The moderate consumption of alcohol can loosen up your body, better the circulation, improve the mood but according to the latest research it can help in learning a foreign language.
As per this latest research small doses of alcohol can help you in your studies of a non-native language. Yet, be aware of the fact that this not applies for the high consumption of alcohol; in fact this consumption would impede this ability.
You may wonder how this is possible as most of us have experienced the effects of alcohol that impede the way how our brain functions and the movements of our body. The alcohol affects the brain’s executive functions, including memory recall, attention, and the ability to make a distinction between appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Given the fact that these executive functions are an integral part for higher cognitive processes like speaking a foreign language it means that the alcohol intake would impede the ability to talk in another language.
However, researchers claim that alcohol can help you in talking a non-native language provided if it is taken in small doses.
According to the researchers at the University of Liverpool, Maastricht University, and King’s College London, low intake of alcohol can loosen up your tongue and thus allow you to easily speak the language that you are studying.
The team of researchers has conducted tests on participants how a low dose of alcohol would affect their self-rated and observer-rated ability to talk in a foreign language.
In this study were involved 50 German students who were studying at the Maastricht University and who have recently learned to speak, read, and write in Dutch.
They were divided in two groups, the first group drank a beverage with low dose of alcohol and the other one a non-alcoholic beverage. Naturally, the effect of alcohol differs in each person according to its weight and because of that the researchers gave alcohol doses according to each participant’s body weight. For instance, 460 ml (just under a pint) of 5% beer was given to a male person with 70kg (154lb). Once the doses were given, each participant spoke with a native Dutch speaker for a few minutes. The native Dutch speakers have not been aware of who of the participants has consumed alcohol and their task was to rate their proficiency at speaking Dutch.
The conversations were audio recorded who were later checked by and rated by two native speakers. Each participant was also given a task to evaluate its own proficiency at speaking Dutch.
Low Alcohol Intake Makes you a Better Speaker of a Foreign Language
The results of this study were that the participants who consumed low dose of alcohol have substantially better rates in their proficiency of the Dutch language. The observers who rated both groups reported that the alcohol group had better pronunciation than the control group. The obtained results from the self-ratings were similar.
The paper co-author of this research Dr Inge Kersbergen, professor at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, stated the following:
“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”
The team emphasized that this applies only for low consumption of alcohol and that high intake “might not have beneficial effects on the pronunciation of a foreign language.”
This was confirmed by Dr Fritz Renner, one of the researchers at Maastricht University:
“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.”
In addition to this, Dr Jessica Werthmann from Maastricht University, the paper’s corresponding author, stated the following:
“We need to be cautious about the implications of these results until we know more about what causes the observed results.”