Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 13:01:39 -0500
From: Larry Horn laurence.horn[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YALE.EDU
Subject: Re: hurache? Huarache!

At 3:03 AM -0600 2/25/98, Mike Salovesh wrote:

Of course, we already had sandals . . . but the Japanese word "zori" has
become so accepted that it now takes a regular English plural, as in
"zoris". (Japanese would have "one zori", "two zori", or "many zori".)
Of course, zori (flat rubber or plastic soles held to the foot with a
Y-shaped thong designed to pass through the space between the big toe
and the next one) have latterly been acquiring another label, "thong
sandals", perhaps capitalizing on the minimal titillation that might
carry over from "thong bikinis".

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.