Nonverbal Behaviour as Communication: The Arabian Coffee Making Ritual

By Lena Darweesh . F..

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The last decade has witnessed a significant surge in anthropological research on the phenomenon of nonverbal communication. This paper attempts to review the subtle behaviours of human communication in the traditional Arabian coffee making ceremony and provide an intangible interpretation based on recent findings on the topic.

The findings conducted through contextual research and field survey has associated nonverbal behaviour elements such as gestures, postures and various body positions as a distinctive form of communication exclusive of speech. Gestures such as accepting the coffee cup with the left hand instead of the right in the traditional Arabian coffee ritual can be interrupted as an extreme insult to the other party and in some cases a justification for tribal feud.

Moreover, the gesture of quivering a coffee cup three times subtly means that the guest does not require any added refills for his cup and that the cup must be instantly taken away from his presence. Such commonly understood socio-cultural gestures may communicate a different message altogether to either the host or the guest once misapplied.

The Arabian coffee making ceremony conveys diverse forms of socio-cultural communication, as well as taking on a unique significant role in expressing specific cultural codes of nonverbal human behaviour.

This research argues that through studying nonverbal behaviour elements, significant insights shed light onto how feelings and attitudes of a given culture act as an implicit means of collective communication expressed by members of that culture.

Keywords: Nonverbal Behaviour, Arabian Coffee Ceremoney, Socio-cultural Communication, Explicit and Implicit Forms of Communication

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 7, pp.175-182. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 800.964KB).

Dr. Lena Darweesh . F.

Lecturer, Department of Interior Design, College of Architecture and Planning, Loughborough University, Loughborough, Leicester, UK

My name is Lena Ahmed Darweesh F. Currently, I’m pursuing a PhD in Industrial Design at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.Publications include; Designing with Culture in Mind (Continuity and Change) published in Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal 2010. I had co-authored a paper at the KFU Symposium of Architecture and Planning labelled “Revisiting traditionalism in Saudi architecture”,on May 2003.I presented a paper titled “The Contemporary Architect in Saudi Environment”, at Abha Tourism Festival, Saudi Arabia (2001). A paper on “Traditionalism V.S. Modernism” discussed at the “First Economic Home Symposium” in Jeddah, September 1999. My interests evolve around identifying the significance of creating culturally appropriate consumer products using global technology, in order to create products that resonate with the consumer’s beliefs and values.


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