If you need to learn another language for your job, you know that a general course isn’t enough. You don’t want to spend your time practicing how to order food or memorizing words for weather. Instead, you want to focus on very specific settings and very technical vocabulary. This is why Episode 4, “Sam Looks for a Job”, taught us only how to be restaurant servers. (Watch it again here) But today, in Episode 9, we see Sascha, Sam, and Nic all dealing with different jobs. See it now in German, French, Spanish, or English, so you can join today’s discussion!
“Sascha arbeitet jetzt als Assistentin . . .”
I admit that the three jobs are not wildly different. Nic is an actor, Sam hopes to be a news reporter, and Sascha meets celebrities as a TV researcher — so they all have showbiz in common. But this episode does not teach you how to do their jobs, but how not to do them! Remember that Extr@ is 50% sitcom!
Besides, it takes more than twenty-five minutes to prepare for work in another langauge. Several years ago, when I was an English trainer to a French receptionist, I spent an hour role-playing different ways to greet clients, learn what they wanted, and direct them to the right offices. It was a little boring for me, but obviously very interesting for her. That was just one lesson out of the twenty hours she paid for.
These days, I also see things from a learner’s end. Many people have been encouraging me to take a certification exam and to find a job that will let me use German. And it is very hard to convince them that just because my German is good enough for watching romantic movies, that doesn’t mean it’s good enough for answering customer service calls!
“Wir kriegen CNN doch über Satellit oder nicht?”
Since Sascha is trying to interest Sam in the TV industry, we also get a throwback to Episode 5’s TV-theme. (Watch it again) But I think Episode 9 has the better vocabulary list: nouns like “der Kanal” and “die Fernbedienung,” and verbs like “kriegen” and “berichten.” Sam also mentions many newsworthy events
I’m equally impressed by the rest of the script. It puts simple verbs that we learned as beginners into a professional context. In A1 class, you “treffen” friends, “bekommen” gifts, and “zeigen” your work on the whiteboard. Here, we “treffen” clients, “bekommen” e-mails, and “zeigen” someone how to do a job.
Meanwhile, Sam and Anna’s romance continues to develop. And they teach us some really embarrassing words to call someone you love. “Schnuckiputzi” comes from the adjectives “schnucklig” and “putzig,” which both mean “cute.” My own favorite, which I heard on another show, is “Kuschelwuschel” — which comes from the verbs “kuscheln” (to cuddle) and “wuscheln” (to tousle). I’d only call a child that, though!
Speaking of children . . . My grandmother would laugh at Spanish Ana calling Sam “pichonito” (little male pigeon) — because her own nickname as a child was “pichona”! I wonder if her trained ears would also hear Sam calling Ana “cariñito” rather than “cariñita.” But while I hear nothing silly in the Spanish words, perhaps a native speaker finds them as ridiculous as I find “sugar plum” and “snuggly puppy” from the English version!
Yet the award for Most Embarrassing goes to the French. Nothing beats “sucre d’amour” (sugar of love)!
Let’s talk about our jobs!
- Have you ever needed to learn another language for work?
- What are the three most useful words or phrases for someone with your job?
- What is the most embarrassing term of endearment that you know?
Next Week: Episode 10, “Anna’s Protest”
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