Extr@ Episode 10: Anna’s Protest

Have we practiced asking questions before? How about an episode with commands? If you recall one, let me know! In the meantime, let’s focus on Episode 11, which reminds us that Extr@ is also a serious language course. Did you already watch it? Click on one of these links to review it in German, French, Spanish, and English.

“Weiß du etwas über die gestohlenen Meerschweinchen?”

If I were a language teacher, I would show this episode in class. The assignment: Write down as many questions as you hear. There are a great variety here! (I would have to show the video twice. First for their amusement, and then for the assignment. I’d like them to appreciate the story before they do the task.)

I wonder why we waited this long in the series to look at questions. They are a very basic A1-level lesson. In fact, some questions may be more important than some statements. For example: “Wo sind bitte die Toiletten?” or “Wie viele kostet das?” or everyone’s favorite — “Sprechen Sie Englisch?”

“Pass auf meine Babys auf!”

As I mentioned, the second grammar lesson is commands or requests. Our four friends have been asking each other to do things since Episode 1. Now that Sascha and Sam are both working, they have a boss to give them professional assignments. The scene when Barbarella guides Sam through his interview with Anna is both a great lesson with both questions and commands and a fair attempt at comedy!

I wish, however, that Anna had given Nic more instructions for the care of the guinea pigs. Didn’t he need to feed them, to give them water, and to clean their box? Even if the actors and the guinea pigs were filmed separately, it would have been very easy for Nic to pretend to interact with animals inside a box. In fact, it would have been easier than earlier scenes with the actors and Anna’s dog Louis! What would have been hard, is scenes with Nic, the guinea pigs, and the dog! (Where was Louis during this time in Anna’s life?)

“Rettet die Tiere!”

We can forgive a sitcom for neglecting character development, but so far, we have only needed to forgive Extr@ for Anna. Our other three cast members are not perfectly three-dimensional, but they are at least clear types. Sascha is a strong-minded go-getter who can use her beauty to get what she wants. Nic is the goofy neighbor who likes to live on his friends’ couch. Sam is both the fish-out-of-water and the prince-disguised-as-pauper. And Anna has been . . . the overlooked girl-next-door?

We have known since Episode 1 that Anna has a beloved dog. Today we see another side of her love of animals as she protests against animal testing. If questions themselves are A1-level lessons, questions about controversial issues take us into B2. In my B2 class, our topics included public schooling, dress codes at work, and bias in news reporting. Does that sound impressive? If so, I must confess that we discussed them with only a little more depth than this episode discusses animal testing!

Any Questions?

  1. Aside from “Do you speak English?” what is the best question for a beginning language learner to know
  2. If you left your pet with someone and had only a few minutes to give instructions, what would be the three most important things to say?
  3. What is the most complex or controversial topic that you have discussed using your target language?
  4. Who is your favorite Extr@ character, so far?

Next Week: Episode 11, Holiday Time

Extra Deutsch

Extra en français

Extra en español

Extra English

2 thoughts on “Extr@ Episode 10: Anna’s Protest

  1. The episode is also good for informal second-person plural. It’s not really noticeable in the French, but it is in the Spanish, because Spanish has no standard way of handling second-person, so for someone whose Spanish is mostly Latin America (indeed, more specifically Mexican) the vosotros/os really jumps out as showing up a bit more consistently in this episode — we’ve had it before, but mostly in a line or two, but we have it repeatedly here. In Spain, it’s the norm. In the New World, one always uses ustedes; the vosotros is recognized for literary reasons but never used for conversation.

    I remember discussing feminism and politics in Spanish class at college, but while I don’t remember it in any detail, I can’t imagine that it was handled with any sophistication on our part.

    I think I like French Annie best, although this particular episode shows Spanish Ana to good advantage.

    1. Cristina @Linguavert

      Thanks to my grandmother, my own strong preference is for “vosotros”! Or at least it would be, if I ever let myself learn Spanish . . .

      My new German teacher likes giving us controversial issues to discuss . . . but I’m afraid that the class rarely rises to the occasion. These kinds of speaking exercises need us to have strong opinions or feelings about the given topic, but my classmates and I seem to be, in general, a phlegmatic group!

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