How to Recognize an American: Hand Gestures Edition

Americans are very expressive people. Sometimes people appreciate it and sometimes people find us too “in your face.” Regardless, the hands are an important part of how we show emotion. Try your hand at it 😉

ba-dum-ching

*

Of course you know about the peace sign, which has become an internationally used and recognized gesture (though the reverse peace sign is offensive, for example, in Britain). But do you know about the double peace sign?

1246112_1295806264072-81res_195_258

Suuuuper American.

 

Air Quotes

article-2169178-13ef6d5f000005dc-673_634x458

Air quotes are used when 1) saying a word that you mean sarcastically, 2) you are making fun of the meaning, or 3) you are changing the meaning for your own purposes. Take for example this scene from Friends. Ross puts air quotes around the word “accidentally” because he does not think it was accidental. Joey wrongly puts air quotes around “I’m sorry,” which would seem to be sarcastic although he really is sorry.

OK sign

ok

Pretty self-explanatory- means everything is good, great, you are happy, it’s a-OK!

Thumbs up/thumbs down

thumbs

Thanks, kid, for illustrating both! Everyone knows this sign, which means either that you like or do not like something. This has been immortalized on Facebook with the “like” button. People also use “thumbs up” when they want to hitchhike (stopovat).

Fingers crossed

Crossed fingers have two meanings: 1) That you hope something will happen (for example, in this clip), in which case you show your fingers, or 2) You are lying, so you put your fingers behind your back to signal the lie. Having your fingers crossed behind your back, even if no one sees it, “makes the lie okay” because you are “admitting it” (see, air quotes!).

Czechs and Americans have different ways of expressing meaning 1. In Czech we “hold our thumbs,” in English we “cross our fingers”/”keep our fingers crossed.”

Call me

article-2169178-13ef6cde000005dc-207_634x418

…maybe? Anyone?

Can also mean “I’m on the phone.”

Heart Hands

9198-heart-hands

‘Nuff said.

Rock ‘n’ Roll

no78320rock20hand20points20to20placard20restoring20ancient20ways

You have surely seen this at rock concerts. Also known as the “Texas Longhorn,” in some countries it means “your spouse is cheating on you.” Don’t make that mistake! Do your homework before traveling 😛

Facepalm

Ah, the eternal facepalm, an important gesture of the 21st century. Homer Simpson does it, statues do it, even polar bears do it. Meaning: What you just said/did is so stupid/sad/funny I that I have no other reaction. Please do not speak anymore.

Example of the stupid facepalm can be found in this clip.

*

Actually, there are a lot of gestures that can get Americans into trouble abroad. Interested? Check them out here.

Categories Czenglish, Faux pas, USA!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Travel on a side note

Observations made by an observant traveler

Adventures in Wonderland

a pilgrimage of the heart

Croissants & Conjugations

my year(s) teaching English in France

Stories I've Never Told...

(...and some I have)

Poetry Breakfast

Beginning March 20th, 2016 Poetry Breakfast will once again serve a little poetic nourishment every morning. Start your day with our new expanded menu. Poems, of course, are our specialty. But we will also be serving a fuller menu that includes poetry related creative non-fiction such as letters to and from poets, essays on poetry, and anything else that might feed a poet and poetry lover’s soul.

Ben's Bitter Blog

"We make bitter better."

Public Room

Mengasah Rasa dan Bahasa

GOOD BLACK NEWS

The Good Things Black People Do, Give and Receive All Over The World

Expat Panda

A south african teacher's adventures in & out of the global classroom

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close