Oh, I’ve had a spectacular weekend! Hubby and I enjoyed a relaxing lake view hotel staycation just by the two of us. Bliss!
Amid the lovely service, I couldn’t help but notice how many different Finnish greeting words there are! Hence, I try to cover this topic with this post.
Table of Contents
Common Finnish Greetings
(In Finnish: Yleisiä
All words above mean “Hi”.
We Finns usually greet each other in an informal way, so you can use these conversational greetings in 99% of all situations.
More Formal Finnish Greetings
(In Finnish: Virallisempia
- Tervehdys (Greetings)
- Hyvää päivää (Good day)
Tervehdys is mostly used in writing and public speaking. For example, a teacher could write a letter
Finnish Expressions when You Are Leaving
(In Finnish: Suomalaisia
- Heihei (goodbye)
- Moimoi (
- Moikka (
- Hyvää päivänjatkoa (have a nice day)
illanjatkoa(have a nice evening)
Heihei is a neutral way of saying goodbye in Finnish. Moimoi and Moikka are more casual.
Hyvää päivänjatkoa and Hyvää
If I translate them word to word, they would be Good continuation of day and Good continuation of evening in English. That sounds quite silly!
It’s good to know that these phrases are used particularly in
Hello in Finnish
(In Finnish: Hello suomeksi)
So what is the most versatile greeting word in Finnish? In my opinion, the best Finnish greeting word is Hei. Say it once when you arrive to any situation and say it twice when you are leaving. Easy and simple.
You really can’t go wrong with Hei!
The Tutorial Video for Pronouncing Finnish Greetings
How to pronounce these 15 Finnish greeting words? Check my quick video!
Finnish Greeting Habits
(In Finnish: Suomalaisia
Note that for a Finn, asking ‘How are you?’ isn’t a greeting. It’s already a conversation topic. So, if you can, avoid the phrase “Hello how are you”. It usually gets us pretty
Besides the words, there’s also non-verbal things to consider. Nodding your head or shaking hands are both appropriate ways to greet.
I always offer my hand for a shake to avoid awkward situations when I say Hei. In Finland, only friends and family hug each other. Kissing is for sweethearts.
In business life, say your preferred greeting word, your name and shake hands when meeting new people. It doesn’t matter who is the initiator of this procedure, it’s always a good move.
Don’t worry if there’s no smooth transition into little small talk after shaking hands. Being silent together is normal in the Finnish culture, also in the business world.
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Do you have any questions about Finnish greetings? What’s your favorite greeting word in Finnish? Comment below and let me know!
Looking for more information about the Finnish language and culture? Check out some of my other posts: