Tag Archives: slow and steady

Chi va piano, va lontano.

The informant related an Italian proverb which was told to him several times in Italy.

“Chi va piano, va lontano. Which means ‘He who goes slow, goes far.’

So, it’s like the idea slow and steady wins the race.”

He said that it was generally used on him to tell him to slow down when eating his food so he would be more able to finish it all. But he says that the general use was more in terms of setting goals so that you don’t have to be great at something when you start, but if you keep improving, you will go far.

The fact that this is a regional oicotype of a very common phrase in english is interesting. Did the phrase originate in Italy and travel to the states, or did they develop independantly?

Russian Proverb about Driving Slowly

“Driving slower, you will advance further.”

Transliteration: “Tishe edesh – dalshe budesh.”

Q. What does this proverb mean?

A. The meaning is that if you do things slower, you will get further. It’s like saying, “Wait a minute, don’t hurry.” My brother would always say this, for instance, if I did a math problem and wanted to skip steps—if you do everything slower, part by part, you will do better in the end.

This proverb has an English analogue: “Slow and steady wins the race.” Yet, comparing these two versions, we can see that the American version has a much more competitive spirit than the Russian version, as it focuses upon winning. According to my informant, the Russian version refers to riding a horse; if one rides a horse too fast, the horse may become fatigued or sustain an injury. Thus, the Russian proverb focuses not upon winning, but rather upon not losing, not overtiring one’s horse.

Annotation: Writer Mikhail Zeldovich utilizes this proverb in an article concerning Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), commenting upon Russia’s slow, snail-paced progress of accession to the organization:

Zeldovich, Mikhail. “Slowly Going Nowhere: Russia’s Entry to the WTO Falters as Major Exporters Fight Shy of Membership.” The Russia Journal, 19 Nov. 2002. Web. 26 April 2012. <http://russiajournal.com/node/12071>.