Magazine article Business Credit

Gestures-To Do's and Taboos of Body Language around the World

Magazine article Business Credit

Gestures-To Do's and Taboos of Body Language around the World

Article excerpt

Cross your arms, roll your eyes, drum your fingers or tap your foot, each of these gestures signifies an attitude or emotion. According to Roger Axtell. the author of Do's and Taboos of Body Language around the World, a "seemingly casual, innocent gesture in one society can actually be crude and insulting in another". Mr. Axtell exhorts the traveler to be "en garde" in an ever-shrinking world and to "learn, understand and respect more about the silent but powerful language of gestures and body language". The book covers in detail the myriad of gestures that people use everyday. The premise of the book is that gestures are an intimate part of our lives, and that they can be both entertaining and-at times, dangerous-if we are not versed in their meanings; especially the possible implications in other cultures.

Anthropologists have grouped everyday gestures into three broad categories: instinctive, coded and acquired. Instinctive gestures include eyebrow arches. Coded gestures are predefined by agreement, such as signals used on aircraft carriers. Acquired signals are society driven. The gestures are further sub-grouped in the book under the headings of General, Special (such as sign language), Most Popular and Other Gestures From Head to Toe. …

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