Cultural differences. Body language

1. Standing with your hands on your hips is a gesture of defiance in Indonesia.

2. Carrying on a conversation with your hands in your pockets makes a poor impression in France, Belgium, Finland and Sweden.

3. When you shake your head from side to side, that means yes in Bulgaria and Sri Lanka.

4. Crossing your legs to expose the sole of your shoe is really taboo in Muslim countries. In fact, to call a person a shoe is a deep insult.

Physical Contact

5. Putting a child on the head is a grave offence in Thailand or Singapore, since the head is revered as the location of the soul.

6. In the Oriental culture, touching another person is considered an invasion of privacy, while in Southern European and Arabic countries it is a sign of warmth and friendship.


7. Be on time when invited for dinner in Denmark or in China.

8. In Latin countries your host a business associate would be surprised if you arrived at the appointed hour.

Eating and Cooking

9. It is rude to leave anything on your plate when eating in Norway, Malaysia, or Singapore.

10. In Egypt, it is rude not to leave something.

11. In Germany and Great Britain, margarine and butter are used.

12. In Italy and Spain, cooking is done with oil.

Other Social Customs

13. InSpain, there is a very negative attitude toward life insurance. By receiving insurance benefits, a wife feels that she is profiting from her husband's death.

14. In Western European countries, many consumers are still reluctant to buy anything (other than a house) on credit. Even for an automobile, they will pay cash having saved for some time.


  1. A Pidgin Language
  4. Cultural Life of Youth (2)
  5. English Language
  6. Examples of compounding from different languages
  7. Germanic languages.
  8. History of language as a science.
  9. Language and extralinguistic world
  10. Language as a means of communication
  11. Language Function

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Lesson 7. | An Illustrative Example

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