I see what you mean

Have you ever watched a conversation without listening to it? The speakers move their hands, their heads and their bodies. These movements are called “body language”, and every movement has a meaning.

Some gestures are universal among human beings. You don’t have to learn how to laugh - you do it naturally. However, a lot of body language is different from country to country. Before you visit a country, you should learn about any important differences so that you don’t offend anyone!

So, body language can be confusing, but don’t worry too much. Remember - everybody understands a smile!

A British scientist called Desmond Morris has written books about body language around the world. To collect the information, he had to visit hundreds of different places and observe the local people. Here is some of his advice for travellers.

  • In many places, holding up your thumb means “OK”. However, in some places - Sardinia, for example - it is extremely rude.
  • Making an “O” shape with your thumb and index finger has a lot of different meanings. In America, it means “everything is OK”. In France, it means “zero”. In Japan, it means “money”. And you certainly shouldn’t do it in Tunisia, because it means “I’ll kill you”!
  • In Turkey and many Eastern countries, you should never sit with the soles of your feet towards another person -  it’s very impolite.
  • In Austria, you shouldn’t point with your index finger - it’s rude.
  • In Bulgaria, nodding your head means “no”. To say “yes”, you have to shake your head.

So, body language can be confusing, but don’t worry too much. Remember - everybody understands a smile!

(Text from HOLIDAY ENGLISH 4º ESO  -  OXFORD)

                                          

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