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Body language — the way you tilt your head, raise your eyebrow or tap your fingers — may speak louder than the words you say, writer Bruce Kahn explains.
Text by:Bruce Kahn
Photography by:TeaTime-Mag

id you know that you can have a conversation with another person without ever saying one word? Like it or not, the way you move your body, your facial expressions and hand movements make a statement. Body language is a whole field of study and came from an unusual source.

The term “kinesics” was originally coined as a field for study and research in the 1950s by American anthropologist Ray Birdwhistell. His interested peaked after watching early movies in which there was no verbal dialogue. The story was told only with music, dramatic facial and body expressions. He observed how people consciously or unconsciously transmitted information through facial expressions, posture and eye movements.

Silent movies became popular in the early 1900s, and the actors communicated only through gestures. The movies also included occasional title cards. There was melodramatic music in the background that added drama to the scene or helped induce laughter. Silent movies were around until the late 1920s, when talking pictures, also known as “talkies,” hit the screen. They are the precursor of the films we know today.

With the advent of talking movies, the science of kinesics expanded its scope into an entirely new field. The study of body language is used in psychology, law, business and social settings. While motions and gestures were exaggerated on the silver screen, now it is the subtle gesture, conscious or unconscious, that sends a message.

Body language usually includes eye movement, breathing and respiration rates, facial expression and the positioning of the body. The distance you place between yourself and others can give hints about your personality. Body language encompasses many more facets including eye movement, how or what you touch, such as a pen, eyeglasses or clothing. Other less perceptible effects include your rate of breathing, heartbeat and perspiration.

Here is a list of some body language signs you might want to note the next time you talk to your spouse, children, boss or sibling.

• Facial movements and expressions such as smiling, frowning, lifting or dropping the eyebrows could mean surprise, questioning, or disbelief.

Frowning can mean discomfort, anger, suspicion, physical pain or listening intently.

• The meaning of a smile depends on what facial muscles you are using. An artificial smile involves only the muscles around the mouth. It doesn’t mean pleasure or agreement but instead can hide displeasure, disagreement or discomfort. An authentic smile includes muscles around the eyes.

Nodding can have many meanings. An active listener may nod their head in agreement, to encourage the speaker. While nodding can imply that a person is listening, it can also mean that he isn’t focused on the speaker.

• Eye contact or movement can express feelings of discomfort and or being discouraged, depending on whether you are avoiding looking at the other person or if you are staring intently. Lifting one’s eyes upward implies disbelief. Winking can be just a habit, or it can be a sign of comfort, kindness, sharing a secret, or a sign telling someone you like them. In addition, someone with “big” eyes or eyes wide open can mean shock, terror or fear.

• Covering your neck or throat could mean you are defensive or protecting yourself. Obvious signs of swallowing could mean you are uncomfortable.

Body language is used in many different areas, including sign language, which involves the use of hand and finger motions, gestures, and shapes to allow deaf people to communicate. Babies can learn to identify hand gestures with words such as “clap hands,” “come here,” and “bye-bye.” There is also an entire field of anthropological study that involves how animals communicate and or can be taught to communicate.

So, the next time you sit down and talk to your boss, ask yourself, does the body language reflect what is being said? At a staff meeting, people may be saying “yes,” but do they really mean “no”? And when your partner is staring intently into your eyes is he really saying ‘I love you’?




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No Talk, All Action .

Do you know that you can have a conversation with someone without saying one word? The way you move your body, your face and hands sends a message. This body language can even speak louder than the words that you say!

Body language is a field of study that came from an unusual source: silent movies. In the 1950’s American Anthropologist, Ray Birdwhistell, observed how the actors’ facial expressions and body language communicated the story without words. He called this new field of study “kinesics”.

The study of body language is used commonly in psychology, law, business and social settings. Here is a list of body language signs that you should pay attention to.

• A fake smile uses muscles around the mouth, while an authentic smile uses muscles around the eyes. A fake smile could be hiding worry or disagreement.
Winking can mean many things. It could be to share a secret, to show kindness, or to tell someone that you like them. It could also simply be habit.

Lifting your eyes upward could mean that you don’t believe what the other person is saying.

• Eye contact is very important too. If someone doesn’t look you in the eyes it can show anxiety. If they do, it shows confidence.

The next time you talk with someone ask yourself, what is my body language really saying? At a meeting, people might be saying “yes”, but do they really mean “no”? Facial expressions and body movements might be the key to the truth.

 

Comprehension

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No Talk all Action

Quiz

 

Grammar in Use

Below you will find PDF documents with the Grammar in Use.

Easy Simple Present.

Advanced The Passive.

Vocabulary

Body Language

Body language Vocabulary

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