Shaking the head

As many Greeks will tell you, the Greek language is a very rich language and when a native speaker is in action, it is often also accompanied by a rich variety of facial and hand gestures. These serve, both consciously and unconsciously, to give emphasis to that which is being said, or can be used on their own as a non-verbal response.

“No”

Greeks do not usually shake their heads from side to side to indicate a negative response i.e. “no”. Instead https://mprosthetics.com they tilt the head upwards and backwards, and then back down to looking directly ahead. This is done only once. This should not be mistaken for a nodding of the head meaning “yes”. Sometimes the tilting of the head is accompanied by an audible click of the tongue against the teeth. There are also variations on this. For emphasis, meaning something like “no, of course not” or “no, you’re way off the mark” the head may be tilted up and back in a very slow deliberate movement sometimes with a partial or full closing of the eyes. On other occasions, the whole movement can be reduced to a very slight and quick raising of the eyebrows. This can be very hard to detect, therefore leading you to ask your question repeatedly to that person until the movement becomes more perceptible or they lose patience with you and actually tell you their answer. Non-verbal responses can be surprisingly powerful and can elicit an interesting reaction from a foreigner who is not used to it. For example, you may think that the slow deliberate “no” movement indicates that your listener believes what you have said or suggested to be completely ridiculous and not worthy of a verbal response – you would be mistaken.

“Yes”

For “yes”, the head is tilted downwards and slightly to one side. As with “no”, this is done only once. Again, this can be done slowly and deliberately for added emphasis.

Shaking the head

As we have seen this does not mean “no”. It serves to indicate that someone does not understand what is being said to them or alternatively, the reason it is being said. This is sometimes accompanied by an extension of the hand outwards with palm facing down to the floor and then rotating it, with the thumb and first two fingers extended, until the palm is facing up.

Impolite and vulgar hand gestures

Come on, I have to cover at least one or two. As in many countries, there are impolite and vulgar hand gestures that are more expressive than any words in certain situations. The Greeks have an expression which literally translated means “I am writing you on my testicles”!.

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