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The Clever Spade: Language Learning Style Summary

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

This learning style is about finding the fastest way to learn a language. For you, maybe this includes creating your own resources and finding the most useful resources for your goals.

Your style is "work smarter, not harder," but remember to keep your study sessions interesting.

To learn more about how this relates to your unique learning style, keep reading!

Quick facts:

1. You want to learn the most common words and phrases and use them in natural sentences from the beginning.

2. You don’t want to focus on correcting mistakes because you want to be able to correct yourself naturally through progress and feedback as you study.

3. You are open to different learning styles. Maybe you just prefer diversity or you prefer to flow between different types of activities.


Generally, these spades focus on studying the most common words of a language and their most natural uses. This is one form of language farming, where you find and study a large group of language data.

Maybe textbooks aren’t your thing, but flashcard activities could be an appealing resource for you to review the most common vocabulary. Finding flashcard apps, dictionaries with example sentences, and sorted vocabulary lists will be crucial study materials for you.

Use songs, vlogs, blogs, recipes, spoken reviews, podcasts, thesauruses, apps, or social media captions to vary your study session activities and take breaks from language farming from time to time. These could also be ways to check how many of the basic words and phrases you know regularly.

Activity Suggestions:

Try to include some of these activities in your study plan:

1.) Find apps and/or resources that provide sentence drills and/or vocabulary with sample sentences.

2.) Create lists of natural sentences from short and interesting videos.

3.) Do flashcard drills to review grammar and vocabulary (Bonus: make digital flashcards with interactive apps like Anki or Quizlet to have minigames made from your study list)

4.) Organize the vocab and grammar that you learned on paper (or flashcards, or even online documents)

5.) Create scripts with the phrases and vocabulary you learned.

6.) Listen to songs with subtitles in the language and see how many words and phrases you know. Bonus: Find new colloquial phrases from the song lyrics!

7.) Complete worksheets or guided activities from textbooks, workbooks, or online sources.

8.) Translate short/mid length stories or blog posts and keep a reference list for any key words and phrases that you had to look up.

9.) Memorize and recite a small text/script. Maybe it’s a part of a short story you really liked, or maybe it’s a script for introducing your favorite travel spot. Be creative!

10.) Read a comic book or picture book. This is good for providing context for new words and concepts.

11.) Read blogs or watch vlogs for finding more natural sentences to study.

12.) Post questions or interact with forum-based language resources regularly to check your progress.

13.) Check your progress with native speakers or language tutors at least once a month.

14.) Listen to a short video or podcast at least once a month.

Pro tip: Pair this with your results from our other quizzes to help set more specific goals, such as how often a week/month you should do study sessions!


Focusing heavily on learning the most common things can cause you to lose focus on the creativity aspect of language learning. Try to practice just as much on expressing yourself as you would on studying pre-made sentences. Also, even if it’s not your priority, it would be good to sprinkle in some more traditional study sessions in your plan to solidify what you know on paper.

Recommended minimum: Incorporate written or spoken activity sessions biweekly (ex: writing scripts, journaling, talking to native speakers/tutors, record yourself speaking, etc.).

More about The Lexical Syllabus and the Natural Approach:

The lexical syllabus focuses on studying vocabulary in chunks before immediately focusing on grammar points. For this approach, language is about building sentences from vocabulary and phrases. Nowadays, people who study with this style just use the most common words as a way to build a foundation before focusing on grammar.

The natural approach focuses on learning a new language the same way a child would learn their mother tongue: lots of language input and trial and error. This approach doesn’t focus on correcting mistakes upfront. Rather, making mistakes and self-correcting are encouraged. Speaking isn’t a forced activity, but it’s always welcome. It’s all about using learners’ interests to create a safe space for language practice.


And that's it!! Check out our other blog posts to learn even more about the other learning styles!!


Need more? Check out our resources for PDFs, resource instructions, and a sneak peak of the content in our Spade Language Playing Cards!

Ok, now it's really done! Happy learning!

Study like a diamond Practice like a club ♣ Vibe like a heart ♡ Speak like a spade

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