Swedish Language Blog

Saying “hello” in Swedish Posted by on Aug 4, 2012 in Swedish Language, Vocabulary

There are tons of ways of saying “hi” in Swedish. Some are for more formal situations but in general most of them are used just for friends or acquaintances. This blog post will gather as many ways of saying hello to somebody as possible into one place for you and try to give you an idea of when to use them. Most of these words however just mean the same thing meaning that it is up to you to choose and use the ones you like.


Svenska English Example sentence English translation of example Comments
tja yo Tja, läget? Yo, what’s up? informal
tjena hey / hi Tjena, vad görs? Hey, what’cha do’in? informal
tjaba hey / hi Tjaba, allt bra? Hey, how ‘ya do’in? informal
tjenamårs hey / hi Tjenamårs tjenamårs! Hiya informal, sort of a happy greating
tjenare hey / hi Tjenare snygging! Hiya handsome! informal
tjohej hey / hi Tjohej nu drar vi igång. Alright, let’s get started! informal
tjoho hey / hi Tjoho, är det någon hemma? Hello, anybody at home? informal
hej hello Hej! Hello! informal
hejhej hello Hejhej, länge sedan sist! Hi, long time no see! informal
hejsvejs hiya Hejsvejs! Hiya! informal
hejsan hello Hejsan, mitt namn är Lasse. Hello, my name is Lasse. informal
hallå hello Hallå? Är det någon här? Hello? Anybody there? informal
halloj hello Halloj halloj! Roligt att ses! Hey there, nice meeting you. informal
morsning hey there Morsning! Hey there. informal
godmorgon good morning Godmorgon. Goodmorning formal
goddag good day Goddag i stugan. Hello (to people sitting in a cottage) formal, but was used as informal a long time ago. When people still lived in cottages.
goddagens good afternoon Goddagens! Good day to you. formal, but sounds a little more happy or friendly that goddag.
godkväll good evening Godkväll gott folk. Good evening ladies and gentlemen. formal
godafton good evening Godafton! Vilken fin kväll. Good evening, what a nice evening tonight. formal
godnatt good night Godnatt, sov gott! Good night, sleep tight. both informal and formal
hej du hey there Hej du! Vilken fin tröja du har på dig i idag. Hi there, what a nice shirt you’re wearing today. informal

In Swedish if you say something twice then you sound happier. So there is actually no difference between “hej” and “hejhej” apart from “hejhej” sounding happier. The same thing for “tjenamosh”.

Now go out the and bombard people with you “tjenare” and “hej du”s.

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  1. Ulf Kahlstrom:

    Actually “tjenamosh” was spelled “tjenamårs” back in the 50s. Meant “tjenare, hur mår du”. Maybe the spelling has changed since then……

    • Katja:

      @Ulf Kahlstrom Thank you, I think it still is, but it’s at more common to say it than to write it. My bad. Was it the “big” thing to say back then?

  2. Laura:

    This was very helpful! I’ve only learned a handful of ways to say hi (mostly just hej and goddag) so it’s good to learn some informal greetings too. Thank you!

  3. John Nixon:

    This was fun! I think you may have mixed in some local (Stockholm?) dialect words though. I live on the West Coast and I don’t hear “tjaba”, “tjenamårs” or “tjenare” very often and then – I think – only as a joke. I was told – 20+ years ago – that “tjenare” (which means literally “your servant”) was VERY old fashioned, but I suppose it could have come back in.

    “Tjoho” and “tjohej” also sound dated. (And saying “tjoho tjohej” sounds to me like something out of a pilsner film from the 1930s!)

    I remember when *Friends* was first shown on Swedish TV, how very happy Swedes got when they heard Americans saying “hej!” instead of “hi!” to one another. Evidence that Swedish *matters* in the world. 🙂

    I think “godnatt” is not a greeting, but a way of saying farewell.

    Och … hej då!

  4. Anonmyoisdnaiosdh(lol):

    Hey, im a native swede and one of those is quite.. unused (atleast where i live, lol)…

    “Hej du”:

    Sounds… unnatural, feels like “HEY! YES, YOU! YOU FORGOT TO PAY!”


    “Hey, you. do you want to go to the cinema?”