That’s right. Don’t learn a language. Any language. It can’t be done (except by John Travolta in that movie where he plays the angel — that’s Hollywood for you). So don’t try. Instead, do this:
1. Learn a letter/character
2. Repeat (1) until all basic characters are learnt. That’s 2000 in Japanese; 3000-4000 in Chinese.
3. Learn the meaning of a new word, (or, if necessary, learn a new character)
4. Learn the meaning of a phrase containing words from (3)
5. Repeat from (3)
It’s that simple. Everything else is decoration. Notice how “language” doesn’t crop up anywhere in there. This also hints at why you can become fluent in any language in such an apparently short time: because you can repeat steps (3) to (5) at a much higher speed than people who learn the same language as native speakers. I don’t know about you, but I never learned 50 new English words a day as a kid.