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Everyone loves a study with positive results, and a recent study carried out by researchers from University of Liverpool, Maastricht University, and King’s College London, shows that drinking alcohol can improve your foreign language skills. Hell to the yes, am I right?
The study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, took 50 native German speakers, who had recently been learning Dutch, gave them a low dose of booze and other non-alcoholic drinks and then asked them to have a conversation in Dutch. These convos were recorded and then rated by native Dutch speakers — speakers who had no idea who had drank booze or who had not.
The results showed that those who had the low dose of booze were given higher ratings than their sober peers – particularly when it came to pronunciation. Dr. Fritz Renner of Maastricht University told Science Daily: “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.”
So, a small amount of alcohol does seem to improve people’s ability to speak a second language. Although, getting shit-faced probably has the opposite effect.
And here’s what Dr. Inge Kersbergen, from the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, said:
“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.”
Researchers still don’t know why this is the case, but Dr. Jessica Werthmann of Maastricht University, thinks she knows:
“We need to be cautious about the implications of these results until we know more about what causes the observed results. One possible mechanism could be the anxiety-reducing effect of alcohol. But more research is needed to test this.”
Well, the more you drink the more you can convince yourself that taking that one semester of Russian in college paid off.