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405668.  Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:00 am Reply with quote

This morning a Dutch lorry driver let me out of a junction, so i gave him a thumbs-up to say thankyou. In response he held his hand up, extended his first finger and made a tapping motion twice. I presume to say "you're welcome". I've never seen anyone do this before (maybe i lead a sheltered life), is this common in the Netherlands? What other gesticulations/hand gestures are common outside the UK and uncommon here?

Just wondering

405697.  Thu Sep 11, 2008 6:59 am Reply with quote

I presume the Dutch gentleman was giving a gesture corresponding to 'bitte', two syllables, two taps. Rather better than raising two fingers, I think.
There are distinct differences between the gestures used in Europe and in Asia, for example the European beckoning gesture (Come here to me) is the forefinger curved upwards from hand palm upward and the finger closed repeatedly; the Asian beckon is with the hand palm down, and all the fingers closed repeatedly.
If you want to know whether Russians or Turks belong in Europe or Asia, watch their gestures.
Within Europe there are distinct differences; Italian having certain specific gestures which accompany and illustrate certain concepts, for example the hand chop to the stomach indicating hunger.

Sebastian flyte
405708.  Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:19 am Reply with quote

I think with Italian as well as having gestures that mean things that the gesticulation is important because conversation is very very fast and can be shouty and so it helps to convey the feeling you sort of emphasise and punctuate with them as you go along like a stream of words really.

405710.  Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:21 am Reply with quote

I forget - is it Greece that to show a flat palm held out from the body (i.e. putting it up for a high five) is considered an insult?

405712.  Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:23 am Reply with quote

also in Italy the hand up to acknowledge a driver letting you out is offensive, the equivalent of our v sign.

405732.  Thu Sep 11, 2008 7:58 am Reply with quote

In the middle east hitchhiking is done by pointing at the ground - and to indicate that you're only travelling a short distance you can move your hand up and down. I think the thumbs up is equivalent to sticking two fingers up but I'm not totally sure about that bit.

Also, in Israel there's a gesture for slowly, or wait a moment which is quite useful - thumb to first and second fingers, palm up. People use it to let someone know that they know they're waiting to speak to them and they'll be with them shortly.

409584.  Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:44 pm Reply with quote

are there any nations/cultures where a thumbs up doesn't mean affirmative/ok/good?

409592.  Thu Sep 18, 2008 1:50 pm Reply with quote

"Len Fairclough World", if such a theme park exists.

409611.  Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:01 pm Reply with quote

Iraq of all places, which explains a lot of misgivings in thew war. American soldiers offending the Iraqi's without even intending to because the thumbs up in Iraq is like the middle finger over here.

409618.  Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:06 pm Reply with quote


i've found that there are even cultural differences in the light signals drives give each other throughout europe. you'd think it's the same everywhere with truckers, with the way they get around, but it just isn't. for instance, when you want to be polite and thank someone in germany, you flash left indicator - right indicator once or twice, but if you do that here it'll only result in a LOT of irritation, because here you just put your hazard lights on for two seconds.



409621.  Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:10 pm Reply with quote

the left-right is used here too. suppose it depends on the location of the hazzard light button. Or even if the vehicle has hazard lights

409623.  Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:13 pm Reply with quote

are there motorised vehicles that don't have them? (except extreme vintage ones that is) i mean, i regularly get hazard light salutes from bikers, so... cars, trucks, bikes, what would be left there?



409625.  Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:16 pm Reply with quote

1956 leyland titans, (an old bus) for example. They weren't a legal requirement before 1986, which is why i haven;t bothered repairing the switch on my metro :-)

409627.  Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:18 pm Reply with quote

ah! ;-) see, i didn't know that. i sure can't remember a time in germany when they weren't a legal requirement anyways.



409720.  Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:54 pm Reply with quote

There is a story of a bunch of Irish motoring journalists testing out some cars for a german manufacturer in Germany. They were in a convoy one day each with their own chaparone from the manufacturers. One of the journos went to overtake one of the others and the one in front pulled in a bit to make the manouvre easier. The overtaking journo bliped his hazards in thanks. With that the chaparone asks him why he put on his hazards when there wasn't one. The journo said he was saying thanks to the other one and the conversation continued thusly....

...."But there is no hazard. You should not put on your hazard lights"
" I was just saying thanks"
"But there was no hazard"
" Well, put bloody thank-you lights on your cars then"


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