German words expats should know: Moin


You may have heard of the internal German border, which once separated East and West Germany, but have you heard of “moin-Grenze“, A border that divides the German population according to the way they say” hello “?

Less meaning: it’s a catch-all greeting

Depending on where you are in Germany, it may sound completely foreign – or deliciously familiar – but “Less”Is a common greeting in northern Germany, mainly used in parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Lower Saxony, as well as in Bremen and Hamburg.

Travel below this line, and you’re more likely to hear other common greetings like “Hello” and “Hello”- and travel even further, and you will come across“Servus” and “Grüß Gott“Territory.

However, unlike these words, less can be used to mean just about anything from “hello” and “hello” to “goodbye” and “good night” – anywhere and at any time of the day, as long as it is used as a greeting.

Saying less in German

You might also hear it say twice in a row (in duplicate form, if you’re fancy). Some people think they say “lessIs more polite, while others say it just shows you’re in a very good mood.

Still others will say it’s not something said by native German speakers at all – and conversely, will expose you as a foreigner!

East less just a german word for good?

So where does the word come from less comes from? Well, like anything language related, it’s not entirely clear. One theory is that somewhere along the way, the regional pronunciation of “(Guten) Morgen”Swallowed most of the middle letters and spat out the word less.

However, another suggestion is that the less could actually come from the Dutch, Frisian and Low German word “mo (o) i”, which means “beautiful” or “good”. (It could be a mixture of the two – try saying “mooien Morgen“quickly without it sounding just like”less“!)

This is the theory supported by the bible on the German language, the Duden, which states that less comes from the word East Frisian me and the Middle Low German word me e), which both mean “beautiful, pleasant, or good”.

Moin moin!

Although once a marker was sure the speaker was from the north, less has grown in popularity in recent years and is now used more commonly throughout Germany, especially by young people who like its relaxed sound. It must be said, there is something pleasant to let go ”less“to everyone you meet. Come on, give it a try!

About Norma Wade

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