Italians speak with their hands
Italian language in the world - Italian Side
Italian language in the world
November 21, 2018
“L’amica geniale”: an example of ‘Made in Italy’ - Italian Side
“L’amica geniale”: an example of ‘Made in Italy’
December 5, 2018

Last week we talked about Italian language in the world, and we wrote that the number of people interested in learning italiano is growing: more than two million people decide every year to learn Italian for fun, for love or for a simple whim.
Today we talk about an important part of Italian language that you should learn if you want to be a fluent Italian speaker: the Italian body and hands language.
Actually, we may say that Italian gestures make an Italian, a true Italian.

Italian body language

Every place has peculiar habits and distinct cultural elements that are a way to identify people and places. Italians are well known in the world for their peculiar way to move the hands.
As you know, Italians:

  • have an unique non verbal communication;
  • are unable to take their hands still;
  • think that a gesture has more value than one hundred words.

Do you need an example?
Enjoy a lesson of Italian gestures!

Italians speak with their hands

The meaning of the gestures can change from the North to the South of Italy, same as accents, words and tone of voice.
It is very difficult to explain why, but as Italians talk, their hands fly in the air to underline their thoughts.
Some scholars tried to give an explanation of this behavior.
Linda Falcone, a teacher, wrote that, in her opinion, all Italians have an artist nature, so they use their hands to simulate the creation of a painting or a sculpture.
Moreover, there are some scholars that trace this habit back to the Magna Grecia, but others date it back between the 14th and 19th century when huge parts of Italy were occupied by foreigners and Italians needed a way of communicating without their overlords understanding.
The New York Times published an article on this habit reporting about the gestures of Italian politicians and collecting details about this peculiar behavior.

The habit of gesture communication identify Italians.
The positive point is that you can improvise, if you don’t know some words or if you don’t know how to say something you can use your hand and your body to communicate. For instance, if you are hungry touch your belly.

So, if you are planning to study Italian language you will need to learn Italian gesture. Would you like to practice?
Enjoy the video: can you catch all of these gestures?