Alcohol has been shown to have positive and negative implications on our health and behaviour.
However, as it turns out, a small amount of alcohol might give people confidence to speak another language better.
However, the researchers stress that only a small dose had this effect, and lots of alcohol probably does the opposite.
Alcohol has its pros and cons. Some research has shown that drinking in moderation can be good for you, but the downsides are well reported. In fact, just being tipsy can negatively impact your children if you’re a parent.
However, a new study takes alcohol’s side, showing that a bit of dutch courage can be beneficial if you speak more than one language.
The research, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, investigated the idea is that alcohol improves our ability to speak in a foreign language.
Researchers tested how a low dose of alcohol could impact 50 German participants’ ability to speak in Dutch, which, as students at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, they had all recently learned to speak, read, and write in.
They were randomly assigned to either be given the equivalent of just under a pint’s worth of alcohol, or a placebo (no alcohol). They were then asked to speak Dutch. They were rated by two native Dutch speakers who did not know whether they had been given alcohol or not.
Those who had consumed alcohol were rated significantly higher by the native Dutch speakers, specifically on their pronunciation, compared to the other group. However, when asked to rate themselves, the German subjects didn’t rate themselves any better or worse based on the group they were in.
“Our study shows that acute alcohol consumption may have beneficial effects on the pronunciation of a foreign language in people who recently learned that language.
“This provides some support for the lay belief (among bilingual speakers) that a low dose of alcohol can improve their ability to speak a second language.”
Dr Fritz Renner, who was one of the researchers who conducted the study at Maastricht University, added: “It is important to point out that participants in this study consumed a low dose of alcohol.
“Higher levels of alcohol consumption might not have beneficial effects on the pronunciation of a foreign language.”
As any speaker of multiple languages will be able to attest, whilst a couple of drinks may help improve your fluency, one too many and there’s absolutely no chance of anything other than a very slurred version of your mother tongue coming out of your mouth.