Non-Verbal Communication in Brazil
- When conversing, good eye
contact is important. To not do so is considered impolite.
- In a marketplace, if a
vendor holds his hand out, fingers extended and flips the thumb back and
forth it merely means, ‘There isn’t any left; I don’t have any more.’
- A good, warm handshake is
the traditional greeting in Brazil. However, the Brazilians show affection
- People in Brazil will
also shake hands when arriving and departing. There may also be a touching
of the forearm or elbow, and often a pat on the back.
- Since this is more of a
touching society, people stand close together when conversing or when
standing in lines.
- To add emphasis to a
statement, a Brazilian may snap the fingers while whipping the hand down
own and out.
- To express appreciation,
a Brazilian may appear to pinch his earlobe between thumb and forefinger.
For example, if you’ve enjoyed a meal this gesture may be used. Among
Brazilians, to dramatize it even further, they will reach behind the head
and grasp the opposite earlobe.
- There are many common
friendly gestures in Brazil. One is the thumbs up gesture. In Brazil it is
meant to mean "good” or "positive.”
- When two people are close
to each other, they will show it by rubbing two index fingers together.
- Sometimes nonverbal
communication can be very different than what is expected in other
countries. One example is the "O.K.” symbol one can make with their hands.
It is regarded as just meaning "O.K.” in the American culture. In Brazil
however, this is seen as a very obscene gesture. It is equivalent to
giving the middle finger in America. This is seen as one of the rudest
gestures you can make in Brazil and should always be avoided.
- Another obscene hand
gesture is called the "corna” which historically means "your wife is
cheating on you.” It is popular in Brazil and is often used when
disagreeing with a football referee.
- One gesture that is also
used is one to say "screw you.” It consists of making a fist with one hand
and slapping it on top of the other hand once or twice. It is used
commonly around Brazilian friends but can be rude if used any other time.
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