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Oh, BTW, I hate the fact that Predentata isn't _Prae-_. :-)
In disagreement to Mike Keesey, who responded to Time with "Fair
point[,]" I think I must disagree. Some languages develop formulae
for construction, and mandate that this structure be followed above
all else. Such languages include, famously, Latin.
(Actually, Latin is much more chaotic than its reputation. Look beyond
the Indo-European family and try, say, Turkish. But I digress.)
We continue to be reminded of enforcing trends in linguistic
structure in Latin so tight that we have debates about what _should_
apply between two stems to connect them. While German lacks the rule
for connecting letters, it does have similar constructs (and "pretty"
is in the eye of the beholder: unlike the infamous duality of the
sleek, sexiness of French, the harsh, brutality of German can be
off-putting to English readers, not because French is somehow better
but because French is more melodic, although also formulaic in its
structure as far as how you pronounce and connect words in speech).
German does often insert -s- or -(e)(n)- into noun compounds. These
elements are derived from genitive endings that are no longer understood
as such and are now added to words that take the other genitive ending
or none at all. The rules for when to insert which element (or none) are
only emerging right now (Nübling & Szczepaniak 2011); consequently,
there is geographic variation, for example, roast pork is
_Schweinebraten_ in Germany but _Schweinsbraten_ in Austria.
It is true that German is among the least melodious languages I have
encountered, in that the pitch range is very narrow. (Hungarian may be
the only contender.) But I don't know how an English _reader_ is
supposed to notice. It is also true that northern (!) German makes heavy
use of the glottal stop http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glottal_stop ,
which makes it sound staccato, and employs this sound
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voiceless_uvular_fricative , which comes
across as harsh to many people who aren't used to it (myself included),
but that, too, isn't marked in writing.
Damaris Nübling & Renata Szczepaniak (2011): Merkmal(s?)analyse,
Seminar(s?)arbeit und Essen(s?)ausgabe: Zweifelsfälle der Verfugung als
Indikatoren für Sprachwandel [cases of doubt in the suturing of
compounds as indicators of language change], Zeitschrift für
Sprachwissenschaft 30(1), 45 -- 73. English abstract here:
http://www.reference-global.com/doi/abs/10.1515/ZFSW.2011.002 -- I
haven't read that paper, I found it while searching for a very similar
book chapter which Google Scholar can't seem to find.
This is more apparent in created languages: Klingon is so formulaic,
despite the invention of new words on the fly, that the structure of
words defies even case in transliteration, a tact meant to help
convey, as in Slavic languages, place-specific letters for various
sounds. Transliteration in Arabic can be just as problematic, given
to differences merely in how to use "q" or "d" which can differ in
pronunciation, but never in original typography.
Umm... this has nothing whatsoever to do with grammatical rules. It's
about how to represent sound systems in Latin letters when those sound
systems are very different from that of Latin. It's no different from
the English convention of using _sh_ and _th_ for sounds that lack Latin
Language is a machine meant to convey absolute ideas, and thus a word
has an absolute meaning,
Completely, utterly, totally wrong. That's simply not how human brains work.
It's quite possible that no new words are actually created,
regardless of their elegance, but are always based in one fashion or
another on some esoteric concept we are simply not aware of. Even
fantasy words and names that come up in various forms, especially
Tolkein's work, are based on real world homologues.
It does happen that babies or artists invent new words out of nowhere
that then actually spread, but you're right that this is a very rare