Scorpio 2: A broken bottle and spilled perfume

T h e w o r d b rok en de s c e n d s f r o m t h e In d o - E u r o p e a n ( I E ) r o o t b hr eg w h i c h m e a n s “ t o b re a k . ” 1 A m o n g t h e I t s p a r o n y m s a r e b reac h , b ras h ( a m a ss or p i l e o f r u b b l e , r e f u s e , or f r a g m e n t s, a s o f st o n e , b r u s h , o r i c e ) , b re cc i a ( r o c k c o m p o se d o f sharp-angled fragments embedded in a fine g r a i n e d m a t ri x ) , b ra y ( t o c r u s h a n d p o u n d t o a f i n e c on s i st e n c y , a s i n a m o r t a r ) ,

b ri o c h e, b rac ke n, bra ke ( a d e v i c e f o r
s l o w i n g o r s t op p i n g m o t i o n , a s o f a ve h i c l e , e s p e c i a l l y b y c o n t a c t f r i c t i o n ) , b ra ke ( a t o o t h e d d e v i ce f o r c r u s h i n g a n d b e a t i n g f l a x o r h e m p ) ,

b ra ke ( a f e r n ) , b rake ( a n a r e a o v e r g r o w n w i t h d e n se b ru s h w o o d , b r i e r s,
a n d u n d e r g r o w t h ; a t h i c k e t ) , f ra ct a l, f ra c t i o n, f ra gi le , f ra i l , f ra gm e n t,

re f ra c t , re f ra i n, a n d s u f f ra ge .
T h e w o r d b ot t l e d e s c e n d s f r o m t he O ld F r e n c h bo t ei l l e a n d t h e V u l g a r L a t i n b ut t i c u la . T h e l a t t e r i s a d i m i n ut i v e o f t he L a t e L a t i n b ut t i s, “ a cask.”2 T h e w o r d s p i l l ha s t w o m e a n i n g s d e s ce n d i n g f r o m t w o d i f f e r e n t r o o t s . T h e f i r s t a n d c l e a r ly i n t e n d e d m e a n i n g i s “ t o c a u se o r a l lo w ( a substance) to run or fall out of a container.” 3 This verb descends from t h e I E r o ot s pe l -1 w h i c h m e a n s “ t o sp l i t , b r e a k o f f. ” 4 I t s p a r o n y m s i n c l u d e t he g r a i n sp e l t a n d sp o i l. T h e s e c o n d d e f i n i t i o n r e f e r s t o “ a p i e ce o f w o o d o r ro l l e d p a p e r u se d t o l i g h t a f i re ” o r “ a sm a l l p e g o r r o d, e s p e c i a l l y on e u se d a s a p l u g ; a s p i l e . ” 5 I t d e s c e n d s f r o m t h e r o o t sp ei - , “ s h a r p p oi n t ” a n d i t s p a r o n y m s i n c l u d e s pi t z, s pi re , s pa rl i n g ( a y o u n g o r i m m a t u r e he r r i n g ) , s p i ke ( a l o n g , t h i ck , s h a r p -p o i n t e d p i e c e o f w o o d o r
1 Watkins, C. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo European Roots, pp. 13 2 http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=bottle 3 http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/spill 4 Watkins, C. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo European Roots, pp. 82 5 http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/spill_2 Starling Hunter © 2011 1

m e t a l) , s pi ke ( a n e a r o f g r a i n , a s o f w h e a t ) , s pi l e, sp i ne , s p i nn e y,

p o rc u p in e, sp i c a, a n d s p o ke ( o n e o f t h e r o d s o r b r a c e s co n n e ct i n g t h e
h u b a n d r i m o f a wh e e l ; a r u n g o f a l a d d e r ; a r o d o r s t i ck t h a t m a y b e i n s e r t e d i n t o a w he e l t o p r e v e n t i t f ro m t u r n i n g) .
6

