Intercultural Communication – How aware are you of cultural differences in body language?

From: Allan & Barbara Pease, The Definite Book of Body Language, 2004

How aware are you of cultural differences in body language? Look at the following hand signals and see how many different meanings you can assign to each one.

International Communication Hand Signals

A. Europe and North America: OK
Mediterranean region, Russia, Brazil, Turkey: An orifice signal; sexual insult; gay man
Tunisia, France, Belgium: Zero; worthless
Japan: Money; coins
B. Western countries: One; Excuse me!; As God is my witness; No! (to children)
C. Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Malta: Up yours!
USA: Two
Germany: Victory
France: Peace
Ancient Rome: Julius Caesar ordering five beers
D. Europe: Three
Catholic countries: A blessing
E. Europe: Two
Britain, Australia, New Zealand: One
USA: Waiter!
Japan: An insult
F. Western countries: Four
Japan: An insult
G. Western countries: Number 5
Everywhere: Stop!
Greece and Turkey: Go to hell!
H. Mediterranean: Small penis
Bali: Bad
Japan: Woman
South America: Thin
France: You can’t fool me!
I. Mediterranean: Your wife is being unfaithful
Malta and Italy: Protection against the Evil Eye (when pointed)
South America: Protection against bad luck (when rotated)
USA: Texas University Logo, Texas Longhorn Football Team
J. Greece: Go to Hell!
The West: Two
K. Ancient Rome: Up yours!
USA: Sit on this! Screw you!
L. Europe: One
Australia: Sit on this! (upward jerk)
Widespread: Hitchhike; Good; OK
Greece: Up yours! (thrust forward)
Japan: Man; five
M. Hawaii: ‘Hang loose’
Holland: Do you want a drink?
N. USA: I love you
O. The West: Ten; I surrender
Greece: Up Yours — twice!
Widespread: I’m telling the truthFurther information? www.ansus-consulting.com | Communication and Thinking Skills

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