Body language gestures identify the country

Worksheet 1

Read the description of the gestures, body language and body dos and taboos. What country is it?

Find one that is not true.

Do bluff game with 3 facts from the text including the one not true one, then make up other false ones and continue the bluff game.

In this country, people generally shake hands when they meet someone new. For a man or a businesswoman who wants to be taken seriously, a firm, solid handshake is very important. No more than three shakes is considered normal. It is possible to show more friendliness during a handshake by touching or holding the other person’s forearm, elbow or upper arm. People do not like too much bodily contact, though, and tend to stand quite far apart while speaking and not touch each other much.

Eye contact is considered very important, especially when listening to someone, and not making eye contact can be seen as a sign that you do not wish to speak to someone or that you are lying. On the other hand, other countries might consider this much eye contact, especially to an older or higher ranked person, to be rude or even sexual or aggressive. For example, you should look a policeman directly in the eyes when speaking or he will think that you are guilty of something.

This is generally a country where being relaxed and casual is considered a good thing. Standing up and sitting up straight is not considered important in all but the most formal situations, and it is normal to see businessmen sitting with legs crossed and with the ankle of one leg on the thigh or knee of the other one. This is insulting in many places, as it shows the sole of the foot. However, this is one of many gestures from this country that is slowly spreading through the world. Other ones include gestures from sports and those for okay, although people in this country tend not to know much about the rest of the world and often get caught out using gestures in countries where they are not understood or, worse, are insults.

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This country is the USA.
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Shaking hands is very important, but 6 or 7 shakes is more normal than 3.

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Worksheet 2

The first thing you will notice in this country is that people use a lot of body language. In fact, during conversations they will move their whole arms almost all of the time. They also touch each other a lot. They are so famous for their body language that some of the gestures from the country have become widely known, for example showing that you enjoyed food by kissing your fingertips or insulting someone by pushing up your entire arm while holding the bicep with the hand of the other arm. In fact, as every gesture has a meaning you have to be very careful what you do with your hands.

Some Americans were arrested in this country for making the sign of cow horns with the first and little finger, as it means that someone else is sleeping with your wife. Touching your throat while someone else is speaking means that you want them to stop and let you speak and touching your earlobe, which in most countries means nothing, has a sexual meaning here.
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The country is Italy.
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Touching your throat has no particular meaning. In fact, the Italians will touch the people they are speaking to on the arm to stop them speaking.

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Worksheet 3

People in this country do not use their hands and arms very much while talking, and someone such as a politician using too many gestures while speaking is usually seen as untrustworthy. As well as controlling your arms in general, there are some particular gestures you will need to avoid if you want to be polite. For example, if you want to show the number two you will need to make sure that your palm is facing you like a peace sign or a victory sign as the other way round is a bad insult. Using the middle finger for the number one is okay in this country, though, unlike in the USA. Blowing your nose in public is perfectly okay in this country, but tapping the side of your nose with your index finger is used to mean that someone should mind their own business and not ask about your private matters.

Other things mothers from this country always tell their children are not to point at people, and certainly not with just one finger, and not to put your elbows on the dinner table.
The country is Britain.

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Using your middle finger is a very bad insult. The British start counting from the first finger or thumb.
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Worksheet 4

Bodily contact and gestures are much used in this country. You will see men hug each other and even hold hands in public, and people tend to stand quite close. Men and women touching in public is far less common, especially outside the large towns. This country is now a rapidly developing democracy with a quite large, westernized middle class, but a complex historical/ political/ religious mix means you have to be careful what you say and do. You can neither hitchhike nor show that something is okay by sticking up your thumb, as that has a bad meaning similar to the middle finger in the US. To stop a car or bus you can move your open palm up and down, as if you were telling someone to calm down. A much more common sign you may misunderstand is the gesture for ‘no’, which is tipping your head back once and/ or clicking your tongue and raising your eyebrows. Shaking your head from side to side like a Northern European saying no means ‘yes’. Holding your fingers and thumb together above your palm and moving the hand up and down, something similar to the Latin sign for ‘It’s crowded’, means that something is very good and is used a lot.

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Your country is Turkey.

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Shaking your head means ‘I don’t know’ rather than ‘Yes’. ‘Yes’ is shown by nodding your head rapidly once.

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3 Responses to Body language gestures identify the country

  1. johanna says:

    LA INFORMACION ES DE GRAN USO, SABER PARA UNA ESTUDIANTE QUE ES CORRECTO Y QUE NO EN EL LENGUAJE CORPORAL CON EXTRANJEROS, ABRE LAS PUERTAS A UN MAYOR CONOCIMIENTO PARA EL DESEMPEÑO PROFESIONAL

  2. luis enrique says:

    TODO EL CONTENIDO QUE SE ENCUENTRA EN ESTOS SITIOS ES DE MUCHA UTILIDAD YA QUE NOS MUESTRA A DETALLE LAS PRINCIPALES DIFERENCIAS Y SIGNIFICADOS CON LOS QUYE PUDIMOS HABER COMETIDO ALGUN ERROR EN EL FUTURO, LO CUAL PODREMOS EVITAR GRACIAS A ESTA INFORMACION

  3. mara says:

    diferenciar los tipos de mensaje por medio del cuerpo es una actividad difícil, aquí pude darme cuenta que estar informados es de suma importancia por si tenemos que negociar con alguna persona de un país diferente al mio muchas gracias por compartir esta información

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