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Using one's thumb

 
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The evil penguin



Joined: 24 May 2003
Location: Doing something naughty near you.....

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 9:59 pm    Post subject: Using one's thumb Reply with quote

Had a strange discussion with a student today. I'm at a university in china (not able to post on the chinese discussion forum but the topic's just as applicable in korea). The student came up to me after class and apologised to me today because apparently (i can't recall the incident) she gave me the thumbs up gesture a few days ago while replying to a question i posed in class. Not sure of what the question actually was now, but she was telling me that something was good. Anyway, she was actually pretty distraught today because her chinese 'manners' teacher (i had to bite back a smile when i heard that one) had lectured to all students that the thumbs up gesture was only applicable in china and was considered highly offensive in the west.

After reassuring her that is was ok, i spoke to one of the chinese english teachers and mentioned that, as far as i'm aware, there are no alternate offensive meanings to the thumbs up sign. Her reply: as I (the evil penguin) am from a small town in Australia i probably don't really know or understand the regional meaning. Inferring of course that i am some uneducated yokel from boondockville. The manners teacher (i have to snigger again... chinese manners!) who speaks absolutely no english has been to sydney and has personally witnessed how rude the thumbs up gesture is.

Classic cause of the "well if you folk know it all then what the hell am i doing here?" feeling among foreign teachers.

Now, i am aware of how different gestures do have alternate meanings in some cultures. The 'ok' sign is one i've heard (rightly or wrongly) that has some kind of sexual connotation in some asian countries.

But the thumbs up sign?
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RACETRAITOR



Joined: 24 Oct 2005
Location: Seoul, South Korea

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know it's offensive in Greece and middle-eastern cultures, but I also thought I read once that it's offensive in Australia.
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DrunkenMaster



Joined: 04 Feb 2008

PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It used to mean "up his arse" in Roman times. The crowd would put their thumbs up to signal that the defeated fighter was to be finished off. Pollice verso.
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joeyjoejoe



Joined: 24 Sep 2006

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

according to wiki
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thumbs_up
Quote:
"Thumbs up" traditionally translates as the foulest of gesticular insults in some Middle Eastern countries the most straightforward interpretation is 'Up yours, pal!' The sign has a similarly pejorative meaning in parts of West Africa, South America, Iran, Iraq, Greece, and Sardinia, according to Roger E. Axtell's book Gestures: The Do's and Taboos of Body Language Around the World."
In Iran, Iraq and Thailand it is traditionally an obscene gesture, equivalent to the use of the middle finger in the Western world.


interesting gladiator facts about thumbs up
http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/games/a/thumbsup.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollice_verso

it's not offensive in australia, unless it's accompanied by an extremely sarcastic comment
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D.D.



Joined: 29 May 2008

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its good if it isn't some student in Korea trying to stick it up your butt.

Other than that it means Ok cool no problem. I lived in Aus and it means the same there as in other countries.

As usual a thumbs down to that Chinese uni teacher and her 1940's book on manners.
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Pooty



Joined: 15 Jun 2008
Location: Ela stin agalia mou

PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2008 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DrunkenMaster wrote:
It used to mean "up his arse" in Roman times. The crowd would put their thumbs up to signal that the defeated fighter was to be finished off. Pollice verso.


Funny, I was flipping through channels on TV the other day: The scene was somewhere during the chosun dynasty and the two Korean warriors look at eachother and give eachother the thumbs up sign and laugh.
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