Common functional language universal gestures

Rules of the game

With your partner sort the pack of cards your teacher gives you into:

3 point cards- Very difficult to make and understand a gesture for

2 point cards- A little difficult to make and understand a gesture for

1 point cards- Easy to make and understand a gesture for


Choose how many point card from the other team you want to try and mime. You have one minute to do as many as possible. If the first one you try is a one point card, the next must be a two point card etc.


Discussion Questions

Did you agree with the other teams’ choices for number of points/ level of difficulty?


Do you think any of the gestures you used are the same in every country of the world? Do you know of any gestures that are used in other countries that are not used in your country?


Common functional language universal gestures Playing Cards

Teacher’s instructions- Photocopy and cut up one pack of cards per group of 2 to 4 students. To help you in the discussion stage, the cards are arranged approximately by how easy and universal they are (most difficult at the bottom).

(I’m) angry
(I’m/ I feel) cold Pain/ it aches/  it hurts (I’m) happy
Excuse me (waiter!) (It’s too) loud/ I don’t want to hear Long (I’m/ he is) sleep(ing)
10 You can’t/ it’s not allowed/ no entry (A) half Heavy/ weigh/ weight
 100 (Can I take) a photo(graph of you?) (Let’s) talk (a) book
35 (turn) left (turn) around (turn) right
300 Centre/ middle Corner (to) type/ typewriter/ computer
(be) quiet/ Shut up! Big/ large Small/ little/ tiny (that’s) funny
(play) golf TV Remote control (I’m in) shock/ (I’m) shocked
push gun/ shoot/ bullet Drive ( a car) (wearing) glasses
sign (here please) (I) don’t feel well/ (I am/ feel) sick/ ill (the) time
Cut (good)bye (Waiter) the bill/ check (please)
(I’m) hungry Wide In On
(I’m/ I feel) hot (I am/ feel) upset  (pay by) credit card (write an) EMS/ text (message)
effeminate/ gay sexy (body) (please) eat/ food (you’re very) strong
Stop Slow (down)/ calm (down) Please Six
(you’re) late (at) 7 o’clock (I’m getting) married (I’m) disappointed
You yes, sir (I’m) think(ing about it) Yes
This way (please) I forgot (about it) Up Down
Listen fear/ afraid/ scared a hole  look
(I’m) looking forward to this/ expectation Sorry Call/ telephone (me) Relax(ed/ ing)
one Okay Love 20
(you’re) thin/ slim/ (you’ve) lost weight (I) won/ (I’m the) winner/ champion You can’t smoke/ no smoking (please) sit (down)/ (please) take a seat
(I’m) impatient/ (I don’t want to) wait 1,2,3 Smell/ smelly read
House/ home pull baby (it’s) broken
Wake (up) (I) insist/ demand
Pleased to meet you Snob/ superior/ arrogant (I’m) pregnant Hello
Together/ meet Tea Behind In front (of)
After you (I) don’t know/ don’t understand  (It’s) straight on/ ahead No
Drink (alcohol) (I) don’t believe (it/ you) Peace (man!) Come (here)
Go (away)
(I) doubt (it)/ (I’m) not sure Bored/ boring Mind your own business/ don’t interfere victory
Quick(ly) A girl/ woman/ lady/ she  (It’s ) cramped/ crowded in here (I’m) stupid/ stupid me!
(I’m) proud I/ me Two Good
(It’s) great/ wonderful (He’s/ she’s) mad/ crazy/ insane 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Bad
Money/ cash  I swear/ I promise Zero/ nought/ nothing (He is) dead/ (he) died
so-so Excuse me (can I get past/ can I get through?) A bribe/ a backhander/ money under the table (I’m/ I feel) sad
1.5 (This/ that is/ was) delicious Thank you one more time/ repeat


PDF for easy saving and printing: Common functional language universal gestures

Related pages

Functional language reviews

120 using movement to teach and learn English links

1 Response to Common functional language universal gestures

  1. Michelle Knoop says:

    Where are the answers? I don’t know about half of these. Probably cause I’m American!

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