Scorpio 19: A parrot listening and then talkin g

T h e w o r d p a rrot ha s a t le a st t w o d i s t i n ct b ut c l o s e l y r e l a t e d d e f i n i t i o n s. T h e p ri m a r y o n e re f e r s t o v a r i o u s sp e ci e s o f t r o p i ca l b i r d s , s o m e o f w h i c h h a ve t h e a b i l i t y t o m i m i c h u m a n s p e e c h . A s e co n d d e f i n i t i o n a p p l i e s la r g e l y t o h u m a n b e i n g s — “ on e w h o i m i t a t e s t he w o r d s o r a c t i o n s of a n o t h e r, especially without understanding t h e m . ” 1 W h i l e b ot h d e f i n i t i o n s h a v e t he s a m e o r i g i n , t ha t o r i g i n i s a n u n c e r t a i n on e . A c co r d i n g t o t h e O n l ine E t ym o l o gy D ic t i on a ry t h e w o r d e n t e re d t h e E n g l i sh l a n g u a g e i n t he e a r l y 1 6 t h c e n t u r y , p e r h a p s f r o m t he M i d d l e F re n c h p er rot , t h a t b e i n g a v a ri a n t o f P i e r r e ( P e t e r ) . O r i t ma y h a v e b e e n a d i a le c t i c a l f o r m o f p e rroqu et , t he w o r d t h a t i s n o w parakeet.2 T h e w o r d l i st eni ng d e s c e n d s f r o m t he I n d o - E u r o p e a n ( I E ) r o o t k leu w h i c h m e a n s “ t o he a r . ” A m o n g i t s d e ri v a t i v e s a r e t h e w or d s l e e r, l o u d,

a b l a u t, sa ro d, a n d u m l a u t a s w e l l a s se v e r a l n a m e s a s s o ci a t e d w i t h “ fa m e
a n d g l o r y ” — L o ui s , L u dwi g, C l o vi s, C l io , D a m o c le s, E mp edo c l e s , H e rc u l es ,

P e ri c l es , S op h o c l e s, T h e m is t o c l es , M sti s l a v, M i ros l a v, B oh u s l a v , a n d W e n c e s la s .
3

T h e w o r d t a l ki n g i s t h e p r e s e n t p a r t i ci p l e o f t h e ve r b ta lk. I t d e s c e n d s f r o m t h e I E r o ot d el -2 w h i c h me a n s “ t o c o u n t , r e c o u n t . ” 4 P a r o n y m s i n c l u d e do l e rit e ( a d a r k , c r y s t a l l i n e , i g n e o u s r o c k ) , ta l l , t a l e, a n d

s e du l o u s ( ma r k e d b y c a r e a n d p e r s i s t e n t e f f o r t ) .
1 2 3 4 http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/parrot http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=parrot Watkins, C. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo European Roots, p. 42 Watkins, C. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo European Roots, p. 15

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TH EMES : Li st e ni n g a n d t a lki ng a re o b vi o u s l y o p p o s i t e b u t r e l a t e d a c t i v i t i e s . T o g e t h e r t h e y f o r m t h e e s se n t i a l a ct i v i t i e s r e q u i r e d f o r t h e p e r p e t u a t i o n o f f a m e . I n t h e A m e ri c an H e ri t a ge Di c ti o na ry o f In do -

E u ro p ea n R o ot s t he r e i s a “ L a n g u a g e a n d C u l t u r e N o t e ” fo l l o w i n g t h e
e n t r y f o r t h e r o o t k le u - t ha t un d e r s co r e s t h e re l a t i o n s hi p a m on g l i s t e n i n g, t a l k i n g a n d F AME . The most ancient texts in Indo-European languages, such as the Vedic hymns of ancient India, the Homeric epics, the Germanic sagas, and Old Irish praise-poetry, all demonstrate that the perpetuation of fame of a warrior or king was of critical importance to early Indo-European society. The preservation of their fame was in the hands of poets, highly skilled and highly paid professionals, who acted both as repositors and the transmitters of the society’s oral culture.5

5 Watkins, C. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo European Roots, p. 42

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