Social networking for language learners
I've recently joined the social networks Live Mocha, iTalki and Palabea but I've yet to talk to a real life French person!
Anyway, yesterday I met up with a friend (he's actually a friend of a friend, un ami d'une amie :) ) to practise my French. Now, he's just a Sydneysider like me so not a native speaker but he's been learning it on/off for many years and classifies himself at approximately C1 level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). At first I couldn't understand a thing he said because he was going too fast but also because of his Australian accent. I've only allowed myself to listen to native speakers' accents so it's hard to understand someone when they don't have it. I actually felt some sympathy and understanding of why, when people some have learnt British or American English (ESL) and come to Australia (even my parents!) and then realise they can't understand a thing anyone is saying!
I had heaps and heaps of fun. It helps that his job is actually a teacher (of high school students) so he is good at explaining things. Because, just because someone can speak a language, does not mean they can teach it!
I was having conversations like a 5 year old but meh, it was super fun and fantastique! It is really different speaking to a real life person as opposed to noone or a CD/MP3 soundtrack.
Meanwhile, I've finished Michel Thomas (boohoo) and the Teach Yourself French Starter Kit, and done up to Lesson 12 of Assmil!