What does chotto exactly mean? ちょっと、って なに?

Do you know what does “chotto” really mean?

What does this little guy “chotto” exactly mean when Japanese say this?
There must be many people who are troubled to understand this word.

When you are talking with them, don’t you hear them say
“それは ちょっと・・・”, which literally means, “That’s, a little…”?

OK, “Chotto…” —- now, WHAT is this Chotto about?
Quite hard to understand the nuance, right?

Let’s ask a Japanese teacher.
The answer would be like this.

”Chotto” is a word that comes out of Japanese mouths when they have to say something a bit difficult to say, such as,
”It is a little impossible(!!) (really means, it is impossible!) or,
”It is a bit hard.(meaning, they do not want to do it)”
to avoid a big embarrassment to refuse the request or say things they feel awkward with.

Actually, this  expression is their effort trying to have the others to understand them by “Not saying the full sentence and show their hesitation.”

So…have you started to understand this trick vaguely?

Now, it is not only “chotto” related sentece that Japanese tend not to say clearly to complete a sentence.

Please try to understand.
You must always notice that Japanese people would not finish saying what they have started to say.

This could be from their special mentality to feel that
”It is rude to say clearly about what they refuse or cannot agree with.”


A foreigner:     Mr. Yamada, do you have  time tomorrow?
Mr. Yamada:     Tomorrow….is it….tomorrow, a bit…”

A foreigner:      Mr. Omori, I am throwing a party at my place,
Why don’t you join us?
Mr. Omori:        A party, is it….as for me, a party..a little bit…

No people say these sentences with smile in their face, now you know what they want to really tell you, I reckon?

If you are eager to fit into this Japanese society, you know what to say when you hear this Chotto.
You know the answer:

You never say, “What’s chotto?”

by Makiko Sawaguchi Oliver


日本人がよくいう、「ちょっと・・・」は どんな意味でしょう。
はっきりわからなくて とまどう人は多いかもしれません。

日本人と話している時、 「それはちょっと・・」 と言われることがよくありますね。

では、日本語の先生に 質問してみましょうか。



どうでしょう、なんとなく わかりましたか?

さて、日本人が、はっきり 終わりまで言わないのは、
「ちょっと・・」だけではあ りません。



外国人:     山田さん、明日、ひまですか?
山田さん:  明日・・・ですか・・・明日はちょっと・・・・

外国人:     大森さん、うちでパーティをしますが、来ませんか?
大森さん:  パーティかぁ・・・・ぼくはパーティはちょっと・・。







by 澤口真己子オリバー

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