Sign Language

23 Feb, 2005 | GeneralTravelTdp

I always remember, though I’ve long since forgotten the source, reading that should aliens land in Italy they would believe humans communicated using gestures and that speech was used only for emphasis. The rest of the world tends to work the other way around, but working in a country which has a native language I’m not sure I’d ever understand has given me a somewhat different insight. Most Dutch people speak very good English and around the office, especially with so many Brits working here at the moment, they have no problem using it. Between one another though, they still use Dutch (as you would expect), which means eavesdropping isn’t easy. It’s surprised me how much I can understand without understanding the words, simply by looking at the body language and listening to people’s tone of voice. I may not get the full picture, but I can generally understand the meaning or subject of a conversation. It makes you wonder just how much we do rely on speech, and how much communication is possible between animals that don’t ‘talk.’