Body Language

Italian Communication Tips

 

Whether you speak Italian or not, there are few expressions – verbal or non-verbal – which you should understand and practise if you settle in Rome for a while. Winking is like breathing, waving is like catching the air, being noisy is just being visible, and swearwords are just pepper on our pasta. By the way, your hand is your secondary tounge.

 

Your body speaks without words

 

body language
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We all know that facial expressions, uncontrolled, instictly coming glances and grimaces are telling much more about our feelings, current mood and opinion, than any written or spoken explanation. According to a famous communication theory “it’s not possible not to communicate”. These non-verbal signs are sometimes the little devil on our shoulder, which keeps us honest, even when we don’t really want to tell everything, what is on our mind. Well, all these statements are especially true the language of the interactions is Italian. First of all, we have to declare winking is kind of reflexive in this country. Probably you have noticed that anytime the waiter serves you your cappuccino, he winks. It’s the same, when you pay at the supermarket or when someone said something flirting or funny. Actually it’s a sweet and polite gesture in the same time to express your gratefulness or just tell with one simple facial movement that something was well-done. It is also an appreciation in many ways: it can be a congrats for your work or for your kindness, but also it can be a compliment. Since it’s well known that Italians are the kings of compliments, but we shouldn’t interpret an innocent winking always as a cheeky way of seducing. Italians are using their hands a lot to get away their tension. They have many movements for annoying or surprisingly unexpected situations, and of course for cases, when they have no idea what to do. Each movement means an emotion like anger, perplexity, unconcern, satisfaction or enthusiasm.

 Train your vocal chords!

shouting italian
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Italian is a loud nation, no doubt, especially in certain situations. If you are in a restaurant for instance, and you would like to ask for the bill, you’ll have to get rid of your shyness. Don’t be afraid to shout, it’s normal here, otherwise you will stay invisible. Not to mention the soccer matches, when shouting is an obligation. You need to get used to also some common and very striking outcries, apart from the cliché “Mamma mia”. “Boh” is like an impolite burbing, though it’s just the short version of “I don’t know” or “I have no clue”. “Mah” used to be also an emphasized part of the sentences, which means “That’s it. We have to accept”. When you hearing someone is saying “Aya!” definitely something hurts or it’s just the recognition that something went wrong. In this case you can interpret it as a call, and offer your help. A long-drawn “Huuuuh?” like a ruminating cow is also a common phenomenon, but don’t take it as an offense or rudeness. They only wanted to ask “What do you mean?” or “What did you say?”. It’s just a matter of socialization and language.

Curse with all your heart

Cursing and swearwords in Italian language is very popular and used. Most of the time it doesn’t even express that someone is furious or freaked out. It can be just a part of an ironic opinion telling, or the sign that someone is emotionally overheated. Saying swearwords in the traffic is just a must without reasons like tooting. “Cazzo” is functioning as a comma, just like “merda”. You can disagree with a tasty “Vaffanculo” and nobody will judge you because of this. If you want to play with the words or randomize an Italian cursing, just combine pig and something connected to catholic faith. Few examples: “porco dio” (very strong, be careful or just don’t use!)or “porca miseria”. Fun fact is that most of the swearwords have a child-friendly edition like “managia” , “che cavolo”, or “vaffangiro”.

vaffanculo
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Mira
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Mira

Mira Budafoki was born in 1992 in Budapest, Hungary. She started writing in high school, continued with publishing in Hungarian journals during her studies in communication and media at the Corvinus University of Budapest. Already in her university years she has been an enthusiast journalist, and has worked for several lifestyle and cultural magazines. Despite of living the roller-coaster in her wheelchair, only travelling gave her real ups and downs. After a long weekend in Rome she helplessly fell in love with the city, and made her way back through a serial of magical events, which have led to her first book in English (Rome as we roll it), the result of her half-year romance with the Eternal City. After this, she kept on publishing about the beautiful Italian capital at Romeing and Italian Insider. In the meantime she is supporting the assosiation of Romability, which deals with the accessible tourism in Rome.
Mira
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