I’m currently reading The Museum of Abandoned Secrets, by the Ukrainian writer Oksana Zabuzhko, which I will be reporting on in due time; for now, I’ll just say that I’m impressed enough with it that it’s making me want to study Ukrainian. One thing I’ve learned so far in my dabbling is that the Ukrainian word for ‘thing’ is річ [rich], which is etymologically identical to Russian речь [rech’] ‘speech, way of speaking’; the Russian sense is the original Slavic one, and apparently Ukrainian and Belorussian got the meaning ‘thing’ from Polish rzecz. (This explains how the Polish word rzeczpospolita can be a calque from Latin res publica.) Carl Buck, in his Dictionary of Selected Synonyms in the Principal Indo-European Languages, explains the Polish sense development thus: “Hence ‘subject matter’ and further generalization.” Googling for more information, I found in Folia Orientalia Vol. 39 (2003), page 215: “The etymological relation ‘saying, word > thing’ is common in many languages, e.g. Polish rzecz ‘thing’ going back to ‘saying, speech’.” But offhand I’m not coming up with other examples, though I’m sure there are some, so I’m throwing the floor open for suggestions.