Learning Japanese? Know How to Say Slow in Japanese!

If you’re learning Japanese, it’s important to expand your vocabulary beyond the basics. In this section, we will explore the Japanese word for ‘slow’ and learn how to express slowness in Japanese. By the end of this article, you’ll be well-equipped to speak like a pro!

Learning how to say ‘slow’ in Japanese is a crucial step in your language learning journey, and in this section, we’ll provide you with all the necessary tools to achieve this goal. We’ll cover the Japanese vocabulary for ‘slow’, show you how to pronounce it correctly, discuss its different nuances and usage, and much more. So, let’s dive in!

Japanese Vocabulary for Slow

When learning a language, it’s important to expand your vocabulary to include different words and phrases to express yourself more effectively. In Japanese, there are various ways to describe slowness.

One common word for ‘slow’ in Japanese is ‘osoi’. This word can be used to describe the speed of movement or the passing of time. For example, if you want to say ‘slow down’ in Japanese, you can use the phrase ‘osoi de’.

Another word you can use to describe slowness is ‘chikachika’. This word describes a slow and steady movement, such as the movement of a turtle.

If you want to express that something is gradually becoming slower, you can use the word ‘yukkuri’.

In addition to these words, there are also phrases that can be used to express slowness in Japanese. For example, ‘nemuku naru’ means ‘to become sleepy’, while ‘tsukareta’ means ‘tired’ or ‘exhausted’. These phrases can be used to indicate that someone is moving slowly due to fatigue or lack of energy.

Expanding your Japanese vocabulary to include different words and phrases related to slowness can help you express yourself more effectively in daily conversation.

How to Say ‘Slow’ in Japanese

Learning how to say ‘slow’ in Japanese is a vital skill to enhance your language proficiency. In this section, we’ll explore various Japanese phrases and expressions related to slowness, and learn how to pronounce them correctly.

How to Pronounce Slow in Japanese

The Japanese word for ‘slow’ is ‘おそい’ (osoi). To pronounce it correctly, say ‘oh-soh-ee’ with emphasis on the first syllable.

In addition to ‘おそい’, there are other words and phrases that can also be used to describe slowness in Japanese:

Japanese Romaji English
のろい noroi Slow (as in slow-moving)
じっくり jikkuri Slowly and carefully
たっぷり tappuri Plenty of time (to do something)

To correctly pronounce these phrases, you can use an online Japanese pronunciation guide or learn from a native speaker.

Japanese Phrases for Slow

Using Japanese phrases and expressions related to slowness can help you communicate effectively in everyday situations. Here are some common phrases:

  • ‘おおむねゆっくりです。’ (oomune yukkuri desu) – ‘Generally, it’s slow.’
  • ‘もっとおそく話してください。’ (motto osoku hanashite kudasai) – ‘Please speak more slowly.’
  • ‘時間がたっぷりある。’ (jikan ga tappuri aru) – ‘There’s plenty of time.’
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Use these phrases appropriately and it will help you improve your communication skills and make connections within the Japanese-speaking community.

Translating ‘Slow’ in Japanese

Translating the English word ‘slow’ into Japanese can be a bit tricky. Depending on the context and the situation, there are different words and expressions that can be used to convey the meaning of slowness. Let’s explore some of them below:

Slow Word in Japanese Japanese Translation for Slow Usage and Nuances
遅い (osoi) Slow, Late One of the most common words for ‘slow’ in Japanese. It is used to describe the speed of movement, action, or progress.
のろい (noroi) Slow, Sluggish, Lumbering This word connotes slowness that is heavy, awkward, and cumbersome.
のろのろ (noronoro) Slowly, Sluggishly, Leisurely A colloquial expression that emphasizes the relaxed and casual aspect of slowness.
ゆっくり (yukkuri) Slowly, Leisurely, Calmly An adverb that emphasizes a comfortable and unhurried pace. It is often used to suggest a relaxing and enjoyable experience.

As you can see, each word has its unique connotations and usage. It is important to choose the right word depending on the situation and the desired effect.

