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Symbolic Meaning of Gestures The Latvian Team, 2013.

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1 Symbolic Meaning of Gestures The Latvian Team, 2013

2 Why important? Hand gestures in different cultures may imply different meanings. Many times we tend to use our hands to explain our needs and thoughts. The same hand gesture may mean something quite nasty and offensive to a person from a different cultural background.

3 Most American and European cultures = OK, good, according to plan Islamic and Asian countries = rude and offensive Thumbs Up Hand Sign

4 Means the opposite of a thumbs up sign. It is an indication of something that is bad. It also indicates that something or someone has failed. This is a rude hand gesture and an arrogant way to indicate failure. Thumbs Down Hand Sign

5 Widely used in USA (but not in Britain, where the previous – Thumbs Up Hand Sign is used) to mean OK. Also, this sign is usually used by divers to indicate all is well or OK as the thumbs up sign means ascending. However, in Latin America and France it is considered as an insulting and has negative connotations attached to it. In Australia, it means zero, and in Germany it may mean a job well done or an offensive insult depending on the region you visit. In New Zealand, this sign is not used much and considered a cheap way of saying OK. In Turkey, the OK sign means one is a homosexual. OK Hand Sign

6 This movement is mostly seen carried out by a tempting woman to her man. However, do not use this seductive hand gesture in Philippines. This is because this is one of the worst forms of hand gesture that is to be used only for dogs. This hand gesture could get you arrested in Philippines or maybe even punishable by breaking your finger. In Asian countries like Japan, the dog call is considered a rude gesture. In Singapore, it is indication of death. The Dog Call Hand Gesture

7 Snapping fingers over and over may mean one is trying to remember something someone has forgotten. In Latin America = asking one to hurry up. In Great Britain and America = one remembers something or gets an idea. However, in many cultures, snapping fingers close to someone's face = an offensive gesture. Finger Snap Hand Gesture

8 In America and European cultures = rude. This hand gesture is an indication of a dominant - to - subordinate behavior in the professional world. It is considered a gesture to single out an individual from a crowd. This aggressive signal is not liked by many, as no one likes to be singled out. Pointing Fingers Hand Gesture

9 This hand gesture = the symbol of the devil in many cultures. The two pointing fingers indicate the horns of the Devil. This symbol is used the University of Texas to symbolize 'the Longhorn', their university mascot. The corona is also widely used by rock stars in as a positive hand gesture. This is also one of the good hand gestures in different cultures like Buddhism and Hinduism. In the Mediterranean, it is an old symbol that means 'cuckold', that is, your wife is cheating on you. The Corona Hand Gesture

10 This gesture is known as mano fico or fig hand in Roman. This is one of the good hand gestures, as it indicates good luck and fertility and a way to ward off the evil eye. However, this is a very offensive gesture to the Italians and Turks. If this gesture is carried out by a person of Asian origin, it roughly translates as 'screw you'. The Fig Hand Gesture

11 This means one is trying to pick up a fight or trying to warn the opposite person to back off. In Asian countries, a clenched fist will surely land you into a fist fight. Clenched Fist Hand Sign

12 The meaning of the V sign is partially dependent on the manner in which the hand is positioned: If the palm of the hand faces the signer (i.e., the back of the hand faces the observer), the sign is an insult. This usage is restricted largely to Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, and United Kingdom. With the back of the hand facing the signer (palm of the hand facing the observer), it can mean: Two (the number); Victory – in a setting of wartime or competition; V (the letter) – used when spelling in American Sign Language. The V Hand Sign

13 Popular Gestures in Latvia (1) This gesture is used in Latvia to show that a person wishes for something good to happen.

14 Popular Gestures in Latvia (2) When some people expect some kind of results or something good to happen, they tend to hold the thumb actually.

15 Popular Gestures in Latvia (3) This sign is used in Latvia to reprimand. Often the finger is moving.

16 Popular Gestures in Latvia (4) This sign is used in Latvia instead of the Finger Snap Sign – when a person remembers of something or asks the other person to wait.

17 Popular Gestures in Latvia (5) This sign is used to greet a person (when passing by in cars, as well as on all other occasions when passing a person within a distance).

18 Popular Gestures in Latvia ( 6 ) The gesture of slightly waving a hand vertically means ‘’I don’t care much’’, and is used mostly by females.

19 Popular Gestures in Latvia ( 7 ) This gesture means “I don’t know”, “I have no idea”, ‘’I don’t know what to do’’. The gesture is also understood by most of the speakers of the English language and many other cultures.

20 Popular Gestures in Latvia ( 8 ) Just like in several other parts of the world, this means that everything is great, well or OK.

21 Gestures in Latvia In general, the gestures and hand signs used in Latvia and their interpretations are quite similar to those which are typically used in Europe. The difference is only that Latvians do not use hand signs so often, and they are not an integral part of communication in any situation. On the whole, men avoid using gestures in Latvia. Except for those few signs that are of Latvian origin, others have been introduced from most of the English- speaking countries, mainly USA.

22 Sources 1.Tomalin, B., Stempleski, S. (1993) Cultural Awareness. Resourse Books for Teachers. Oxford University press. 150 pp 2.American Hand Gestures in Different Cultures January 29, Hand Gestures in Different Cultures December 28, 2012

23 Thank you!


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