Alcohol has the ability to make people do a lot of things, but a new study shows that it can actually help people speak a foreign language more fluently.
British and Dutch researchers published their findings in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, and their research shows that participants in the study really did speak more fluently after a low dose of alcohol.
The study included 50 native German speakers who were studying at Maastricht University. During the study, each person was asked to have a casual, two-minute conversation with an interviewer in Dutch. Before that chat, half of the participants were given water to drink, while the other half was given an alcoholic beverage. The amount of alcohol varied based on the person’s weight.
Conversations were then recorded and scored by two native Dutch speakers who weren’t told which people had consumed alcohol. The participants were also asked to self-score their own performances, based on how fluently they felt they’d spoken.
Alcohol did not have an effect on the speakers’ self-ratings and those who did have alcohol weren’t any more confident or pleased with their performances than those who’d had water.
However, they did perform better, and overall, the native Dutch speakers rated people in the alcohol group as having better fluency and pronunciation. Ratings for grammar, vocabulary and argumentation were similar between groups.
While the study didn’t measure people’s mental states or emotions, the authors did say that it’s possible that a low-to-moderate dose of alcohol “reduces language anxiety,” which can increase proficiency. “This might enable foreign language speakers to speak more fluently in the foreign language after drinking a small amount of alcohol.”
By: Maytinee Kramer