Forget Duolingo: Alcohol Helps you Improve your Language Skills

alcohol language

If you speak a second language, this might just confirm what you always knew, but a recent study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology has found that a low dose of alcohol may have a positive effect on the pronunciation of a foreign tongue.

The study, appropriately named “Dutch courage? Effects of acute alcohol consumption on self-ratings and observer-ratings of foreign language skills”, was conducted by researched from the University of Liverpool, Maastricht University and King’s College London and it focused on 50 native German speakers who had recently learned Dutch. Some were given a low dose of alcohol and other a control beverage without any alcohol. They were recording speaking during a discussion as part of the experiment.

alcohol language

According to the study’s abstract, “participants who consumed alcohol had significantly better observer-ratings for their Dutch language, specifically better pronunciation, compared with those who did not consume alcohol. However, alcohol had no effect on self-ratings of Dutch language skills.”

While the amount of alcohol given to the subjects varied, for a 70kg man the serving was 1.6 standard drinks, which is slightly under a pint of beer with a 5% ABV.

Dr Fritz Renner, of Maastricht University, said: “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.”

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