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  5. "かわいくないですか?"


Translation:Isn't it cute?

July 7, 2017





Isn't the sound of the second kanji is 'ai' (love)?


Yes. If seen alone, it is read as 'ai'. But if seen with the first kanji, the two does not have separate readings. The combination is read as 'kawai'. The kanji means 'has the ability'. Combined it means 'has the ability to be loved'.


That's so cool! I love how logical and literal the kanji can be! Now if only I could remember them... :P


would かわいいですね get the same point across?


You gotta be pretty careful with this. I've had a fairly long discussion on earlier lessons where Duo was asking about negative adjectives and how they get interpreted. I, personally, read this sentence as "Is it not cute?", where "yes" means "not cute" and "no" means "not not cute". To me, "isn't" is colloquialized to eliminate the negative, which is what typically happens in English. To me, this makes more sense as you said in Japanese to use ね along with the positive adjective. When I translate it as "Isn't it cute?", I'd answer "yes" to mean "cute" - I'm agreeing with your assertion that its cute (colloquialization of "isn't it" to remove the negative connotation).

I asked a native Japanese speaker who agreed with my line of thinking "はい" to "かわいくないですか" means "かわいくない" meaning "not cute". However, I've also heard of other Japanese individuals colloquializeing a negative adjective to eliminate the negative (typically leading to the "isn't it?" English translation where you're seeing a positive answer to a positive assertion - "Its cute, isn't it?" "Yes, it is cute" vs "it's cute, is it not?" "Yes, it is not cute." - The first being colloquialized and the 2nd not).

Essentially, all these, "is it not"/"isn't it" translations get very muddy/confusing very quickly. Talking to one teacher, they tought their students to answer the opposite of what they'd say in English, and that seems to work for them. To me (a mathematical/programing background) that makes no sense and just confuses me more. But learning that both English and Japanese versions are colloquialized differently depending on many factors, these translations are almost meaningless on their own.


Here is my recollection of interpreting yes/no in Japanese. It's relative to whether you agree with someone. If someone says...

  • かわいいですか (はい means that’s right and I agree with you. It is cute.)

  • かわいいですか (いいえ means that’s not right and I don't agree with you. It is NOT cute.)

So far, this is similar to English, but......

  • かわいくないですか (はい in response means "That’s right, I agree with you. It is not cute.") Whereas in English, we might nod and say, "No, it's not cute" when we want to agree with that statement.

  • かわいくないですか (いいえ as a reply means "That’s not right and I don't agree with you. It IS cute.") Whereas in English, we might insist, "Yes, it IS cute" when we want to disagree with that statement.

So, I think it's easier to understand if you think of はい as meaning "I agree. That's right" instead of an absolute Yes. And think of いいえ as meaning, "I don't agree. That's not right" rather than an absolute no.


So, my take away is play it safe and don't give yes/no answers, and stick with detailed responses. Heck, even do this for English, especially if you have friends that might be deliberately toying with the ambiguity of the sentence.

Friend orders for you "Hey, do you not like pickles?" they ask knowing you dislike them. Either "yes" or "no" they order you pickles saying you just claimed you liked them.


I agree. I'm sitting here with a native speaker and we agree that this can lead to misinterpretations and not knowing how to respond. It's best to sayかわいいですね。Period.かわいくないですか。implies it isn't cute...at all. Maybe the problem is the word かわいい。If it's red vs. blue, the case is clear: あかくないですか。はい、あかくないです。あおいです。The word かわいい makes the situation unclear, whereas with colors and other non emotional words, the case is clear.


Yep. These sentences are veeeery confusing. Ugh.


I think 'Is it not cute?' would make much more sense.


That has a slightly different meaning. かわいいですね is just saying something's cute and expecting the other person to agree; かわいくないですか is a genuine question (maybe asked by a person with low self-esteem) asked with the expectation of an answer.


I think so as well. I would have translated Duolingo's Japanese sentence to "It is not cute?" instead, because it seems to expect that the listener doesn't think it is.


Part of the problem is the English. "Isn't it cute?" and "Is it not cute?" don't have the same implications at all.

"Is it not cute? in English implies some doubt as to whether it's cute or not. You were expecting it to be cute, but there is some suggestion that it may not be. So, I agree that this one seems to be a better translation for かわいくないですか . This is accepted.

"It's not cute, is it"? wasn't accepted. That implies it isn't cute and you want agreement. I suppose that would be かわいくないですね。

"Isn't it cute?" in English most often implies that it is cute and you want agreement. That would be かわいいですね in Japanese I would think. かわいくないですか has the implication that it is probably not cute at all, which is the opposite.

It's possible with tone of voice and context to change the implication of "Isn't it cute?" to mean that you don't think it's cute but that seems less common in my experience. In any case, that nuance isn't conveyed in written form which ends up making this translation ambiguous and possibly misleading depending on how it's interpreted.


Is there a big difference between ”かわいくないですか?" and "かわいいですね?"?


Depends on colloquialization of the Japanese speaker and English translator. I'd say the first is "is it not cute?" and the second is "its cute, isn't it?"

I'd say "no" to the first English question (not colloquialized) to mean "not not cute" i.e. "cute", but I'd say "yes" to the 2nd English question (colloquialized) to agree with your assertion of it being "cute".

I've spoken to a native Japanese speaker who shares this similar line of thinking, but I've heard of other Japanese speakers who colloquialize both versions, essentially making them the same.

I see them as different, the first one saying "not cute, right?" and the second saying "cute, right?" but it depends on how you colloquialize it from both the listener & speaker perspectives. Others may say they're interchangeable.


Yes, my Japanese friend agrees. As a linguist, I believe the problem is that くぁいい is an emotional word, not a black-or-white adjective. If we used a color, this situation would be entirely different, i.e. clear and following Japanese standards to agree/disagree with a negative. しろくないですか。はい、しろくないです。くろいですよ。


Would "isn't he/she cute?" be other possible translations?


Any subject should work. "Aren't you cute?", "Aren't I cute?" "Aren't we cute?" "Aren't they cute?"


Yes, I think so.


By the rule it should be かわくない instead of かわいくない right?  Exception or I am wrong?


I believe the verb itself is かわいい if affirmative, but since this is negative the last いbecomes a く. so the いyou're asking about is part of the verb itself and not a suffix.


Slight correction, かわいい is an adjective, not a verb. Specifically an い-adjective. かわい is the base, and the final い is changed to く when negative. な-adjectives like ゆうめい (famous) will have the な become じゃ. Both will add ない afterwards insentences like this.


Technically い type adjectives are a kind of verb


You are right! But there are two "I" s haha ! The last "I" was dropped and this one you see is part of the Kanji! かわいい→ 可愛くない= かわいくない


Stevie Wonder intensifies


Excuse me, why "isn't it pretty" is marked wrong all the time when translating かわいい?Is there some radical difference in English between pretty and cute that I do not know? Thanks!


While "pretty" is technically an okay translation for かわいい , きれい would be a much better word to use for it

かわいい - cute, adorable, (but also childlike, dainty, precious, innocent, lovable) it has a slight diminutive feel to it.
きれい - pretty, beautiful, fair (but also clean, clear, tidy, neat) - this has more of a focus on the appearance of something.

I'd say 'cute' focuses more on the aspects of something that may give you an emotional reaction of endearment towards it, while 'pretty' is sort of just something nice to look at. Someone else may be able to word that better though.

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