Brazilians are very expressive people. Unfamiliar with Portuguese, when we first arrived we thought they sounded constantly angry.
But over time we have grown to love this bouncy, musical language and the many associated gestures that form the basis of daily communication.
In England we only really have a few gestures, whose meanings are all fairly obvious – thumbs up, thumbs down, flicking the Vs or giving the finger et al.
In Brazil there is a digit delight for pretty much every emotion. We asked our friend Stenio to pose for some of our favourites…
1. Lots of… (insert noun here, i.e. people, money, cars)
Formed by grasping the fingers and thumb together rapidly and repeatedly in front of you, as if you were trying to catch a £10 note in mid-air. Often accompanied by a shake of the head, eyes closed and furrowed brow.
2. This food is absolutely delicious!
Funnily enough, the mouth isn’t the primary tool here, but instead the ear (don’t ask us, we don’t know why either). Expressed by pinching the soft, fleshy earlobe with the thumb and forefinger and wiggling. Smiling, pouted lips as if kissing the air usually in tow.
3. I don’t really care / Whatever.
A dismissive gesture made by repeatedly slapping the four fingers of each hand against each other, front to back. Frequently accompanied by a shrug of the shoulders, raised eyebrows and nonplussed, downturned mouth. Use with caution – this could offend in the wrong situation.
4. You’re in trouble now / I’m going to beat the crap out of you.
You know the Heinz advert where the boy is hitting the bottom of an invisible glass ketchup bottle to get the good stuff out? Well, if someone does that in your direction over here, best look for the nearest exit. Formed by clenching one fist and slapping the outstretched palm of the other hand against it.