Language Learning as a Fourth Tool for Empathy Building

     This article caught my attention, confirming my hopes on building empathy via learning at least three languages from different language families, and tying in with my post on three other complementary ways to build empathy:

    “In reply to: Dr. Arguelles says that we should all learn six languages that fall into four categories:

Langs 1 and 2.)  Classical languages of one’s own culture.

Langs 3 and 4.) Major living languages of one’s broader culture.

Lang 5.) The international language.

Lang 6.) Exotic language (for the person).

This seems to be in line with this Atlantic article “”

stating that
“…Multilingual exposure may promote effective communication by enhancing perspective-taking.”

So, yes, language learning does indeed build empathy.

Oh, and for me:   I am fluent, accidentally, in Spanish and French, and conversant (my writing is horrible) in Turkish, because I either worked or lived in Mexico, France, and Turkey.  I read Biblical Hebrew, and am learning modern Greek out of curiosity, so let’s see:

  1. Langs 1 and 2.)  Classical languages of one’s own culture:   That would be Hebrew and
  2. Greek, although I am learning modern Greek, not ancient
  3. Langs 3 and 4.) Major living languages of one’s broader culture:  Those would be English, and
  4. Spanish
  5. Lang 5.) The international language: for me, that’s French checked off, and
  6. Turkish is the only language left, although I don’t really consider it exotic.  Personally, I’d like to learn Medieval Farsi/Persian, so that I can read Rumi.  I did begin learning Tsalagi/Cherokee, back when I was researching my NC roots, but didn’t have time to pursues those studies, as I got work in Mexico and had to learn Spanish in a hurry.

   Ok, so I don’t get full points, but I came close, just on my curiosity and attempts to get residence in some other country, over the years.  I credit those languages, to which I began having exposure (French and Spanish) at a very early age due to living in DC at a time when many Puerto Rican residents were moving through the area, and having a parent obsessed with sounding hoity-toity, thus babbling in bad French rather often at me, until I learned, around the age of 5, to say “Mamà, je suis malade de français !”  -which stopped that, but the memory stayed with me, apparently, as I learned French very quickly when I moved to Bretagne.  It also helps that the Breton version of French is much easier to learn than other versions, as they speak more slowly and the rhythm is quite predictable.  Maybe it’s due to the weather.

  This is why language learning is part of Project Do Better, linked in below.


      Thoughtful Reader,  please imagine and comment here:   How can empathy help build equity of responsibility?  What could equity of responsibility and citizenry look like, if every person had a home?

  I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this matter, Thoughtful Readers.

We can really  Do Better.



Action Prompts:

    Share your thoughts on how to build buy-in create a more equal, or at least less inequitable, society, please.   Writing, by the way, is my personal contribution to Project Do Better

What would yours be, if you had time?


Click here to read, if you like:

B5, Hakan:Muhafiz/The Protector, Lupin, or La Casa De Papel/Money Heist Reviews,

Holistic High School Lessons,

Shira Destinie A. Jones, MPhil, MAT, BsCs

Creative Commons License
Shira Destinie Jones’ work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.



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