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I am currently reading the "よつばと!" ("Yotsuba&!") manga, and in the first story (vol 1 page 13) there is an exchange about going to buy greeting gifts (for moving into the neighborhood):

よつばの父: 変なもん 持ってくんなよ

ジャンボ: 俺はプリンが 好きなんだ

よつばの父: いや おまえの 嗜好はいい

An english version translates this exchange as:

Yotsuba's Dad: Don't bring back something weird

Jumbo: I like pudding

Yotsuba's Dad: Don't base it on your personal preference, neither

But I'm having a bit of trouble understanding the last line:

いや おまえの 嗜好はいい

From what I can tell, this line appears to say "No (I disagree), your taste is good", but given the context (and the above translation, which fits with the apparent context) I would actually expect him to be saying "No, your taste is not good". Yet the sentence appears to be in the affirmative, not the negative?

Does the use of いや here somehow implicitly negate the rest of the sentence (which is something I haven't seen in other cases)? Is this an idiomatic thing? Implied sarcasm? Or am I just missing something obvious?

Any help would be much appreciated.

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「いや おまえの 嗜好{しこう}はいい

「いい」 already has the meaning of "not needed" all by itself without any context.

In this context, the negative 「いや」 should also help one understand that 「いい」 would be used for its negative meaning.

See definition 3-㋑ in goo辞書, which says:

㋑十分過{じゅうぶんす}ぎる。その必要{ひつよう}がない

This usage of 「いい」 is actually very common, especially in spoken language.

No one has mentioned this so far, but the 「の」 is a big hint here as well. That is because to say "You have good taste.", we would say:

「お前趣味いい。」

This sentence can only mean "You have good taste." and we would use 「趣味{しゅみ}」 far more often than than 「嗜好{しこう}」 to say this.

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  • Thanks, especially for the pointer to the specific dictionary entry. That meaning of いい doesn't appear to be represented at all in the Japanese-to-English dictionaries I checked, and I'm still new enough that looking things up in 国語辞典 is still usually fairly tough and confusing.. Based on your comment about 趣味 vs 嗜好, am I correct in assuming that a better translation for 嗜好 in this case might be "preferences" (i.e. what you like), whereas 趣味 would be more commonly used for "taste" (what you tend to choose)? – Foogod Nov 23 '19 at 18:59
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What is being said is this:

いや おまえの 嗜好はいい
No, your taste is fine (as in, not needed).

You might be confused because you see 嗜好はいい but when we want to express that someone's taste is good, we'd say 嗜好いい. Notice that this is a subtle but important difference.

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いい here does not mean "good", but an abbreviation for どうでもいい (it does not matter). It causes to get confused because the spelling is the same, but it is distinguished by the context.

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  • 2
    It is not an abbreviation of any word/phrase. いい has a negative meaning as well to begin with. – l'électeur Nov 23 '19 at 1:25

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