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Old English talu "story, tale, the action of telling," from Proto-Germanic *talo (cf. Dutch taal "speech, language"), from PIE root *del- "to recount, count." The secondary English sense of "number, numerical reckoning" (c.1200) probably was the primary one in Germanic; cf. teller (see tell) and Old Frisian tale, Middle Dutch tal "number," Old Saxon tala "number," Old High German zala, German Zahl "number."
The ground sense of the Modern English word in its main meaning, then, might have been "an account of things in their due order." Related to talk and tell. Meaning "things divulged that were given secretly, gossip" is from mid-14c.; first record of talebearer "tattletale" is late 15c.
Typed Applicative Language Experiment. M. van Leeuwen. Lazy, purely applicative, polymorphic. Based on typed second order lambda-calculus. "Functional Programming and the Language TALE", H.P. Barendregt et al, in Current Trends in Concurrency, LNCS 224, Springer 1986, pp.122-207.
(1.) Heb. tokhen, "a task," as weighed and measured out = tally, i.e., the number told off; the full number (Ex. 5:18; see 1 Sam. 18:27; 1 Chr. 9:28). In Ezek. 45:11 rendered "measure." (2.) Heb. hegeh, "a thought;" "meditation" (Ps. 90:9); meaning properly "as a whisper of sadness," which is soon over, or "as a thought." The LXX. and Vulgate render it "spider;" the Authorized Version and Revised Version, "as a tale" that is told. In Job 37:2 this word is rendered "sound;" Revised Version margin, "muttering;" and in Ezek. 2:10, "mourning."