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