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    • 9 months later...
    • 2 years later...

    "Meantime, Greif and Alcantara were engaged in an old fashioned, close range slug fest, with each ship gaining repeated hits upon the other ship's waterline.

    The Raider's port forward 15cm. gun was knocked out, her fuel tanks were set alight, and a third shell penetrated her hull to explode in the engine room."

    Our guy was a Heizer, so I guess he was below decks when he died....

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    • 4 years later...

    "Gast" was the Imperial naval rating for sailors who were in specialties that did not use "Matrose." That would lead us to such Babelfisch howlers as a translation of "Zimmergast" as "hotel guest" rather than "seaman carpenter." cheeky.gif

    I was watching a documentry about the modern German navy, and surprised to see one Lady Sailor (or whatever they are called) had the rank "Sanitätsgast"... I am guessing maybe it is just a navy way to show who the "REAL" sailors are and who the specialists who are tolerated on their boats as Guests?

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    It has a different plural - der Gast, die Gasten - so I think it took a slightly different path in the language than the word for "guest". The word originally meant "stranger", and in Latin also took two paths, which is why in English (through French) we have "host" meaning an army (and the related word "hostile") and "host" meaning one who has guests. But, yeah, I guess the basic idea is "anyone on the ship's host who doesn't actually sail the ship".

    The Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Deutschen, by Wolfgang Pfeifer, mentions:

    Dies bezeichnet also sowohl den friedlich sich nähernden Fremden, dem Schutz, Unterkunft, Bewirtung gewährt wird, als auch den mit kriegerischen Absichten ins Land fallenden Fremden, den Feind. Im Germ. überwiegt früh die erste Bedeutung, doch kann noch mhd. gast auch für ‘Krieger’ bzw. ‘feindlicher Krieger’ stehen. Mit dem Erstarken des Bürgertums, der Intensivierung des Handels und der Entwicklung des Herbergswesens bezeichnet Gast nur noch den bewirteten Fremden, den Besucher.

    Here is what the Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Seemannssprache, published in 1902, had to say:

    Gast, der. Dieses Wort wird in besonderem seemännischem Sinne gebraucht um einen Mann (Matrosen etc. etc.) zu bezeichnen der vorübergehend irgendwo einen Posten auszufüllen hat, z. B. Oberbramsegelsgast, Rudergast, Bootsgast. Aber auch (eigentlich fälschlich, da Gast doch nur einen irgendwo vorübergehend sich Aufhaltenden bedeutet) zur Bezeichnung einer dauernden Verwendung, wie Steuermannsgast; ja sogar eines Lebensberufes: Zimmermanns-, Bäckers-, Malers- etc. etc. Gast. Mehrzahl sonst meist Gasten, jetzt mehr Gäste, da das Hochdeutsche über das Niederdeutsche die Oberhand gewinnt. Sowohl unserem Gast als dem lateinischen hostis liegt die westindogermanische Form ghostis = Fremdling zu Grunde, (dessen Wurzel ghas = essen sein soll, so daß ein Gast also zuerst als Esser erscheint). „Beachtenswert ist‟ sagt Kluge treffend, „nach wie verschiedenen Seiten Germanen und Römer das alt ererbte Wort für „Fremdling‟ begrifflich umgebildet haben: dem Römer wird der Fremdling zum Feind, bei den Germanen genießt er die größten Vorrechte.‟

    That last part is maybe a bit too clever *, but based on my experience with Afghans there is something to it. Tribal cultures, like Pashtuns today and Germans in antiquity, have codes of honor which often include hospitality toward strangers. I suppose because living in a tribal society or nomadic lifestyle, you never know when you might need some stranger's help next. As societies become larger and more organized, like the Romans, they build up new laws and rules of conduct to regulate behavior. The same thing happens with another part of tribal codes, codes of revenge, although I do not think Kluge would say "treffend" that Germans were more vengeful than Romans (or maybe he would).

    * "Kluge" here is actually Friedrich Kluge (1856-1926), author of the Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache.

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