Non-Verbal Spanish: Gestures and Body Language

This page explains the role of gestures and body language in Spanish communications and provides some tips to improve your skills.

Verbal and non-verbal communication in Spanish

Languages and verbal communication represent one form of interactions between people. However, it is not the only one. Non-verbal communication like gestures, mimics, and body language complement verbal communication – in some cultures and languages more than in others.

People in Spanish speaking countries tend to use gestures and body language a lot, therefore getting used to these is an integral part of any effort to learn the Spanish language.

The importance of body language

By watching gestures and body language, you can often tell what the speaker is thinking or what energy the person has at the moment.

This may be a useful piece of information, especially when your ability to understand spoken Spanish is limited at the beginning. Spanish native speakers tend to speak at very high speed and it is sometimes difficult to understand Spanish word by word. Body language can help to fill in these gaps.

Practice non-verbal Spanish communication too

From the above it is clear that you will need to practice non-verbal Spanish communication besides learning the verbal Spanish. You should get used to the gestures and body language that Spanish speakers use.

Though this is quite intangible and it is hard to measure progress, becoming familiar with Spanish body language will improve your ability to understand Spanish to a surprisingly high extent.

How to get used to non-verbal Spanish

The best way to practice verbal as well as non-verbal Spanish communication is of course spending time with native Spanish speakers and doing a lot of talking and listening.

That said, if you don't have such opportunity at this moment, at least try to get a less active exposure to verbal and non-verbal Spanish. Many Spanish online courses have video sections. Their advantage is that they are usually structured in a way that you start with easy short interviews, get everything explained to you, and then move to more complicated and longer videos.

Advanced Spanish learners can also try watching Spanish TV online or watching Spanish movies.

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