Mimic Language: What It Is And 6 Examples

The sign language is the ability to express ideas, thoughts and feelings through gestures and body movements. Contrary to verbal or written language, words are not used, but non-verbal communication.

Since childhood, in parallel to verbal communication, the human being develops year after year, this way of making himself understood through mimicry. This process is acquired by observing different actions and reactions that express different ideas and needs.

Mimic language derives from mimes.  It refers to the use of gestures to communicate.

A good example to understand what we mean when we speak of mimic language is when you meet another person who does not speak the same language but needs to communicate something to you. Perhaps unconsciously, you begin to make body movements and gestures, in order to make you understand.

It could be said that mimic language is one more tool for humans and animals, which is used to survive. 

It is also used as a means of expression in different branches of art such as theater by the mime (from the ancient Greek μῖμος,  mimes , “imitator, actor”), who tells a story through movement, without appealing to speech. Another example is dance. You can also see Non-verbal communication: 10 effective ways to improve it.

6 well-known examples of mimic language

1- Pantomime

Pantomime is a form of artistic representation. The person in charge of carrying out said representation is a mime. 
It is about telling various stories, emotions, feelings by omitting verbal communication and putting the body at the service and in replacement of the word. Also included in dramatic mimicry.

Used as a resource for dramatic representation since Ancient Greece, this expressive tool evolved from generation to generation, passing through the Roman Empire, widely used in the Nō or Noh theater of Japanese musical drama.

Its time of maximum splendor took place in 16th century Italy with the Commedia dell’Arte, that is to say Comedy of art.

There were great professionals, artists who used pantomime as a means of artistic expression, among whom the following stood out: Charles Chaplin (United Kingdom, 1889/1977), British actor and director; Buster Keaton (USA, 1895/1966), American actor and silent film director and Marcel Marceau (France, 1923/2007), French mime and actor.

2- Sign language

Sign language is an expressive language through the use of different signs and gestures perceived visually and through touch.

It was Gerónimo Cardano, an Italian doctor, who in the 16th century established that deaf-mute people would be able to communicate through symbols, associating them with the object or thing in question.

Later, exactly in the year 1620, Juan de Pablo Bonet published the first treatise on phonetics and speech therapy, which would help in communication between the deaf and the dumb.

3- Silent cinema

The beginning of silent cinema was in 1888 with the first silent film entitled “The Roundhay Garden Scene” made by Louis Le Prince. Its heyday lasted from 1894 to 1929, when the talkies took the reins of the seventh art.

In silent movies, there was no synchronization between images and sound, mainly there were no sound dialogues. Sometimes you could appreciate the accompaniment of live music to the images of the film.

Most of the movies shot during the silent movie era were shot in black and white. There are records that show that some filmmakers, such as Georges Méliès (1862/1938, France), had a team in charge of painting the frames, in order to color the films.

According to experts on the subject, towards the end of the 1920s, with the invention of talkies, there was a great crisis in cinema, because the visual quality of silent films during 1920 was much higher than that of its sound successor. . It took several years to get the people back inside the audiovisual projection rooms.

4- Greetings with the hands

Another example of mimic language can be all or some of the gestures that we use on a daily basis with our peers. From winking an eye to a handshake.

There are several stories that try to explain this custom we have of shaking hands. One of them tells us that doing this comes to us from the cavemen, who raised their hands to communicate to the other person that they did not possess any weapon.

Over the years, this form evolved, changing according to the culture of each town and resignifying itself according to its form. There are some studies such as NLP (neurolinguistic programming), which inform us that depending on the way we greet, we will be demonstrating different postures. For example:

  • Palm down: Domination.
  • Straight / parallel palm: Empathy.
  • Palm up: Submission or shyness.

5- Communication attempts between two people who do not speak the same language

The situations in which we put into action all our baggage of mimic language that we possess, are in which, by chance or wanting, we cross paths with another human being who does not have the same language as us.

Whether traveling in another country, or with a tourist in your land, these encounters happen. That is when we begin to make all kinds of signs, with our faces, hands, and our entire body, in order to make ourselves understood. Of all the examples, this is the one that clarifies the concept of mimic language the most, because it is natural for us to imagine this situation.

6- Gesture theater

The theater of the gesture makes us go through stories through trained actors to achieve excellence in body training. They are professionals of the gesture, they count on their body and not only on the word, they express themselves, they bare their emotions or rather, that of their characters.

One of the great references of the theater of gesture, recognized worldwide for his years of studies and practices, was the French mime, actor and teacher Jacques Lecoq (1921/1999).

Lecoq began as an athlete and physical education teacher, giving him these studies, a great knowledge about the body and its expression in space. Years later, he became interested in the Comedy of art.

The main factor of training in the Lecoq method is the primacy of the gesture, of the body in movement over the merely verbal performance.


  1. Mimic. Recovered from es.thefreedictionary.com.
  2. Corner of Psychology (2011). Mimic language: How does it help to understand the other? Recovered from rinconpsicologia.com.
  3. Le Corps Poétique (The Moving Body, the Poetic Body- Alba editorial, Barcelona, ​​May 2003 ).
  4. What is mimic language. Recovered from: queesela.net.

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