Greek Facial and Hand Gestures – Does "No" Imply "Sure"?

As many Greeks will let you know, the Greek language is a really wealthy language and when a local speaker is in motion, it’s typically additionally accompanied by a wealthy number of facial and hand gestures. These serve, each consciously and unconsciously, to present emphasis to that which is being mentioned, or can be utilized on their very own as a non-verbal response.


Greeks don’t normally shake their heads back and forth to point a detrimental response i.e. “no”. As an alternative they tilt the pinnacle upwards and backwards, after which again right down to wanting immediately forward. That is finished solely as soon as. This shouldn’t be mistaken for a nodding of the pinnacle that means “sure”. Generally the tilting of the pinnacle is accompanied by an audible click on of the tongue in opposition to the enamel. There are additionally variations on this. For emphasis, that means one thing like “no, in fact not” or “no, you are manner off the mark” the pinnacle could also be tilted up and again in a really sluggish deliberate motion generally with a partial or full closing of the eyes. On different events, the entire motion could be diminished to a really slight and fast elevating of the eyebrows. This may be very laborious to detect, subsequently main you to ask your query repeatedly to that individual till the motion turns into extra perceptible or they lose persistence with you and truly let you know their reply. Non-verbal responses could be surprisingly highly effective and might elicit an attention-grabbing response from a foreigner who shouldn’t be used to it. For instance, it’s possible you’ll assume that the sluggish deliberate “no” motion signifies that your listener believes what you’ve got mentioned or steered to be fully ridiculous and never worthy of a verbal response – you’ll be mistaken.


For “sure”, the pinnacle is tilted downwards and barely to 1 aspect. As with “no”, that is finished solely as soon as. Once more, this may be finished slowly and intentionally for added emphasis.

Shaking the pinnacle

As we’ve got seen this doesn’t imply “no”. It serves to point that somebody doesn’t perceive what’s being mentioned to them or alternatively, the explanation it’s being mentioned. That is generally accompanied by an extension of the hand outwards with palm dealing with right down to the ground after which rotating it, with the thumb and first two fingers prolonged, till the palm is dealing with up.

Rude and vulgar hand gestures

Come on, I’ve to cowl at the least one or two. As in lots of international locations, there are rude and vulgar hand gestures which might be extra expressive than any phrases in sure conditions. The Greeks have an expression which accurately translated means “I’m writing you on my testicles”!. This really means “I’m completely ignoring what you might be saying”. It will take too lengthy to enter the various Greek sayings, however I’ve additionally heard an attention-grabbing variation on this one uttered by a lady, which works “I’m going to develop testicles simply so I can write you on them”! Anyway, the associated hand gesture, which is commonly used alone with out the expression, is a swift motion of each fingers downwards, palms dealing with up, and fingertips nearly touching forming a v-shape over the abdomen, as if indicating the placement of the genitalia. Lastly, one other hand gesture which is a impolite manner of telling somebody to “go away” (I will allow you to use your creativeness and inventive expertise), is to increase your arm within the course of your goal with a closed fist. Then because the arm is absolutely prolonged, the fingers are unfold broadly revealingly the palm at a 45-degree angle to the bottom. It’s finished in a single motion and is just like the motion of throwing a ball. That is in all probability most continuously seen on the highway between drivers. Nevertheless, this will likely be thought of a powerful insult if used on a stranger, so be ready to take care of actually any penalties earlier than resorting to it!