Italian language Sicilian culture Sicilian language

Hands, facial expressions, movements, emotions and words: that’s how Sicilians talk.

Within every Sicilian there is a world of cultures different from each other. And it seems that using hand gestures is the only way to make all of them coming out at once.

Italians use a lot of gestures and Sicilians even more. And it’s not just about moving their hands while they talk: each gesture has got a meaning that can be translated not just in words, but into emotions too.

Photo credits :“Hands Fidgeting From Boredom” by Mark Spearman is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Facial expressions play an important role, also. The key for expressing yourself with Italian and Sicilian gestures is the feeling. If you don’t feel it, the movement of your hands will just be… a movement.

What is communicated through a gesture is a concept that goes beyond words. It is more about an expression of all of the emotions inside a person.

Sicilians learn to understand this special sign language very soon… no Sicilian child wants to see their mum biting her hand (meaning: if I’ll get you, you’ll be in trouble).

It seems that this habit comes from the Greeks, people to whom Sicilians still owe their special way of saying ’no’. Have you ever heard the Sicilian ’no’? Well, that’s a ntz sound (as if you wanted to make the sound of a kiss but with your tongue touching the top of your back upper teeth). While Sicilians make that sound, they lift their head up, similarly to a nod. A bit confusing, isn’t it?

Photo credits: “A view out to sea from Tahomina in Sicily. #sea #sicily #tahomina #beach #bay #island” by ocean-design is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Probably the use of gestures was born for the necessity of communicating with so many different people: Sicily is in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea and it was a very popular destination for everyone.

Within every Sicilian there is a world of cultures different from each other. And it seems that using hand gestures is the only way to make all of them coming out at once.

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With my great surprise, our son who speaks mainly English, uses the Sicilian ‘ntz’ sound. Needless to say that this makes me very happy.
Here a video that explains about Italian gestures.
And this is a fun video that explains about Sicilian gestures
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