The habit of talking with your hands is a feature of many cultures. However, just like words, gestures also have different meanings in different countries. For you to have a concrete idea, we compared in this video some common gestures used by Brazilians and Italians – two cultures that are champions of using hands as a complement to speech!


Gesturing is a habit of many Brazilians. Although Portuguese is a very rich language, we often feel that using our hands helps us express an idea better. In others, we use our hands so we do not have to talk and want to be discreet about something.
But, of course, the gestures are not Brazilian’s exclusively. In this video, we show the differences in the use of gestures in different cultures and languages. Understanding that these differences exist helps us.
Today, however, let’s talk specifically about how Brazilians and Italians say the same thing with different gestures. If you also speak with your hands ;-), I invite you to check out this comparison that Mara and my Italian team did! Then sign up for MosaLingua on YouTube so you do not miss any of the language learning videos we publish each week.
The video has half audio in Portuguese and half in Italian, but you can enable subtitles in the language of your choice.

 Speaking With Your Hands: Brazilian vs. Italian Gestures (Video)

 Speaking With Your Hands: Brazilian vs. Italian Gestures (Transcript)

Hi, this is Lize, from Mosalingua, and today I’ve invited Mara, another member of our team, To talk about something Brazilian and Italian people have in common: The habit of talking with their hands.

Hello guys! Although gesturing is not always a polite thing to do, we all do it. So we better be aware that gestures, like languages, have different. Meanings in different countries.

Exactly like in Italy and Brazil, for example.In Brazil, when you want to say there are a lot of people in a place, you do this. In Italy, the same gesture means “fear”, so you use it to say that the person you are talking to is afraid of something.  

In Brazil, if you are eating something nice, or talking about something nice to eat, do this. In Italy, to say with a gesture that the food you’re eating is good, we do like this.

In Italy, if you are at a party or in some public place and you want to ask someone you are with to leave, you would gesture, discreetly, like this. Here, in the same situation, people use a completely different gesture. In Italy, when someone says something you cannot agree with or something hard to believe, you show it like this.

In Brazil, in those situations, we actually don’t use our hands…but our head. In Italy, when you had enough to eat and you’re full, you would show it this way. In Brazil, that same gesture would say exactly the opposite… meaning that you are hungry.

When you want to say you’re full, you usually gesture like this.  

If you enjoyed this video, subscribe to our YouTube channel,  for more hacks, advice, and tools on language learning.  And, if you do feel that you would be speechless if you had your hands tied up, don’t miss our article on the blog MosaLingua about the use of gestures in different cultures. Thanks for watching and…