Here it meaning reaching the destination, i.e. I don't just go home, I go home and actually get there.
This prefix has lots of meanings, including:
- adding something: писа́ть 'write' — приписа́ть 'to write in addition, to ascribe, to assign',
- fastening: приби́ть 'strike' — приби́ть 'nail down', шить 'to be sewing' — приши́ть 'to sew (something on something)',
- and some other.
Sounds to me kind of like the difference between "I'll be home at 8" and "I gotta go home at 8". You might say the first to your family, as actually getting home to them is what's really under discussion, whereas you might say the second to somebody at work to let them know you have to leave the office by a certain time, even though you may actually be on your way to a restaurant for dinner before actually going HOME.
(Is this a reasonable parallel?)
A useful list of prefixes for verbs of motion:
«Я приду́ домо́й в во́семь» means 'I'll come home at eight' (one time in the future). «Я прихожу́ домо́й в во́семь» means 'I come home at eight' (I regularly do, in the present).
The confusing thing is:
- Прийти́ is a perfective verb, so «приду́» is the future tense.
- Приходи́ть is an imperfective verb, so «прихожу́» is the present tense. (And the future tense would be «бу́ду приходи́ть».)
The forms look the same, but they mean different things because прийти́ is perfective and приходи́ть is imperfective.
This is because perfective verbs don't have the present tense, so the shorter form is used for the future tense. Perfective verbs present an action as something that happens in one moment. For example, the action described by the verb прийти́ happens when you successfully reach the home. Present tense is used to describe actions in progress, and прийти́ cannot be in progress: it either happened already, or will happen after speaking. It just happens in a moment.
If this is confusing, don't worry: this course teaches the perfective/imperfective distinction and you'll learn it later on.
How does one identify that Прихожу is imperfective? Usually adding a prefix (here при-) makes a verb perfective right? It makes sense that ходить wouldn't have a perfective because repeated action can't be one completed action but is there some way the spelling signals that it's imperfective?
For verbs of motion when adding prefixes they are no longer multidirectional and unidirectional but rather they are now imperfective and perfective verbs. To identify which is imperfective or perfective is very simple: all the verbs of motion that were multidirectional when prefixed are now imperfective, and the unidirectional are now perfective.
Ex: проходить, приходить, обходить, переходить are all imperfective since their root is the multidirectional ходить
Their perfective equivalents are пройти, прийти, обойти, перейти, from the unidirectional идти.
It should be приду not прихожу. Like was already said, the imperfective meaning present tense or something that is done regularly and is denoting more a repeated action then a one time event as the perfective does. The perfective also implies a future tense. However the problem is that the english sentence is not clear enough as to intent. If the sentence were to mean "I usually come home at eight" then the imperfective would be right. "Я прихожу домой в восемь". However in english we often say sentences which are in the present tense but that mean that the action will he done in the future. This is one such sentence. "I come home at eight" does not mean that the action is happening at that very moment but that you will be arriving at that time. Ex to make it clearer:
1: "when are you coming home"
2:"I come home at eight"
Here the person is speaking in the present tense and yet the meaning of the sentence is "I will be coming home at eight" a fully completed action rather than habitual one. And properly expressed by я приду домой в восемь.