Cultural Context of Slowness in Japanese Language

Japanese culture places great emphasis on the concept of time, and slowness is often considered a virtue. Unlike Western cultures, Japanese people value the process of completing a task rather than just achieving the end goal. This cultural significance is reflected in the language, where slowness is not always seen as negative, but can be a positive attribute.

The Japanese Concept of ‘Ma’

One of the concepts that exemplify this cultural significance is the Japanese word ‘ma’, which means ‘gap’ or ‘pause’. ‘Ma’ refers to the space or interval between actions or events and is used to create a sense of rhythm and timing in many art forms such as music, dance, and calligraphy. ‘Ma’ is a fundamental element in Japanese aesthetics and is related to the concept of slowness as it allows for contemplation and reflection.

The Importance of Patience and Respect

Another cultural significance of slowness in the Japanese language is the importance placed on patience and respect. Speaking slowly and taking time to listen to others is a sign of politeness and shows respect for the listener. Rushing or speaking too quickly can be seen as rude or impolite. This cultural value extends to other aspects of life as well, such as work and social relationships. Taking time to build relationships and trust is highly valued in Japanese culture, and rushing or pushing too hard can damage these relationships.

The Negative Side of Slowness in Japanese Culture

While slowness is often seen as positive in Japanese culture, there are situations where it can be negative. For example, in the workplace, taking too long to complete a task or decision-making process can be seen as a lack of efficiency and may hinder productivity. In these situations, it is important to strike a balance between the Japanese cultural value of slowness and the need for efficiency and productivity.

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Positive Aspects of Slowness in Japanese Language Negative Aspects of Slowness in Japanese Culture
Patience and respect Slow decision-making can hinder productivity
‘Ma’ – the gap or pause that allows for reflection Slow speech can be seen as indecisive or lacking confidence
The value of taking time to build relationships and trust

Understanding the cultural significance of slowness in the Japanese language is important for effective communication and cultural sensitivity. By learning and respecting these values, you can enhance your ability to communicate with Japanese speakers and deepen your understanding of the Japanese language and culture.


Congratulations! You now know how to say ‘slow’ in Japanese! By exploring the vocabulary, pronunciation, translation, and cultural context of slowness in Japanese language, you have gained valuable insights into Japanese communication and can now express yourself more accurately and fluently.

Practice using the Japanese word for ‘slow’ in your everyday conversations, and don’t be afraid to ask native speakers for feedback. Remember, learning a new language takes time and dedication, so keep practicing and you will see progress over time.

Thank you for reading, and we hope you found this article helpful. Stay tuned for more language learning tips and tricks!


Q: How do I say ‘slow’ in Japanese?

A: The word for ‘slow’ in Japanese is ‘osoi’ (おそい).

Q: Are there any other ways to describe slowness in Japanese?

A: Yes, there are several other words and phrases that can be used to describe slowness in Japanese. Some common ones include ‘yukkuri’ (ゆっくり), which means ‘slowly’ or ‘at a leisurely pace’, and ‘naranai’ (ならない), which means ‘not fast’ or ‘not quick’.

Q: How do I pronounce ‘osoi’?

A: ‘Osoi’ is pronounced as oh-soh-ee.

Q: Can you provide some Japanese phrases for expressing slowness?

A: Sure! Here are a few phrases you can use to express slowness in Japanese:
– ‘Machijuu osoi’ (町中おそい): Meaning ‘slow all around town’ or ‘everything is slow’.
– ‘Dekkai jikan ga kakaru’ (でっかい時間がかかる): Meaning ‘it takes a long time’.
– ‘Yukkuri shite kudasai’ (ゆっくりしてください): Meaning ‘please take it slow’ or ‘please relax’.

Q: How do I translate ‘slow’ into Japanese?

A: The word ‘slow’ can be translated into Japanese as ‘osoi’ (おそい) or ‘machi no hayai’ (街の速い), which means ‘fast for the town’ or ‘fast-paced’.

Q: What is the cultural significance of slowness in Japanese?

A: Slowness in Japanese culture is often associated with patience, deliberation, and a focus on quality over speed. It is valued in various aspects of life, including craftsmanship, tea ceremonies, and traditional arts.

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