T h e w o r d p e r fu me d e s c e n d s f r o m t h e I E r o o t d heu -1. 7 T h e r o o t i s d e f i n e d a s b e i n g “ t h e b a se o f a w i d e v a r i e t y o f d e r i va t i v e s me a n i n g ‘t o r i s e i n a c l o u d , ’ a s d u s t , v a p o r, o r s m o k e , a n d r e l a t e d t o s e m a n t i c n o t i o n s of b r e a t h, v a r i o us color a d j e c t i ve s , and forms denoting d e f e ct i v e p e r c e p t i o n o r w i t s . ” A m o n g i t s m a n y d e r i v a t i v e s a re t h e w o r d s f u me,

f u n ky ( h a v i n g a mo l d y o r m u s t y s m e l l ) , e n t h yme m e, t hym e , di zzy, do ze, do wn ( f i n e , s o f t , f l u f f y f e a t h e r s ) , t h u j a ( r e d c e d a r) , o b f u s ca t e, du n
( n e ut r a l b r o w n i s h g r a y t o d u l l g r a y i s h b r o w n ) , t h e n a m e D u n c a n , de a f,

de e r, du m b , do ve , dwe l l , do l t , do l dru m s , du l l , do c k ( s o r r e l , a p l a n t ) a n d du de e n ( s ho r t - s t e m m e d c l a y p i p e ) .
TH EMES : T he i n t e gr a t i n g t h e me s h e r e B REA K , WOOD , GRA IN , P LANT S , DU ST/VAPO R , a n d DE FECT IVE NES S .
Theme Break Break Wood Wood Wood Wood Grain Grain Plants Plants Keyword or derivative Root (definition) spel-1 (to split, break off) bhreg (to break) dheuspei- (sharp point) spei- (sharp point) Bhreg (to break) spei- (sharp point) spel-1 (to split, break off) dheuBhreg (to break)

Brake Thuja (red cedar) Spill (a small piece of wood) Spoke (a rod or stick) Brake (dense brushwood) Spike (an ear of grain) Spelt Dock (sorrel, a plant) brake (fern), brake (flax, hemp), brake (briers, undergrowth,
thicket) bray (to crush & pound to a fine consistency) Perfume

Dust, vapor, smoke Dust, vapor, smoke Defectiveness

Bhreg (to break) dheu- (dust, vapor, smoke) dheu- (defective perception, wits)

Deaf, dumb, dull, dolt

6 Watkins, C. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo European Roots, pp. 82 7 Watkins, C. (2000), The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo European Roots, p. 19 Starling Hunter © 2011 2

N o t e t ha t t he l a s t r o w , t h e t h e m e o f w h i c h i s “ d e f e c t i ve p e r ce p t i o n ” , c o n t a i n s t h e w o rd s de a f , du m b , du l l , a n d do l t . I n t h i s c o n t e x t , t w o d e r i v a t i v e s o f t he t w o r o o t s o f s p i l l t a k e o n a d d e d s i g n i f i c a n c e . T h e f i r st i s t h e w o r d s pe l t — h a r d y w h e a t g r o w n m o s t l y i n E u r o p e a n d a d e r i v a t i v e o f s p el -1 ( t o b r e a k o f f , s p li t ) . A h o m on y m o f t ha t w o r d i s s pe l t , t h e p a s t t e n se a n d p a s t p a r t i c i p l e o f t he v e r b “ sp e l l” w h i c h me a n s “ t o n a m e or w r i t e i n o r d e r t h e le t t e r s c o n st i t ut i n g a w o r d o r p a r t o f a w o r d . ” 8 S i m i la r l y , t h e w o r d s p o ke t a k e s on a d d e d si g n i f i ca n c e . A b o v e i t a p p e a r s a s a p a r o n y m o f s pi ll a n d i t r e f e r s t o “ o n e o f t he r o d s o r b r a ce s c o n n e ct i n g t h e h u b a n d r i m o f a w he e l . ” T he h o m o n ym o f t h i s w o r d i s

s p o ke a s t he p a st t e n se o f t h e v e r b s p e a k, i . e . “ t o u t t e r w o r d s o r
a r t i c u l a t e s o un d s w i t h o r d i n a r y sp e e c h m o d u l a t i o n ; t a lk . ” 9 T h u s i n t h e se t w o h o m o n y m s w e h a v e t h e b a s i s f or t w o c o m m o n mental infirmities—dyslexia which means “a learning disorder marked b y i m p a i r m e n t o f t h e a b i l i t y t o r e c o g n i z e a n d c o mp r e h e n d w r i t t e n w o r d s ” a n d m u t e n e s s a s w e l l a s t h e de a f n e s s, du l l n es s , do l t i s h n es s , a n d

du m b n e s s e a r l i e r n o t e d .

8 http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/spell 9 http://education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/speak Starling Hunter © 2011 3

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