A new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, conducted by researchers from Maastricht University, the University of Liverpool, and King's College London, shows that bilingual speakers’ ability to speak a second language is improved after they have consumed a low dose of alcohol.
Participants were randomly divided and given either a low alcohol drink or one with no alcohol in it at all. The exact dose of alcohol was dependent on participants’ body weight, but it was equivalent to just under a pint of 5% beer for a 70kg male.
The test was completed by 50 native German speakers who had recently learned to write, read and speak in Dutch while attending Maastricht University. After each had consumed their drink, they engaged in conversation with an experimenter in Dutch. Conservations were then recorded and analysed by native Dutch speakers.
The results showed that participants who had consumed alcohol had ” significantly better observer-ratings for their Dutch language” with “specifically better pronunciation”. Alcohol did not affect “self-ratings” on Dutch language skills.
Journal of Psychopharmacology: Dutch courage? Effects of acute alcohol consumption on self-ratings and observer ratings of foreign language skills