In the “old days” (a whole 20-30 years ago), when someone agreed with you, or wanted to indicate approval or just wanted to give you a silent “yes”, that person would NOD his/her head. (Nodding, for those of you under the age of 40 is–or was–the act of moving one’s head up and down. The chin would move high and then low, usually a few times, though it could be only once.) To indicate “no”, negativity or disagreement, one would SHAKE the head by moving it side-to-side or shoulder-to-shoulder. These descriptions of head movement made it easy to follow what was going on in a written or spoken narrative.
I have listened diligently to speakers, and carefully read writers, the last dozen-or-so years and found that NO ONE nods his/her head anymore. People only shake it these days. (I’m *hoping* this isn’t an indication that American society has gone completely negative….) Listen and watch for yourself!
The real downside to this, for me at least, is that I have to wait to know whether the ‘head shaker’ is agreeing with the speaker or disagreeing. And during the wait, I’m sure I miss pertinent details of the narrative.
So, if YOU have any influence in the evolution of American society, PLEASE re-introduce head nodding. I *think* it will open up a world of understanding for us!