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How to Learn German in Your Spare Time
If you love bratwurst and sauerkraut for lunch, think you'd look good in lederhosen (if only you knew what they were!) and wish you could "talk Bier" with your local German pub's brewmaster and learn all his secrets, you just might be a good candidate for learning the German language. Before investing in some German classes at your local community college or language class center, try these ideas for becoming familiar with German and trying the language on for size.
Rent some German language tapes and play them in your car during your daily drive to and from work. Pay no attention to anyone staring at you as you practice your "ein, zwei, drei" out loud. They'll just think you're on your cell phone, so pretend you're a German businessman making an important deal, and speak out loud and proud.
You can also learn German by renting German language lessons on DVD, for the next best thing to the classroom interaction experience. Throw in a few German movies while you're at it, and play the English subtitles to help you. Switch the subtitles over to German for an easy way to both hear German being spoken and see it in written form. This helps you learn German grammar and pronunciation.
Buy some German language magazines and German books at your newsstand and see how reading the language feels to you. You could also try setting your computer's language default to the German language. Many internet service providers, newspapers and magazines on the web will allow this option. Learning about German-specific news helps you learn about the people and goings-on as well.
Go to a German restaurant and strike up a conversation with the owners or wait staff about the country and the language. Have them teach you a few food-related words, or try to order your meal in German. Decide if you like the German cuisine while you're at it!
Volunteer for a local Oktoberfest event and immerse yourself in the culture (okay, don't immerse yourself too much, while you're on the job at least!)
If you've tried these ideas out and feel that you want to learn German, there are probably some options for furthering your study through live classroom classes or online. Save up for a trip to Germany while you practice your new skills, and put them into action while you're there!