Asian Body Language Essay

983 Words Dec 15th, 2007 4 Pages
Body Language: A Look at Asian Cultures
Body language is indeed a powerful and useful form of communication with many forms and interpretations. How one uses body language, and how another interprets it, is one of the most intriguing parts of any society. The communication patterns of Asian languages serve to reinforce traditional cultural values and beliefs. Consistent with the primary value of preserving harmony and face in human relationships, Asian languages utilize communication patterns that promote pleasant social interaction. These include indirect communication styles; reluctance to criticize or contradict blatantly; and ability to "read" others' genuine attitudes, opinions, or feelings through nonverbal cues. A significant
…show more content…
Touching people on the shoulders and especially on the head is considered disrespectful. Handing books or other materials can be done using two hands because generally using both hands is considered more polite and respectful than using only one (Gudykunst and Kim, 1997).
Making eye contact is inviting and friendly in the American culture but can be threatening or disrespectful in other cultures that are lower contact. Research by Gudykunst and Kim (1997) indicate that Americans tend to use eye contact in one-on-one conversations, indicating interest and respect. However, the Asian cultures commonly consider staring to be rude or even intimidating. Instead of making eye contact while greeting someone, some common Asian gestures for greeting are handshaking and bowing. Asian women rarely look directly at men's eyes, especially those of strangers (250). In the Philippines, one may greet another with the "eyebrow flash" which is merely a quick lifting of the eyebrows.
Different cultures have different concepts of personal space, including the sensations of spaciousness, crowdedness, privacy, and appropriate distances, which can be a major issue in certain instances. The size of one's personal space may be influenced by social status, gender, age, and other factors. Lopaz (1994) states that people from different cultures use space differently and experience it differently. Culture can determine

Related Documents