The Arab world is a term to define all of the Arabic-speaking countries stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the east, and from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeast. It consists of 22 countries and territories with a combined population of some 325 million people spanning two continents.
The Arabic language forms a unifying feature of the Arab World. Though different areas use local dialects of Arabic, all share in the use of the standard classical language
Arabs, like most people, use gestures and body movements to communicate. Some of the nonverbal communication is almost the same as Western or Eastern but some are totally different.
Gestures indicating obscenities or insults should not be used by non-Arabs. Arab gestures of this type have varying degrees of intensity. Depending upon circumstances and country, incorrect usage could lead to serious offenses and cause diplomatic incidents.
• Arabic cultures exaggerate grief or sadness while most American men hide grief or sorrow.
• Too much smiling is viewed in as a sign of shallowness.
• Most Arabs shake hands every time they meet you and every time they leave you.
• Pointing your finger or a pencil at anyone while speaking, or beckon anyone with your finger. It is considered a threat, and only animals are treated in this manner.
• In the Arab world, if the “OK” sign is shaken at another person it symbolizes the sign of the evil eye. An Arab may use the sign in conjunction with verbal curses.
• One or both hands held at chestheight, palms open and facing out, has the meaning, “it’s not my responsibility.”
• Right hand out, palm down, with fingers brought toward oneself repeatedly in a clawing motion, is he sign for calling someone to come.
• Placing the palm of the right hand on the chest immediately after shaking hands with another