BODY LANGUAGE ETHICS
Research Scholar/ Food Production Faculty
Institute of Hotel and Tourism Management,
MAHARSHI DAYANAND UNIVERSITY,
Haryana- 124001 INDIA Ph. No. 09996000499
email: email@example.com , firstname.lastname@example.org
How Does Body Speak?
• Like any spoken
• Each gesture is
like a single word
and one word may
According to the social anthropologist,
Edward T. Hall, in a normal conversation
between two persons, less than 35% of
the social meanings is actually transmitted
So, at least 65% of it is conveyed through
the body (non-verbal channel).
Let’s Examine How Body
Communicates, from head to toes
- Nodding the head
- “Yes” in most societies
- “No” in some parts of Greece,
- Tossing the head backward
- “yes” in Thailand, the Philippines,
- Rocking head slowly, back and
- “yes, I’m listening” in most Asian
* Facial expressions reflect
emotion, feelings and attitudes,
* The Asians are sometimes
- mixed-up emotion
* Eye contacts
- Encouraged in America, Canada,
- Rude in most Asian countries and in
* Raising eyebrows
- “Yes” in Thailand and some Asian
- “Hello” in the Philippines
* Winking eye
- Sharing secret in America and
- flirtatious gesture in other countries
* Closed eyes
- bored or sleepy in America
- “I’m listening and concentrating.” in Japan,
* Ear grasp
- “I’m sorry.” in parts of India
* Cupping the ear
- “I can’t hear you.” in all societies
* Pulling ear
- “You are in my heart” for Navajo Indians
* Holding the nose
- “Something smells bad.” universal
* Nose tap
- “It’s confidential.” England
- “Watch out!” or "Be careful.” Italy
* Pointing to nose
- “It’s me.” Japan
* Blowing nose
- In most Asian countries, blowing the
nose at social gathering is ‘disgusting.’
* Cheek screw
- gesture of praise - Italy
- “That’s crazy.” Germany
* Cheek stroke
- “pretty, attractive, success” most Europe
LIPS AND MOUTH
* Whistle, yawn, smile, bite, point, sneeze, spit, kiss..
* Kiss. In parts of Asia, kissing is considered an intimate
sexual act and not permissible in public, even as a social
* Kissing sound. To attract attention in the Philippines, to
beckon a waiter in Mexico.
* Finger tip kiss. In France, it conveys several messages,
“That’s good!” “That’s great!” “That’s beautiful!.”
LIPS AND MOUTH (Cont’d)
* Spitting in public is considered rude and crude
in most Western cultures.
* In the PRC and many other Asian countries,
spitting in public is to rid a person’s waste
and, therefore, is healthy.
THE LIP POINTING
* Lip pointing (a substitute for pointing with
the hand or finger) is common among
Filipinos, Native Americans, Puerto
Ricans, and many Latin Americans.
* Open mouth. Any display of the open
mouth is considered very rude in most
* Some cultures, like the Italians, use the
arms freely. Others, like the Japanese,
are more reserved; it is considered
impolite to gesticulate with broad
movements of the arms.
* Folding arms are interpreted by some
social observers as a form of excluding
self, “I am taking a defensive posture,” or
“I disagree with what I am hearing.”
* Arms akimbo. In many cultures, this
stance signals aggression, resistance,
impatience, or even anger.
* Arms behind back, hands grasped is a
sign of ease and control.
* Arms in front, hands grasped, common
practice in most Asian countries, is a sign
of mutual respect for others.
* Of all the body parts, the hands are
probably used most for communicating
* Hand waves are used for greetings,
beckoning, or farewells.
* The Italian “good-bye” wave can be
interpreted by Americans as the gesture of
* The American “good-bye” wave can be
interpreted in many parts of Europe and Latin
America as the signal for “no.”
* The American way of getting attention (raising
a hand with the index finger raised above
head) could be considered rude in Japan, and
also means “two” in Germany.
* The American “come here” gesture could be
seen as an insult in most Asian countries.
* In China, to beckon a waiter to refill your tea,
simply turn your empty cup upside down.
* Handshaking is a form of
greeting in most Western
* In the Middle East, a gentle grip
* In most Asian cultures, a gentle
grip and an avoidance of direct
eye contact is appropriate.
* Hand-holding among
the same sex is a
custom of special
friendship and respect
in several Middle
Eastern and Asian
* Right hand. The right hand has special
significance in many societies. In certain
countries in the Middle East and in Asia, it
is best to present business cards or gifts,
or to pass dishes of food, to get an
attention, using only the right hand or
* Left hand is considered unclean in much
of the Middle East and in parts of
* Hang loose. (thumb and little finger
* could convey different meanings:
* in Hawaii, it’s a way of saying, “Stay cool,” or
* in Japan, it means six.
* In Mexico (do vertically), it means, “Would you
like a drink?”
* Clapping hands.
* Russians and Chinese may use applause
to greet someone.
* In many central and eastern Europe,
audience frequently clap in rhythm.
* The “O.K.” signal. (the thumb and
forefinger form a circle) means
“fine,” or “O.K.” in most cultures,
“zero” or “worthless” in some parts of Europe
“money” in Japan
an insult in Greece, Brazil, Italy, Turkey,
Russia and some other countries
* “Thumb-up” means:
* “O.K.” “good job” or “fine” in most cultures,
* “Up yours!” in Australia
* “Five” in Japan; “One” in Germany
* Avoid a thumb-up in these countries:
Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey,
Iran, Russia, and most African countries.
* Pointing with the index
finger is common in North
America and Europe.
* But it is considered impolite
in Japan and China where
they favor using the whole
* Malaysians prefer pointing
with the thumb.
LEGS AND FEET
* In Asia, do not point with your toes.
* In Asia and some European countries,
putting feet up on a desk or any other
piece of furniture is very disrespectful.
* Sitting cross-legged, while common in
North America and some European
countries, is very impolite in other parts of
LEGS AND FEET (Cont’d)
* In most Asian countries,•a solid and
balanced sitting posture is the prevailing
custom. Sitting cross-legged shows the
sign of disrespect.
* In the Middle East and most parts of Asia,
resting the ankle over the other knee risks
pointing the sole of your shoe at another
person, which is considered a rude
Walking can reflect many characteristics of
a culture. For example,
* In parts of Asia and some of the
Middle Eastern countries, men who
are friends may walk holding each
* In Japan and Korea, older women
commonly walk a pace or two behind
* Asians often regard Western women
as bold and aggressive, for they
walk with a longer gait and a more
HOW PEOPLE OF VARIOUS PARTS
OF THE WORLD VIEW AMERICANS
Careless with dress, manners, and body movement
Generous as neighbors
Superficial, shallow and short-lasting friendship
Confident but demand almost too much of self
Ethnocentric - less interested in others
Independent - Individually feeling, not to “fit other’s
Source: Tyler, V. Lynn. Intercultural Interacting. (1987)
FOR ALL OF US…
• Becoming sensitive to the clues of
body language can help us
communicate more effectively
• We can understand what students
are saying even when they are
• We can sense when students are
silent and digesting information,
or when they are silent and
• We can share feelings too strong
or too difficult to be expressed in
• Or decode secret messages
passing silently from person to
• And we may spot contradictions
between what students say and
what they really mean.
• Finally, we can learn to be more
sensitive to our own bodies – to
see how they express our feelings
and to see ourselves as others
• We do not have
bodies; we are
THANKS! AND …..
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