ASL Lessons | Bookstore | Library | ASL University Main ►

INTERESTING: The American Sign Language (ASL) sign for "interesting"

The sign for "INTERESTING" also can mean interested, or appreciate (appreciation). "INTERESTING" is basically a two-handed version of "like."  The hands change from loose "five" handshapes into "eight" handshapes.




Sample sentence:  BOOK YOU THINK INTERESTING, what-NAME? (What is the name of a book that you think is interesting?)


Other Versions:
The sign INTERESTING has some other versions.  All three versions are good and worth knowing if you are going to be hanging out in the Deaf community.

Version 2:  Do the sign higher up.  The dominate hand (in a sort of 5 handshape with the thumb and middle finger bent inward a bit) start from near the tip of the nose and moves forward as it changes to an "8" handshape. The non dominate hand uses the same handshapes and starts from the chest area.

Version 3:  This version of INTERESTING also starts with the dominant hand near the nose and the non-dominant hand near the chest. The beginning handshape is that of an "open-X" (it sort of looks like you are getting ready to wipe your nose with a Kleenex tissue). Both hands move forward and change into modified A-hands (sort of a cross between "A" and "X" hands).




Insider tip:  "258" means "very interesting."
If a Deaf person ever jokingly signs to you the numbers "2, 5, 8" what they mean is "very interesting."  The two comes from the initialized English sign for VERY.  (The English sign VERY uses a "V" as the handshape and uses a position, palm orientation, and movement similar to the sign "BIG."  Which is to say, the Signed English sign "VERY" is an initialized version of the ASL sign "BIG.")  ASL doesn't use the sign "VERY," rather ASL uses exaggerated movement, body language, and facial expression to indicate the idea of "very."  For example if I want to express the concept of "VERY MAD" in ASL I would use just use the sign for "MAD" (without adding the sign VERY) but I'd do the sign for MAD faster, hold the last part of the sign longer, and contort my facial expression to resemble the Hulk with a wedgie. 



The ASL sign INTERESTED and the English phrase "other interests of mine" do not line up semantically. The sign INTERESTED tends to be interpreted as or convey meanings to the effect of:
"that is interesting" or "I'm interested in..."
but not the meaning of: "an interest of mine is…" or "my interests include...".
Instead you'd be better off using phrases such as:
I ENJOY what-DO?-(rhetorical) …
Or even "I LIKE…"
Thus if you sign, "I INTEREST READ…" it somewhat comes across as "Reading is something I have been thinking about doing."  It does not come across as "One of my interests (hobbies / pasttimes) is reading

You can instead sign "I LIKE READ" which actually does mean "I like to read."

Another approach (instead of referring to your "interests") is to refer to your hobbies.  Some people use the sign for "HABIT" to mean hobbies, but many native Deaf just spell "hobby" or sign "like #DO." (Which uses the what-DO sign without the furrowed brow facial expression or actually raises the eyebrows to turn the sign into a rhetorical question which they then answer).

Also see: ENJOY: There is an actual sign for ENJOY (it looks and is signed like a two-handed version of PLEASE.)









Question:  A student asks:
To sign "not interested" I assume you sign "not" with a head shake and then sign "interested."
Can you sign it similar to "don't like" and show the reversal of orientation for negation with both hands?

The sign INTERESTING / INTERESTED  generally does not use reversal of orientation for negation. If you do ever see a signer apply reversal of orientation to the sign INTERESTING it would be non-standard, flamboyant signing (and not something that someone would sign in regular conversation).

You can generally indicate "not interested" by combining the sign INTERESTING / INTERESTED with negative facial expression (matching your level of disinterest) and a negative head shake.

You can emphasize or clarify your meaning by doing the sign NOT before doing the sign INTERESTING / INTERESTED.

*  Want to help support ASL University?  It's easy
DONATE  (Thanks!)

Another way to help is to buy something from Dr. Bill's "Bookstore."

Want even more ASL resources?  Visit the "ASL Training Center!"  (Subscription Extension of ASLU)  

*  Also check out Dr. Bill's channel:

You can learn American Sign Language (ASL) online at American Sign Language University ™ 
ASL resources by  ©  Dr. William Vicars