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Showing posts with the label homesickness


Dr. Johannes Hofer In 1688, young Swiss physician Johannes Hofer announced he’d identified a new disease.  He introduced this disease as mal du pays , but also referred to it as mal du Suisse and Schweizerheimweh .  The term mal du pays is still used in modern French, but it has come to mean homesickness .  What Hofer was trying to identify was something a little different, which was the earliest use of what we now call nostalgia . The word nostalgia was coined from two Greek words: νόστος (/nɔsˌ tos/ or NOS tos), meaning homecoming , borrowed directly from Homer’s Odyssey , and ἄλγος (/alˌ ɡos/ or AL gos), meaning ache .  The other two terms, mal du Suisse  and Schweizerheimweh applied to Dr. Hofer’s definition because they translate specifically as “sickness for Switzerland”.  The idea wasn’t that Switzerland made anyone sick, but rather, it was being away from Switzerland that was the root of the problem.  Hofer used this term to describe something he noticed among Sw