Learn How to Say Small in Japanese – Easy Guide

If you’re learning Japanese, one of the essential skills you’ll need is the ability to express size. In this article, we’ll be focusing on ‘small’ and providing you with an easy guide to understand and use the various ways to say it in Japanese. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge to confidently communicate size in Japanese.

Starting with the basics, let’s first explore the primary word for ‘small’ in Japanese. From there, we’ll dive into different expressions and vocabulary words used to describe ‘small’ in Japanese. We’ll even guide you through the process of translating the English word ‘small’ into Japanese and provide you with practical tips on pronunciation and usage. Finally, we’ll conclude by reinforcing the importance of continued practice and usage to enhance your language skills.

So if you’re ready to learn how to say ‘small’ in Japanese, keep reading to expand your vocabulary and language abilities.

Understanding the Japanese Word for ‘Small’

Before we delve into the various expressions for ‘small’ in Japanese, it’s important to understand the primary word used for ‘small’ in the language. The Japanese word for ‘small’ is ‘chiisai’ (小さい), which is often pronounced as ‘chisai’ due to the absence of the ‘i’ sound at the end of the word.

Learning this word is crucial to effectively communicate size in Japanese. It’s worth noting that unlike English, Japanese doesn’t have distinct forms to differentiate between singular and plural nouns. Therefore, the word ‘chiisai’ can be used to describe both a singular and plural ‘small’ object.

Expressions for ‘Small’ in Japanese

Learning the different expressions for ‘small’ in Japanese will expand your vocabulary and increase your ability to communicate effectively in the language. Below are some of the most common expressions for ‘small’ in Japanese:

Japanese Reading English
小さい ちいさい Small
狭い せまい Narrow
微小 びしょう Minuscule
些細 ささい Trivial

By incorporating these expressions into your Japanese vocabulary, you can effectively describe the size of objects and convey the appropriate meaning in your communication.

When saying ‘small’ in Japanese, it’s important to understand that the language is context-dependent. For instance, the expression ‘小さな町’ (ちいさな まち) would translate to ‘small town,’ while ‘小さいお店’ (ちいさい おみせ) would translate to ‘small shop.’ In each instance, the same word ‘小さい’ (ちいさい) is used, but within different contexts.

Expanding your Japanese vocabulary to include these various expressions for ‘small’ will make it easier to understand the context and meaning of a particular phrase or sentence. Practice using these words in different contexts and scenarios to further develop your Japanese language skills.

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Translating ‘Small’ to Japanese

Translating English words to Japanese can be challenging but with these few tips, you can easily translate the word ‘small’ into Japanese. The primary Japanese word for small is ‘chiisai,’ but there are several other expressions for ‘small’ that differ in meaning and usage.

To translate ‘small’ to Japanese, the most common and straightforward expression is ‘chiisai.’ Here is an example of how to use it in a sentence:

English Japanese
This is a small room. こちらは小さい部屋です。

Another commonly used expression of ‘small’ in Japanese is ‘chotto.’ This expression means ‘a little bit’ or ‘slightly’ and can be used as an adverb to describe the degree of smallness of something. Here is an example of how to use it in a sentence:

English Japanese
The cat is small. 猫はちょっと小さいです。

It’s essential to have a good understanding of the Japanese vocabulary for small to improve your language skills. Practice using them in sentences to become comfortable with their usage.

Pronunciation and Usage Tips

Now that you know the various ways to say ‘small’ in Japanese, it’s important to understand how to pronounce them correctly. In Japanese, every sound is pronounced distinctly, so it’s essential to put emphasis on each syllable.

In the word ‘chiisai,’ which means small, the ‘ii’ sound is pronounced like the letter ‘e’ in the word ‘pet.’ Make sure to say each vowel sound separately, and avoid blending them together.

Another common word used to describe small in Japanese is ‘komakai.’ In this word, ‘ko’ is pronounced like the English word ‘co,’ and ‘ma’ is pronounced like ‘mah.’ The ‘kai’ sound at the end is pronounced like ‘kye.’

It’s also important to note that in Japanese, the adjective usually comes before the noun. So, instead of saying ‘small dog,’ you would say ‘chisai inu,’ with ‘chisai’ coming first.

Lastly, keep in mind that language learning takes practice. Keep using these words and phrases in context to improve your pronunciation and usage. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, as they are a natural part of the learning process.

Putting It into Practice

Now that you’ve learned various expressions and vocabulary words for ‘small’ in Japanese, it’s important to solidify your understanding by using them in context. Here are some example sentences to put your knowledge into practice:

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English Japanese
This is a small dog. これは小さな犬です。
I have a small apartment. 私は小さなアパートを持っています。
She has small hands. 彼女は手が小さいです。

By practicing these sentences and coming up with your own examples, you’ll not only improve your vocabulary but also gain confidence in your ability to use the language.

Remember to continue exposing yourself to Japanese media and conversation to further enhance your language skills. With dedication and practice, you’ll be able to express yourself fluently in Japanese, including talking about small things.


Congratulations! You have learned how to say ‘small’ in Japanese and expanded your vocabulary with various expressions and vocabulary words. Remember, it’s essential to practice and use what you have learned to solidify your language skills.

By continuing to explore the Japanese language, you will gain a deeper understanding of the culture and people. Keep up the good work and continue to learn new words and phrases.

Now that you know how to say small in Japanese, try incorporating it into your daily conversations. With time and practice, you will become more confident and proficient in the language. Good luck!


Q: How many ways are there to say ‘small’ in Japanese?

A: There are several ways to express ‘small’ in Japanese, depending on the context and the object being described.

Q: Can you provide some examples of Japanese expressions for ‘small’?

A: Sure! Some common Japanese words for ‘small’ include “chiisai,” “kobito,” and “shou.” Each word carries a slightly different nuance.

Q: How do I say ‘small’ in Japanese?

A: To translate ‘small’ to Japanese, you can use the word “chiisai” in most situations. However, it’s important to understand the alternative expressions as well.

Q: What are some pronunciation tips for saying ‘small’ in Japanese?

A: In Japanese, “chiisai” is pronounced as “chee-sigh.” Pay attention to the elongated “i” sound and the slight emphasis on the second syllable.

Q: How can I practice using the Japanese word for ‘small’?

A: To practice using the Japanese word for ‘small,’ try incorporating it into your daily conversations, writing short sentences, or using it in language exchange sessions.

Q: Are there any other resources to further expand my Japanese vocabulary?

A: Yes! There are many online resources, textbooks, and language apps available that can help you expand your Japanese vocabulary and improve your language skills.

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