Go Slowly

Form of Folklore:  Folk Speech (Proverb)

Informant Bio:  The informant was born and raised in Yerevan, Armenia until 1990, when he and his family moved to the United States, at the age of forty two.  In his youth, he had been exposed to folklore founded in Armenian, Russian, and Greek culture.  Even though he now lives in America, he is surrounded by a tight net community composed of people who speak Armenian or Russian and come from a background similar to his own.  As a result, most of the folklore he knows is mainly based on his cultural upbringing.

Context:  The interview was conducted in the living room of informant’s house in the presence of his wife and mother-in-law.

Item:   Russian Transliteration – Tsikha yedzish, dalshu budzish.
English Translation – Go slowly, go far.

Informant Comments:  The informant heard this proverb from his father.  He believes that it is true most of the time.  In his experience, those who took their time to do something right would usually achieve more that those who would rush through a task.  He, however, believes that going too slow and not finishing in a timely manner is almost as bad as finishing with a poor product.  The proverb, therefore, holds partial truth for the informant.

Analysis:  This proverb is similar to one in English:  “Slow and steady wins the race.”  Patience is the fundamental virtue in this folklore.  The person who has the patience to go slowly will be successful (i.e. go far) in life.  The proverb does hold a lot of truth, but like the informer, I would say that go slowly is not always the primary virtue.  Sometimes, being prompt and being meticulous when doing something is more important than taking the time to do it.  Nevertheless, the proverb offers great encouragement to those who are going slowly by offering them the prospect of going far; it also helps those who are rushed, reconsider their ways and slow down their pace.