You see a group of individuals and can’t help but notice that one of them is always using their hands to speak. You say to yourself, “I’m sure they’re Italian too!” Have you ever wondered why Italians talk with their hands so often? If you’re Italian this form of expression is likely second nature to you. It is interesting to understand that there is history behind these gestures.
There are many theories of why Italians talk with their hands. One theory suggests that historically, Italians used hand gestures to draw more attention to themselves when standing in crowded streets. The editor in chief of the journal Gesture, Adam Kendon, suggested that this form of communication was commonly used in Napoli where the streets were very crowded. It has remained a part of Italian culture to this day.
Scholars believe that hand gestures are deeply rooted in Italian culture and date back to the ancient Greeks who colonized Southern Italy. Professor of Psychology at Roma Tre University has discovered that Italians use over 250 different gestures to communicate every day. These hand gestures are all recognized and interpreted the same way by Italians in Italy.
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