Surprising Study Finds Foreign Language Skills Improve with Alcohol

Before you get excited...it's a REASONABLE amount of alcohol.

January 14, 2019
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Time for vindication.  Remember all those times you said, "No, having a buzz really makes my Spanish better!" or "My French accent is so much better after some wine!"?  Well, it just so turns out, you may have been right.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool, Maastricht University, and King's College London have conducted a study to measure the effects of alcohol upon individuals speaking a language which is not their first.  It was a simple experiment...half the participants were given the equivalent of a pint of beer, while the others had non-alcoholic beverages.  Then they conversations in Dutch, the language they were trying to master, and were then graded by native Dutch speakers.

The results?

A small amount of alcohol actually improved fluency, pronunciation, and vocabulary recall.  The lead scientist attributed much of the improvement to "the anxiety-reducing effect of alcohol"...that is, you're less nervous with a bit of booze in you, and can speak more confidently without self-consciousness leading to mistakes.

The one thing, surprisingly, that did NOT happen was a corresponding increase in the alcohol-drinkers' perception of their own abilities.  Put another way, all participants kinda felt that they weren't so hot at Dutch, and even the ones who drank alcohol...even the ones whose Dutch improved...didn't change their minds.

The moral of the story?  More research is needed, and OF COURSE, too much alcohol will have the opposite effect on your language abilities.  But in the interim?  Grab a drink and start working on the past perfect tense!

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