BY TONY WANLESS
Yes, you can.
When learning a language, it helps to know that there are other ways to “talk” with people without using your voice. Sign language, often used by those who can’t hear, is an example.
But the most common method is body language, which uses gestures or facial expressions to send information.
Although we mostly use speech for talking, we also use body language – much more than we realize. Often we combine the two for emphasis.
Body language is an ancient form of communication that is used by all animals, including human beings. It is commonly used to send messages to others without speaking or to amplify a spoken message.
Sometimes body language users don’t even know they are using it.
Have you ever waved goodbye to someone who is leaving? Stood tall when you were angry? Nodded your head to agree with someone? Used your hands to explain something?
You were “speaking” body language.
Most often, “talking” in body language is done with the head or the hands (or both).
But sometimes other body parts are used. Winking (closing and opening an eye quickly) to indicate a secret is one example.
Some body language is universal: A raised open hand is understood by most people to mean “stop” (but if it is softened or moved, it could also mean “Hello!”)
At other times, bowing your head is a sign of respect, nodding your head is a sign of agreement and shaking your head back and forth means no.
It can also be a sign of recognition, or a sign of acceptance.
Sometimes we move our heads to tell someone to move in a particular direction. Sometimes we only shift our eyes to signal they should look somewhere.
Opposite to this is the body language that shows anger or disapproval.
When angry, you may open your eyes and nostrils wide, or breath in deeply to fill your chest and appear “bigger” and more threatening.
Can you think of more examples of “body talking” from your country’s culture?
gesture: the use of motions of the limbs or body as a means of expression
facial: of or relating to the face
emphasis: special consideration of or stress or insistence on something
amplify: to make larger or greater
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