What is the Most Important Thing When You Learn a New Language.
I think when we begin to learn a new language, the most important and effective thing to do first is to learn pronunciation. Why it is so crucial for a beginner? Because the human brain is good at learning a new language from our ears. As a child, we at first couldn't write or speak anything at all. When we were a cute baby, we couldn't hold a pen in hand or talk to someone fluently. That's why We have to start just listening to every sound around us. If you have to write or memorize each word to learn a new language, why you have a good command of your language(maybe English)? A baby can learn the core of the language from their ears.
I am a Japanese person and I learned English step by step, from an alphabet. I was lucky because I was able to notice that pronunciation is essential in learning a foreign language. So I first started learning pronunciation sign like this (ӕ). Looking back the way I did, it was a really really good choice I've ever made. Thanks for pronunciation signs, I could pronounce English words just seeing it without any CD players or iPod. It helped me to reduce a lot of wasted time to use just prepare the music.
Needless to say, Grammer and Vocabulary are also essential parts of learning languages. But how you can acquire pronunciation skills initially heavily affects the way you learn vocabulary and grammar because every time you met new words, you have to check the pronunciations, each day each time. If you didn't have a good understanding of its pronunciation, you would waste many hours in total!
Just practice it.
By the way, I started to learn Mandarin Chinese yesterday. Of course, I began to study pronunciation at first! For a Japanese, learning their characters is a relatively easy task because they use kanji that is also used in Japan :) Yes it's a piece of good news for me but, Chinese has a completely different structure that is difficult for usual Japanese people cuz their sentence is SVO as SOV in Japan. Uhhm, it's tough to learn. Oh wait, wait, English has also SVO structure! I did it. I'm glad I learned English. (NO that's not true, me. Still, a long way to go.)