It’s good to be extra!
Everyone loves a little drama.
The folks behind the language learning sitcom “Extr@” definitely agree.
Their characters are always getting into silly situations and miscommunications as they grapple with language barriers and cultural exchanges.
The German version of the show, known as “Deutsch Lernen Extra” (“Learn German Extra”), “Extra auf Deutsch” (“Extra in German”) or simply “Extr@ German,” is no exception.
It’s a great show for those just starting out in German, and the comprehensive guide provided below will show you how to approach each episode, what to look for as you watch and how to train yourself to pick up on context clues and language differences that’ll carry into your real German interactions.
After watching just five episodes of “Deutsch Lernen Extra,” you’ll be able to gain more from other German TV shows you watch in the future.
All 13 of the German “Extr@” episodes are available for free online, so feel free to enjoy them with friends and family and share in the language-learning experience.
What’s so Special About “Extr@?”
Specifically made for beginners, the “Deustch Lernen Extra” educational series introduces a simple plot line that still touches on a lot of cultural elements. Those who are just starting will find it relatively easy to follow along, relate to what’s happening and laugh at the comical situations presented.
The actors speak much slower than the average German would, which is especially helpful for learning how the language sounds without having to rewind every 15 seconds. The German subtitles also help you understand the dialogue and boost your vocabulary without translating back and forth from English.
Finally, each episode features multiple recap moments, where characters take the time to speak to friends and family about what’s happened. These are great points to pause the show on your device, write a summary of your own and check your comprehension.
Who Are the Characters in the Show?
The main German characters are Sascha, who’s blonde, Anna, who’s brunette and Nic, their next-door neighbor.
All three live in Berlin. Nic really likes Sascha and Anna really likes Nic. Sam Scott is an American who comes to visit them. He was Sascha’s pen pal seven years ago. Sam is rich but his new acquaintances don’t know that.
How to Watch “Extr@” for Maximum German Learning
Before you begin the episode, grab a pen and some scratch paper. You’ll want to take notes during each episode, but don’t let the note-taking get in the way of your learning. Instead, first begin by considering the title. What does it tell you about the episode? Write a short statement about what you think the episode will discuss.
Second, as you’re watching the episode, write down words you don’t know. You can pause the video if you like to make sure you have the right spelling, but don’t get too wrapped up in jotting down every single word. Try to pick out the ones that occur often, as they’re most crucial to comprehending the action of the episode.
Finally, watch the episode multiple times if you need to. About three times should be plenty, because the first time you’ll want to just gather as much information as you can, the second time you’ll be looking to learn more about what you missed the first time around and the third time is for those who really want to make sure they understand completely what’s going on.
In our “Deutsch Lernen Extra” study guide below, we’ll actually provide comprehension questions you can answer after your first or second watch for each episode.
When you’re done with “Extr@,” you’ll probably feel ready for some real German TV shows—the kind native speakers actually watch.
Where to Watch “Deutsch Lernen Extra,” the TV Show Designed to Teach You German
We’re almost there! Get your popcorn ready and take your seats.
We’ll provide comprehension questions at the end of each episode description. Just be sure to cover up the answers that are beneath until you’re ready to check!
Episode 1: “Sam’s Ankunft” (“Sam’s Arrival”)
Here are some key terms you’ll find useful for this episode:
- vorbei (over)
- die Ankunft (the arrival)
- die Rechnung (the bill)
- der Brieffreund (the pen pal — male)
- die Vermieterin (the landlady)
- zurück (back)
- das Fahrrad (the bicycle)
- der Typ (the guy)
- die Fernbedienung (the TV remote)
- die Spielzeugautos (the toy cars)
- altmodisch (old fashioned)
- der Ofen (the oven)
- der Unterricht (the lesson/class)
- die Dienstboten (the servants)
About This Episode
This episode hinges on cultural misunderstandings between the American visitor Sam and the German characters.
Sam believes Nic is a porter, because Nic appears after Sam pulled what he thinks is a rope for summoning servants—though it’s really just part of the curtain. This is why Sam asks Nic to bring his bags up. Most Germans wouldn’t have servants like Sam does, and wouldn’t expect others to carry their bags up for them.
There’s also a funny exchange that’s relatable to anyone who’s lived in a foreign country, when Nic pranks Sam with some fake German lessons. It’s a trick often played on unsuspecting beginners who aren’t familiar enough with the language to know better. Sam probably doesn’t realize he told Anna her dog was in the oven, thanks to Nic’s advice.
Watch the episode once, as we discussed above, and practice the exercises mentioned. You’re free to watch the video again if you’d like, but keep the following comprehension questions in mind as you go. We’ll include the answers below but don’t peek!
- How does Sascha know Sam?
- Why does Sascha get mad at Sam, and then why does she change her mind?
- What secret are Nic and Sam keeping from the girls?
- Why do the boys have to go in the end?
Here are the answers to the above questions:
- Sascha and Sam were pen pals.
- Sascha is mad at Sam because he rode her stationary bike, but she changes her mind because she thinks he’s good-looking.
