Gestures and Cultures
For regular people who travel at the first time to a foreign country, it would be difficult to communicate in gestures. You may say humans share the same gestures, so they can understand each other; however, they may understand gestures but unfortunately with the false meaning. They would misunderstand you since they have other meanings for gestures. Therefore, gestures are the same as languages. They are different from culture to another. First, to hold two fingers like a V letter has different meanings from culture to another. It means in Arab countries victory, or it can show superiority and power that we will win. An example of this gesture is during football matches where young people do it with big smiles when their team wins. On the contrary, it means peace in the United States of America. Also, it has an irrelative meaning in Asia. It means, take my picture. Another important gesture is looking at the watch. It implies that you are bored or busy and have something to do. People in Arabic countries understand from this gesture that you are busy or you want to end a conversation. In fact, this sometimes puts me in embarrassing situations since I have a bad habit which is looking at my mobile watch. I sometimes do it unconsciously. I hope I can stop this bad habit. Moreover, showing the bottom your foot is an insult action in Arabic countries. Now, some of American people know this especially who are related to ELI institutes or have friends work with these institutions since Arab students tell them about these traditions. As a result, I can’t do this anymore. I did it once with an American friend. He thought negatively about it even though I didn’t mean to offend him. But my Saudi friend saved me and told me that he misunderstood it. I initiated to apology and clarify that I thought it is different here. After that situation, I stopped doing that to anyone even with people from different cultures since they can be offended. In...
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