Talking Without Words: Dominican Nonverbal Expressions You Have to Know

February 22, 2016

I am a girl of many expressions. Husband isn’t the first to tell me that my “face says it all.” My facial expressions could tell a story before the story is told and the rest of my body follows suit. That’s the legacy of a latino; we speak with our whole body. Dominicans are no exception. Like most latinos, they speak with their hands but there are two very Dominican nonverbal expressions that are vital to life here (complete with gif examples).

The I Didn’t Hear You Nose Shrug

No, you don’t smell bad. This is simply a way of letting you know that they didn’t hear something.

What’s that?

Nose shrug.

What'd You Say Nose Scrunch

The Location Pointer Lip Pout

Not to be confused with an air kiss. This isn’t part of a catcall; it’s a finger point with your mouth.

Where’s my purse?
Over there.

Lip pout.

In what direction is the nearest colmado?
That way.

Lip pout.

It's Over There Lip Pout

(UPDATE: I CAN’T BELIEVE I FORGOT THIS ONE. Even my daughter does it.)

The No, No Finger Wag

You could say the actual words all you want but until you finger wag, your disapproval isn’t valid.

Do you want to buy an avocado?

How about a mango?

And what about this mango?
Finger wag
Street vendor leaves.

Dominican Finger Wag

Dominican Finger Wag

Any I missed? Are there any nonverbal expressions you make?

P.S. What our kids have learned living in the Dominican Republic and SnapShots of DR

Bottle Imagewine glass

Like us on Facebook for mini-stories and updates. Or follow us on Instagram for a daily dose of our life through photos.



    1. One day, when you visit DR, you’ll see these and it’ll be eeeeeeeven funnier. lol

❤️👇🏽 COMMENT LOVE 👇🏽❤️

More in Travel
MicroAdventure: Exploring Juan Dolio

For as long as I've been abroad, I've counted down the days until my parents were both retired from work and responsibilities so they could join us in the Dominican Republic for a few months....

A Non-Webster’s Dictionary of Dominican Words

People assumed when we moved to the Dominican Republic that language would be easy for me since my family is Cuban and I spoke Spanish well. I called for a...