Chanell Perez 

Prof. Dr. Lubie G. Alatristre 

LNG 1100 

June 15, 2020 




I made multiple observation starting from observing my husband at home while interacting with myself or friends over the phone and family in person. I observed him over the weekend while we were visiting his family and saw friends at his old neighborhood. I also compared his paralinguistics to mine.

24 y/o, Salvadorian men, from a small town

Knowing my husband for 4 years now, has made me understand him better than the first few months of our relationship. My husband is from El Salvador, a country in located in Central America. He is in his mid-twenties. He was born and raised in his country and migrated to the United States about 8 years ago. I am Dominican. Though we share the same language (Spanish), at the beginning, the misunderstanding was very typical and many of our arguments were due to our inability to understand some of our expressions that sometimes didn’t mean to offend the other but due to the difference in culture he or I used to misinterpret 

I am not a typical Dominican, my tone is low and Calment. Dominicans are known for being loud and energetic. My husband, when he doesn’t know the person, he also speaks low and does not use many words when expressing himself. I have also observed this behavior from his 3 sisters. However, when talking with friends and close family, his tone, volume and pitch increased all at the same time. When his having a pleasant conversation, he tends to yell as he gets excited with whatever topic is being discussed. When he gets angry, his voice gets deeper and dry.  

When it comes to non-verbal communication, he uses his hands a lot, as well as his facial expressions. He raises his eyebrows to intonation to an expression or move his lips to one side to express doubt of something is being said by someone else. Many of his expressions are very similar to those utilized for most of the people from the western hemisphere. However, I have noticed that Salvadorians, or at least, those from his town, utilize this popular sign awarded to Italians. Italians include this sing in conversations to add emphasis to what is being said. In the case of my husband and people from his town, they use this sign to describe or measure something as a lot. i.e. “There were a lot of bees in the hive, it was like this (introduce the below sign)! In my case, as Dominican, I will use a sign similar to this one but thumb and index touching each other, to measure something as little or a bit. i.e. Can I get a little bit of your candy (inserting sign)? However, if doing this sign with both hands, then you are emphasizing something that you may have been complaining of, but in a claiming form. i.e. Why didn’t you pick up the kids from school (raising both hands with this sign)?       


I then proceeded to watch videos about Indian people in their native country. I am fascinated with the Asian culture and their differences from our culture in the Western world. As I mentioned at the beginning of our semester, Asian culture is one of my fascinations. It doesn’t matter if is ChineseJapanese or Indian; I love how everything is so different in the other side of the world. For that reason, I am choosing Indian culture to observe some of their non-verbal communication forms. I found these two funny but educational videos while doing my research. 




In this first video by “That Indian Chick”, it is explained the meaning of hand gestures in the Indian culture and their utilization when transmitting a message. I could notice that some of the gestures are also utilized by me or people from my ethnicity. One thing that called my attention, was the way the measure things by signalizing up their elbows or arm. I wasn’t sure if it meant a lot or a little, but I am guessing it means a lot.  

In this second video by “Meen Fried Chicken Curry”, it is explained the meaning of the famous “Indian head shake”. This is actually my first time researching about this topic and I was satisfied to learn the meaning of such a popular non-verbal form of communication, characterized by Indians. I understood that depending on the motion of the head, as well as the speed, each movement can be used for different statements and circumstances.  

To put my knowledge into practice, I watched a video about a common activity in the streets of Mumbai. Instead of concentrating in the topic of the video and what the youtuber is trying to inform with his video, I was more focus on the verbal and non-verbal language of the people in the video. The facial expressions as well as the tone, intonation and pith.


50s y/o lady, Indian, poor, street hustler

In the video, the lady approaches the tourist to ask him for help for her baby and family to eat. As her English seems no to be perfect, she utilizes her hands and face expressions a lot to communicate with the tourists. She also pays attention to the face expressions of the tourist by constantly observing his face. I guess it is easier to understand what others are saying if you look at them. She tries to convince him of buying her things by showing a sad face. She takes him to the supermarket so he can buy rice, milk and other products for her. When she is choosing the food products she wishes, she points them out.

50s y/o, Indian, Nun, religious

A nun observing from one corner yells to the tourists and warns him of the lady’s intentions of reselling the products somewhere else. The nun has a more fluid speech than the “scammer” lady. Her tone and volume are higher. Her proximity to the tourist is further than the one taken by the “scammer lady” who is very close to the tourist in an attempt to cause pity. The nun speaks firmly as she tries to indirectly reprehend the “Scammer lady”.


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