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Body language of the world

Il linguaggio del corpo non è lo stesso in tutto il mondo ma cambia, spesso anche in modo considerevole, da paese a paese.

Il linguaggio del corpo non è lo stesso in tutto il mondo ma cambia, spesso anche in modo considerevole, da paese a paese. E con l’estate che si avvicina è importante sapere quali comportamenti devono essere tenuti e quali evitati nelle varie parti del mondo. Vediamone assieme alcuni….

Body language of the world: A traveller’s guide to avoiding faux pas

EVERY country has its cultural quirks. To avoid being the subject of tut tuts and disapproving looks while you’re travelling, we take you through the top taboos from Japan to the Middle East.

The most common greeting in Japan is the bow; the timing, posture and movement of which should reflect sincerity, respect and graciousness. The more mature the person, the deeper the head is lowered. Animproper bow hints at a lack of education and maturity. As a foreign visitor you are not expected to do this ritual faithfully – a gentle nod will do. 

Personal space boundaries vary from country to country, but in Latin America they are set closer than in Anglo-Saxon countries. People stand closer when talking to one another, and casual touching of the arm or shoulder during conversation is not unusual. Good friends will typically greet each other with an abrazo (hug) or beso(kiss), and it’s quite normal to see people of the same sex walking down the street arm in arm. 

In Mexico, when paying for something, place your cash or credit card directly into the hand of the person you’re dealing with. This applies in cafes and restaurants, as well as hotels and shops. Leaving payment on the counter can beinterpreted as a sign that you don’t respect the person enough to have contact with them. 

The traditional greeting of New Zealand Maori is the simultaneous pressing of noses and forehead, known as the hongi. Such greetings are commonplace on marae, the open space in front of a Maori meetinghouse where visitors are welcomed, nowadays with a handshake at the same time as the hongi. 

In India – as in much of Asia – it is the feet that are considered unclean. Do your utmost to avoid touching any part of someone else’s body with your foot or shoes, and if you do so, apologise straight away. Pointing the soles of your feet at someone is also offensive, so don’t prop your feet on chairs or tables while sitting, and take care how you arrange yourself when sitting on the floor. 

faux pas – gaffe
to avoi – evitare
quirk – mania
tut tut – Via! Silenzio!
disapproving looks – sguardi di disapprovazione
greeting – saluto
bow – inchino
sincerity – sincerità
graciousness – gentilezza
mature – maturo
improper – inappropriato
lack of – mancanza di
a gentle nod – un gentile cenno del capo
boundary – linea di confine
to apply – applicare
to interpret – interpretare
commonplace – usuale, comune
forehead – fronte
consider – considerare
to do your utmost to – fai del tuo meglio per
straight away – immediatamente
sole of your feet – pianta dei piedi
offensive – offensivo


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