Less Thinking, More Drinking

A study confirms what some of us may have already suspected: alcohol improves our foreign language skills

Forget about the tongue twisters next time you hit the bar; it is proved small dose of alcohol has positive effects on the pronunciation of foreign language words.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool, Maastricht University, and King’s College London tested this popular belief. Their recently published article in Journal of Psychopharmacology, explained this theory. Divided in two experimental groups, 50 native German speakers, who are learning to speak Dutch, were given either a low dose of alcohol or a control beverage containing no alcohol, and asked to have a conversation in Dutch for a few minutes. Two native Dutch speakers, unaware of their condition, rated their abilities.

Participants who were slightly intoxicated received better ratings than their sober counterparts, particularly when it came to pronunciation. Results supported the hypothesis of alcohol improving the ability to speak a second language. The study states that it is due to increase of confidence in performance and decrease of social anxiety when being tipsy. And while the pronunciation errors in the intoxicated person’s native tongue remain, foreign words don’t sound so slurred after all.

So how about having a next language course in a bar? Cheers!

Anja Stevic
Is a Croatian born writing for Metropole. After moving around, she decided to make Vienna her hometown, where she is currently pursuing her MSc in Communications. In her free time, she is attending exhibitions, photographing or analyzing data.

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