1- Study the pronunciation of the language first.
Practice the most difficult sounds with repetitive drills daily until you are confident. Practice the most common words and short phrases. Check your pronunciation with an educated native speaker.
2- Practice the native intonation, stress, and rhythm of common, short social sentences and social questions.
Try to imitate educated native speakers. Begin by listening carefully to a repeated phrase 5 to 10 times. Use audio and video to help you. Then, try saying the phrase correctly in chorus with the recording. Repeat each of the phrases 50 times or more if needed. If possible, ask educated native speakers to correct you and record correct phrases of pronunciation. Many language students get into bad pronunciation habits that are very difficult to break. Bad pronunciation will cause confusion and misunderstanding. Be patient and diligent with this early pronunciation drill as you will be rewarded with a near-native accent.
3- Study the grammar.
This is probably the most important part of the language besides the vocabulary. “Paul want Mary go store” may communicate an idea, but it is not at all correct English, and sounds very unintelligent. If you do not pay attention to grammar, you can sound equally incomprehensible in another language.
4- Learn some idioms, proverbs, and expressions.
As your level advances, learn about some of the idioms and even slang in the language. Even if you do not use them much, it will help to recognize and understand these elements when you hear or read them.
5- Listen to news broadcasts in your chosen language.
You can listen to live feeds free on many internet radio stations. Take notes of any words or expressions you don′t understand. After the broadcast is complete, check the notes in the native language dictionary.
6- Enroll in a class, if possible.
Classes are possibly the best way to learn a language, especially at the beginning level, because you are given activities to do, and you have a teacher to guide you step by step. The teacher can also tell you what you are doing right and wrong. Check your local community college and see if they are offering lessons.
7- Work on your vocabulary.
Learn the most commonly used words first, including how the words can be used grammatically. Next learn words that will be helpful in conducting business or traveling. A simple dictionary or similar books from the local library might be helpful.
8- Attach labels to everything in your house, at your desk, and so on in the language you are learning.
Picture/word associations help best.
9- Use memory techniques.
Use mnemonics for vocabulary you have trouble with. You may wish to build a Memory Palace for your language.
10- Learn the orthography.
The orthography is the written language. Countless other languages do not use the Latin script (the alphabet that the English language uses), and you may need to study their writing in order to become literate.
11- Educate yourself in the cultural aspect of the language.
This is very important if you do not want to come across as rude to the other person. For example, in parts of Europe, it is customary to kiss the other person′s cheek when greeting, while in America, this would be considered awkward. Often the cultural context will inform you of why certain language elements are used and will assist your learning process.
12- Start to find good channels to practice with.
This is necessary to get good at the language. Watch a lot of movies in the language with or without subtitles, read a newspaper in the language, or listen to music in that language. Try radio and podcasts online, too.
13- Find conversation partners.
Are there a lot of people in your community who speak the language you want to learn? If so, ask one of them to help you with learning their language. If not, get online and look for somebody. This will give you the great opportunity of being critiqued and taught by a native speaker, and you can often return the favor.
14- Break down your mental barriers.
One of the most difficult hurdles of language-learning is training yourself out of translation-mode and into communication-mode. After you′ve become familiar with some of the language, try to rely less on the mindset of ′x means y′ and more on ′x means x′.
Do not hesitate to speak the language in public and with native speakers. It will be helpful in improving your mastery. Also, don′t be ashamed to allow other people to correct you if you pronounce something wrong. No one knows everything. Welcome some constructive criticism. Test your knowledge at every social occasion you have.
Good Luck and enjoy the wonderful experience of learning a new language!