Extr@ Episode 11: Holiday Time

Can you believe it took this long to get an episode about going on holiday? Language lessons and vacations often overlap. Sometimes we dream of the vacation first and learn a language to prepare; sometimes we choose to holiday somewhere because we are learning its language. But when we do, is the country — and the language — anything like what we expected? Before we discuss that, let’s see if Episode 11 is anything like what we expect, in German, French, Spanish, and English.

“Wenn ich mir ein Ferienziel aussuchen könnte . . .”

Everyone has his own dream vacation. Sascha wants to lie on a beach in Mauritius. Nic wants to visit the casinos of Las Vegas. Anna dreams of Cape Town. And Sam, who has probably been missing English, suggests London. And of course they choose the city which is the closest, the cheapest, and the one they already have a tour guide for.

Did you notice the use of Konjunktiv II when our four friends were discussing all the possibilities? They talked about what they “would like” (möchten) and predicted what “could” (könnten) happen.

As for what does happen . . . In London we see a complete role reversal: Sascha, Anna, and Nic struggle with English and Sam has to correct their mistakes! These parts reminded me of my favorite meme from “Language Twitter”. (Laugh with me) It was also great to hear how much Sam’s German/French/Spanish has improved since he moved to Berlin/Paris/Barcelona. Have you noticed any improvement in your language skills since you begen the Extr@ course?

“Was hast du alles angepackt?”

A very minor secondary lesson is clothes. Thanks to Sascha’s packing, we review the words for different kinds of clothes and shoes. We also see Nic’s more relaxed “packing.” Are you more like Sascha or more like Nic when you are getting ready for a holiday?

“Your eyes are like stars . . .”

As I’ve said, it’s the other characters who now struggle to speak a new language. When Sam tries to teach Nic a pick-up line, it’s obvious that Nic is going to make a big mistake. The twist is that it is not the kind of “typical” mistake Sam used to make — replacing a correct word with a similar-sounding wrong one.

Only the Spanish version nods to tradition, finding a possible pun with “eyes” and “ass.” But all of them ultimately replace “eyes” with “teeth.” It’s such a strange mistake — as silly as Hector’s saying “hotcat” insead of “hotdog” in Extr@ English Episode 4 (Link to Episode 4 Watchalong) — that I had to think for a few minutes before I got the actual joke.

Extra Extr@

The same actress plays the Engish waitress in the German, French, and Spanish versions. At first I found her really annoying, but after she showed off her own language learning, I liked her a little more! Yes, her pronunciation was terrible — but when a foreigner can say anything in our language we stop being such strangers.

As for the English version, it is the most different . . . and the most disappointing. Although the friends travel to Barcelona, where Hector can translate everything for them, they end up in an English tea room with a British waitress. This means we don’t get to see the same growth from Hector that we do from Sam. I understand that Extr@ English has to focus on English, but this wastes the Spanish setting. In this case, the friends should have just gone to Ireland!

Holiday Question Time!

  1. Describe your dream holiday!
  2. If you could meet any famous person, who would it be?
  3. In a city where your target language is spoken, would you already make a good guide for your friends?
  4. Has a foreigner ever surprised you by saying something in your mother tongue?

Next Week: Football Crazy

Extra deutsch

Extra en français

Extra en español

Extr@ English

2 thoughts on “Extr@ Episode 11: Holiday Time

  1. This was an interesting episode; vacations are so multi-faceted in character that they cover a pretty wide range of language skills! This is the episode so far where I’ve noted the biggest gap between my French and my Spanish — on first viewing (I always watch them both twice), I struggled with stretches of the French, but had no problem with the Spanish (Lola’s rapid-fire inventory of what she was packing was the toughest, but still manageable). I did notice the extensive use of the conditional.

    I thought the waitress’s behavior was a bit odd, at first, but it provided an opportunity for a lot of restaurant terminology.

    The Prince William bit made somewhat more sense for the French than the Spanish — Sacha has a picture of Prince William on the bulletin board above her desk, and has from the first time we saw it, but Lola doesn’t.

    I am very Nic/Nico/Pablo-like in packing!

    1. Cristina @Linguavert

      You’re right that there’s so much Extr@ could have done with the holiday theme. This should have been a two-episode special!

      As for “Prince William,” we also see him in the German version. I think German Sascha has the same picture of him over her desk that French Sascha does. In any case, it wasn’t strange to me because Sascha loves all sorts of celebrities. As you’ve noted, however, Lola often changes the script so that she mentions Spanish-speaking celebrities, so that’s another reason why Prince William would have struck an odd note. I can’t think of whom else she could have run into, though! Also, the series was produced during Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee (hence the cafe’s name!), so that was likely extra incentive for the producers to add some royal details. (In case you were wondering, in the English version, Bridget thinks she sees Enrique Iglesias!)

      I also lean toward the Nic/Pablo side of the spectrum when it comes to packing, but because I grew up (and still live with) some packers who would put Sascha to shame, I lack the confidence that should come with it!

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