Body Language

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Body Language and Communication without Words

Body language is a form of communication that requires no writing or sound to get across things that you think and feel. Body language is prevalent in all humans whether it is conscious or unconscious. People may be totally unaware of the fact that they are communicating a feeling or idea without actually saying it. Body language though is different depending on culture and location, as all spoken languages are, yet gestures and body language are a silent language that helps to understand one another.

Gestures and body language communicate as effectively as words- maybe even more effectively. For example, a big smile on babies face can say more than a thousand words. It is unnecessary and unimaginable for a baby to say "I'm so happy!  when they are obviously grinning ear to ear. Gestures are, for the most part, learned before any type of language is acquired.

Anthropologists divide our actions and gestures into three broad categories. The categories include instinctive, coded, and acquired. Instinctive gestures are the actions we make unconsciously, such as smiling when you are happy. Coded gestures are gestures that have been assigned to certain events, such as a referee putting both arms up when a touchdown is scored in football. Acquired gestures are gestures that society has put into place, such as waving with your arm to say good bye.

Coded Gestures are probably the easiest for us Americans to interpret. We have devised certain hand signals to represent "stop,  "come here,  and insults (such as the middle finger). Sporting events also rely on hand gestures to run more efficiently. Imagine having to yell calls across the field or court. What a mess that would be! Hand gestures and signals can simplify things and make understanding a police man or referee easy.

Instinctive gestures such as smiling or frowning come naturally and are easy

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