Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Notes

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Lesson Transcript

Michael: Which greetings depend on the time of day in Finnish?
Anni: And can they be replaced with time-neutral greetings?
Michael: At FinnishPod101.com, we hear these questions often. In the following situation, Ben Lee is greeting his friend, but he hasn't noticed how late it has become. Ben says,
"[Good] morning!"
Ben Lee: Huomenta!
Dialogue
Ben Lee: Huomenta!
Miia Mäki: Kello on jo 13. Päivää!
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Ben Lee: Huomenta!
Michael: "[Good] morning!"
Miia Mäki: Kello on jo 13. Päivää!
Michael: "It's already 1 PM. [Good] afternoon!"

Lesson focus

Michael: In this lesson, we will talk about how to greet someone in Finnish at different times of the day. Just like in most cultures, Finnish uses greetings depending on what time it is. That said, there are greetings for "morning,"
Anni: aamu
Michael: "afternoon,"
Anni: iltapäivä
Michael: and "evening."
Anni: ilta
Michael: So, if you want to say "Good morning" in Finnish, you say,
Anni: Hyvää huomenta.
Michael: This is the universal icebreaker and is used between 5:30 in the morning and 12:00 o'clock at noon. You can also omit the beginning,
Anni: hyvää
Michael: which means "good," and just say
Anni: huomenta
Michael: "morning" instead.
Michael: At the second part of the day, which is from 12 noon till sunset, the appropriate greeting would be
Anni: Hyvää iltapäivää
Michael: or "Good afternoon." Keep in mind, though, that this greeting is not used very commonly. It is more common to just say
Anni: Hyvää päivää
Michael: "Good day," instead, or you can again omit the beginning and say
Anni: Päivää.
Michael: Even though the greeting
Anni: "Päivää"
Michael: is referring to the word
Anni: "päivä"
Michael: or, "a day," it can be also used during the afternoon, to mean "good afternoon." Finally, when the night begins to fall, you'd want to use,
Anni: Hyvää iltaa
Michael: which means "Good evening." Or, as you probably guessed, you can just say
Anni: Iltaa
Michael: "Evening!"
[Recall 1]
Michael: This time, let's take a closer look at the dialogue.
Do you remember how Ben Lee says "[Good] morning?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Päivi as Ben Lee: Huomenta!
Michael: Note how Ben Lee only used the word for "morning" in this greeting. In English, this is a rather less formal way to greet someone and is only appropriate when greeting close friends and family. In Finnish, you can usually use this with anyone, anywhere, interchangeably with the whole greeting,
Anni: Hyvää huomenta!
[Recall 2]
Michael: Now, let's take a look at our second sentence.
Do you remember how Miia says "It's already 1 PM. [Good] afternoon?"
(pause 4 seconds)
Päivi as Miia Mäki: Kello on jo 13. Päivää!
Michael: Here, Miia corrects Ben for using a morning greeting when it's already past 12 noon. As mentioned, "Good morning" in Finnish is time-sensitive and is only used between sunrise and noontime. After that, the appropriate greeting would be "Good afternoon," or
Anni: Hyvää päivää.
Michael: In this case, Miia also omitted "Good," and said
Anni: Päivää.
[Summary]
Michael: In this lesson, we learned that there are three greetings in Finnish that depend on the time of the day. The first one is
Anni: Hyvää huomenta
Michael: or
Anni: Huomenta
Michael: which means "Good morning," and is used between 5:30 in the morning and 12:00 o'clock at noon. The second one is
Anni: Hyvää iltapäivää
Michael: "Good afternoon," or
Anni: Iltapäivää
Michael: "[good] afternoon," or
Anni: Päivää
Michael: "[good] day," which are greetings used from 12 noon till sunset. And finally, there's
Anni: Hyvää iltaa
Michael: or
Anni: Iltaa
Michael: which means "Good evening," and is appropriate for greeting someone as the night begins to fall.
Expansion/Contrast
Michael: What about other types of greetings? Is it okay to simply say "Hi" or "Hello?" in Finnish? The good news is—it is! In Finnish, you say "Hello" in this manner,
Anni: Hei.
Michael: It's pronounced like the English "hey" and can sound informal. Indeed, this is an informal way of greeting friends, family, or strangers. A similar greeting would be
Anni: Moi
Michael: or
Anni: Moikka
Michael: which are equivalents to "Hi." These are more informal than the first one and are alternatives to
Anni: Terve
Michael: which is the Finnish way of saying "Hey!" or "Howdy!" Other informal ways to greet are also
Anni: Morjens!
Michael: and
Anni: Moro!
Michael: which have been popular greetings especially among men, and the latter also in the Tampere region of Finland. Both greetings have their origin in the Swedish greeting for "good morning."
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: One thing that's unique to Finns when it comes to greetings, or
Anni: tervehdykset,
Michael: is that people respect each others' private space and don't generally greet strangers, unless they're directly dealing with them, for example, in a customer service situation. Therefore, it is quite rare, for instance, for joggers to greet others when running past them in the park, or for people to greet others waiting for the bus at the bus stop in the morning. There are, however, regional differences.
Michael: Another point worth noticing is that you don't need to use the time-dependent greetings for the same person twice in one day. For instance, if you've met your neighbor in the morning and have already greeted them with "morning," or
Anni: Huomenta!
Michael: there is no need to greet them once again with the time-dependent greeting "Good afternoon,"
Anni: Päivää!
Michael: when you see them at the grocery store a few hours later. You can greet them in a more casual way, and say, for example,
Anni: Hei taas!
Michael: "Hello again!"

Outro

Michael: Do you have any more questions? We're here to answer them!
Anni: Hei hei!
Michael: See you soon!

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