The Italian language can also be a source of many curiosities and peculiarities. It is not just made of grammar, tenses and verbal modes, articles, syntax and morphological aspects, but also of a series of aspects that can prove very interesting. For example, those who know this language, and have the pleasure of spending some time in Italy, will have certainly noticed the diffusion of a form of communication made of gestures, which accompany speeches and queries.


Well, yes, Italians can be very endearing. Some verbal expressions are regularly accompanied by gestures that undoubtedly reinforce the principal meaning and make it more direct, immediate, easy to grasp. For example, when an Italian closes his palm to form something similar to a “tulip”, this means: “What do you want?” So that’s just an example of what might happen when chatting with an Italian. Not surprisingly, this is a distinctive feature of the Italian language and makes Italians particularly known abroad.

In Italian there are many gestures that share different meanings, and which can therefore be used to communicative ends. At the heart of each communication there is, in fact, the transmission of a message, expressed in a shared code, from a sender to a receiver. This code can also be through gestures and not only verbal. We can speak of a “symbolic value” pertaining to these gestures, which are of ancient origin and sometimes vary from area to area, from region to region, remaining however a widespread habit.

If an Italian moves his index and middle fingers to his mouth forming some sort of a narrow V, he certainly wants to suggest the act of smoking or the noun “cigarette”. If, instead, you touch your wrist with the index of the opposite hand, the purpose of the gesture is to ask what time it is. Another important topic is: Italians and food.

Italy, land of unique and varied culinary traditions, synonymous with quality and attention for flavours, could not but have a specific sign vocabulary related to food. A hand resting on the stomach means, for example, it’s time to think about what to eat and/or that it is time for a snack or a proper meal. The difference, in this case… will be shown through ones facial expression, which will allow us to understand just how hungry our interlocutor is.

Recently, a video posted by the American Consulate in Milan on their Facebook page, treated precisely this argument, receiving a lot of visualizations. This video tells the story of an young American who had just moved to Milan, who, still unable to express himself in Italian, even if only to order a simple coffee, seeks the help of a teacher. That is how the young student will learn the secrets of the Italian language and the value of its gestures. All in rap rhythm.