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The role and features of non-verbal communication in Indian
Transcript of The role and features of non-verbal communication in Indian
Nonverbal communication is the process of communication through sending and receiving wordless (mostly visual) cues between people.
It is sometimes mistakenly referred to as body language (kinesics), but nonverbal communication encompasses much more, such as use of voice (paralanguage), touch (haptics), distance (proxemics), and physical environments/appearance.
India is a high context culture, there is much reliance on nonverbal gestures. In India, people greet each other using the word "Namaste" and they put their palms together in front of their chest and give a slight bow of the head.
Used to begin and end with, Namaste literally means “I bow to you”-my greetings or salutations. Men will shake hands, but not with women. Women should never initiate the handshake.
Like other Asian cultures, Indians require the removal of footwear before entering a sacred area.
An apology can be given by tapping someone’s shoulder and then tapping your own forehead.
Indians do not like to say no because people do not like to hear no. They tell you what you want to hear, which is part of the reason they use the head wobble. Indians clearly believe that actions speak louder than words because of the universal gesture that unites their country.
People who travel to India often get confused by the Indian head wobble. According to the travel website about.com, the head wobble represents the word “accha”. This can mean anything from “yes” or “no” as well as, “good” to “I understand”.
Like any distinct culture with a rich history, India has many nonverbal traits that it can call its own. In order to fully understand the scope and depth of any culture’s nonverbal communication, you need to be a part of that culture.
Here are a few components of Indian nonverbal culture that we have pinpointed as important to understanding the culture:
-Appearance and Dress
-Kinesics-Body language and movement
Appearance and Dress
Dress in India varies in style according to regional location; however, the most common men apparel is the dhoti.
Turbans or some form of headdress are common in northern India. The style of the turban often identifies the wearer as a member of a particular community or as being from a particular region or village. The kurta/dhoti, a long tunic-like shirt, and the loose baggy trousers are also commonly worn, especially in urban areas.
Women typically wear the sari, a length of cotton or silk cloth wrapped around the waist, with one end left free and thrown over the right shoulder.
Kinesics- Body language and movement
Indians, like all cultures have distinct gestures and hand movements that mean different things.
One type of gesture is a ‘fight or flight’ gesture.
In India, a particular fight or flight gesture is when you slide one hand over your wrist, indicating the use of a traditional Hindu woman’s bracelet called a bangle. If this is done to man, it questions his manhood and provokes him to a fight.
Another distinctly Indian gesture is the suicide gesture. This gesture is done by having your palms facing your body then throwing them outward. This gesture evokes the meaning of throwing yourself off of a bridge in to a river.
Indians are incredibly hospitable, and they are easily offended if refused. For example, it is not uncommon for an Indian to invite someone in from off the street in which they will treat their guest with tea or coffee. In such occasion, it is common for the individual to sit on the floor with their legs crossed.
When sitting try to be as comfortable as possible, because you will be expected to eat with your fingers. Not only do you eat with your fingers, but it is considered insulting if an individual eats with his/her left hand. The right hand should only be used, because the left hand is seen as unclean.Likewise, never receive or give anything with your left hand.
In India, touching somebody is considered a special act. Only someone within the same caste system or family may touch you affectionately.
Touching somebody represents an bond with them and is reserved for family occasions.
Touching somebody else's head without permission or in a wrongful way represents the tarnishing of their soul,is considered an insult and should not be done.
The feet hold the opposite importance for Indians. Feet are considered dirty and the worst part about a person.
If you touch somebody with your feet then you have severely insulted them. Touching somebody else's feet is looked at as groveling and begging and again, a person insult to whomever is committing the act.
If you go to India you need to know
Never touch anyone’s head in India, because it is considered the “seat of the soul” and is very offensive.
• A head shake means yes while a head nod means no.
• Avoid use of the left hand. It is considered the “unclean” hand. Also accepting items and eating with the left hand is considered offensive.
• Use a bow with hands together to greet someone.
• Waving is the sign of “go away” instead of “hello.”
• To call someone with your hand, your palm must be facing downward toward the ground.
• The Indians have a “one arm length” rule when communicating.
• Pointing is very frowned upon and considered a very rude gesture.
• Pointing your feet or showing the bottom of your feet is offensive because the feet are also considered like the left hand “unclean”.
• Before entering indoors, shoes must be removed and socks must be on and clean without any holes.
Atasiei Anca Sabina
Bîzdîgă Cătăin Constantin
Dărăbăneanu Petru Răzvan