Alcohol may improve foreign language skills: study

LONDON, Oct 22: Trying to learn a new language? A little drink may help, say scientists who found that people’s ability to speak a foreign language is improved after they have consumed a low dose of alcohol.
Researchers from Maastricht University in the Netherlands, University of Liverpool and King’s College London in the UK tested the effects of a low dose of alcohol on participants’ self-rated and observer-rated ability to converse in Dutch.
Participants were 50 native German speakers who were studying at a Dutch University and had recently learned to speak, read and write in Dutch. The exact dose of alcohol varied depending on participants’ body weight.
The chat was audio-recorded and participants’ foreign language skills were subsequently rated by two native Dutch speakers who did not know if the participant had consumed alcohol or not (observer-ratings).
Participants also rated their own Dutch language skills during the conversation (self-ratings).
The study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, found that participants who had consumed alcohol had significantly better observer-ratings for their Dutch language, specifically better pronunciation, compared to those who had not consumed alcohol.
However, alcohol had no effect on self-ratings of Dutch language skills, researchers said.
“Our study shows that alcohol consumption may have beneficial effects on the pronunciation of a foreign language in people who recently learned that language,” said Inge Kersbergen, from University of Liverpool.
“This provides some support for the lay belief that a low dose of alcohol can improve their ability to speak a second language,” Kersbergen 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, researchers said. (AGENCIES)


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