Does the expression "Wie interessant!" in German always mean concernment and genuine interest, or it can also be interpreted sarcastically, like the English analogue "How interesting!"?

If this is the case, do I need to use special intonation pattern to underline that I truthfully mean what I say and to avoid possible ambiguity?

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    Sure it can be understood sarcastic, but German speakers then usually say Sehr interessant. oder Hochinteressant. instead, with a flat voice. If you want to avoid being understood wrong, you have to avoid interessant at all and ask questions about what is being discussed instead. – Janka Dec 8 '17 at 10:58
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    I would have said ironic instead of sarcastic, but it could mean everything not interesting at all to completely boring if combined with rolling of eye balls. – guidot Dec 8 '17 at 10:58
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    Adding "Wie" makes this primarily ironic or sarcastic in actual usage, matching tone of voice usually makes this clear. To convey the straight English meaning just use "interessant" perhaps with genuine enthusiasm in voicing it. – LаngLаngС Dec 8 '17 at 11:37
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    Every sentence what so ever can be meant ironically or sarcastically. It does not at all depend on wording. – Christian Geiselmann Dec 8 '17 at 12:30

You can use Wie interessant!" exactly the same way you'd use "How interesting!". Depending on context, intonation and body language you can convey any meaning from genuine interest to heavy sarcasm. Since it's easy to interpret either phrase in a negative way, you would probably be better off avoiding both of them

  • I wouldn't go so far as to avoid that phrase entirely, but if e.g. someone tells you about some trivial fact, and you reply "Wie interessant!" it would probably be understood as ironic, even if you did so out of politeness. – RHa Dec 9 '17 at 15:38

If you want to convey the meaning of a sarcastic "how interesting", I would suggest you chose "Erzähl mir mehr davon!" ("Tell me more").

I have yet to hear someone say it in a non-sarcastic fashion.

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