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Field Guide to Gestures (Field Guide) [Paperback]

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Item description for Field Guide to Gestures (Field Guide) by Nancy Armstrong...

Finally, a field guide to interpreting more than 100 international gestures, from the wave to the finger, from the shrug to the nod.
Here’s easy access to the essential information about common (and some not-so-common) gestures you may encounter at home or abroad. Field Guide to Gestures is organized into handy sections for quick reference when time is of the essence and interpretation is everything. If a man bends his torso forward when meeting you, turn to the “Arrival/Departure” chapter to learn more about the bowing gesture. When the woman at the end of the bar flips her hair and looks your way, turn to the “Mating” chapter to learn just what she’s trying to say. And if your friend has intertwined his index finger and middle fingers as the night’s lottery numbers are being read, go to “No Words Needed” to learn more about the crossed fingers gesture.
This practical guide includes more than 100 full-color photographs of the world’s most common gestures, plus cross-referenced descriptions throughout, including historical background and common usage. Helpful step-by-step directions and detailed line drawings teach you how to perform each gesture correctly.
Nancy Armstrong and Melissa Wagner are freelance writers living in Philadelphia. They wave their hands when they talk, and are keen interpreters of gestures glimpsed across crowded bars. They are the co-authors of Field Guide to Stains (Quirk Books, 2003). 

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Item Specifications...

Pages   320
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 5.8" Width: 4.4" Height: 0.9"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jul 1, 2003
Publisher   Quirk Books
ISBN  1931686203  
ISBN13  9781931686204  
UPC  082345362036  

Availability  0 units.

More About Nancy Armstrong

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Nancy Armstrong is Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Comparative Literature, English, and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University. Leonard Tennenhouse is Adjunct Professor of Comparative Literature and Modern Culture and Media at Brown University.

Nancy Armstrong currently resides in the state of Minnesota.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Humor > General
2Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Humor > Jokes & Riddles
3Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Humor > Self-Help & Psychology
4Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > General
5Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Psychology & Counseling
6Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Relationships > Interpersonal Relations
7Books > Subjects > Reference > General
8Books > Subjects > Reference > Words & Language > Communication

Reviews - What do customers think about Field Guide to Gestures (Field Guide)?

Quirky book from Quirk!  Apr 30, 2008
So tongue in cheek it almost swallows it, but you will find yourself trying to follow the step by step "Execution:" directions, invariably starting with "Make a fist with one hand" and often demonstrated with line figures.

Call me crazy, but this book will make you smile.
review; field guide to gestures  Jul 23, 2005
I'm a sign language interpreter.
I work in Cook County as a Court Interpreter, only one among spoken Language interpreters, Spanish and Polish and all the rest. They think I'm making stuff up when I work.
I say the same thing about them.
When I need to make the point that they already know a bazillion signs, then I haul out this book and show them what I mean. It works every time.
Keeps the focus on the work, not on interpersonal relationships in the workplace.
Coleen Hogan
Useful and Funny Guide  Dec 19, 2003
If you often find yourself scratching your head, shrugging, or furrowing your eyebrows in confusion because of the non-verbal gestures of others, then this book was written expressly for you! 108 gestures are described, illustrated via drawings, and explained in this handy book. The book is well-organized and gestures are divided into common-sense categories: arrival (handshake), departure (waving), approval (high five), disapproval (finger wag), mating (hair flip), offensive and profane (chin flick), just for emphasis (finger snap), and "no words needed" (crossing fingers).

Although most of the gestures are likely to be familiar to most people, some obscure gestures are included as well (e.g., the fig). In addition to this basic information, the authors provide interesting facts about the origins and variations of gestures. For example, making a "W" with your finger to mean "whatever" was popularized by the 1995 movie, "Clueless." Likewise, they note that the thumbing of the nose has more names than any other gesture, including "pull a snook," "japenese fan," and "pull bacon."

The authors also discuss the meanings of the gestures in various cultures. For example, in parts of Greece, nodding means "no" and shaking the head means "yes." Likewise, making horns with you hand can mean that your a rock fan in the U.S., or signify a cuckold in Mediterranean countries!

Fortunately, the authors approach the subject firmly tongue-in-cheek, and I found myself laughing frequently. Each gesture is also illustrated with a color plate, some of which are hilarious, especially the profane ones that are illustrated by an older woman! A terrific, well-researched little book that is most highly recommended.

Let's Have a Show of Hands  Sep 16, 2003
You are in conversation with an individual you do not know well. All of a sudden she makes a fist, extends the pinkie on one side and the thumb on the other, and wiggles the fist with its extended digits. You are mystified. What do you do? The answer is simple: You pull out the _Field Guide to Gestures: How to Identify and Interpret Virtually Every Gesture Known to Man_ (Quirk Books) by Nancy Armstrong and Melissa Wagner. After all, it is pocket sized and full of pictures, and you always have it with you. You find the photo of the gesture, but you ignore the similar one with the fist elevated and the thumb pointed to the open mouth ("Let's Drink") or the one where the thumb is near the ear and the pinkie is near the mouth ("Call me"). No, the gesture is the "Hang Loose"; your partner in conversation is using a sign associated with Hawaiian surfers, but actually traced to Spanish explorers. The gesture derives from "Let's Drink", but as given without the "bottle" gesture, it has no implications of recreational drug use, just "take it easy". If you are in Japan, however, the gesture might mean "six." There is more information available on this gesture, and on over a hundred others in this funny and interesting book. It doesn't matter that you know most of them already; included here are pointing, nodding, hugging, rolling the eyes, and so on. You can find out the history of the gesture, where it might be misunderstood, and exactly how to make it. You will be surprised at how many gestures you already use and take for granted.

For a sample, look at just a few of the gestures that can be made with the hand in a simple pointing configuration. The index finger extended from the fist is universally understood to mean "look over there". Pointing upwards, it means "one". Elevated and wagged it means "No, no, no..." Slashed across the throat it is an utmost gesture of disapproval. Inserted in and out of the fingers of the other hand, it means, well, you know. Tapping the finger on the side of the nose means "We are sharing a secret." Put to pursed lips, it is "Shhhhh!" even without the sound. Put to the side of the head and rotated it means "crazy". There is a special subtlety to this particular gesture in Japan. It means "crazy" when rotated counterclockwise, but "vain" when clockwise. This distinction, however, the authors note, is fading. Amusingly, as with other field guides, there is a disclaimer at the front of the book to say that it can't list the millions of gestures and meanings, and stressing that it therefore cannot guarantee full reliability. Of particular interest to the naughty will be the large section dealing with gestures of disrespect. If you follow the explicit "1-2-3" directions here, you can perform "The Moon" at someone, for instance. Hand signals saying about the same thing are definitely not omitted from this guide.

For a reference book, I found _Field Guide to Gestures_ to be great fun. Thumbs up.


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