Nonverbal Behavior in France

The culture which I have chosen to select for examples of nonverbal behaviors typically associated with that culture would be the French. The French culture proved to be rich and plentiful in a variety of interesting nonverbal behaviors.

One of the more classical French gestures would be the French pout. The French pout expresses disgust, disdain and many of what was described as “just about any negative emotion beginning with “dis” (French, 2007). To pout or “faire la moue” one pushes their lips out while bringing them back in, in a facial expression like a smooch or what could look like a quick pucker. According to my research, a bored facial expression is common to accompany this pout look.

The nonverbal action or behavior for “let’s get the hell out of here” is represented by holding one’s hands out, with palms down while smacking one hand down onto the other (French, 2007). The word for this nonverbal action in French is “On se tire.”

One of the other nonverbal gestures in France is in expressing your disbelief at what another person is saying to you, one would use his index finger, pull down the skin under one of your eyes while saying “Mon oeil!” In the research I read on this expression it stated that it was the same as if to say in America, “my foot” (French, 2007).  I personally never heard this expression so perhaps it’s not as commonly used now as it once was.

Lastly, I chose a nonverbal expression that seemed kind of unusual to me. According to one of the sites I used, in French if you were saying someone was lazy you would hold out your hands, pull on an imaginary hair supposedly growing out of your hand while saying “Il a un poil dans la main” (Welcome, 2000).

In the French culture, their nonverbal language and behavior can be used for ordinary conversation or for vulgar gestures. Much of the nonverbal language can look familiar while some of their nonverbal language can look unfamiliar to those outside of France. However, it has to be stated that the French definitely have a variety of interesting nonverbal expressions that can be used to enhance their conversations.


(2007). French Language. Retrieved April 14, 2007, from Understanding and Using

French Gestures Web site:

(2000). Welcome to the French website. Retrieved April 13, 2007, Web site: