Communication skills are utmost essential for survival. In the dearth of the right kind of communication skills it is most probable that you will find yourself lagging behind in a number of sectors. Communication is inclusive of both verbal and non-verbal communication. Body language, hand gestures and sign language all form a crucial portion of communication.
The Italian culture makes exclusive use of hand signals, facial expression and gestures to compliment speech. It wouldn’t be an understatement to say that the Italian language finds more use of the face and the hands while communicating then they do of the lips. The hand gestures used in Italy are not entirely concurrent to those used in other parts of the globe. It’s a convention in the Italian culture to make use of both the hands in order to intensify the meaning of the expression.
If you are not knowledgeable about the Italian culture it is likely that you will find it tough to acclimatize to the Italian culture. It is also most likely that you will find yourself caught up in tough or awkward circumstances. Many a times, not knowing how to use the Italian hand gestures can get you tied up in embarrassing situations as well. So when it comes to rude hand gestures in Italy you’d better get it right.
There can be just a find distinction between casual hand gestures and those that are mildly rude.
So what gestures are considered rude in Italy? We are aware of the fascist signal with a raised right hand which was adopted by Hitler. This gesture might not be considered a rude hand gesture in Italy however in certain parts of Europe it is considered rude. Another rude hand gestures might include the “V” made with the palm facing oneself. There is a slight difference when the knuckle faces the viewer. In most countries a “V” gesture symbolizes victory whereas the reverse “V” is obscene. The reverse “V” can be more obscene if one places or inserts his nose between the gap made by the “V”. The “V” in this case is representative of a women’s “vagina” whereas the nose is indicative of the “penis”. Other obscene hand gestures in Italy include the raised middle finger. Just like in most other parts of the world this hand gesture is used to symbolize conflict, “screw you” or “fuck you”. It is believed that this gesture gained its popularity after the 1337-1453 war between England and France. When the French archers were caught by the English the English had their middle finger (used for plucking) cut off. Whenever a French archer escaped this punishment he would show the English his saved finger and tease them. This gesture later became popular and came to its present form.
The conventional two finger gesture is also popular in Europe. This is used to signify that a woman is upside-down. This hand gesture is many a time complimented with a tongue-action for clarity. Certain hand gestures like the Cuckold sign might be considered rude in many cultures. When this gesture amplified with two ring fingers facing forward represents horns. This gesture can be extremely rude in many cultures throughout the world. The meaning of this kind of hand gesture is “Your beloved is cheating on you”. The first and the middle finger extended with a finger on either side of your nose are considered as rude hand gestures in Italy.
Another rude hand gesture in Italy includes the ‘umbrella gesture’. This is indicative of ‘take this whole arm in your ass”. This hand gesture was considered particularly rude in Italy since it was indicative of being happy on someone else’s misery. This hand gesture was particularly used by the Italian Prisoners and the rebels in front of the German Generals and soldiers of higher rank understanding that this gesture means nothing to the Germans. Overtime, this gesture has lost its effectiveness and now it can simply mean “I am happy you are loosing”.
A hand gesture used in one part of the world and that used in another might have very different meanings. It is utmost essential that we understand the hand gesture in question inside-out prior to using it. There always exists a danger of using wrong or rude hand gestures at times of communication. There are also certain hand gestures that are very offensive and actually punishable by arrest.
If you are curious about the rude hand gestures in Italy, it is recommended that you initiate with learning the Italian language or culture in the first place. Once you are able to make out the gestures used by the Italian people you will find it much more convenient and interesting to communicate with them. However, you must keep in mind that this will take time, energy and patience.
Last edited on 04.11.2012