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On Sat, 18 Feb 2012 10:14:57 -0500, J. M. DeSantis <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Though, on a side note, to play devil's advocate a bit: If coining new
>words or roots from thin-air, as it were, were not possible, how did
>(naturally) we come up with languages in the first place. Whether, in
>the real world, you believe in the idea of multiple proto's or just one,
>the idea that new words cannot be coined at such an early state in a
>language would mean it would be impossible for a language to even be
>created as the words would have to come from somewhere previously. 

Well, yes, but don't imagine that language just sprang into origin one day,
or one millennium!  Why would humans have developed the neural underpinnings
of language if they were never using it until one day some switch was
thrown?  Rather, the development was gradual.  Before the first language
humankind will have had a communicative system that was nearly language but
not quite (fundamentally syntactically limited? incapable of abstraction?
whatever it might be), and presumably most of the words in the first
language were inherited or at least constructed from symbols in this
nearly-language.  And so on back to whatever the very first
proto-*communication system* was.  This is murky territory, of course (a
banned topic at the Ling Soc Paris!).  Something akin to ape calls?  Or,
perhaps a system that shifted in mode over the millennia from manual to
spoken?  Or ...?

If your legendarium posits ex nihilo creation of loquent species, well, thèn
there is a need for lots of whole-cloth word fabrication at once.  

Alex