Well, this may seem contrary to the established notion that alcoholic drinks impair cognitive-motor functions, including the ability to be attentive and remember.
Considering these functions are vital when learning a second language, we might expect alcohol would possibly impair the ability to learn and speak a foreign tongue.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case.
The new study reveals that drinking low alcohol dosage, in fact, helps your tongue loosen up. It’s also known to reduce social anxiety, increase self-confidence and lowers inhibition, which makes it easier to overcome hesitation and nervousness while communicating with another person.
The study was aimed to test what effect would low alcohol dosage have on participant’s ability to speak in a foreign language. The experiment involved 50 native German speakers who had recently learned Dutch at a Dutch University.
These participants were randomized into a group that consumed a moderate amount of alcohol and a control group that wasn’t given alcoholic drink. They were then asked to engage in a conversation with an experimenter in Dutch.
The conversations were recorded and rated by native Dutch speakers who weren’t aware of which group had consumed alcohol. The participants were also asked to rate their performance based on how they perceived their Dutch fluency.
As it turned out, participants in the study really did speak more fluently after a low dose of alcohol.
After the study, paper co-author 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.”
However, the researchers also noted that drinking too much alcohol would have opposite effects, as it can reduce fluency as well as lead to slurred speech.