Analysing The Meaning Of The Word Shoe English Language Essay

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The etymology of words was traditionally a subject to a profound interest from the part of linguists. In this regard, it is worth mentioning the fact that simple and widely-used words may have a complex history, which mirrors the change in the development of language as well as the change in the development of the society and culture at large. At this point, it is possible to refer to the word "shoes", which has a long history and may reveal a number of noteworthy facts about the development of the language and society. As the matter of fact, shoes changed and so did the interpretation and meaning of the word "shoes" and related words and idioms. At the same time, the analysis of the evolution of the word "shoes" reveals the evolution of English language from the Old English to the modern language which reveals the consistent change in the social life of people and their perception of shoes as an integral element of their everyday life.

On analyzing the introduction of the word "shoes" in English language and its development, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that initially, this word was introduced as shoe-nail in 725 but the term was used to explain a Latin gospel to Old English speakers. In fact, the Old English language did not have such a special term for shoes as Latin and the translators of a Latin gospel to Old English had to adapt the Latin version of the word to the reality of Old English. In such a way, they created a new word, which was supposed to explain the shoes in their Latin meaning. The use of English words instead of Latin made the word more comprehensible to Old English speakers because they could combine the word shoe and nail and to get some insight into the original meaning of the word.

At the same time, the word shoe proper originates from Germanic roots of this word:

O.E. scoh "shoe", from P.Gmc. *skokhaz (cf. O.N. skor, Dan., Swed. sko, O.Fris. skoch, O.S. skoh, M.Du. scoe, Du. schoen, O.H.G.scuoh, Ger. Schuh, Goth. skoh). No known cognates outside Gmc., unless it somehow is connected with PIE base *skeu- "cover" (cf. second element in L. ob-scurus). (Online Etymology Dictionary).

In such a way, the appearance of the new word "shoe" is closely intertwined with the Germanic and Latin influence on English. As the matter of fact, the word "shoe" may be viewed as a combination of the Germanic and Latin words having the similar meaning. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the strong Germanic and Latin influence on English can be easily explained by the significant role of Latin as the language of the Christian church, whereas Christianity dominated in England in the Middle Ages.

Furthermore, it is worth mentioning the fact that old plural form shoon lasted until 16c. Meaning "metal plate to protect a horse's hoof" is attested from late 14c. (Online Etymology Dictionary). Therefore, it is obvious that shoes in the contemporary interpretation of the term are quite different from what this word meant in Old English. In fact, this word related to horses rather than humans, whereas today this word is normally applied to humans. At the same time, such a use of the word "shoon" is quite logical because the role of horses could hardly be underestimated in the Middle Ages whereas many words were borrowed from Latin and Germanic languages to designate some terms and objects, which people living in England and speaking Old English did not have in their own language.

In the course of time, the word shoon acquired not only different shades of meaning but also it had started being used as the verb:

The verb is from O.E. scogan. Distinction between shoe and boot is attested from c.1400. Shoeshine is from 1911.Shoelace is attested from 1640s. (Online Etymology Dictionary).

In addition, new derivatives appeared on the ground of Old English word meaning shoes: Shoestring is from 1610s; as figurative for "a small amount" it is recorded from 1882; as a type of necktie, from 1903. (Online Etymology Dictionary).

Shoebox is attested from 1860; as a type of building, from 1968. To stand in someone's shoes "see things from his or her point of view" is attested from 1767. (Online Etymology Dictionary).

Old shoe as a type of something worthless is attested from late 14c. Shoes tied to the fender of a newlywed couple's car preserves the old custom (mentioned from 1540s) of throwing an old shoe at or after someone to wish them luck. Perhaps the association is with dirtiness, on the "muck is luck" theory. (Online Etymology Dictionary).

At the same time, as derivatives appeared, they marked the progress of the word "shoes" which grew more and more deep-rooted in English language. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that the pre-Shakespearean meaning of shoes and post-Shakespearean one is quite different. In this regard, it is possible to refer to the poet, contemporary of Shakespeare, who wrote:

A sweet disorder in the dress

Kindles in clothes a wantonness:

A careless shoe-string, in whose tie

I see a wild civility:

Do more bewitch me, than when Art

Is too precise in every part. (Herrick, Delight in Disorder).

In such a way, the word "shoe" has started to become an integral of English language and English speakers started to associate this word with humans rather than horses. At the same time, such a change resulted from the change in fashion, which increased the role of shoes in the life of people. In fact, shoes became an essential accessory people used in their regular, daily life. The Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution contributed to the faster introduction of the word "shoes" in English language, whereas the growing diversity of shoes stimulated the appearance of new words, such as boots, and others.

In actuality, the word "shoes" comprise an integral part of the casual language and this word is primarily associated with humans, although the origin of this word is practically untraceable for average people, who are not interested in the etymology of words. In fact, the word "shoes" changed in the course of time under the impact of social and cultural changes. Today, this word is just one of many words used by people regularly and they take shoes for granted, although the original meaning of the word is quite different from the contemporary one.

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned, it is important to place emphasis on the fact that the word "shoes" has a long history in the course of which the word changed and evolved. The word "shoes" changed respectively to the change in the social and cultural life of people. Originally, the word was a sort of borrowing from Latin and Germanic languages. Gradually, the word was adapted to conventional English respectively to the pronunciation standards of English speakers. In addition, the word acquired new shades of meaning and became a part of numerous idioms. As a result, today, the word is widely-used and its meaning has changed respectively to the socio-cultural environment in which the word is used.