In this scene a young girl, Yotsuba, drops in on her neighbors for some breakfast. The mother who's cooking breakfast says:


So I guess she's preparing her husbands food first, and tells Yotsuba to hang on for a minute.

But why didn't she just say ちょっと待って?

[Image redacted]

  • I started to be worried about copyright issues. Can you check if posting a comic like this is allowed or not? Jun 10 '11 at 15:46
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    @TsuyoshiIto This would fall under fair use under the US copyright law I believe
    – Ken Li
    Jun 10 '11 at 15:55
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    @Ken, @Louis: Maybe you are right. But (1) I know almost nothing about the US copyright law and I cannot tell if it is fair use or not, and (2) although I know that Stack Overflow Internet Services, Inc. is a company based in the US, I do not know if it is sufficient to follow the US laws. Many users are from Japan, for example. Jun 10 '11 at 16:00
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    I think it satisfies the en.wikipedia.org policy. Which part of the policy are you referring to? Comic panels are pretty common on en.wikipedia, Yotsuba's wiki has a panel as well. Jun 10 '11 at 18:05
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    Oh, and thank you for asking on Meta Stack Overflow: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/94645/… Jun 10 '11 at 18:05

Like Mark says, it's short for 待っていて, which is the て-form of 待っている. I think it's a little softer than saying ちょっと待って, and since Yotsuba is not one of the family, the mother is being a little more polite. Saying ちょっと待って can sound a little short. The meaning changes with the extra て, but I can't describe how it changes well. Something like "please be there waiting".

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    btw is it true that 待て is also acceptable compared to 待って ?
    – Pacerier
    Jun 17 '11 at 10:58
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    Nope, not in this situation. 待て is the imperative (like 食べろ or 飲め), it's a command to wait. It's too direct/impolite to use as a replacement for 待って unless you're commanding the other person to wait.
    – nevan king
    Jun 17 '11 at 12:56
  • ok cool, initially i'd always thought 待て is way more common than 待って
    – Pacerier
    Jun 17 '11 at 14:35

Other than soft / politeness on using 待って(い)て、 I think it has some sense that you don't have to stop what you are doing now to wait, and you may do something else while waiting.

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    Do you have anything to back up this "I think"? I've never heard this interpretation before. Jun 10 '11 at 17:36
  • @Derek, Nope, I don't have it, that's just how I feel it. And I have no idea why mine is accepted.
    – YOU
    Jun 10 '11 at 17:37
  • You've got an interesting idea there. I can't say I've got anything better, except that to me it "feels" like using ~ている puts more emphasis on waiting for a length of time. 聴いていてね ("listen [for more than just a little while]") versus 聴いてね ("listen [even if it's just for a bit]"). Jun 10 '11 at 17:43
  • Oh...I first chose nevan's answer, but I thought you were explaining that last bit that he couldn't put into words. Jun 10 '11 at 17:44

I think it's short for 待っていて. Though I'm just taking a guess in the dark here.

  • This is correct; the い is often dropped in casual conversation. Jun 10 '11 at 15:43
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    I don't think think the poster was asking what it meant; I think they were asking about the difference between 待ってて and 待って when asking someone to wait.
    – Amanda S
    Jun 10 '11 at 15:45
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    Well I was wondering both. 待っていて, makes sense. But still the いて seems almost superfluous. Jun 10 '11 at 16:00
  • @Louis: Perhaps this could be broken out into a separate question? Jun 10 '11 at 17:36
  • Hmm...feel free to, but I think I got the gist of it from nevan's answer. Jun 10 '11 at 17:47

could it possibly mean "you only have to wait a little while." because of the ite being there.. chotto modifies matte which equals wait a little (while) and ite means to be/exist/stay so therefore, 'a little bit wait is' could be a rougher interpretation.

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