- Nic knows Sam is rich, even though the girls think he lives in a museum and plays with toy cars.
- Nic and Sam have to go because the landlady is coming and men aren’t allowed after certain times.
Episode 2: “Sam Geht Einkaufen” (“Sam Goes Shopping”)
- der Karneval (the Mardi Gras/carnival)
- “pass mal auf” (pay attention)
- das Geschäft (the store)
- der Kunde (the customer)
- der Verkäufer (the salesperson)
- das Schaf (the sheep)
- der Schal (the scarf)
- “probier es an” (try it on)
- entscheiden (to decide)
- messen (to measure)
- der Lügner (the liar)
About This Episode
Nic is teaching Sam how to speak to a salesperson in a German store, so that when he goes out shopping, he knows what to say. So of course it’s great for learning shopping vocabulary, but you’ll also get a glimpse at how this day-to-day activity works in Germany.
Most stores in Germany aren’t as large as American malls. Shopping for clothes in Germany is more of an intimate experience. Because of the lack of space, there are more boutiques, rather than large outlet stores. So you can definitely count on interacting with a salesperson while you browse.
- What article of clothing is each person responsible for?
- What mistakes did Sam make in ordering supplies?
- Where did the dog food end up?
Did you watch the episode? Good! Here are the answers:
- Nic will buy shoes, Anna will buy a shirt and Sascha will buy pants.
- Sam bought 10 kg of oranges, not apples, and 12 cases of eggs, not a dozen.
- The dog food is in the lobby.
Episode 3: “Sam hat ein Date” (“Sam has a Date”)
- tanzen (to dance)
- feiern (to celebrate)
- der Mord (the murder)
- das Lächeln (the smile)
About This Episode
In this episode, Sam’s lack of experience in doing his own laundry—as well as his not-so-great German skills—turn simple tasks into near-disasters.
Sam puts the washing machine on the wrong setting because he doesn’t realize that certain types of clothes need to be put on a specific temperature setting. Where in America we might have permanent press, German washing machines go by temperature only. And although Anna wants Nic to spray “flower water” on her plant, Sam ends up spraying perfume on it instead because he doesn’t read the lettering on the bottle closely enough.
- Why do the boys get so many emails from women?
- Who are in the dog costumes?
How do your answers line up?
- Nic has made it seem like he and Sam are millionaires.
- Sascha and Anna are in the dog costumes.
Episode 4: “Sam Sucht Einen Job” (“Sam Seeks A Job”)
- zuverlässig (reliable)
- selbstbewusst (self-confident)
- das Geheimnis (the secret)
- der Kellner (the waiter)
- der Chef (the boss)
- der Spitzname (the nickname)
- die Speisekarte (the menu)
- der Auflauf (the casserole)
- der Erfolg (the success)
- der Trottel (the fool)
- kündigen (to quit)
About This Episode
Sometimes, the language barrier isn’t just about grammar or vocabulary. Have you ever had assumptions or stereotypes get in the way of communication? That’s what happens to Sam in this episode.
Sam says that his parents have eaten at the White House, and because noone (besides Nic) knows about his true background, they all think he’s just a silly American who can’t speak German well.
You’ll also see how similar life in Germany can be to the U.S. and other countries. Like many students, Anna doesn’t have much money. And like anyone living in a tiny apartment, Sascha isn’t made of gold, either. This is something many Americans and Germans can relate to.
- What three jobs should Sam not apply for?
- How do Nic and Sam make Stefan a “hot” coffee?
- What did Sam buy for Nic?
Let’s see how you did!
- Sam shouldn’t work at a laundromat, as a gardener or as a cook.
- Nic and Sam put chili powder in Stefan’s coffee.
- Sam bought Nic a scooter.
Episode 5: “Ein Star ist geboren” (“A Star Is Born”)
- fernsehen (to watch TV)
- die Werbung (the ad)
- die Rolle (the role)
- das Gesicht (the face)
- stürmisch (stormy)
- die Schoko-Eisbombe (a frozen, dome-shaped, chocolate-flavored dessert)
- das Waschmittel (the laundry detergent)
- der Magen (the stomach)
- schmelzen (to melt)
- umschalten (to switch on)
About This Episode
There are some TV commercials in this episode that are pretty hilarious, mostly because having a catchy tune seems to be a universal marketing tactic. The ads Anna imagines are probably pretty similar to the ones you’ve seen on TV, a few years ago and even more recently.
- Why doesn’t Nic’s phone work?
- What’s in the two bowls that Nic smells?
- What three ingredients go in the Schoko-Eisbombe?
- What kind of acting job did Nic really get?
Did you follow Nic’s plot in this episode? Let’s see:
- Nic didn’t pay the bill.
- The two bowls contain dog food.
- The treats are made of chocolate, eggs and butter.
- Nic is Kurt Knall, a weatherman.
But wait, there’s more! Sascha, Anna, Sam and Nic still have a few more crazy adventures. As we mentioned earlier there are 13 “Deutsch Lernen Extra” episodes total, so go watch the rest and improve your German!