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Re: Dilophosaurus



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 letters.

 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 occurrence.