Alcohol did not affect "self-ratings" on Dutch language skills. A study by Maastricht University, the University of Liverpool, and King's College London found that consuming a low dose of alcohol, improves bilingual speakers' ability to speak a second language. Getting ripped on a bottle of tequila probably isn't going to help you speak Spanish any better.
It can also impair 'executive functions, ' which include the ability to remember, pay attention, and inhibit inappropriate behaviours, are particularly sensitive to the acute effects of alcohol.
The global team of researchers is warning against reading too much into their experiment, but it could reveal some interesting insights into the anxiety associated with speaking another language, and how alcohol can help us overcome it. It is thought that alcohol reduces social anxiety and increases self-confidence, both of which could be contributing factors in communicating with other people.
The study involved 50 native German speakers studying Dutch at a Dutch university, who had recently learned to speak, read, and write in the new language.
The researchers tested the effects of a low dose of alcohol on 50 native German speakers, who were students enrolled at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands and had recently learned to speak, read, and write in Dutch. They were asked to drink either the equivalent of half a litre of beer or a non-alcoholic drink before talking Dutch for a few minutes. The conversation was recorded, and two native Dutch speakers - who did not know whether the participant consumed alcohol or not - were asked to rate it.
The research guinea pigs also assessed their own language skills. Furthermore, the research only suggests a correlation between low doses of alcohol and aptitude in foreign language, and doesn't necessarily prove a causal effect.
Researchers found those who were slightly intoxicated had better pronunciation than their sober colleagues.
The observers noted that the drinkers had better pronunciation compared to those who had gone booze-free.
Dr Fritz Renner who was one of the researchers who conducted the study at Maastricht University, shared, "It is important to point out that participants in this study consumed a low dose of alcohol".
Fellow researcher Dr Jessica Werthmann added: "We need to be cautious about the implications of these results until we know more about what causes the observed results".
One suggestion for the positive results is that it could be down to a reduction in anxiety, the study said but admitted more research was necessary to test this theory.