Anybody who has ever drunk before knows that a little alcohol can really open a person up and turn a shy quiet guy into the life of the party. Another amazing perk of alcohol is the incredible confidence in your own abilities that suddenly washes over you. A new study has recently come out that claims drinking can actually help you speak a foreign language more fluently than ever.
Say “bonjour” to your new favorite reason to indulge in a drink or two.
A small study published last week in the Journal of Psychopharmacology shows that a small amount of alcohol can help people speak a foreign language better. Researchers found that imbibing helped people speak a non-native language more fluently, even when they didn’t think they were doing that well.
The study’s authors observed 50 native German speakers who were attending a university in the Netherlands, where classes were taught in Dutch. Each person in the study indicated that they drank alcohol on occasion. The participants had also recently passed a Dutch proficiency test.
Each volunteer was asked to engage in a two-minute recorded conversation with an interviewer in Dutch. Half of the volunteers were given alcohol before the chat, and the other half were given water. The amount of alcohol varied depending on the person’s body type. (For example, a 150-pound man was given slightly under a pint’s worth of beer.)
The conversations were then reviewed by two native Dutch speakers, who weren’t told which participants had drunk alcohol and which hadn’t. The participants were also asked to rate their own performances.
Those who’d had alcohol didn’t rate their performance any better than those who’d had water, indicating that they didn’t necessarily feel more confident in their fluency than the water-drinkers.
However, the native Dutch speakers saw it differently. They ranked the alcohol drinkers as being more fluent in Dutch than those who drank water ― specifically when it came to pronunciation. On metrics like vocabulary and grammar, the native Dutch speakers said, the two groups were comparable.
There are some caveats here. The amount of alcohol is key, for starters. Researchers theorize that drinking too much can have the opposite effect, making proficiency in another language worse due to slurred words. It’s also not clear what the participants’ stress levels or emotional states were at the time ― factors that can help or impede a person’s performance. The study’s authors note that this experiment should be conducted with other foreign languages to see if the same effect occurs.
Still, the researchers concluded that a little liquid courage can help when it comes to fluency.
So now you know. Drinking can have many benefits but be careful not to overdo it or else no one will understand a word you are trying to say. It must be true if the scientific study says it is true. But don’t worry if you are not a big drinker, there are other ways to become more fluent, it will just require a bit more focus.