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Thread: Moin Moin! - A Northern German Greeting

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    Moin moin

    What does moin moin mean?

    If you ever have been in lower saxon speaking parts of the world, you may have noticed this greeting formula. But what does it mean? Where does it come from?

    At a first glance you could think of "good morning". And indeed - morning is in Low Saxon "morgen", sometimes shortened to "morn". "morn".

    But it is possible to say "moin moin" all the day and night. The reason is the heritage of the word. It is a derivate from "mooi" = beautiful, good. It is the same word in Low Saxon as in Dutch. In East Frisia it is still used that way, too. In the northern parts people today prefer to say "schön" or "scheun".

    But what is "mooi"? The day, the morning, the evening, the night. "Moin moin" means "'n mooien Dag wünsch ik di" = "I wish you a nice day (evening....)". But it has been shortened to "moin Dag" and "moin". Then the word has been doubled to strengthen the meaning. Ergo "moin moin".

    The Norwegian language (Norse) knows this greeting formula, too. All the day and all the night you may say "morn". This is a heritage from the old Hanse age, where Low Saxon was the lingua franca of the northern world between Britain and Russia.
    http://www.plattmaster.de/

    Directory to Low German links, which contains also pages on grammar, a dictionary and a thesaurus to familiarize with and learn LG.

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    Moin Moin! - A Northern German Greeting

    Several young men gather in shorts and t-shirts, soccer cleats and shin guards in the middle of a grassy field in the city park. They are all shaking each other’s hands like businessmen making a deal. All this handshaking might seem out of place for such a casual social gathering, but it turns out that German friends always greet each other with a handshake for the males and a kiss on both cheeks for the females. Everybody waits their turn to properly greet any newcomer. This custom is followed at all get-togethers. In Northern Germany a hearty “Moin, Moin!” underscores the friendly feeling.

    Upon my arrival in Germany a friend quickly explained that although “moin” was short for “morgen” (morning), “moin, moin!” was a universal greeting as appropriate at 10 in the evening as at 10 in the morning. While it is true that one hears the phrase throughout the day, the origins of the word are in fact a bit more complicated.

    Many linguists are not convinced of the evolution from “morgen” to “moin” and instead contend that the roots are distinctively Frisian with “moi” meaning “good” or “beautiful.” Thus the Frisian “Moi Morn” or “Moi’n Dag” (good morning or good day) easily become either simply “moin!” or “moin! moin!”

    Regardless of its roots, the phrase is widely used in northern Europe. Similar greetings exist in all areas of Frisia including southern Denmark and the eastern part of the Netherlands. Additionally, in Finland the greeting “moi moi” is used while speakers of Luxemburgish use the word “moien.”

    Although within Germany the use of “moin, moin” still tends to mark the speaker as a northerner, it is understood across the country. In the 1980s the comic character Werner achieved widespread popularity with his quirky use of North German phrases and puns. He always greeted others with “moin, moin!”

    Likewise, Hamburg’s greatest hip-hop export Fettes Brot begin their 2005 anti-war song “An Tagen wie diesen” (On days like these) with an eerie “Moin moin—was geht?/Alles klar bei dir? Wie spät?” (Moin moin—what’s up?/Everything okay? What time is it?). In their 1995 classic and first big hit “Nordisch by Nature” (Nordic by Nature), a “moin!” exclamation appears amid several lines of Low German, another dialect of the Frisian area.

    Curiously, although the phrase is enthusiastically used by males of varied ages, I have never heard a woman utter the words. There is some unspoken rule that brands the phrase distinctly masculine.

    At the end of the soccer game, party, or whenever anyone leaves any gathering, the same procedure repeats itself with handshakes and cheek kisses all around. Only instead of “Moin, Moin,” everyone says goodbye with a sing-song “Tschüss!”

    The source:
    http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/art46009.asp

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    That's like how it is common in the U.S.A. and England to say "Morning!" or "Good morning!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Siebenbürgerin View Post
    Curiously, although the phrase is enthusiastically used by males of varied ages, I have never heard a woman utter the words. There is some unspoken rule that brands the phrase distinctly masculine.
    I've only heard women say it. Hopefully that doesn't mean they are male police/antifa agents with fake profiles. Maybe it is different for Hessians as opposed to on the north coast?
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    It's pop culture for Hessians, not tradition.

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    I see. But I am ok addressing any German speaker with this? Or is there something else I should use instead?
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwordOfTheVistula View Post
    I see. But I am ok addressing any German speaker with this? Or is there something else I should use instead?
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    Quote Originally Posted by SwordOfTheVistula View Post
    I see. But I am ok addressing any German speaker with this? Or is there something else I should use instead?
    "Moin moin" is very uncommon here in Southern Germany. "Moin Moin" is for North Germans only from my point of view.

    So If you want to address Northern Germans explicitly then use "Moin Moin" and if you want to address Southern Germans explicitly then use "Habadere (Habe die Ehre)/Grüß Gott" or something like that.

    "Guten Tag/Hallo" is okay for whole Germany.

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    I know in Afrikaans (and perhaps Dutch?) the word for beautiful is "mooi", thus making a Frisian origin more than possible.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valkyrie View Post
    "Moin moin" is very uncommon here in Southern Germany. "Moin Moin" is for North Germans only from my point of view.

    You should get it popular in southern Deutschland. Start up the new fad.

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