Sinking A Beer Might Help You Speak Another Language

We didn't need another reason to pour ourselves a glass of vino, but now we do -- a study has found that alcohol can help people learn a foreign language.

The study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, aimed to prove (or disprove) the popular belief that a few bevvies can help us merrily chat away in a foreign tongue, even if we'd only just learnt the basics.

To do this, a team from the University of Liverpool, Maastricht University, and King’s College London invited 50 Germans who had recently started learning Dutch to a party.

Some were handed a "low dose" of alcohol, while others got a non-alcoholic drink. Then they were asked to show off their grasp of Nederlands to two native Dutch speakers who didn't know if they were on the booze or not.

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Turns out the pair of native Dutch observers rated those who'd had a tipple were as speaking Dutch better than their sober pals.

This all comes down to Dutch courage -- pun intended -- according to molecular nutritionist Dr Emma Beckett.

"This is likely because one of the barriers to speaking a newly learned language is your own doubts, your low confidence in your skills, and alcohol lowers your inhibitions."

To that, we say a hearty santé -- that's 'cheers' in French btw.

Not so fast

You might not want to hit the bar to flex your bilingual muscle just yet.

Doctor Beckett pointed out that the participants also did a math test along with the language one, and those who were on the drink were found to be worse -- not better -- at their sums.

"So it’s definitely not the case that 'alcohol helps your brain' -- it’s just that it boosts your confidence a little bit,' she explained.

That's not the only snag -- Dr Beckett also noted that the experiment might be too limited to take as booze-guzzling gospel.

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"It’s probably also important to note that they only tested one language, one dose of alcohol, one level of language experience and only one language assessment -- the effect might be different if you drink more, or know the language better or worse."

Guess that's a no to a second round, then?

"They just had the one drink, so no one should take this to mean you should 'get drunk' to speak your second language better!"

"It's important to remember the other potential health risks linked to excess alcohol consumption like increased risk of some cancers, liver disease, increased risk of injury, fetal alcohol syndrome and a higher risk of depression."

So drink in moderation, folks.

Feature image: Getty.