Drinking alcohol helps people learning to speak foreign languages

omg 13/12/2017

Foreign language learners may have reason to rejoice after a recent study on language learning was published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

British and Dutch researchers wanted to see if there was any effect on how well people could speak a second language after consuming alcohol.

Alcohol lows inhibition, making it easier to overcome nervousness or hesitation common in language learners. However, it does impair cognitive functions and memory, which could lead to other problems speaking a second language.

To test their theory, researchers worked with 50 native German speakers learning how to speak Dutch who had recently passed an exam demonstrating proficiency in the language.

The participants were asked to drink a small amount of either water or alcohol and then have a two-minute, casual conversation with an interviewer in Dutch. 

After the conversation piece, two native Dutch speakers graded their performance.

The speakers in the group who had consumed alcohol were better at pronunciation and fluency than the speakers who had drunk water.

The amount of alcohol ingested varied on the amount per person, but for a 70kg man it was just under a pint of beer, or around 1.6 standard drinks.