In this episode, we hear Sam, Anna and Nic using adverbs of time to talk about Sascha’s confusing behavior in the past and the present. First, she does one thing; later, she contradicts herself. An hour ago she was different from how she is now. What the friends don’t know is that they are dealing not just with Sascha, but also with her identical Zwillingsschwester Maria. It’s a classic comedic set-up!
“Sie wissen, das ich eine Schwester habe, aber . . .”
This story isn’t really a mystery, so I should stop feeling disappointed that it doesn’t clear the high bar set by the previous episode. But I still wish Maria had created a little more trouble for Sascha and the cast! At least she helps Sam and Anna to set a movie date, which I hope we will see in a later episode.
It’s not much of a story, but as a language lesson, it’s pretty good. An A1-level learner who is working on the Perfekt tense could watch this with subtitles on, for a focused listening exercise. It repeats this grammar point over and over!
This twist in the Extr@ series reminds me of one of my favorite theories of language learning: That you develop a parallel personality in another language. That is, the better you become, the less you merely translate your old culture and background into the new. Instead, you acquire a second culture and background. (Source) I sometimes think of it as discovering a long-lost identical twin who grew up in another culture.
“Wo tut es ihnen weh?”
As before, Nic provides a funny subplot and an intensive “sub lesson.” There is also some roleplay for rehearsal, though instead of Nic helping Sam practice a script, it is the other way around. Nic seems to have landed a real acting role and he wants Sam to help him get into character. And if you have ever practiced visiting the doctor in language class, then the vocabulary from this scene will be familiar to you!
I think most language courses pair up body parts and expressions of pain. At least this has been the case for me with French, German and Italian. (But this may also be an effect of the standardization of language teaching in the EU.)
“Was? ‘Die fünf reichsten Familien in Amerika’!”
Sam has a different sort of long-lost identical twin. The longer he lets his friends think he is a regular middle-class guy, the more he discovers what he would be like if his parents had been middle class. Every day, he fits into this “twin” role more easily.
For me, the most exciting part of Episode 7 was the end, when Sascha discovers Sam’s secret. I can’t wait to learn what happens later!
The biggest difference between the four Extr@ series is the name of the Zwillingesschwester Maria. The French sœur jumelle is Christelle, the Spanish hermana gemela is Cristina, and the English identical twin sister is Chrissy. All the other names have a common root, so I wonder why Maria broke the pattern. (My guess is that the German form of Cristina is just really uncommon.)
On a related note, of all the actresses, I think Leontine Hass of Extra deutsch played the twin sisters best. I was so impressed, I later looked up other projects of hers . . . and learned that she is actually British! Granted, with a Familienname like Hass, she probably has a German father. But would German viewers see something a little “off” about her, the way American viewers might see Sam? If so, I may watch Extra deutsch again in a few years and hear it, too!
Interestingly, it is only in the Spanish and English versions that Sam/Hector makes one of his typical vocabulary mistakes. And it is the same mistake in both: He says “brazo” or arm when he means “pierna” or leg. Most likely it is because Javier Marzan was in both of them, and remembered the English script well enough to suggest a change to the Spanish one later on. But this was a lost opportunity for the French version to sneak in one of my former teachers’ favorite classic mistakes: saying “jambon” (ham) when you mean your “jambe” (leg)!
- What do you know about your long-lost identical twin in your other language?
- If you had a real identical twin, what trouble could he or she cause with your friends?
- What exercise did you use to memorize the words for body parts?
Next Week: Episode 8, The Landlady’s Cousin
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