Language Garage courses include short and sweet audio workouts. These are an essential complement to the live online sessions that you have with your native speaking instructor, and the review and practice exercises that you do in your student book. They only take a few minutes, so they’re easy to fit into your schedule. For best results you should listen to one every day between your lessons. Just follow the prompts in your student book.
One Workout Per Sandbox
Each lesson is divided into three sandboxes. A sandbox is a small, controlled amount of new language – either vocabulary or grammar – that you learn and practice as a unit. There is one audio workout per sandbox, meaning three in total for each lesson. So you should divide your time between lessons by setting aside a day or two for each sandbox. For example, listen to the first sandbox on days 1 and 2, then the second sandbox on days 3 and 4, and so on. This is much better than cramming in all three on one day. You’ll get better results this way, because you’re spreading out your exposure and contact hours. Your book will tell you exactly what we recommend doing on each day between lessons, so there’s no guesswork involved.
Key Vocabulary Review
Each audio workout starts with a review of the vocabulary from that sandbox. You’ll hear the word or phrase both in English and in your new language. Then in the pause, repeat what you hear once or twice. You can see the audio script for every audio workout in your student book, so you can read along as you listen. Here’s an example from the very first sandbox of Italian 1.
Some of the audio workouts at the beginning of level 1 have pronunciation practices. They focus on the sounds that may be difficult for learners. In the student book you’ll find a note describing how to make these sounds. Then on the audio you’ll hear the sounds used in several example words. Here’s an example from French 1, showing the difference between the French ou sound, which is like English ooh, and French u, which doesn’t exist in English.
Role Play Dialogues
There are many interactive dialogues in the audio workouts, where you take the role of someone doing something practical in your new language – introducing yourself, ordering something in a restaurant, buying something, asking directions, etc. You hear cues in English to tell you what to say. Then you hear the correct answer, which you can repeat for practice. Here’s an example of a dialogue from Spanish 1 practicing how to greet people and introduce yourself.
A lot of the audio is interactive practice, giving you the chance to practice the vocabulary and grammar that you’ve learned in a question-and-answer format. Here’s an example from lesson 4 of French 1, practicing using the verb aller (to go). In it, you hear questions like “Are you going the café?” followed by a prompt: “yes.” You’re meant to answer “Yes, I’m going the café.”
Using the Audio
- Try to listen to one every day in between your lessons. They’re only a few minutes long, so they’re designed to fit into a busy schedule. The program prompts in your book will tell what to do on each day, so they’re a simple guide to follow and stay on track.
- Bring the audio with you. Download the audio onto your phone or tablet so that you can bring it with you and practice on the go. To access the audio from your mobile device, all you need is the free Dropbox app, and you can download the audio from My Courses on your Language Garage account right onto your device.
- Read along the first time. You’ll find the script for each audio workout in your student book. You should read along the first time that you listen to a workout. This will make it much easier for you to follow, and you’ll also be developing a strong sense for pronunciation and reading.
- Listen without the script. After you’ve listened with the script, try to listen again without. If it’s hard at first, no worries, just go back to your script. Eventually you’ll be able to follow and understand everything without using the script at all.
- In a pinch, choose the audio workout over the student book. It’s definitely best to follow the routine and use both the student book and the audio. The student book is where you’ll find explanations of everything that you learned, along with lots of examples and practice exercises. But if you’re ever in a pinch for time and can’t do both, listen to the audio. It will take less time than the student book, and you’ll get the same review of vocabulary and grammar.
- Review and repeat. Learning a new language takes practice, and both the student book and audio are meant to be reviewed. If you only have the time to go through them once, that’s fine, but for best results, go back and review. The prompts in your book are meant as a guide for the minimum amount of offline review and practice, but if you have more time, you see even better results.