Extr@ Episode 12: Football Crazy

It’s so much fun to have a football-themed episode! Spectator sports must be the most unfairly overlooked topic in language courses. Look at all the times international competitions have brought people of many different countries and languages together! Sports fans who travel abroad to support their national players could really use an A1 course. And if they don’t take one in advance, the trip itself could be a crash course! If you missed this unit in our language course, here’s your last chance to catch up in German, French, Spanish, and English.

“Meine ganz spezialle Weltmeisterschaftunterhose!”

Are you as “football crazy” as Nic, Anna, and Sam? It doesn’t matter if you only get in the spirit of things every four years, like the Extr@ cast. Or if you get in the spirit fifteen years late, as we are in this Watchalong. The recent topical episodes (Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee last week; the 2002 World Cup today) are fun in a way the more generic episodes have not been. And isn’t it nice when language classes help us talk about current events?

In our case, we expect another World Cup next year. If you know any German, French, Spanish, or even English fans, you’ll be able to discuss wins, losses, goals, and players like a local fan! If you want to watch the matches live, however, you’ll have to create your own A1 Russian course.

“Ich habe die Nase voll von der Weltmeisterschaft!”

And if you’re not football crazy at all . . . In a previous post, I described how I use sports to enhance my language learning. (Link) My focus was on Fußball, for obvious reasons — but any sport will do as long as there is media about it in your target language. For example, Filipinos are “basketball crazy.” And thanks to NBA broadcasts, even fans who struggle with English can easily use the right terms to discuss an important game or a favorite player.

But now I’ll admit that there is a good reason why specific sports do not get much attention in language courses. While we can use general expressions to describe a football match, we can’t easily apply football fans’ favorite expressions to other situations in life. The German “schlagen,” for example, makes conflicts sound quite violent. I wouldn’t use it to say I won a friendly dispute about which movie to watch!

Extra Extr@

This may be a “football crazy” episode, but it has some jokes at the expense of the characters’ two favorite teams. Germany/France/Spain is supposed to be superior because it just beat Jamaica, while USA’s chances look even better because it bested Luxembourg. In reality, Luxembourg has never qualified for the World Cup, while Jamaica made the first round exactly once in history! But we get a twist in the English version: England still beats Jamaica, but Hector’s Argentina triumphs against . . . Italy. I’m not a proper football fan and even I know that Italy has one of the best national teams in the world! (I’m certain that this line was ad libbed!)

English learners have seventeen more episodes of Extr@ to enjoy, but for the rest of us, it ends with Episode 13. I’m a little sad about that, because I’ll miss Sam, Sascha, Anna, and Nic. But I’m also looking forward to doing a new series.

Let’s talk!

  1. What is your favorite sport?
  2. Have you ever traveled abroad to support your national athletes?
  3. What do you really feel about the World Cup?

Next Week: Episode 13, A Wedding in the Air

Extra deutsch

Extra en français

Extra en español

Extra English

2 thoughts on “Extr@ Episode 12: Football Crazy

  1. Ironically, I think the more generic episodes often involve less universal vocabulary than the specifically topical ones — more tied to situations people actually experience! And while sports may not be widely generalizable, it is very much a casual conversation-starter and -sustainer; probably almost as much as the weather.

    I was once in London during a World Cup; I think England was in the semi-semi-finals or something of the kind. It was pretty rowdy. (I had thought they won, but looking at the records, it looks like they were beaten by Argentina!)

    1. Cristina @Linguavert

      When I was an English trainer, one of the more advanced challenges was teaching a learner how to make appropriate small talk. Everyone masters talking about the weather early on, I think; but sports was an oddly unpopular topic (though I may merely be projecting).

      Sports in other languages also reminds me of a boy in one of my French classes. He was always trying to talk about the last rugby game he had watched, but sadly for him, no one else in class was a rugby fan. Neither was the teacher, who, now that I think about it, sorely neglected her duty to teach him the correct terms for describing a game.

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