Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Offending with the fingers

So I've learned a few movements here that are offensive to the people, but not necessarily offensive to Americans, and we do them all the time.

When calling a child, especially, we turn our palms up point to the individual with our pointer finger and pull it in and out calling them to come to us. This is very offensive to the people.

When you are calling someone you are supposed to put your palm down and use all of your fingers to call someone by pulling them in and out.

I just learned today that to a Tibetan (and I only know this because he was Tibetan and no Nepali's around to tell me if it's offensive to them as well) it is rude to point with you pinkie finger. You are supposed to use your index finger.

Most of the Nepali people don't use their hands to point at all though, they use their lips.

I don't really understand the whole "Let me take a picture of myself making a kissy face."

Now, I realize they are just pointing at the camera! It make sense now. They've picked up on the Nepali custom!!


  1. I really enjoy reading your emails and updates, Jamie. This pointing with the lips thing sounds kind of strange. Do they pucker up with "kissy lips" kinds of up and down or in and out to point? Or is it just a one time pucker when they point to someone? This is so much fun learning about Nepali from you. :) Oh, I couldn't believe how many lock you all have on your doors! Is there a lot of crime or danger around there that makes it necessary for that much security?
    Looking forward to the next edition of Nicks 2 Nepal. You all are in our prayers!
    Felicia Bedell

  2. They kind of pucker up and then wiggle the lips in the direction of whatever they want you to see and use their eyes too look at it at the same times. It's not as easy to know what they are talking about as pointing is, but it works for them. As far as the locks, I don't really know. I know that we are targeted for thievery--American's = money to them. So that is why we have dogs and a fence, but the locks I guess are a secondary barrier. Thanks for the encouragement.

  3. Hands down to call and lips puckered to point is exactly the same here in the Philippines....I know exactly what you are talking about....we westerners have to adapt in a lot of ways beyond just learning language. God bless your journey!