I was trying to get a full understanding of this sentence's structure:


I know として as "As; In", like in 教師として, "as a teacher", but in this sentence I don't think it has that meaning; I found other meaning (apart from; even; from a viewpoint), none of which seems to apply here.

I'm guessing the part is meant to be adverbial, i.e. 遅々 (slow) > 遅々と (slowly), but if that's the case I'm not sure about the して part.

I think I get the meaning (The goverment has plans to build [a school], but since those were proceding slowly, on-site NGOs associations assisted in building it"), but I'm not sure how として fits in.


So, the simple answer to your question is that 遅々として is a set phrase, and is used commonly enough with 進まない that the whole thing is in the dictionary as a set phrase.

That said, it's also worth keeping in mind that not every instance of とする and として necessarily have to be mean as. とする has quite a few different usages, and it can also just come about coincidentally with adverbs taking , which is what happened here.

You might see constructions like

話を延々とする (to speak endlessly)


漠然とした予感 (a vague suspicion)

both of which are not instances of とする meaning as, but the result of 延々 and 漠然 being adverbs which take .

Edit: Just for clarity's sake here, these two examples are slightly different things. 話を延々とする is just a と-adverb in the middle of 話をする, whereas 漠然とした予感 is a common pattern where とした is used after a と-adverb to qualify a noun. For the latter pattern, you can also find quite a few examples with an quick search, but trying to explain this construction is beyond the scope of this question.

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  • I definitely have to switch dictionaries, in the ones I usually use there is neither ` 遅々として` nor 遅々として進まない. Thanks a lot, that really helped, として is a form I struggle with sometime. Is とする something each と-adverb can take, or just for set phrases? – Mauro Sep 15 '19 at 21:21
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    After you hit a certain point, monolingual dictionaries become pretty unavoidable. It's fine to try bilingual dictionaries (like Jisho) first, just don't stop there - there's a mountain of stuff you can only find on the monolingual dictionaries. As for とする and と-adverbs, I'll update my answer to make things a little clearer, but most commonly it's used as a way to qualify nouns. – Mindful Sep 16 '19 at 0:40

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