Waving hands and arms while talking

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Doctor Q, Nov 17, 2006.

  1. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #1
    It's normal to make small gestures with your hands, as well as facial expressions, as you talk. It helps add to or reinforce what you are saying.

    But I have some friends who wave their hands and arms much more than average as they talk. Sometimes I'm afraid I'll be hit by a flying elbow if I "listen" too closely! I joke that if I hold their hands still, they won't be able to speak.

    Do you have friends and acquaintances like that, who act like airplanes or martial arts instructors or baton twirlers as they talk? Does this habit mean that they are more extroverted and outgoing? Is this a common habit? Is it cultural?

    I've never thought about those questions before, and I wonder if I'm the only one who has to duck when certain friends are telling me a story.
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #2
    My Mum does that. She even does it when she's driving, which is pretty disturbing for others on the road and in the car with her.
     
  3. thedude110 macrumors 68020

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    #3
    I get hyper-wavy when I'm teaching, generally when I'm trying to get the kids to care about something I don't really care about.

    I wonder if there's a phonyness to gesticulation ratio.
     
  4. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #4
    I've also noticed that people continue to gesture when they are talking on the phone, when the other party can't see them, but I think lots of people do that out of habit, whether their gestures are large or small.
     
  5. xsedrinam macrumors 601

    xsedrinam

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    #5
    I think so. That, and volume. Weak point: "Shout loud, here.".

    But the body language in the waving of arms and hands is also part of the sender's communication message. Receivers have to know the code. Latinos are very animated when they communicate. If they're not, one suspects insincerity, phonyness or masking (of course, in general).
     
  6. SpookTheHamster macrumors 65816

    SpookTheHamster

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    #6
    I'm not sure to what extent you mean, but I can be quite animated when I speak. I think it comes from my mother's (Jewish, European) side. It's not got me in any trouble yet, but some people find it quite amusing how animated I can get.
     
  7. Lixivial macrumors 6502a

    Lixivial

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    #7
    I commit the sins that you've outlined, Doctor Q. However, it's usually if I'm quite a nervous state (which is constantly), or if I'm trying to illustrate a controversial point. So once I become aware that I'm doing this, I do the whole hand-wringing thing to try to stop myself from swinging wildly.

    I don't believe I'm to the point of swinging in such a way that would harm anyone, but I do swing my arms and hands in various ways. For myself, I'm by no means extremely extroverted, and in fact, I think it's because I'm quite shy that I do this. I always felt that it was some way of forcing the words out, when I feel I have no other real recourse to do so.

    Plus it makes people laugh, and I'm all for that, if even at my expense, and so that helps too. Even if people fail to take me seriously, as long as it brings some sort of laughter to them, that's all that matters to me. I definitely do the phone thing. :)
     
  8. gadgetgirl85 macrumors 68040

    gadgetgirl85

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    #8
    My mum and gran wave their arms around heaps. Its a European thing :cool: Personally, I don't do it
     
  9. Doctor Q thread starter Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #9
    Ah, so people don't have to watch out for your elbows, and you might even entertain them, as long as you don't also dress up and run into this problem (item #4).

    I've caught myself pointing at something (a piece of paper, the sky, something on the whiteboard) while talking on a conference phone in a meeting. The people in the room get a little extra guidance as to what I'm talking about, but I hope I've said enough so the people on the other end understand as well.

    For videochat, it's not a problem, as long as your demonstrative limbs stay within camera range.
     
  10. floriflee macrumors 68030

    floriflee

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    #10
    I have a funny picture of people waving their arms around and clucking like chickens. Thanks for making my evening. :D

    Perhaps this is along the same lines as the people who speak more slowly (and loudly) when they are trying to converse in their own language with foreigners. They think that the exaggerated gestures will make their point just that much more clear? :eek:
     
  11. spicyapple macrumors 68000

    spicyapple

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    #11
    Effective weapon in politics down to a science. We can learn so much from our politicians. :)

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15609023/
     
  12. gekko513 macrumors 603

    gekko513

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    #12
    French people and perhaps southern Europeans are known for gesticulating more than us northern Europeans, or so one of my former bosses used to say... a lot.
     
  13. katie ta achoo macrumors G3

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    #13
    I've been known to gesticulate a lot.

    Excessively at times.
    But it gets my point across!

    And it's good hand modeling practice, mmmkay? :)


    edit:
    I've found that I also do this on skype. :eek:
     
  14. Lixivial macrumors 6502a

    Lixivial

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    #14
    Yeah, well, if I did that then I'd be really flailing and probably screaming too. Clowns terrify me to no end. :eek: I can only imagine what it'd be like to give a commencement speech at a Clown College or something...

    Wow. Nightmares tonight.
     
  15. ibook30 macrumors 6502a

    ibook30

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    #15
    Bobby De Niro does this a lot, also Dennis Hopper. It gives a speaker a bigger presence when they act like airplanes. They occupy a lot of space and "get big". It captues the listeners attention on a visual and auditory level to enhance the drama of their words. Personally - I think it takes a bit of ego to take on this sort of presence. It either indicates conviction, or too many drinks.

    Try it some time when you're talking to a loved one. Watch how big their eyes get!
     
  16. zflauaus macrumors 65816

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    #16
    I sometimes wave my arms around, but just to get my point. Otherwise it's just general hand motions and such.

    But I do get enthusiastic.
     
  17. Rojo macrumors 65816

    Rojo

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    #17
    My boyfriend does this a LOT. He's Spanish, and says its just a part of who he is.

    The funny thing is that he gets the MOST animated when he's on his cell phone, making gestures as if the people he's talking to can see him. He denies he's that bad, of course. I'm thinking of secretly videotaping him one day... :D
     
  18. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #18
    So no one else does it when they're writing emails? :eek:
     
  19. Mav451 macrumors 68000

    Mav451

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    #19
    That is the difference between affective (e.g. Latin Americas, Spain/France) and neutral cultures (Asian). Of course, US is a mix of either. My International Business Cultures class coming in handy, haha :)
     

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