Date: Thu, 26 Feb 1998 02:16:31 -0600
From: Mike Salovesh t20mxs1[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Subject: Re: hurache? Huarache!

Larry Horn wrote:

Actually, 'thong' was in my vocabulary for those rubber beach shoes long
before 'zori'; this was on Long Island and in California in the late
1960's. Rather than "capitalizing on the minimal titillation" from thong
bikinis, I take the use of the longer "thong sandals" to be a classic
retronym (cf. acoustic guitar, analog watch, natrual turf, biological
mother, World War I), in which a previously unmodified label takes on a
modifier (or in the "thong" case, a head) to distinguish it from a new
cultural innovation that invades its referential space. If I want to make
it clear I'm talking about something to wear on my feet, it would behoove
me to specify "thong sandals" rather than "thongs" tout court.


This is NOT a disagreement or an argument; it's a reflection of
different experiences. "Zori" came into my own vocabulary in 1952/53,
when I lived in Japan and Korea for a year -- courtesy of the U.S. Army.

Maybe that biased what I saw and remembered in U.S. stores afterward. I
have a clear memory of zori, labeled as such, being sold in a Chicago
Walgreen's drugstore I frequented before my 1955 marriage. I remember
commenting to my fiance that it was nice to see that "familiar" word
properly applied.

You are quite right to point out that my memory lapsed regarding
thongs. With your reminder, now I do remember seeing a different label
in California stores in the 1960s. My reaction was "I wonder why these
people are calling zori 'thongs'. Must be some kind of lingering
xenophobia from World War II that makes them reluctant to use a Japanese
loanword." NOTE: No, that's not a reflection on California bias. It
reflects MY bias at the time.

Anyhow, I retract my misattribution of any association between thongs as
footgear and thongs as beachwear. (Surely not SWIMwear.) I still
wonder why people call them thongs, when they "really" are zori.

-- mike salovesh salovesh[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]
anthropology department
northern illinois university PEACE !!!