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Proto Indo-European *bha meaning to speak or say has been extremely prolific. From it we have gotten:

Through Latin fama (reputation): fame, famous, fable, fabulous, confabulate, and Spanish hablar and Galician/Portuguese falar (speak). Through Greek we got morpheme from pheme (talk) and telephone, phonology and phonetics from phone (voice).

Wait, wait, let’s back up. So what happens to the rest of European languages. Where do they their verbs for “speak” from?

French parler and Italian parlare are taken from Latin parabolare, a verb meaning to create parables (metaphors). On the Germanic side of things, speak and sprechen come from PIE *spreg- “to make a sound”. It also gave us speech, but I’m surprised my search hasn’t resulted in any other derivates. Looks like spreg made two hit words, dropped the mic and left the stage.

Before I digrees too much, let’s make notice of another relevant root, PIE *del (to reckon), that gave way to tale (and talk) in English, but also good buddies Swedish tala and Danish tale “to speak”.

I’m adventurous today so I will leave with an exotic note! What about Welsh equivalent siarad? Well, apparently it came from French charade. Huh.

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Originally published in The blind mouse.

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