Portás és kapus

ausermilar

Senior Member
Portuguese
Hello!

I have a few doubts between these two words and their functions.

Both of them describe the profession of a man or woman that keeps an eye on a building, the people that enter and go out, deliveries and, sometimes, postage and building maintenance (lamps, carpets, broken glasses...).


It seems that a portas is in his/her porta and nothing else, but a kapus has something else or even less?
Do they live in the building (in a small apartment in the ground floor, from where they control everything)?

Thanks.
 
  • Fredsky

    Member
    USA
    Hungarian
    I think "portás" is the profession you describe, "kapus" is a goalkeeper at a football team I';m not sure how it was in older times though.
     

    arlett

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Nowadays I think only portás is used for such a profession, though an educated person should know kapus as well. It appears in older books written more than 50 years ago.
    But the two nouns aren't exactly the same.
    Portás would be used for public buildings, offices, schools, factories, etc. (they obviously don't live there). They are usually responsible for receiving the guests only and for video surveillance, not for maintenance or any other tasks.
    Kapus was used for private houses with many apartments. It is an old-fashioned term. Typically, many inhabitants didn't have keys for the main door, hence the term. They were responsible for general maintenance tasks and opened and closed the main door in the morning and at night (they had the keys for the kapu). I am not sure this kind of profession exists any more. Gondnok (janitor) can be used instead - they are responsible for the building's maintenance as well, but not closing and opening the door as all inhabitants have keys. This term can be used for private and public buildings, too.
     

    Zsanna

    ModErrata
    Hungarian - Hungary
    Kapus was used for private houses with many apartments. It is an old-fashioned term. Typically, many inhabitants didn't have keys for the main door, hence the term. They were responsible for general maintenance tasks and opened and closed the main door in the morning and at night (they had the keys for the kapu). I am not sure this kind of profession exists any more.
    I would call this person a házmester.
    For me, a kapus (apart from the meaning Fredsky gave above) is a general term, 'the person you'd find at the gates'. (In a way, even St. Peter could almost be called that... :D )
    I checked in my one language dictionary and here is what I found: "Intézmény, üzem stb. bejáratában ellenőrzést végző és eligazító alkalmazott", i.e. an employee at the entrance of a public building, factory, etc. who controls the entries and helps with directions (or otherwise).
    As for the keys... I think either (a portás or a kapus) could have them. At least to some doors and depending on where they work, although I would bet more on the first from this point of view. (Maybe also because a portás is a bit better situated socially than a kapus.)
     

    arlett

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    I would call this person a házmester.
    For me, a kapus (apart from the meaning Fredsky gave above) is a general term, 'the person you'd find at the gates'. (In a way, even St. Peter could almost be called that... :D )

    Yes, probably házmester sounds better - not that I use this word either. I may be imagining kapus as a person responsible for closing and opening the main door, somehow it has this connotation :) It's very rarely used anyway.
    In Abigél, for instance (a classic Hungarian children's book from 1970) kapus is used quite a few times instead of portás
    (http://www.sgyak.u-szeged.hu/bemutat/konyvtar/konyvek/szabo_magda_abigel.pdf).
     
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