Today I am enjoying the Fimi & Higgins edition of Tolkien’s A Secret Vice. Thrilling to hear in the professor’s own words his thoughts on sound-play.
For us departed are the unsophisticated days, when even Homer could pervert a word to suit sound-music; or such merry freedom as one sees in the Kalevala, when a line can be adorned by words phonetic trills – as in enkä lähe Inkerelle, Penkerelle, pänkerelle (Kal. xi 55), or Ihveniä ahvenia, tuimenia, taimenia (Kal. xlviii 100), where pänkerelle, ihveniä, taimenia are ‘non-significant’, mere notes in a phonetic tune struck to harmonize with penkerelle, or tuimenia which do ‘mean’ something.
Tolkien, J. R. R.. A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages, edited by Dimitra Fimi and Andrew Higgins. (Kindle Locations 1347-1352). HarperCollins Publishers. Kindle Edition.