How do you say something is your "自身的兴趣“, instead of being forced by the outside, in English

Is "inherent interest" fine?

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    I am not aware of any special way of saying it. It's simply [possessive pronoun] + interests, e.g., my interests, his interests. – deutschZuid Dec 11 '13 at 20:00
  • Don't get me wrong, I do understand the nuance in the Chinese phrase. It's just in the English-speaking parts of the world, an interest implies it originates from one's own volition. If a hobby's forced, then it's not one of the individual's interests. It's just.. a forced hobby. – deutschZuid Dec 12 '13 at 22:15

Not knowing the context, I would guess that ‘personal interest’ is the best way to express this. People have professional or academic interests that are connected with work or studies. In contrast to those, they have hobbies, and these are their personal interests.

‘Inherent interest’ is different – a student could say ‘I’m learning about plant genetics at the moment, but the topic has no inherent interest for me.’ He or she isn’t interested in plant genetics for its own sake, but just to get a good grade on the exam. I’m not sure how to get this nuance in Chinese though.

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somebody's own preference/interest/favour

'inherent interest' seems to me more like 'intrinsic interest', which doesn't make sense because no 'extrinsic' interest exists.

And, in English, interest has a 2nd meaning of profit, which is not that exact in translation.

To be more comprehensive, 自身的兴趣 belongs to a phenomena in official mandarin, called the 'Virtualization of definite concepts' (might not be exact in translation of the term). We do this to make it sounds more elevated by adding verbs like 执行、实施 to a verb that is already perfect in meaning, or in this case, adding an adjective emphasizing it is very personal, which is, however, less meaningful and just making the phrase seem longer. This is why some authors criticize such elevated language as 官样文章 because it is very rigid and illogical.

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  • Does "inclination" also mean "intrinsic" "inherent", so it is redundant to say "inherent inclination"? – Newbie Dec 19 '13 at 7:59
  • No, because 自身 means "my/your/his/her/their own", and has nothing to do with the origin of this interest. The point here is that in comprehension, there is no "intrinsic inclination/interest" since interest is not something that can be forced by others. We don't believe that somebody is gifted with an interest, do we? – Joseph S WU Dec 19 '13 at 8:08

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