First of all, I'm sure there's lots of variation in greetings and how they're perceived and used by people in different parts of the country. I'm speaking from an Southern Ostrobothnian point of view. If you asked from someone else, they might very well disagree with me.
Woods wrote:Moi / moikka / moro / morjes / morjesta...
Did I miss something?
Morjesta päivää, moi moi, päivää/iltaa/iltoja/ehtoota/huomenta/huomenia, moikkelis, moikkelis koikkelis, moi vaan, moro vaan, hei vaan, heips, helou, heissan, heipsan, hellurei (ja hellät tunteet), morjens, morjensta, terve, tere, tervepä terve, tere tere, terse, mo, mooi... The list goes on. I swear some people just make up their own greetings.
The safest to use are hei
because they are neutral and can be used in almost any situation. Terve
works, too. It's maybe slightly more casual than hei
. Avoid moikkelis, moikkelis koikkelis, heips, heipsan, hellurei, terse
, and mo
. These all have potentiality to make people cringe. Morjes/morjens
(and its derivatives) and tere
are informal IMO so it's best if you don't say these to strangers. Päivää, iltaa, ehtoota, huomenta
(and their plurals) are fine both with friends and strangers, but I think they're used mostly when you expect the person/people you're talking to haven't noticed you yet/don't know you're going to talk to them. For example, if I go to my brother's house, I could yell päivää
at the door so they know I'm there. (We don't use doorbells with family, we just walk in.) Or if I go to buy a ticket or something, I could start with päivää
(or whatever time of the day it is). Ehtoo
is the Western Finnish word for 'evening'. If you add hyvää
to any of these, they become much more formal.
Some of the greetings I listed are "answers" that you use when someone has greeted you first: moi moi, hei hei, hei vaan, moi vaan, tervepä terve, tere tere
. Usually you answer with the same word you were greeted with, so:"Moi!" "Moi moi!" ; "Hei!" "Hei vaan!" ; "Tere!" "Tere tere!" ; "Päivää!" "Päivää päivää!"
and so on. Many of the greetings can be used both when greeting first or answering to a greeting: moi, moikka, hei, heippa, terve.
Sometimes you can add no
before the greeting: no hei, no heippa, no moi, no moikka, no terve, no hei vaan. IMO if you use it first, it can sound like "I'm (pleasantly) surprised to see you", and if you answer with it, it can sound less stiff than plain hei
. I don't think there are strict rules, though, you just need to know the context and what feels natural and flowing in the moment. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
FYI: I think Swedish hej
has more friction than Finnish hei
. Wiktionary seems to agree with me: it gives the pronunciations /ˈhɛjː/ and /ˈhei̯/ for <hej> and <hei>.
Woods wrote:one of my colleagues uses it all the time and he's totally gay (in the bad sense of the word used to describe heterosexuals - no offense whatsoever is meant toward actual homosexuals
What is that supposed to mean? (It's also good to remember that the more you use a word in it's "bad sense", the more you strengthen its bad connotations.)
Woods wrote: I've noticed some cool people use "moro,"
This is stereotypically Tampere (and its nearby regions) greeting. Here's an example
of it with the "proper" Tampere dialect pronunciation. (Note: of course this doesn't mean it wouldn't be used anywhere else than in Tampere!)
It's one of the informal ones, so you can use that with your friends but maybe not with strangers. It really depends on how formal you feel the context and your relationship is.
Also, some comments I found online
All in all, it really depends on the local culture and your own preferences which greetings you want to use.