Body-language and nonverbal communication

Chinese and American body language differences, new perspectives

Chinese and American body language differences, new perspectives

There has always been a comfortable zone felt by native speakers and so they don’t feel any difficulty in communicating with each other. But when a foreigner tries to communicate with a native of a country, action speaks louder than words. Lot of things like body language, facial expressions, gestures come into picture. Let us deal with the differences in body language between China and America in this article. Before we start, why China and America? Well, both these nations are totally different in terms of their culture and both have equal business opportunities in each other’s nations and so it has become mandatory if you are doing a business in China or plan to settle down in America or anyway around.

There are lots of cultural differences between Chinese and Americans. In some instances, Chinese focus on something which is right opposite to what Americans do. A basic example would be – when Americans greet the opposite sex with a hug or kiss in public to show friendliness but kissing or touching are meant only for lovers in Chinese culture. They greet the opposite sex with a nod or handshake alone. On the other hand, two guys in China can walk hand in hand or hands around shoulder which is considered as signs of homosexuality in America. Be it how much ever close you are, you are expected to maintain a dignity in relationship in America when it comes to same sex. Americans mostly don’t touch others when speaking; they maintain some inches gap to preserve their personal space. But it is a complaint of Americans on Chinese that they often touch their babies or kids.

It is a habit wide across the Asian countries to treat their guests with stomach full food. Even if the guest is not able to eat whatever is given they will serve them more and more. But for Americans it might make them feel uncomfortable as they first complete what is there in their plates and only then on get more. Similarly Chinese don’t have the habit of eating with hands and when they find Americans doing so, they find it as a dirty gesture. There are also many differences in the way an American and a Chinese show their emotional feelings. Chinese don’t have the habit of telling “No” to elders straight to their face. So when they want to accept something which they don’t like, they just lower their eyes and say “Yes”. Such emotions are not so common in American culture.

Apart from these, there are many differences in the way both of them show expressions of disappointment or shyness. Hiding the face with both hands exhibit shyness in Chinese culture and to tease a person who is feeling shy they keep their forefinger gently scratch their face near mouth several times whereas in American culture this is exhibited by pointing the forefingers of both the hands towards the person. To show impatience, Americans usually yawn intentionally by closing their mouth and Chinese just keep their left palm down supported by the forefinger of right hand. Do you know one thing? Americans don’t have the habit of crying at funeral as they think that will spoil their dignity in public. But Chinese put their emotions first and then only dignity in this case. In general what we see is, Americans give more priority to their image, dignity and personal space in both public and personal life but Chinese try to be raw in their emotions and prioritize that first.

Body language plays an important role in communication and sometimes even if you try to hide your intentions they will become clear through your gestures. The unlucky thing is that this body language interpretation is not standardized all over the world and so knowing the right gestures for each region will come to your favor. We know there is cultural difference between China and America and that difference should also be understood in order to sustain where we live. The differences in body language given in the article are just a tip of an iceberg. There are much more you can know from your Chinese or American friends and knowing them will surely make you go global!

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