In Andrew Clements' novel Frindle, I wonder if anyone can really create a different word for an ordinary object just as Nicholas did?
I always thought that was a very creative book. It is true that new words are created all the time. In this technological age, we often need to rethink words or create new words as technology grows. Most of you young people probably don't know what a floppy disk is or an A-track. You do know what a blog or a thumb-drive is. New words get invented, and old words are left behind.
This response relates to Andrew Clements' book Frindle. In answer to your question, we have seen words created (or recreated) with computers and the Internet. Some words we have seen before, while others have come into being just for the world of technology. Consider the Internet. When we say, "surf the web," there is no water involved and certainly no spiders. The term "e-mail" takes a word we know ("mail") and adds the "-e" to indicate that it is electronic mail. We "blog," "Face-time" and "Skype."
These are just examples. Every time something new is created, language evolves around and within it so that conversation regarding this new item or event can describe it and communication can remain open.
If you have ever watched the old Recess cartoon (show), one of the characters creates and uses the word, "Whomp!" As with "frindle," no one really knows what it means. It creates quite a disturbance at school, just as it does for Nick—but in the cartoon, it becomes controversial in that because no one knows what it means, they assume it must be bad. However, the idea that associations come with individual words is not a new concept. Shakespeare, that "wonderful old writer" whose work is still so timely and beautiful wrote:
...there is nothing either good or bad, /
but thinking makes it so. (Hamlet, II.ii.250-251)
The associations attached to a word (or its meaning), as Mrs. Granger pointed out, depend on the person using it. That is where a word's meaning truly comes from. And that is the power of language—that it is used by people, and how those people use it.