A large part of the Argentine population are descendants of Italian immigrants, who came to this country during the late 1800s and early 1900s. You can see the Italian influences in many aspects of the Argentine culture, especially when it comes to how they communicate. Italians are known for speaking with their hands, and this habit has passed onto their Argentine descendants.
To move around Argentina like a true local, this information will help you decipher the hand gestures that are most commonly used, which you can also pick up and use easily without causing any unfortunate misunderstandings!
‘’Anda‘’ / “Go away”.
Waving with their hand from the front to the back above the head. If an Argentinean does this, you’d better back out because he or she is not happy with your presence
‘’No sé’’ / ‘’Ni idea’’ – I don’t know/ I have no idea
[Stick out your lower lip, tilt your head back slightly and flick the back of your fingers from underneath your chin.]
A great one to use when someone asks you where the number 108 bus stops and you don’t have a clue! It can also be used as a sign of boredom or apathy, as if to say ‘’Don’t know, don’t care, why are you still here?’’
‘’¡Ojo!’’ – Be careful/ Watch out!
[Point to your eye and pull down your lower eyelid using your index finger.]
Be careful! Watch out or you’ll get into some kind of trouble!
‘’La cuenta por favor!’’ – The bill, please
[The thumb and finger form a ring while the other fingers remain slack; the hand is held in the air and mimes the action of writting.]
This gesture is used solely in restorants, taverns, cafes and other dining stablishments to signal to a member of the waitstaff that you are ready to pay your bill and depart.
The check please gesture is a way to make your request known without shouting or leaving your table, and when a restaurant is busy or crowded, the gesture saves your server and extra trip to the table.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ARGENTINE BODY LANGUAGE
It is much more common in Argentina than the US or UK for someone to touch your arm or shoulder when you are talking, or stand closer than you may be used to. And whatever you do, don’t back away from the obligatory kiss when greeting friends, family and acquaintances – a kiss on the cheek when you arrive and when you leave is the done thing and it is considered rude to withhold or skip out of the party without kissing everyone goodbye.