July 7, 2013

Article: When Italians Chat, Hands and Fingers Do the Talking

From http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/01/world/europe/when-italians-chat-hands-and-fingers-do-the-talking.html

When Italians Chat, Hands and Fingers Do the Talking
June 30, 2013

In Italy, children and adolescents gesture. The elderly gesture. Some Italians joke that gesturing may even begin before birth. “In the ultrasound, I think the baby is saying, ‘Doctor, what do you want from me?’ ” said Laura Offeddu, a Roman and an elaborate gesticulator, as she pinched her fingers together and moved her hand up and down.

Isabella Poggi, a professor of psychology at Roma Tre University and an expert on gestures, has identified around 250 gestures that Italians use in everyday conversation. “There are gestures expressing a threat or a wish or desperation or shame or pride,” she said. The only thing differentiating them from sign language is that they are used individually and lack a full syntax, Ms. Poggi added.

Read the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/01/world/europe/when-italians-chat-hands-and-fingers-do-the-talking.html

Learn a few Italian hand gestures at http://italian.about.com/od/italianculture/tp/italian-hand-gestures.htm

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