Translation:Isn't it cute?
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.
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.
Here is my recollection of interpreting yes/no in Japanese. It's relative to whether you agree with someone. If someone says...
It's cute (はい means that’s right and I agree with you. It is cute.)
It's cute (いいえ means that’s not right and I don't agree with you. It is NOT cute.)
It's not cute (はい means that’s right and 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.
It's not cute (いいえ means that’s not right and I don't agree with you. It IS cute.) Whereas in English, we might say, "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.
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。
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.