“I speak two languages, Body and English.” - Mae West.

November 10, 2023

“I speak two languages, Body and English.”  – Mae West.

It’s no secret that at busuu we love to speak languages – but what is really being communicated by what we don’t say?

Practising your grammar and vocabulary is without doubt very important, but being aware of what your body is saying can really make a difference!

What is body language?

Words are wonderful, but they are only half the story: eye contact, gestures, facial expression and posture are some of the things that make up our body language. In other words, body language is the way we all communicate nonverbally.

Our bodies don’t lie

About 55% of communication is nonverbal, so in fact, our bodies are actually saying more than our words!

Your posture, the way you hold your body, can send many different messages. Standing upright with your shoulders back will make you seem confident, open and receptive, for example. Find out more about the different messages our posture can send here!

Mixed messages – body language around the globe:

Good impressions

Whereas in the UK and the Unites States, smiling would seem like a harmless gesture – friendly in fact – if you smile at a stranger in Russia, you can be seen as strange and suspicious. In Southeast Asia, on the other hand, a smile can be used to hide negative emotions.

You may want to think twice when travelling to other countries. You never quite know what you’re body might be saying.

Mixed Messages

A smile, a ‘thumbs-up’, a handshake; its easy to assume that a lot of our body language is universal. But, we’ve uncovered some surprising facts about body language around the world.

Did you know that the seemingly inoffensive ‘thumbs-up’ gesture is an insult in some countries? Or that pointing will get you into trouble in others? Maybe even more confusing – While for us (and many other countries) nodding is a sign of agreement, it means a very definite ‘no’ in places like Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Macedonia and Albania.

So it’s easy to see why body language matters, especially for you language learners. Learn more and make sure that you and your friends around the world always see eye to eye!

 Continue learning!

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