Hi James Robertson! How's it going?
We're really asking: Where do words come from? As you ask how we form tones into words, we might as well ask where the "tones" come from. In asking where the tones come from, we are back at one of the core, primordial questions of human existence: What is the connection between thought and language?
One way to look at this is to consider the way we create slang and jargon everyday. Example: "Kerfluffle."
"Kerfluffle" (pronounced ker + fluffle) is a made up word. It is a piece of jargon which, as far as I can tell, has it origins in the politically centrist, liberal-leaning, journalistic world of public radio and television news broadcasting.
Kerfluffle signifies a ongoing controversy that surrounds something said by a newsmaker. For example, years back, President Obama, on the campaign trail, said something about rural people "clinging to their guns and religion.
The backlash this caused might be described as a "kerfluffle." If we really think about it, we can imagine the process the person went through when she, or whoever, invented or "coined" the term.
She must have thought to herself: "How can I describe this?"
She must have done what you and I and everyone does when we're trying to invent or coin a term, or string words together in a new way to try to express a new concept.
She must have sat there, thinking, working her mouth, trying to come up with a term and a sound that seems to fit.
She must have said to herself: "ruffle... buffle... cuffle.... fluffle?" She must have said to herself: "I need something to go with it..." She must have said : "What?... fluffle?" "bur... cur...fur ker? What's a "ker"? "Wait...'ker... fluffle?"
"Eureka!" she must have eventually said to herself: "Kerfluffle."
Whatever situation she was inventing the word for, must have "felt" like something of a "fluffle" or even a "cluster-fruitcake" not the word. She may have been looking for a more polite term and came up with "kerfluffle."
Somehow the situation encompasses the sound-feeling-concept of a, shall we say, a "muffle." The uffle sound feels like something that is all "discombobulated," does it not?
Hope that helps, Mr. Robertson!
Take it easy!