How to make a conlang

You might remember last week when I made up a language for My Little Pony. The process taught me a lot – I think I have A Method now for quick-and-easy language creation. Note that I haven’t actually done this yet, but for the next conlang I make, I’ll follow these simple steps…

1: Find (or write) a sample text in the conlang. The text should be culturally significant.
2: Make a google sheet with columns for conlang word (nothing yet), etymology (put basic vocabulary here, just as numbers for now), conlang word (see step 3), example sentence, gloss, and English translation of example sentence
3: Use the concepts in the text to set the basic vocbulary of the language. What concepts are default? What concepts are marked? Assign each concept a number
4: Figure out sentence structure of language: SVO, SOV, etc. Premodifying or post? Write example sentences with numbers (see step 3)
5: Figure out grammar: how do questions and tenses work? What concepts are default? What are marked? Write example sentences.
6: Figure out phonology. Use awkwords to generate basic words, and replace the numbers from (step 3)
7: Figure out word-formation. How do nouns become verbs etc. Generate new words. Make records in the etymology column.
8: Phonotactics. Figure out how sounds change depending on their surroundings. Copy etymology column into a seperate document and do a search-and-replace for these changes. Then past the results into the Conlang column.
9: Translate that original sample text into the conlang. Make a wacky literal translation back into English. Everyone will love it!

Now all that remains is to find that sample text! I’ve already done Trolls (the opening of “I Will Get Back Up Again“) and My Little Pony (the theme song). What do you think I should use next?

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