Italian people use their hands to communicate more than any other nationality. It was suggested by a study from Roma Tre University that Italians use around 250 different hand signals each day, so we know that it is an important aspect of communication between Italians and by extension, relevant to learners of this beautiful language.
Why do Italians make so many gestures?
There are different theories for this, with the two most common being that it was used as a way for Italian citizens to communicate without foreign occupiers knowing what the people were saying, Another theory is that it came about as a way of showing dominance in the crowded marketplaces of Naples and Rome.
Becoming fluent in Italian
Of course, British people and Americans use gestures too, although not with the same force, ease or clarity of the Italians. The one good example of a hand sign that we British share with our Italian friends is the gesture for "okay", although Italians swipe their hand horizontally while performing the action.
One gesture I frequently (and rather regrettably) experience at the hands of Italian women is the swiping of the hand from under the chin. Initially, I had thought that it meant "I like you a lot", but instead means "not interested."
Of all gestures available to us, my favourite is the one where you have to bite your hand. It means "If I catch you, I will kill you." and I am going to use it next time I become angry in London, which is probably about 250 times a day!
Please note that some gestures might differ from region to region in Italy. Ask your Italian language tutor for more help in understanding the various different gestures you can use when travelling around Italy. If you would like to learn Italian with Unique Language Training, please contact us on 020 3566 0145, by e-mail or by telephoning 020 3566 0145.