General Question

Scarlett's avatar

What does it mean when people use their arms and hands a lot when talking ?

Asked by Scarlett (913points) October 15th, 2010

Just wanna know if it means something when people use their hands a lot in verbal communication… I find myself doing it more and just wanted to know why it’s happening. I think someone once told me people who use their hands when they speak means they’re more expressive or something, but I don’t know.

I also heard Italians use their hands a lot when talking.

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16 Answers

Frenchfry's avatar

They are Italian.(JK) They love to use body language to prove a point.

bob_'s avatar

There are several reasons. Mainly, I think it is, as you said, a communications outlet, when you move your hands in such a way that you think convey a message that complements what you’re saying. It could also be that you’re excited and do it without realizing it, or simply because you are imitating others (consciously or not).

Yes, Italians do use their hands a lot when talking.

Why are you not allowed to talk to the bus driver in Italy? Because he needs his hands to drive!

Also, see here, starting around 1:20.

anartist's avatar

Some cultures use body language more than others. Trained public speakers use body language more than others. Emotional people use body language more than others. Take your pick.

Nullo's avatar

Body language in general serves to add a dimension to verbal language. Every culture has it to some degree.
It is a learned behavior. Do you spend a lot of time in the company of people who gesture heavily?

@bob_ Sadly, your comedian didn’t have the opportunity to explore the regional differences in hand gestures.

seazen's avatar

Jews too.

MissAnthrope's avatar

If you’re me, it means two things:

1 – I never know what to do with my hands, so prior to #2, I would feel very awkward and end up shoving them in my pockets.
2 – I’ve spent a lot of time in Italy and picked up the habit of being very expressive with my hands.

My best friend gives me sooo much shit for my excessive gesticulation. But whatever, it works for me.

nailpolishfanatic's avatar

I use mine to explain what I am talking about if people ca’t understand.

ucme's avatar

Yeah just expressing themselves is all. I do it when typing on here, which can be a little ponderous at times :¬)

Rubrica's avatar

When I get excited, I tend to do this; I also tend to accidentally slap people in the head because of it…

ducky_dnl's avatar

I talk with both my voice and hands. I have no idea why I do it, I just do it. I think for me, it’s sort of like OCD. I’m not even kidding. I can’t talk without my hands and body moving.

seazen's avatar

^ OCD – I don’t see the connection.

Roby's avatar

Paul Reiser is bad about this in most of his acting, It got on my nerves so bad I couldn’t watch… Mad about You.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

They’re Greeks! Not only animated body language, but LOUD voices too!

gailcalled's avatar

Learn the eloquent, stylized and codified gestures in several languages:



Google Yiddish gestures if you still have some free time.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

I found that a person using their hands a lot when talking are usually being more genuine. Unless of course they’re purposely doing it. Then in that case most of the time they’re blowing smoke.

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s an extension of the spoken Italian language. They learn this when they are kids.

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