Non-Verbal Communication and Respect in Kurdish Social Situations with Reference to English


  • Parween Saadi Abdulaziz College of Physical Education and Sports Sciences, Department of Sports Sciences, Duhok University, KRG - Iraq



KEYWORDS: Non-verbal Communication, Sociolinguistics, Politeness, Kinesics, Gestures, Meta- language.


Communication can have different forms by different people in diverse ages. Communication can be generally verbal and non- verbal. Non- verbal communication is any gesture or action used by people to show many functions of language, being informative, directive, interpersonal, aesthetic, etc. This study is an attempt to investigate this means of communication in terms of politeness both pragmatically and sociolinguistically in the Kurdish social situations. Despite of the scarce pragmatic and sociolinguistic attention to politeness in non- verbal communication in the Kurdish community, this means of communication is of vital importance in this culture due to its inferential influence on politeness and expression of respect. People can show respect to others by some gestures and traditional practices without stating any polite expression verbally. The non- verbal cues like gestures and actions can be socially normalized ones and/or be institutional. After conducting focus group discussions with the Kurdish native speakers and analyzing the data primarily qualitatively, the study revealed that there is a direct relationship between respect and non- verbal communication, the cultural practices and gestures employed by the Kurdish informants are being socially conventional in the Kurdish community. Despite of the great impact of non- verbal cues on communication, the majority of the informants preferred to use verbal communication in terms of sending the message intended, the perception, i.e. understanding of the message got almost similar voices for receiving the message of communication as visualized the bar graphs in the analysis section. Expressive speech acts like, greetings; thanking, congratulating, etc. related to politeness can be saliently conveyed non- verbally. The rituals and gestures practiced by the Kurdish community   are almost fixed and used similarly by all individuals. 


Download data is not yet available.


Brown, P. and Levinson, S. 1987. Universals of language use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Crystal, D. 2008. A dictionary of linguistics and phonetics 6th ed. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.

Danesi, M. 2006 "Proxemics". In: Brown, K. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistic, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 241- 244.

Flexis- Brasdefer, J. 2008. Politeness in Mexico and the United States. A contrastive study of the realization and perception of refusals. Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing Company.

Goman, C. 2008. The nonverbal advantage: Secrets and science of body language at work. San Francisco: Berrette- Koehler Publishing Inc.

Hill, B. Ide, S. Ilkutas, S. Kawasaki, A. and Ogino, T. (1986). Universals of linguistic politeness: Quantitative evidence from Japanese and American English. Journal of Pragmatics. VOL. 10. Issue. 3. Pp. 347- 371. Available at

Jakubowska, E. (1999). Cross- cultural dimensions of politeness in the case of Polish and English. Katowice: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Slaskiego.

Kasper, G. (1990). “Linguistic politeness: current research issues”, Journal of Pragmatics Vol. 14, pp. 193-218.

Khorsheed, F. (1985). Zimani Kurdi: Dabashbooni gografiay dialectakani. Afaq Arabya: Baghdad.

Lakoff, R. 1975. Language and women’s place, New York: Harper.

Leech, G. 1983. Principles of pragmatics. London: Longman.

Manusov, V. 2016. “A history of research on nonverbal communication : Our divergent pasts and their contemporary legacies”. In: Matsumoto, D. Hwang, H. and , Frank M. (eds.). APA handbook of nonverbal communication. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association, PP. 3- 13.

Matsumoto, D. Hyisung, C. and Frank, M. 2016. APA handbook of nonverbal communication. Washington D.C.: American Psychological Association

Ratcliffe, S. 2016. Oxford essential quotes 4th ed. Available [3rd Jnuary 2021] at

Shidujaman, M. and Mi, H. (2008). "Which country are you from?" A cross- cultural on greeting interaction design for social robots. Available, December 18th, 2021 at file:///C:/Users/ADNAN/Downloads/ShidujamanM.MiH.2018WhichCountryAreYoufromACross.pdf

Watts, R. 2003. Key concepts in sociolinguistics: politeness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Yule, G. 2020. The study of language 3rd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Electronic Sources

Beat Gestures. Available [1st January 2021] at,see%20the%20listener%20or%20not.

Kurdish Language .2018. Encyclopeadia Britanica. Accessed [13th November 2018] at

Etiquette Involved in Non-verbal and Verbal Conversation Available [1st January 2021] at

Eunson, B. 2012. Non-verbal Communication. Available [3rd January 2021] at

Notes on Intercultural Communication. Available [22nd September 2021] at

Sheyholislami, J. 2015. "The language varieties of the Kurds". In: Schahbasi, A. and Kratschmayr, S. (eds.), The Kurds: History- religion- language- politics. Vienna: Austrian Federal Ministry of the Interior. Ch. 3. Accessed [8th January 2019] at

The Dialects of Kurdish. 2017. The University of Manchester. Accessed [8th December 2019] at



How to Cite

Saadi Abdulaziz, P. (2022). Non-Verbal Communication and Respect in Kurdish Social Situations with Reference to English. Academic Journal of Nawroz University, 11(4), 405–420.