Be careful when you travel: These body gestures can have another meaning abroad | Society

After feeling censored, the Germans posed covering their mouths in the official photo of the first match they played in Qatar 2022, a gesture that has a different meaning in that area of ​​the world, for which the locals were quick to laugh at the Teutons. Be careful! Because this and other gestures have different interpretations abroad.

The German soccer team demonstrated at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar how difficult it can be interpretation or meaning of body gestures abroad.

After captain Manuel Neuer was banned from wearing the “One Love” armband, the players covered their mouths in the group photo of the first match, as a sign of protest against the FIFA.

However, in some Arab countries, including Qatar, the hand in front of the mouth means that it is better to retract what has been said or that flies do not enter a closed mouth.

Beware! Gestures that have another meaning abroad

The ridicule and criticism of the Qatari media towards the German team did not wait. In the emirate they mentioned the double standards of the Germans: they judge human rights, but the German Minister of Economy, Robert Habeck, lowers his head to get Qatari energy.

Bowing, by the way, is a gesture that is understood all over the world in the same way.

Perhaps the Germans should have informed themselves in advance about what mouth covering can mean in other places, because our body language is not universal.

Some gestures can have completely different meanings, depending on the country and culture.

watch your thumb

For example, thumbs up can be one of the gestures that cause some other problem. abroad for its real local meaning.

In Germany and many other countries it means “great”. In Australia, parts of Africa and Asia, however, one must be cautious, because the thumbs up symbolizes the phallus and is a vulgar insult, a sexual affront.

In Turkey, it is even used to invite someone to engage in sexual practices.

Another example known to many: the thumb and forefinger in the form of a circle. Among divers, it is an important symbol of understanding, “I’m fine.”

In a German restaurant, if the customer raises his thumb and forefinger to a cook from his country, it means that the food is very tasty. For a Belgian or Tunisian chef, on the other hand, it means “worthless” or “zero”. In Arab countries, someone can even feel threatened, because it can mean: “Be careful, otherwise I’ll hit you!”.

The Japanese interpret the sign as a symbol of money, while in southern Europe, Brazil or Russia it is considered an insult.

Attention beer drinkers

In Germany, if you want to order two beers, you stick out your thumb and forefinger. In China, with the same gesture he would give a drink to an entire table, because that gesture means eight.

However, in Japan you have to be careful, because there the two fingers are interpreted as an insult, as are the index and middle fingers crossed behind the back.

In Brazil and Canada they do it to wish good luck. In Sweden, Switzerland or Spain, this indicates a deliberate lie. Quite different in China, where it represents the number ten.

“Victoria” the insult

The familiar peace or victory sign can lead to misunderstandings. If you stretch your index and middle fingers up in a “V” shape and bend the remaining fingers down, this probably means “peace” or “victory” in most countries.

However, if you turn the back of your hand forward, in England and British-influenced countries such as Australia, Malta or New Zealand it means “Fuck you!” In Asian countries, such as Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, however, the gesture is synonymous with happiness.

Yes or no? Another example of gesture meanings abroad

Even head movements are tricky. Moving the head forward means “yes” in many countries. But, in the Arabs, in Turkey or in Greece, it is “no”. And in Japan, for example, you can deny it by moving your hand in front of your face like a windshield wiper.

In short, it is best to find out before going on a trip, just in case.

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