I thought I would moan about the many sayings that we have that are descriptive means for body language cues. When we “speak” body language there are three descriptive terms for body language gestures. These are emblems, pacifiers and illustrators.
Emblems have an agreed-upon meaning to a group and can easily be understood without words. These include things like the finger-to-lips “be quiet” or “shush” gesture, the hand up with palm forward indicating “stop”.
Pacifiers are gestures people use to relive stress. For example, when we are cold, therefore stressed, we might rub our hands together or rub our forearms. When something, or someone stresses us, we might perform the same activities to calm ourselves and release the tensions created by the circumstances.
Illustrators are gestures that develop simultaneously with speech. They are tightly linked with speech – we talk with our hands. Try talking without ever moving any part of your body. Watch someone talking on the phone. Illustrators help us find the right words and help us emphasize the our thoughts. Even blind people use illustrators.
Authentic illustrators occur split seconds before or at the same time as the words that accompany them. Trying to choreograph illustrative gestures will appears as thought the timing is off.
So let’s look at some of the sayings (idioms) that we have that have a basis in body language gestures.
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