Italki tutors advise

Hello all. I’m considering getting an italki tutor to help me with conversations?
I was wondering what people’s thoughts are on italki tutors and if they’re worth it? I mainly want to supplement pimsleur and to start working some output muscles

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I’ve been doing 2 hours a week working through Minna no Nihongo plus conversation practice for almost 2 years now, basically since around level 10 on WK. I also write around a paragraph a week on a random topic that she corrects and we go through together. It’s definitely been worth it to me, I’ve seen huge improvement in both my listening and output. You might also want to check out the voice rooms on Hellotalk, though full speed group conversation is many times more difficult than 1-1 with a tutor who’ll match your level


iTalki is amazing! If you are only really looking for conversation and occasional pointers, check out the Community Tutors they have. These are usually retirees or stay-at-homes who enjoy the conversation and aren’t looking to create things like lesson plans or homework. (However, they also have professional teachers on there if you want more structure) You can find community tutors on iTalki with very cheap rates and then see who has a schedule that works with yours. I’m a huge proponent of having a native speaker of some sort to provide natural speech and feedback when learning a language, so I think you’re making a great choice!


You may have to try a few tutors to find one that you jive with, but I really think it is a useful application. Informal tutors aren’t too expensive and have helped me improve my conversation skills.

I think it can be a really good resource, but I definitely thing that (as with most language learning things) you get in what you put out. So, going through a textbook with a tutor or having a set goal each week like @eglepe 's paragraph that was mentioned, I think can be very good ideas. I used to just use mine for conversation practice without much preparation, but after a while, I think that didn’t feel like I was learning too much or advancing. So, I would definitely use it, I just think having goals set while you use it can be a very helpful marker rather than just broadly wanting to get better at speaking.

edit: wrong mention woops :sweat_smile:

I tried italky a while back and I definitely see the merit in it, however… I’m a bit of an anxious person, especially when phoning or video talking with a stranger. My first lesson was terrible, probably because my speaking ability was severely lacking back then and I had quiet some trouble expressing myself. Of course this depends on what kind of person you are, but it would certainly have been easier for me personally, if it was a real life tutor.

This is a really good idea for getting started in my opinion, if you don’t have ANY experience with speaking yet, but just like they said, after a while of doing this, you should really look into getting some output with actual native speakers.

If you don’t have any experience speaking yet, however are confident, go for a tutor now, no questions asked. Might actually be a really good motivational boost. If not, try preparing yourself for the awkwardness a video call with a stranger who doesn’t really speak english or your native language very well may bring. But… it might have been just my tutor, perhaps there are other great people out there.

They usually say what other languages they speak on their profile. I also started with next to 0 speaking ability but my tutor spoke enough basic English to get through the lesson. Now our lessons are fully in Japanese

Actually, my tutor stated that she spoke english, but when I got stuck at words I didn’t know and asked her what they were in japanese, she didn’t really understand.

I guess every tutor is different and I just should have probably tried another one, just wanted to offer antoher perspective of how things can go not so perfectly with those sites

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That happens with mine a lot too, but I keep open in a tab so I can look things up when we get stuck. Not a huge problem imo

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Yeah, I guess it shouldn’t be a big problem. I was just anxious, it was a little discouraging, so I gave up on that idea. Honestly, in my case, a real life language partner has proved to be much better. On top of that, I don’t have to pay any money for that :wink:

Of course it depends on availability, but I guess everyone just has to find whatever suits them the best

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I can’t give much advice yet because I just started taking some lessons a couple of weeks ago.

Initially, we started out doing some lessons of a textbook, but I quickly realised that it was below my level. I know the vocab and grammar etc., I just have trouble putting it together quickly and understanding natural speech - but I don’t need to learn how to say “I like sushi”.

So then we switched to free-form conversation and I think this is much more helpful. Even though it’s really hard and I’m struggling a lot… but I also feel like I’m improving, slowly. Sometimes I’m really confused by what my tutor’s trying to tell me. It takes me so long to process the words he’s saying that in the end I forget if he was asking a question or making a suggestion or what. And my output… definitely needs some work.

At the end of each lesson he shares some feedback with me - what I did wrong and what I should say different. I hope this will sink in with enough time. I keep doing things wrong that I know are wrong, like using ある with people.

Luckily my tutor speaks English very well - we try to keep to Japanese as much as possible, but when I don’t understand or can’t say something or when it’s important meta-level stuff (when should we have the next lesson etc.) we switch to English.

I’ve had great experiences using iTalki and recommend it if you don’t mind paying the money.

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I know that feeling haha, I kept adding か at the end of sentences that weren’t supposed to be questions. I knew it was wrong immediately but my brain and mouth couldn’t keep up with the speed I was trying to talk at

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