The Speechless Speech

I've looked at several etymological dictionaries for "speech" but none have shed any light on how "speech" might include "symbolic speech." Where does the notion that "symbolic speech" is described by "speech"?


Speech is verbal communication and symbolic speech is non-verbal. I cannot see what etymology has to do with "symbolic speech", unless you think about etymology of both speech and symbol separately.

As for "speech", it would be interesting to compare this with "preach" and see if there is anything "in common" between these two words? According to etymological books, preach comes from OE predician (Ger. predigen; Serb. pridika /preach/). The same process of sound changes occurred in Serbian, where pridika (preach, lecture) is "transformed" to priča (narration, story; verb pričati /narrate, chat, say, talk, converse/).

On the other side, English speech (from OE sp(r)ecan; Ger. sprechen) also seems to be related to the above mentioned words – OE predician; Ger. predigen and Serb. pridika. If we added Latin spargo (scatter, sprinkle, throw about, to disperse) and German spritzen (to spatter, sprinkle, spray; cf. sprengen) to the above-mentioned words we could see that the (Germanic) ancient man realized "speaking" as a kind of "word dispersion". A similar logic could be seen in Serbian: prskati/ prsnuti (sprinkle, spray, disperse; also brizgati /sprinkle, spray/) and praskati/prasnuti (utter in a loud voice, shout).

The Serbian verb is-pričati (to talk about, report) is the word derived from the secondary ur-basis Br-Gon ("opposite driving"; from Bel-Hor-Gon), wherefrom the other Serbian words as borenje (fighting; from bo(l)hrenje; cf. Lat. bello -are /to wage war, fight/), preganje/ prezanje (press) and the adverb preko (over, across, throughout, beyond, above). Another Serbian word (sprega link, coupling) is telling us that priča (narration, story) is impossible if you don't have a "speech companion" who is "placed" across, vis-à-vis or in front of you (Serb. preko on the other side).

Of course, there are other Serbian words that were derived from the same secondary Br-Gon basis, as zborenje (talking), sporenje (argufying, quarrel, dispute; Russ. sporitь)… all related to sprezanje, sprega (connection, link), sprezanje (pressure) and borenje (fighting).

On the other side is the word symbol… Let us see what the etymology of that word is. First, it seems logical if we say that symbol is "picture of something"! Serbian word slika (picture, image; Serb. sličan /similar, alike/) is derived from sa-oblik (Gon-Bel-Gon ur- basis) and it could be compared with German Latin similis (like, resembling, similar) and German selbe (same). I have already written about Gon-Bel-Gon basis, where from we can see the main directions of Gon-Bel-Gon-ic evolution. Now we are able to grasp that Serbian slika (picture; from sa(h)blik) is derived from the same basis as the verb sakupljati (collect), Eng. collect, assemble, Lat. capillus, conligo, Ger. sammeln, Serb. gomila (heap), zemlja (earth), nebo… (sky).

Greek σύμβολον used the same logic as German Zufall (coincidence, hap; cf. Serb. slika /picture, image/, slično /alike, similar/ and slučaj / hap, coincidence/). Old Slavonic loučiti/lučiti is derived from the same basis as the Serbian obliti (suffuse), in fact from the same Gon- Bel-Gon basis as the Serbian verb ubaciti [throw in; from (h)ub(l)aciti; cf. Serbian pucati /shoot/, from pu(l)knuti, opaliti]. Coincidence is nothing else but an unexpected insertion (throwing in) of the third element into the well-known environment.

Explore posts in the same categories: Comparative Linguistics

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