A listener may reject bad words by pinching his nostrils as if to hold back his breath. The meaning of this gesture is, “stop talking to me like this because I would rather die than listen to you.” A similar but less forceful gesture consists of touching one’s ear as if to fold the earlobe forward to prevent bad speech from entering. This gesture usually silences the speaker.

  • Source: Calame-Griaule, Geneviève. Words and the Dogon world. Philadelphia: Institute for the Study of Human Issues, 1986.
  • Culture: Dogon
  • Location: Africa