How do English and Spanish reflect empathy?

Today we are going to talk about how Costa Rican Spanish and New Jersey English reflect
empathy. The truth is that many people do not know what empathy is. According to the
dictionary of the Real Academia Española, empathy is “the ability to identify with someone and
share their feelings. In addition, many psychological studies agree that when a person reflects
empathy to another person, the two people feel more related and connected. So, empathy is
essential to having good relationships with friends, family, and teachers at school. In fact,
people use language to communicate and reflect empathy to a person. Therefore, it is
important to consider the linguistics of English and Spanish to see how the two languages show

In Spanish, the subjunctive is used to communicate suggestions and wishes to the other
person. For example, let’s say a boy has a messy room and, therefore, the mother wants the
boy to clean his room. In Spanish, the mother would probably say, “I suggest you clean the
room.” Here, you can see that the mother uses the subjunctive to communicate this suggestion.
On the other hand, in English, the mother would probably say, “I suggest you clean up her
room.” Therefore, we see that in Spanish the mother will use the subjunctive to communicate
the suggestion to the boy, but in English the mother will use the call sign to communicate the
same suggestion. The subjunctive exerts less force on the boy while the indicative exerts more
force on the boy. Also in Spanish the boy, technically, has the option of not cleaning his room,
but in English it sounds like the boy has no option of cleaning or not cleaning his room. We are
usually very indicative in New Jersey but not so in Spanish. In short, Spanish shows empathy
better than English.

Also, in Spanish, you don’t use the possessive as much as you do in English. For example
in English we would say, “I brush my teeth.” But, in Spanish, you would say, “Me brusillo los
dientes.” In English we always say “me” because we are very proud of what we own. That’s why
gringos are said to be individualists. Also, these feelings have a big effect on American culture
because gringos tend to fall into consumerism, and sometimes gringos, unfortunately, tend to
think that a person’s value is equal to what they possess in terms of money and products. On
the other hand, in Spanish you don’t use the possessive and. Therefore, Costa Ricans tend to
think less in terms of money and possessive things. Therefore, Costa Ricans tend to share more
with others and this feeling reflects empathy. So, Spanish tends to reflect less gluttony and
more empathy than English.

Daniel Shabasson, a teacher who teaches Spanish at The Beekman School in New York,
studied the linguistics of English and Spanish to see if there are any inherent empathic aspects
to the two languages. So, Shabasson was studying the use of the indirect object in Spanish and
English. After studying that, he stated that, in Spanish, “the indirect object refers to the person
who is contextually affected by the action described in the sentence. Therefore, his final
conclusion is that “in Spanish, we are forced to reflect on how people are affected by actions.”
Empathy is the main requirement to have good relationships in life. So, we looked at the
linguistics of English and Spanish to discover how the two languages reflect empathy. Although
gringos can express empathy, the Spanish language has aspects that are inherently more
empathic and, therefore, Spanish reflects empathy better than English.