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How is this still even a discussion? Your math analogy is not even correct unfortunately...

The derivational set that includes "interest, interesting, interested" all entail the same entities in the same roles. That is, there has to be an object of interest and a perceiver of that quality. There is no permutation from one set to another, and there is no difference in size as they are both sets of infinite size. The only thing that is different is that depending on the word class (here crucially adjective vs inflected verb), the assigned role needs to carry a different function in the sentence (subject vs object).

interesting: theme (the entity of interest) must be the subject*, whereas the experiencer of that interest must either be implicit or introduced as an oblique object (eg. to him, for him etc)

interested: theme (the entity of interest) can be implicit or introduced as the object, whereas the experiencer of that interest must be the subject*

If you take your sentence "the most interesting subject (to him) is geography", for example, naturally it follows the role assignment described above. Since you are using a sort of pseudo-clefting you can re-write the sentence in it's more basic form: "Geography is the most interesting subject (to him)", and we see that "geography" is indeed the subject.

But if you look at your Chinese sentence "他最有興趣的功課是地理", we can identify all the roles and see that they follow the distribution for "interested" in English, but not "interesting". The experiencer of the interest is 他, and the entity of interest is 地理, but the sentence is arranged syntactically so 有興趣's status as a verb is slightly obstructed. When you get rid of the pseudo-clefting, however, the role assignment is much more clear 他對地理(這個科目)最有興趣. Notice that the verb 有興趣 or 感興趣 always requires a 對 to introduce the object of interest, just as a consequence of its internal structure. The subject* here is the experiencer. That matches with the English requirements for "interested", not "interesting".

I am never a fan of using English as a lens to learn any language other than English, but if you're going to do it, at least do it properly. If you are going to try to understand a word based on an English translation, at least base it on a proper translation. If you are going to translate things in order to understand them, then you don't get to cherry-pick translations. A proper translation will preserve the roles and levels of emphasis as much as possible. The one you've given ("The most interesting subject (to him) is geography") is not faithful to the original sentence, because you've flipped the roles, backgrounding the experiencer.

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I reckon :shrug: it can sometimes cheerfully be translated as "interesting", even though it's not a good dictionary definition


He no longer found anything interesting.

He was no longer interested in anything.


Do you think English is interesting?

Are you interested in English?


And after all, a strict translation is of course "to have an interest in" but people seem perfectly happy with the looser "interested in".

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Ok... I'm pretty sure being a math major doesn't mean that you can use math terminology to make any claim that you want and have it automatically be true. It's pretty perplexing that you're still not convinced even after so many people including multiple native speakers have posted in this topic all saying the same thing, but I see you deleted most of your posts so you probably don't want to argue about it anymore. Well, I guess you're free to go out and speak Chinese and use the phrase 有兴趣 however you want. Maybe someone will correct you or maybe not.

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I haven't seen the maths analogy either.

Just because one dictionary says 有興趣 means interesting doesn't mean it is correct. Personally, I like to source a few definitions and have a body of opinion before coming to a conclusion. That gives me a feel of how the word is used in real life. Dictionaries and translations can be sometimes wrong and so need to be validated.

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Analogy paraphrased, made the following claims:

Set A = {interesting things}

Set B = {interested things}

A > B


f(A) = B

Math(s) might be your forté but that doesn't mean you are necessarily mapping the right logic onto this situation.

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What does the "analogy" have to do with the meaning of 有兴趣?

Math(s) might be your forté but that doesn't mean you are necessarily mapping the right logic onto this situation.


BTW math degree here as well.

Edited by lips
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