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English Conversation: The Meaning of Hand Gestures


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0:02

Hello. My name is Emma, and in today's video, I am going to teach you

0:07

all about how we use our hands in English.

0:11

So there are many ways we use our hands in English. I'm going to

0:14

teach you a lot of different ways we use them. A lot of students get very confused with this,

0:19

because the way we use our hands varies from culture to culture, so what we do in Canada

0:25

and England and the U.S. might be very different than with what you do in your country. Okay?

0:32

So pay close attention to these differences.

0:35

So to start with, let's look at: "knock on wood".

0:40

If you're living in an English-speaking country,

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you may have noticed sometimes people have a wooden object or a desk, a table, something

0:49

made of wood, and they knock on it.

0:53

Okay? You might wonder: "What does this mean, knock on wood?"

0:58

In English tradition, if you say something good, for example:

1:05

"I did very, very well on my test. I killed my test. I did amazing on my test",

1:11

you might knock on wood to make sure that you don't jinx it. Okay?

1:17

I'll give you another example.

1:19

Imagine if I want to go on a picnic, and I'm a little afraid about rain, I might say:

1:26

"Oh, you know, today's supposed to be a very sunny day. Knock on wood."

1:31

I'm knocking on wood to prevent rain. Okay? So it's a superstition

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we do in order to kind of protect ourselves from the

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opposite happening. Okay? One last example:

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-"How did your interview go? How did your job interview go?"

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-"Oh, it went well." [Knocks] Okay,

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so that's why we knock on wood, it's a superstition.

1:59

All right, let's look at some of these other ones. "Quotes".

2:03

A lot of students have asked me: "What does this mean?"

2:07

Okay? So, for example, somebody might say:

2:11

"Yeah, she's beautiful."

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Or: "He's really smart."

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This kind of has a sarcastic tone to it. It means somebody

2:22

has said somebody is beautiful, but you don't believe it. Or somebody has said somebody