German and English have some similarities with elements of both Latin and Greek in them. They contain many cognates which are words that remain similar in both languages. However there are false friends lurking around corner, a word that sounds similar in English might have nothing to do whatever you might think it means.
The basic steps involved in the process of learning German or any other language remain pretty much the same. Get the educational material that helps you learn the language step wise. You can begin by combining textbooks, CDs and Online video tutorials. Go through the study material to get an idea of what you are dealing with. Listen to any audio learning material that is involved. This is rather helpful since auditory engaging plays a big role in learning any new language.
Begin by learning basic grammar rules. Read through the material systematically and keep revising frequently to hold the perspective and refresh. Recite and write down verb patterns, irregular verbs etc., to remember them effectively. Read out loud and practice enunciation of letters and words. This can be done effectively with the help of listening material. Get well versed with basic phrases to be able to make introductory conversations with people. You can build up vocabulary using this exercise and can slowly include a list of the words that you don’t know.
Dictation exercises are extremely useful to improve the listening skills. Try and listen to German actively at all the times, and try to understand or find out what is being said if you are not sure of the meaning. Watching German movies and listening to songs, doing these actively can work wonders for your learning capacities. Some of the basic things you need to take care while venturing into German are trying to control some very basic processes that have been hardwired into your brain while learning English or any other language for that matter. Try and avoid language interference since the first language that you learnt tries to interfere with the learning process of the current one. For instance if you are very comfortable with English, you tend to think about German grammar as if it were English, which of course leads to less than desirable results while learning the language.
Make sure that you pay attention to the Gender difference affecting the word usage. German, unlike English is a Language of Gender, like many other languages. Translating should be avoided at all costs. It is okay to use translation in initial stages during beginner level but as you progress try to think in German using German phases. Keep in mind that native speakers of any language do not need to translate while they speak and so shouldn’t you. Get a good dictionary but use it with a grain of salt since German, like English has words that mean differently in different situations and knowing this beforehand can save you from committing any faux pas. Above all, remember to practice and persevere.