Archiv für Oktober 2011

Action Speak Louder than Words

12.10.2011

As I’m sure you already know, the meaning within the above saying is, ‘Do something. ‘Don’t only talk about it.’ But today, I have a variation of the meaning.

Here I am, in the middle of a 2-week holiday in Italy. Although being on holiday, I still feel obliged to write my weekly blog for you. Being in Italy, this subject for my blog readily came to me. I’m sure, you’ve heard the old expression, ‘if you want to stop an Italian from talking, chop off his arms.’ There’s a lot of truth in this saying (without the brutal aspect of course).

An Italian friend told me, that he was once idly watching two Italians holding a conversation. However, out of the friend’s earshot. He said how he could follow much of what they were saying, simply by observing their hands and arms movements. Well, I certainly wouldn’t be able to follow such a conversation. But during this holiday I’ve been fascinated by these loquacious gestures. Where Rossini created music for the ears, this animated display of speech, is music to the observer’s eyes.

By comparison, Northern Europeans are dumb. Germans have some semblance of connection between hands and tongue, though nothing near the fluency of the Italians. As for the British! They are just out in the cold! British journalists, for example, on television, have their upper arms close to the sides of their chest, while the lower arms and fingers are horizontally extended. As they gesticulate to make important points of their narrative, ten fingers seem to be making multiple stabs into the thin air, in front of them. They look grotesque, when compared to their counterparts, on Italian TV.

With only one week left of my holiday, try as I will, I don’t think I’ll manage to speak ‘manual’ Italian, before returning to my ‘manually’ speechless countrymen. By comparison, learning a foreign language orally, is relatively easy, at inlingua Duesseldorf. Try for yourself.

Glosary:

readily -  easily

idly, idle -  not working, not busy, relaxing

earshot -  hearing distance

dumb -  speechless

semblance -  similarity, likeness

loquacious -  orally expressive, talking freely