Friendships come and go. Apart from the occasional Facebook message, many of us don’t maintain our childhood relationships. Perhaps we should have gone to language immersion school! Research shows that learning a second language like Spanish improves communication and empathy. Bilingual preschoolers who enroll in a language immersion program could develop these social skills and foster life-long friendships.
What Does the Research Say?
One study suggests that children who speak more than one language are better at understanding people. These children don’t have to be fluent in another language; mere exposure to more than one language improves empathy.
“Early language exposure is essential to developing a formal language system but may not be sufficient for communicating effectively,” say researchers from the University of Chicago. “To understand a speaker’s intention, one must take the speaker’s perspective. Multilingual exposure may promote effective communication by enhancing perspective-taking.”
Learning a Second Language Improves Interpretation
In the study, adults asked children to move objects on a grid on a table. Could the kids correctly interpret the speaker’s meaning? And “take on” the perspective of an adult sitting on the other side of the table?
“The children in the exposure group selected correctly 76 percent of the time, and the bilingual group took the adult’s perspective in the game correctly 77 percent of the time,” says Futurity.
The University of Chicago study demonstrates that children exposed to more than one language are not only better communicators but interpret a speaker’s meaning better than monolingual children. This is a great skill for friendships (and relationships of all kinds) because correctly interpreting what someone says reduces misunderstandings and potential conflict.
Why Does Language Learning Improve Friendships?
When people communicate effectively, they nurture relationships throughout their lives. Communication is one of the strongest social benefits and helps people get to know each other. It facilitates understanding and tolerance.
“One thing that never seems to be talked about is how learning a second language opens a whole new window of opportunity to learn how other people in this big ol’ world are communicating and what we can take away from that,” says Business2Community.
Of course, bilingual people still have arguments and disagreements. This is part of the human experience. But as great communicators, people can overcome challenges and nurture life-long bonds based on patience and compassion.
Learning a new language like Spanish is an excellent way to improve communication. KSS Immersion Schools welcomes all children aged 2-6 in the Bay Area into their social distancing-compliant learning environment.
Discover Spanish language pre-school programs that improve communication and friendships here!