Speaking a foreign language comes naturally to some but others find it very hard, and it turns out that one of the things that might actually help you with learning it is to get a little tipsy beforehand – at least according to a new study.
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A small study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology last week detailed an experiment in which 50 native German speakers were taking classes in Dutch in the Netherlands. All of them indicated that they drank alcohol fairly regularly, and they had all recently passed a Dutch proficiency test.
Each volunteer was then asked to speak with a native Dutch speaker for two minutes. Half of the participants were given the rough equivalent of a pint of beer beforehand, whilst the other half were given a pint of water.
The Dutch speakers weren’t told which candidates had drunk alcohol and which hadn’t and were subsequently asked to grade their conversation on various criteria such as vocabulary and grammar. Guess what? Those that had been drinking invariably fared better, which led the study to conclude that drinking in moderation can help you when speaking a foreign language. Result.
However, they were also careful to note that drinking a lot of alcohol would probably have the opposite effect as it would be harder to understand you as your words would be slurred and not as coherent. I suppose that makes sense.
In all seriousness though I can kinda relate to this – I feel a lot more comfortable speaking a foreign language I kinda know when I’m slightly drunk rather than when I’m completely sober, and then obviously when I’m completely wrecked it’s just a write off. Good advice.
For more drinking, check out this company that wants to pay you to travel the world and drink whiskey. Dream job.