talk to my French teacher for my accent to develop.
Find a book. Start reading it. Convert new words into flashcards.
Fresh off duolingo your big deficiencies are going to be vocab and familiarity with more advanced grammatical forms. Now you need to start getting lots of reps in with new words and unfamiliar texts. It's like learning to swim. You know how to float and how to doggy paddle; now it's time to leave the kiddie pool and dive into the deep end.
bliu bliu's free service is extremely limited, but it's also really good for what it offers, and will be enormously helpful to you at this stage.
Finally, friendly tip: très is written with an accent-grave (è).