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In some situations everybody around me uses 重い, and when I went to the bicycle shop everyone was only using 重たい.

Both mean heavy, but what is the difference in meaning or context between them?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

重たい supposed to used when saying about personal opinions (or as subjective), but 重い is for general usage (objective view).

But said that, when someone start using 重たい in one place, another people use same one unintentionally because they are very similar.

Personally, I think 重たい has some more feelings than 重い, because you can stress the sound "たい", so it looks like saying that you knew it by experience, about how heavy it is.

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+1 for subjective objective (same for 眠い 眠たい). I would add that -tai give a negative impression. – repecmps Jun 2 '11 at 6:56
And さびしい/さみしい as well. 重たい is typically negative, as repecmps mentioned, and used with abstract (think "emotionally weighty") things more often than 重い. – Derek Schaab Jun 2 '11 at 12:43
重たい also holds a notion of "burden", which 重い doesn't. That's why 腹に重たい食事 for example can't be used with 重い, because it's not actually heavy it only feels like a burden. But other than that, either both can be used with the above nuances, or only 重い works (e.g. in 身分が重い or 口が重い where there can't be any subjective notion of burden). One of these answers gives an extensive list. – desseim Jan 22 '14 at 13:17

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