the notorious indian head bobble.
this is another funny cross cultural thing that i encounter constantly in india, and even in my own house. hehe.

does it mean yes? does it mean no? what on earth...

if you don't know what i'm talking about, here's a quick video explanation.

when my husband gives me the head bobble, it's often partnered with a 'hmmmm.'

to an american, 'hmmm' kind of translates as 'what?'
but to an indian, 'hmmm' is pretty much the vocal equivalent of the head bobble...
like the head bobble, more often than not it means 'yes'.

that's the thing with the head bobble. it can kind of mean what you want it to. but it seems most often to me to be a kind of reluctant yes.

in indian culture, if someone asks you to do a favor or something, it's impolite to say no...even if you can't do it. so my guess is that the head bobble evolved out of thousands of years of the reluctant yes, and the yes that is really a no. it's kind of inbetween.

you all know what i'm talking about. saying yes to be polite, but you know deep down that you're not going to do whatever you just said yes to. :P

anyways, i may have just made this thing even more confusing...
but i'm kind of starting to think that's the point of it. ambiguity.
you asked me a question? the answer is whatever you decide you want it to mean!

One Comment

  1. HAHA This is so true I find myself doing this esp at work and at home but the at home part depends on who it is that I'm answering though. I didn't find the post to be conusfing at all I understood what you are talking about. The head bobble is what ever you want it to be sometimes.


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