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> So... with regular textbooks, not a success story
> here.  My favorite way 
> to play with a new language (though perhaps not the world's
> most efficient 
> way to learn one) is to noodle around with a grammar, a
> dictionary and 
> a corpus.

This has also been my own favored way to create conlangs--mostly through translation of texts.  I remember how much Algonquian poetry and Bloomfield's Memominee texts drove the development of the Central Mountain vocabulary; I discovered whole new constructions I'd never considered, as with deciding how to translate the Menominee passive _paehtawaewesew_ 'he is heard by higher powers'.  That word alone made me reconsider some aspects of noun incorporation in CM and to create passive and mediopassive paradigms. I guess I create the same way I learn: by doing.