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HomeItalian NewsWhat does "guest" mean in Italian? -Intermediate #12-Italian Podcast

What does “guest” mean in Italian? -Intermediate #12-Italian Podcast

Welcome to the Italian podcast. Today’s program will focus on etymology, which is a topic that interests me very much. In fact, I want to talk to you about an interesting Italian word, the word “guest”.

“Guest” in Italian has two meanings.

  1. Host (English “host”)
  2. The person being hosted. (English is “Guest”)
    I will tell you right away that the second meaning (hence the meaning of guest) is more common in modern Italian.

But it exists Degree of Ambiguity (A certain degree of ambiguity). In fact, in such things as “host family”, “host country”, “The guests thoughtful(Attentive and considerate host). Do a Google search and you can see how common “host family” and “host country” are “Host Family” and “Host Country”,That’s it Trend indication (Foretells this trend, reflects this trend) The meaning of the word guest More important than anythingOne (Who is he-that person) Is the person hosting “(guests) and not” Host” (host). But these expressions, “Guest” means “host” is common in the literature. Also in biology, we talk about “host organisms” and “host cells”, or organisms inside (among them) Another organism develops. So why is there such ambiguity?

It is interesting to find the etymology of the word guest. In Latin there is “enemy“The original meaning was”Foreigners who have the same rights as Roman citizens“. There is one Mutual relations (Mutual relationship) The relationship between Roman citizens and the so-called “hostis” is a kind of hospitality. I host my “hostis”, and one day this “hostis” will host me. The word “hostis” is derived from the Indo-European root “Gosti“(Sorry, I may have mispronounced the original Indo-European language), English words are also derived from this”guestIn the primitive Indo-European language family, this kind of reciprocity already exists in “Ghos-ti”.

Even the Greek root “xenon-” (meaning “foreigner”) in words like “xenophobic” is related “Gosty”.
However, in Latin, “hostis” means “enemy” over time.Actually foreigners may also be enemies, think about this sentence hostile (hostile), hard (Difficulty, difficult), Oppose (Oppose, obstruct)Or even another meaning of “host” in English, the meaning of “army” (in Italian, there is an old word “host”, which has this meaning, derived from the enemy “hostis”).Hence a Semantic hole (Semantic empty- That thing has no words. )
The position of “hostis” was subsequently replaced by a new word “hostility“,by”enemy“(As we said, originally meant “foreigners”) and “Portis“(Sir, master-think about “power”, “power”, “tyrant”). So “hostipostis” is “master of foreigners”, “master of foreigners”. For anyone who understands Russian-I know I have Many Russian listeners gost’, Guest, custodian) has the same root as hostis (ghos-ti) e the Lord (“Lord” in the religious sense, “Jesus Christ”) and “Gospotin“(“Mr.” as a male) is very similar to the Latin “hostipotis”. “Hostipotis”, then reduced to become”hospital“Then go Cosplay (Fill in the role) People who once had “hostis” before “hostis” had the meaning of “enemy”. stranger (Foreigners). But between the host and the host If established (Created, established) Intimacy: who often hosts Back and forth future Hospitality. (Return gift) This Hospitality obligation (Hospitality) They are reciprocal: as we said before, this idea of ​​reciprocity already exists in the ancient primitive Indo-European root “ghos-ti”. Therefore, this ambiguity also exists in Latin, “hospes” not only means “master/master of a stranger”, but also means the stranger himself, because the stranger will one day become the master, and vice versa.

Therefore, “guests” are derived from “hospes”. In fact, in the process from Latin to Romance, nouns entered al Case objectSo, regarding “hospes”, let us take “hospitem” as an example. The last “m” is deleted and we have “hospite”. h is missing, or it is still written, but in fact it is not pronounced, so we have Italian “guest” and Spanish “guest“There are also Portuguese”guestOn the other hand, in French, it is further reduced, and “guest house” has become Main guest house, today host. Does it remind you of anything? Maybe you thought about “host“, in English. In fact, “host” derives from Old French “hoste”, from “hospitem”, accusative “hospes”, and the latter has the root “ghosti”. So “guest” and “host” share the same A distant Indo-European root “Ghos-ti”, in which this idea of ​​reciprocity still exists in Italian, and even more so in French, this ambiguity is very strong. In Spanish (huesped) and Portuguese (hospede) In ), I believe this ambiguity occurs less frequently. These two words mainly refer to the person being received, such as Italian (or “guest”).
However, if there are listeners in these languages, you can leave a comment and tell me how the word is used.

As mentioned earlier, even in modern Italian, “guests” are mainly the people being entertained. Speaking of “host”, sponsor, we prefer to say “the host“,”My landlord friend/landlord“. In sports, we talk about “home team” and “visiting team.” But you must know, especially in literature, this meaning appears.
You may have noticed that etymology is a topic that fascinates me, and I may talk about it again in the future. If you want to reread what I said in this episode, you can find it on That means thank you for listening, see you next time!


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