Pluma, Spanish for “feather”, sounds nothing like the English feather.
But it is a cousin to the English fleece.
Both come from the same Indo-European root *pleus-, which meant “feather” or to “pluck.”
Thus the p-l of pluma maps to the f-l of fleece.
It is both surprising and funny that in Spanish, a Flea Market is translated to be, literally, exactly the same: Mercado de Pulgas.
Both derive from the Indo-European *plou. To understand this transformation, we should remember that the Indo-European p- sounds stayed the same in Latin (and thus Spanish) but became an f- sound in German (and thus English).
Therefore, the f-l of flea maps exactly to the p-l of pulga!
The English foot comes from the Indo-European root *ped. Think pedal.
Interestingly, the “p” sound consistently transformed into an “f” in the Germanic languages — but remained a “p” in the Latinate languages.
This is why, foot is equivalent to pie.
But pix itself comes from the Proto-Indo-European root pei(e), which meant, fat — think of animal fat, for example. It makes sense that this word evolved into a word meaning “tar”: that’s a bit what animal fat looks like.
From this same root pei(e), we get a few notable English words:
The Spanish pudrir, “to rot,” has a surprising connection to the English, foul, a word meaning the same but sadly very underused these days — although still when quoting Macbeth: fair is foul and foul is fair!
Both come from the same Indo-European root *pu, meaning, “to rot.”
But the English one sounds so different because, in the Germanic branch of Indo-European, the p- sound turned into the f- sound. But now in the Latin branch.
Thus the initial f+vowel of foul maps to the initial f+vowel of pudrir.
From the same root are more fun words including defile, putrid, and pus. What wonderful imagery!