This question arose from another question I asked on the English Language & Usage Stack: "Is there a specific name for that singular exhalation laugh that happens when you read something only slightly funny?" The answers given on that question lead me to believe that there is currently no word that fits precisely with the action I am describing. So, this led me to wonder, is it better to create an entirely new word, or simply add a new connotation to an existing word, or does it even matter?
For an answer, I would PREFER some type of research that tested people's responses to new words and/or connotations. Alternatively, any explanation by any type of authority in writing, whether a distinguished academic and/or author will do. If this cannot be done, opinions by any writing academic or published author will work. I would like to avoid answers that are the mere opinions of the answerer, unless you also fit one of the previous descriptions.
I suspect that it does not really matter. In either case, you will have to provide clear context clues, or explicit definitions the first time the new word or connotation is used, so the words will have the same function regardless, but I would like to know if there is any established thought on the matter.
As for what I have done to answer this question, I first tried several different searches on Google Scholar, but I think there is something wrong with the vocabulary I am using, because nothing relevant comes up. When I try Googling various related phrases, the only things that come up are (1) articles explaining what connotation is, (2) articles explaining various methods for how to create words, or similarly, (3) articles explaining how new words are created. For an example of the first, Google virtually any short phrase with the word connotation in it, apparently it is not a well- known word. For the second, see this WikiHow. For the third, this Guardian article is the best example. None of these examples (or the several dozens of others I checked) answer the question as to whether its better to create a new word or a new connotation.