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    Gestures and diversity

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    Are certain hand gestures, or use of hands for different tasks or actions, considered offensive in some cultures? Provide examples.


    In our very modern western culture, the sign of 4 fingers down with Middle finger up gestured at someone is clearly offensive - that needs no explanation. This would find no meaning in the backwoods of Nepal or Bhutan - the least most visited by Western culture areas of the world. In Thailand, people do a 'wai' always - it is standard form of greeting with courtesy friends, elders, and people of authority. Putting hands palm facing each other together in front of you like in a prayer and doing a small bow is a wai and it is very respectful indeed. This is a weird gesture to a lot of other cultures who aren't aware of this Thai manner. When Thais 'wai' to them, they won't know how to react. It's a lot like the Filipino 'mano' when to show respect to elders, you take the other's hand and take it to touch one's forehead palms down, back of hand to the forehead. To Westerners, it's just weird. The universal peace sign is never offensive in any culture but to point to one's crotch as if to say 'blow me' has universal meaning. same as the hand gesture to signify 'blah, blah, blah' or one's annoyance to some non sensical monologue one is not happy to be a part of - done secretly of course least the speaker sees and gets truly offended. The I love you (pinkie, pointing finger and thumbs raised while two middle fingers are curled) sign however is only read in much of the Western world, in certain African tribal customs, it means sympathy to the devil and is very offensive.
    What are your thoughts?



    Yes, some hand gestures and the use of hands for different tasks or actions are offensive in some cultures. for example when someone is talking and the other person don't want to hear what they have to say they will put their hand in front of the other persons face, which means that they don't want to hear what is being said. I use to do that on my second job and it irritates them and they end up getting angry. The sticking up the middle finger is also offensive, I was told that in Pakistan if you stuck up your middle finger to someone they would kill you or tried their best to.
    I agree with you guys and add another example as taken from my experience with the Japanese. Greeting with firm handshake is seen as offensive to most people from Japan, they see it as a sign of disrespect almost requiring a challenge. They also believe it is disrespectful to cross your arms or legs, or have your hands in your pocket when you are speaking to them. A hand in karate chop position before the face means "I'm sorry." A praying hands gesture in front of the face is a slightly more meaningful "I'm sorry." Crossing your arms vertically means "stop. " Japanese like to flash "V" signs or twirl their fingers in their cheeks when they have their picture taken. Japanese women often wave with their fingers spread apart and jerky back and forth arm motions. The Japanese also have unique, jerky ways of pointing and making motioning gestures Some Japanese shake one hand from side to side in front of their face to mean "no." Others point to their nose to mean "me." Others still, point with their middle finger without realizing that it has a vulgar meaning in the West (many however know what it means). The Western "okay" hand signal means money. It is seen as rude to point or gesture to someone to "come here" with your finger. The most polite way to attract someone's attention is make eye contact and bow slightly. Shaking your hand by the side of your face means gay. A raised little finger means woman.

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    Solution Preview

    As you summarize, please allow my ideas to help:

    In sum, you might reiterate the like verbal language when communicating intercultural, it is also impotent for people to remember that body language plays an eminent part in conveying messages across cultures and races.

    As ...

    Solution Summary

    Intercultural communication and nonverbal communication are intertwined.