Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Communicating like a Nica

When I was home over Christmas, I shared with my family the Nicaraguan custom to point with chin and lips (not your hand or finger) when you want to point out a location. So, for about two weeks we walked around the house puckering up our lips and laughing. With this in mind, I share with you how to communicate like a true Nicaraguan.

· When you want someone to repeat what they said or you don’t understand: Squint or scrunch up your nose.

· When you want to say hello to someone across the street: Extend your arm parallel to the ground at waist level. Put your palm up and extend your neck so your chin points up.

· When you want to say someone is stingy or cheap: Flex your bicep and tap the bottom of your elbow with your opposite hand.

· When you are talking about money: Extend your pointer fingers and slide one across the other as if you were peeling a carrot.

· When you want to say no: Extend your pointer finger and aggressively wag your hand back and forth.

· When you want to say someone has a lot of money: Extend your pointer finger and thumb and hold them out in front of you so that they form an invisible outline of a giant stack of money.

· When you are talking about drinking beer or rum: Extend your thumb and pinky finger (the hang loose sign) and hold your thumb at your mouth. Move your hand up and down as if drinking from a glass.

· When you want to say something is crowded or full: Touch all fingers and thumb together on one hand.

· When you want to eat or are talking about eating: Hold your palm in front of your mouth, fingers together. Snap your fingers back and forth near your mouth.

· When you want to refer to your diarrhea: Make a fist and lock your elbow into the side of your body. Move the lower part of your arm up and down while grimacing.

· When you want to point to something: Pucker up your lips and aim where you want to point (also works to jokingly indicate that your friend is crazy when he’s telling a dumb story).

· When you want to get someone to come towards you: Extend your arm in front of your body and move your wrist up and down with your fingers pointed towards the ground.


  1. Fabulous. Great stuff as ever

  2. Dave, that was fab. May I post this along with a link back on my web site

    I have seen too many Good Things on the web that 5 minutes later they have vanished.

    Tony X Robins

  3. When you want to indicate fear or something scary put you fingers together, like the full sign, then open and close them a little bit a couple times.

  4. Hi Dave,

    You've got a good eye for noticing this. I tried to make a list while I lived in Granada and its a great ice breaker in any situation. I'd like to add some of the ones you mentioned to my list.

    (the formatting is a bit wonky, but you get the gist).

  5. I've read your blog and this post made me laugh so hard that I couldn't help posting a reference to it in my blog I really enjoyed all the things you wrote about my country and can't thank you enough about doing it. Really, thanks

  6. I ended up here thanks to a post on Nimrod's blog, I can tell you I felt totally identified with everything you wrote, it made laugh a lot. Also reminded me about a book by Mr. Carlos Mántica, where some of our quirks are described. It's good to see it from a foreigner point of view though, I never though it was so evident.

    Great blog, I plan on reading everything!

  7. Thanks for the kind words and publicity, Nimrod! I'll have to check out that book that Xochitl mentions. Thanks!