From the importance of the particularity and precision of the word follows another corollary: the perseveration of the word, which is only another manifestation of formulaic diction. People say the same thing the same way when the same message is repeated and retold. Even the unending variation leading to the ‘new formula’, the ‘new song’ just alluded to, cannot mask the continuity and perseveration of the very formulas…themselves.
Consider from our own culture the tale beginning ‘Once upon a time, long, long ago, there lived in a house upon a hill a pig, a duck, a cat, and a little red hen…’ The diction is formulaic, invariant, and the rhetoric and poetics of the prose narrative, its division into balanced cola, polished and precise. The genre, wisdom literature cast as beast fable, is far older than Aesop. I do not know how old ‘The Little Red Hen’ is, nor how long English speakers have been telling a tale to children in this form or something like it. But it is striking that the whole story does not seem to contain a single Romance or even Scandinavian loanword, nor a single Latin loanword with the exception of ‘mill’, which probably entered the language prior to the Anglo-Saxon migration from the Continent to Britain.”