See What I’m Saying?

February 22, 2019

Whether you are aware of it or not, we use #non-verbal cues when #communicating. This can include #gestures, #body movement, and #facial expressions. These generally help to increase understanding and streamline exchanges between #speakers, but there are situations in which these can have the opposite effect.

 

This #miscommunication through non-verbal cues mainly occurs among speakers from different #cultural #backgrounds. For example, in one culture, #eye contact is a sign of respect and interest, while in another it is a sign of disrespect. Hand gestures can likewise have opposite meanings across cultures (like the American “V for Victory” or “thumbs up”).

 

Learning the cultural meanings behind these non-verbal cues is just as important as learning the language. You certainly wouldn’t want to accidentally offend your waitress while ordering or a potential boss during an interview. Even if you are not planning to travel, perhaps you learned a language to better connect with your significant other’s family. How terrible would it be to meet them only to offend them with a #gesture that you intended as a friendly greeting? This also applies for #sub-cultures! More than once a #Deaf person has fallen victim to gang violence due to the gang misinterpreting the signs as gang signs.

 

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