“New words grab peoples attention” – so go ahead and make up words
as a German I come from a language which loves to make up new words and as a learner of Japanese I also enjoy it – especially the way Erin McKean calls LEGO: “If you use enough force, you can put any two of them together.” – so apparently: The FORCE is with you!
I tend to do this in English as well which led to seemingly new words – nobody ever had problems understanding – because 1+1 = 1
one predefined word plus one predefined word makes up one new word – and guess what: it is already predefined per definition
Sure I can also make up words & then shove a completly new definition up its throat – like the Japanese and we German also love to do – especially through the *borrow (actually steal a word from another language and miss-use it via redefining*-methode. We use a predefined word & just change the definition (often it is more of a (slight) shift). One of my favourite ( quite silly) examples out of my wonderful mothertongue:
das Handy – which means mobile phone. It is in fact handy, but I am pretty convinced the thought-bubble thinking up this unique German faux-English goes more in the direction of: I use it my hands (which in German is: die Hand), so lets Englify (I made this up right now, it should be: anglicise) it with some pseudo-English-suffix (you know: marketing and stuff) and BAMM newest addition to our dictionary. But don’t forget to push the German grammar rules on it (which is this case means: neutral article “das”, plural & genitive ending “-s” and all the things coming with it). Fun fact: many Germans are convinced it is the English word for mobile phone.
I know my students from the German as a Foreign Language classes often struggle with the long winding words we use in German – but go ahead & play with it! To figure out the meaning from a set of partial meanings can be like a good puzzle.
and now: enjoy Erin McKean’s TED-talk “Go ahead, make up new words!” for children – even if you are a grown-up since one never gets too old to be creative and playful, especially with words: