Extr@ Spanish, French and German Videos

A huge thank you to Andrew at howlearnspanish.com and commenter Robin who led me to the Spanish, French, and German Extr@ TV series. They were produced by Channel 4 in the UK and are aimed at teenagers learning languages, but any language learner should find them useful. Unlike language textbook videos where the speech is too slow and unrealistic, these videos are actually fun to watch!

The characters do speak somewhat slowly but that’s part of the plot since there is an American character who is learning the language.  The 13 episodes and 4 main characters, as well as the actor* who plays the American, are the same for all three languages. The basic story is that two girls, Lola/Sacha/Sascha and Ana/Annie/Anna share an apartment in Barcelona/Paris/Berlin. They have a neighbor called Pablo/Nico/Nic, and an American, Sam, comes to stay with them. The episodes are about 95% in the target language since Sam says a few things in English. The scripts aren’t exact among the versions but they are extremely similar so once you’ve watched one language, it will help you figure out what’s going on in another language.

Personally I find the Spanish version the best, mostly because Pablo is hilarious, but the German version is good too. The French version doesn’t work quite as well, but that could just be because French is my strongest language. The series remind me of a 90’s sitcom, complete with laugh track and abandoned plot points, even though they were filmed between 2002 and 2004. And even when Sam the American says things like flatmate, on holiday, and the washing instead of roommate, on vacation, and the laundry, I find it cute rather than annoying.

Plus the bromance between Pablo and Sam cracks me up.

There is also a version set in London with an Argentinian character learning English (Pablo from the Spanish series) that has 30 episodes. All of the episodes can be found on YouTube and all of the transcripts and exercises/activities can be found either at the channel 4 site or this German site (in .pdf or .doc format). Madame Thomas also has a Wiki with the Spanish videos cut into smaller segments.

 * The American is played by a Dutch actor who is actually fluent in Spanish, Italian and German. And English, obviously.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/MagEakaWebutante Margaret Nahmias

    I always that Sam maybe have an American of British descent.

  • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

    You’re very welcome and thanks for the link! Will tweet!

    Also, I love that you used the word “bromance”. I really need to get around to watching this, I’m sure I’d learn some new Spanish from it, it’s just an issue of time.


  • http://www.ielanguages.com Jennie Wagner

    I’ve already watched all of the Spanish episodes twice. I can’t get enough of this show! I am learning a lot, especially since I don’t normally listen to European Spanish so I feel like I’ve got the vosotros conjugation down finally. But yes, Pablo and Sam really make the Spanish version more enjoyable. :)

  • http://howlearnspanish.com/ Andrew

    Makes a huge difference when the learning process is fun and interesting, doesn’t it? Sorry, I just can’t get over that, I keep seeing how much of a difference that makes over and over again not only with myself but with other people, and I’ve heard people try to downplay it and mock it as if it doesn’t make much difference or, worse, it hurts you, like if it’s fun then you’re probably not learning much–I think these people have some sort of weird concept in their heads that learning, if it’s really effective, must be unpleasant and difficult. It’s very strange and somewhat disheartening to hear.

    I’m totally with you, I love shows like that, and I really need to get around to watching this one, I’ve got a couple days right now where I’m sort of freed up a bit, maybe I’ll do that.

    Hah, I still don’t have the vosotros conjugation down since I never use it because I deal almost exclusively with Latin American Spanish. I learned it quite a bit while watching and dissecting the movie Pan’s Labyrinth since it was used constantly in it, but it’s been a while so I’m sure I’ve forgotten most of what I learned. From what I hear even the Spanish have started to get away from it now and most people, especially those who aren’t old, just use “tu” 98% of the time. I could be wrong, but this is what I recall hearing.


  • http://www.facebook.com/MagEakaWebutante Margaret Nahmias

    you mean ustedes. vosotros is plural, so it would be ustedes.

    Ad for vosotros. I only remember when I see it since I use mostlu Latin American Spanish. Beyond the present tense I cannot recall offhand.

Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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