A cautionary tale

Posted by Word Camel on September 24, 2004

In Reply to: French and German gestures posted by Bookworm on September 24, 2004

: I was reading a book on doing in business in countries other than the US and one chapter focused on Europe. They mentioned that some gestures were considered rude or vulgar, but gave no what the gestures meant or any explanation as to why they were considered offensive.

: According to the book, in France it is considered vulgar to snap the fingers on both hands at the same time or to slap an open palm into your fist. These sound sexual, but that could just be me.

: In Germany, it is considered impolite to talk to a person with your hands in your pockets and to sit with the bottom of your shoes facing the person to whom you are speaking and that you should not point at your head. Any ideas?

I'm sorry, I can't illucidate you on any of the things you've mentioned but it reminded me of a guide for American's relocating to the UK for business. The booklet, written by by someone from one of the Andersen's (consulting), advised Americans to refer to their umbrellas as "bumbershutes" and to say "toodle pip" for "goodbye" among other things. Work colleagues uncovered the existance of the guide because their American workmate made a point of earnestly entoning "toodle pip" when ever he left the office.

It was good for a laugh anyway.