I have embarked on Arabic. It is a language I have next to no prior knowledge of. It has a very unfamiliar alphabet, some unfamiliar phones, and do not know a lot about Arab culture.
As a language teacher, I am very interested in putting my claims about language learning to the test.
For me, the first rule to learn any language is to listen, and concurrently not worrying about learning meaning too quickly.
I am currently listening to a 1 minute long piece from a news site. I have listened to it at least 100 times.
I am resisting the urge to look for meaning in reference works at the moment. I am treating the listening as if it were a purely sonic adventure.
When I listen, I note my attention settling on clues that my brain can possibly relate to prior or global knowledge: pauses for new sentences, pauses for emphasis, a rising tone for a question. A sharp rise-fall-rise for an important idea. One or two words borrowed from English or other familiar languages jump out. Other groups of sounds remind me of English words... or just jump out at me without any apparent reason. But I am not sure if they even considered words in the original Arabic.
I have taken to pausing the listening at those groups of sounds and recording my pronunciation of them in a voice reorder, as well as the time in the recording that they appear. I have a vague idea that I will come back to them at some point. But I am not sure.... to be continued.