"speak about, speak against, complain," from be-
"to speak" (see speak
). A common Germanic compound (cf. O.S. bisprecan
, Du. bespreken
, O.H.G. bisprehhan
, Ger. besprechen
); originally "to call out," it evolved a wide range of meaning in English, including "speak up," "oppose," "request," "discuss, "arrange," and "to order (goods)" (1580s).
"The connection of the senses is very loose; some of them appear to have arisen quite independently of each other from different applications of BE- pref." [OED]